The socio-economic and political development of any nation stems from qualitative education. It is upon this realization that the Cross River state governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, on assumption of office, promised to give priority to education as the bed rock of any meaningful development.
Aside from giving education one of the top priorities in his budgetary allocation, the Governor ordered for the restructuring of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) with an academic Dr. Steve Odey, a disciplinarian as the head the new education board.
Dr Odey was charged with the responsibility of not only rebranding but repositioning the basic education sector with a view to upgrading it to international standard.
He soon swung into action, studying the immediate and remote causes of why standard of education was retrogressing in an alarming proportion.
The new SUBEB chairman has since embarked on structural developments, awarded of contracts for building of class room blocks where necessary and renovating dilapidated ones.
In less than two years the findings by Dr Odey and his team were revealing and appalling.
How, when and why a whooping figure of 758 teachers with fake certificates flooded the noble teaching profession will had amazed the new board.
And as if that was not enough fraud by successive leadership in the sector, another 700 ghosts workers said to be on the pay roll of SUBEB leaves much to be desired. .
Apart from this astounding figure of fake teachers deployed to teach the schools, the State government loses Seventy Million Naira of its revenue monthly as payment of salary.
While making the revelations at a press briefing in Calabar, the capital city of Cross Rivers State, the board’s Executive Chairman, Dr. Steve Odey, discoveries has saved the state government a huge amount of money.
The discovery of the sharp practices, according to Odey, were made possible through a thorough personnel audit conducted recently by the board across the 18 local government education authority in the state.
He explained that, on assumption of office he discovered that the standard of education in the state was fast falling.
He said after months of thorough investigation facts emerged, and the were able to tackle the problems which evidenced in the monumental fraud in the department.
Odey explained that at the onset of the audit, the exercise generated much heat; tongues wagged as several allegations of high handedness were raised against him and the board by those who were aiding and abetting the fraud.
While lamenting that it might not be easy to throw out about 758 people out of job, Dr Odey said the board in liaison with the state authorities were considering punitive measures for those found wanting to serve as deterrent to others.
On the 237 contracts awarded so far, Odey said most of them are completed, while others are near completion, promising that no project would be abandoned by his team as the governor is doing his best to ensure completion of all project embarked upon by his administration.