The governor of Oyo State, Engineer Seyi Makinde, has expressed the readiness of his administration to partner the University Press PLC to develop the education sector in the state.
The governor also noted that his administration is willing to explore collaborations with critical stakeholders in the sector to improve the standard of education.
Governor Makinde, who stated this when he received the management team of the University Press PLC, at the Executive Chamber of the Governor’s Office, Secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan, said that his administration was glad to announce to all that he had more than doubled education funding in the state.
A statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, quoted Governor Makinde as saying that though his administration met education budget at about four per cent, he has allocated over 22 per cent to education in the 2020 Budget.
He stated that the increased budget met the recommendation for education spending by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), noting that his decision to spend heavily on education was informed by the fact that the sector is one of the four pillars of his administration.
He said: “Education is one of the pillars upon which this administration is resting. For the first time, we met the UNESCO recommendation on the percentage of budget to be allocated to education. This year we allocated 22 per cent to education.
“So, any support from any quarter is welcome. Rest assured that more patronage is on the way from the government of Oyo state. We do appreciate this gesture. On behalf of the government and the people of Oyo state I want to say thank you and that we appreciate you and we also look forward to more collaborations.”
Governor Makinde, who explained that Oyo State under his watch would continue to prioritise education and move it from the current poor position it occupies in public examinations to a better standing, also stated that the door of the government is open to any support that can assist the education sector in the state.
“When I came in, I realized that Oyo State has been stuck at number 26 in terms of states’ ranking based on WASSCE results. We want to make considerable impact as regards the state’s result. This year the first result under our watch will be out. We have been here for 10 months and two weeks. We hope that by June/July, the result will be out and we may be coming back to you for support, because we would be evaluating our endeavour,” the governor said.
He hinted that his administration is ready to reduce the amount to be paid as tax for any organization that is of assistance in the running of the state, saying: “Also, for CSR like this, any tax you are to pay to Oyo State, you are at liberty to deduct the cost of whatever you have done. It is one of the things I mentioned during election that we will encourage organisations, such that when they adopt our schools and provide things for us, we can, in return, allow deduction in tax payments.”
Earlier, the Managing Director of the University Press PLC, Mr. Samuel Kolawole, appreciated the governor and the government of the state for providing an enabling environment for the company to thrive and also for the role the government played in the final burial rites of Dr. Lekan Area, the University Press’ immediate past chairman.
He said: “Let us on behalf of the Board of University Press PLC appreciate the state government for the honour that you bestowed on our immediate past chairman, the late Dr. Lalekan Are. We are honoured to see how the government participated in his burial.
“The environment in Oyo State has been conducive to us that is why we are flourishing and the state, Ibadan especially, is known as the publishing capital of Nigeria, because major publishers in Nigeria have their headquarters in Ibadan. Even those who don’t have their headquarters here have major offices in Ibadan. Within the education circle, we refer to Ibadan as the publishing capital of Nigeria.”
Kolawole noted that the company was donating 3,376 textbooks worth N2,815,210 [Two Million Eight Hundred and Fifteen Thousand Two Hundred and Ten Naira] to primary and secondary schools’ libraries in state.
“We have come here today with a list of books that we are donating to the state in the hope that they would go to libraries of some primary and secondary schools in the state.
“We will be happy if we find that within the shortest time possible, these books are distributed to libraries and they are in use because we have had situations where books will be donated and they will gather dust in one corner of an office with those who are supposed to benefit from them not benefiting from them. So, we will appreciate if they are distributed accordingly,” Kolawole said.
He noted that the company would make donations to the government more often, promising to extend its donations to the State Library in the not too distant future.