“A man willing to work, and unable to work, is perhaps the saddest sight of fortune’s inequality exhibits under the sun” – Thomas Caryle (British Historian)
The shortest way to shatter a man’s world is to raise his hope higher and higher, then dash it. The higher the level of his hope go, the deeper the depth of his despair when that hope is ruined. This is one common experience five thousand Akwa Ibom sons and daughters have to share in the hands of the state government when they were offered Letters of Appointment after months of hectic recruitment processes. The same appointment got terminated by the same government that offered it months later. And this is enough to kill a man’s spirit.
Recently, the State’s Head of Civil Service, Mrs. Ekereobong Akpan, on behalf of the state government called on the sacked teachers to resurface for revalidation exercise on 11th February, 2017. It is not improbable that this move could predispose one to credulity that government is reconsidering its stance. But the concern is that if it was in the original interest of the state government to accommodate these employees, then after issuance of appointment letters on 15th April 2015, the next step would have been deploying them to assume duty at public secondary schools controlled by State Secondary Education Board (SSEB). Instead of this, Mrs. Ekereobong Akpan made to be announced on the radio service of Akwa Ibom Broadcasting Corporation (AKBC) the invalidation of appointment of these five thousand teachers on 30th October 2016 – a development that threw these persons into complete daze and grief.
Now the question is: why did Udom Emmanuel’s government wait without considering revalidation, until these aggrieved persons decided to approach the court for redress?
Revalidation can mean another round of screening, of course, to ostensibly weed out those with fake appointment, or to make the employees defend their suitability for appointments according to Madam Head of Civil Service. In a situation like this, one should suspect the possibility of asking these persons to submit ‘original copy’ of their appointment letter for the so-called revalidation exercise because appointment letter is of great significance as far as the conundrum is concerned. And as this issue is in court, the letter would serve as evidence that employment with statutory flavor was actually established. In this case, one should also look out to ascertain whether this move is not a ploy by the employer of these five thousand teachers to confiscate their appointment letters, then boot them out since they would not allow people to rest in the state.
Is revalidation a calculating attempt to screen out twenty-two of the aggrieved teachers that had the temerity to drag government to court? If it is so, then, how would state government get away with this without provoking public outcry?
Again, what if it would take these aggrieved persons another two or more years to wait for the outcome of this whole revalidation thing, if only government is not rejigging its intention to completely deny them employment?
Revalidation is an offspring of a bad marriage. As long as the state government leaves this marriage un-sanitized by not letting the employment of these persons off the hook, the bad marriage would still reproduce offspring with bad nomenclatures that would continue to bring the state’s name to disrepute. In other words, more bad names would still crop up in order to kill a dog; and the state won’t escape being portrayed in a bad light.
I must categorically state here that a call for revalidation of already sealed employment shows a travesty of conscience. It indicates a wimpish approach in regaining lost grounds. The better approach to disentangle itself from this whole mess is for Udom’s government to audaciously retrace its steps and start all over from the point where things began to go wrong.
However, Akwa Ibom people would be interested to know, without prevarication, from the state’s PDP-led government whether it, ab initio, was predetermined not to offer these persons employment. It has to convince the people that the entire recruitment exercise was not a pre-election gambit, something that was stage-managed to influence the people’s choice of Udom Emmanuel in 2015.
It is absolutely regrettable how a call for service draws a motherly figure like Mrs. Ekereobong Akpan into this fray. This respected woman had established a reputation when she was at the helm of affairs at Civil Service Training School at Asanting Ibiono. But today, she is undauntedly active in the arrangement that bring tears and sorrows to the eyes of thousands of Akwa Ibom sons and daughters.
The state government officials involved in this imbroglio should search their conscience. They should know that our secondary schools have remained understaffed for quite a long time, and this is killing the state’s educational system at its basic level. If only top government officials have enrolled their wards in the public secondary schools such as Community Secondary School, Urua Ekpa Enang; Atakpo Secondary School, Uruan, or Comprehensive Secondary Commercial School, Etinan, maybe they would have come to awareness that degrading standard in our schools is naked and real, and that education, generally, in Akwa Ibom is dying as a result of want of teachers. But they are sending their wards to where they could obtain quality education, while children of common man struggle with the rots in state’s public schools.
Yes! I am UbongAbasi ise. For comment, send sms to 08188914609