Following the disclosure recently made by the Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwoolu that higher institutions and secondary schools would resume on September 14 and 21 respectively, seven different states have insisted that they are not ready for school reopening. They are Ogun, Katsina, Bauchi, Enugu, Sokoto, Gombe, and Ekiti states. This is startling given the fact that Lagos State that is acknowledged as the epicentre has shown interest to fully reopen.
In light of the above, it is important to examine some of the reasons for the states with a view to drawing a valid conclusion. The officials of the states gave different reasons as regards why they are not ready for resumption. Their reasons range from security, the safety of the academic environment to the absence of a directive from the Federal Government. This should be dispassionately tinkered with.
It would be recalled that Senior Secondary School 3 Students have resumed back to classes in every state of the federation and there have been no qualms of any sort. Many schools reopened for the students as far back as August 4, while the West African Senior School Certificate Examination commenced on August 17. The fact that no glitches have been recorded since the resumption of schools for WAEC candidates makes it very compelling and important for schools to be reopened.
Remarking on this development, the Ogun state government maintains that they are in haste to reopen schools, stressing that such will not be done until there is a directive from the Federal Government. He further stressed that it would refrain from taking any unilateral decision. This was made by the Special Adviser to the governor on Public Communications, Remmy Hazzan, who emphasizes that the FG and the state are always in contact and connection.
In the same vein, the Coordinator of the Ekiti State COVID-19 Response Task Force, Prof Bolaji Aluko, revealed that the state government is still making a critical observation of how school activities have been faring since the resumption WAEC candidates, stressing that the authorities will not be in hurry to resume schools so as not to endanger the lives of the teachers and the learners. This is spot on. It was emphasized that the state government will take decisions with respect to prevailing circumstances.
However, the Enugu State Government also maintained that school resumption is not on the card of the state government for now. The state Commissioner of Education, Prof. Uche Eze, revealed that the agency is always in contact with the Federal Ministry of Education, stressing that no arrangement has been in that respect. This is a worthwhile decision. This view was also echoed by the Bauchi State Commissioner of Education, Dr. Aliyu Tilde, who argues that the state will not follow the footprint of Lagos state until the state government is cocksure that the academic environment is safe for resumption.
In Katsina and Gombe States, the narratives are not quite different as both Commissioners of Education revealed that it is not yet safe for the full-fledged reopening of schools. While the Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, had maintained that there is no new development on the reopening of schools, it is imperative for the state government to look inward and adopt measures that will stimulate the resumption of schools. Their decision should be predicated on empirical and verifiable data instead of pseudo information or indolence in expectation of the Abuja ruling on school resumption.