By Martin Paul in Abuja
A coalition of 19 industrial unions in the education sector have commenced mobilisation of over 24 million members for the 2019 general elections.
The body, in a statement said as the preparation for the election had started, the was the need for the mobilisation of its members to vote credible candidates who would be committed to the development of the education sector
Under the umbrella of Joint Education Stakeholders Action Coalition (JESAC) the group idenfied, among others, insecurity in schools as one of the consequences of neglect of the education sector.
The statement signed chairman of the organising committee Mr Ike Onyechere, further noted criminal misappropriation of resources meant for education by corrupt and education-unfriendly political leaders as bane of the sector.
“Teachers in many states are owed many months of arrears of salaries. Many schools lack minimum protective physical security infrastructure like perimeter fencing and security surveillance, alert and communication systems because funds meant for education are embezzled.
As the preparations for 2019 general elections gathers steam, the entire education sector will once again be sensitized, mobilized and organized under the JESAC initiative to get their 24 million members of voting age to bond, speak, work and vote together for only education friendly candidates whose education manifesto comply with JESAC Charter of irreducible minimum commitment for transformation of education.
“Since 2010 general elections, candidates have been presented with opportunity to address JESAC-in-session on their plans or report cards on education. Recall that in the run up to the 2011 general elections, H.E. President Muhammadu Buhari (as the then presidential candidate of Congress for Progressive Change) and H.E. Alhaji Atiku Abubakar (as the then presidential candidate of Action Coalition) personally addressed JESAC-in-session on their plans for education at the National Centre for Women Development on 28th October, 2010. H.E. President Goodluck Jonathan, (then presidential candidate of PDP) also addressed JESAC through his Education Minister.
“Since then, JESAC, with 24 million members of voting age has effectively demonstrated that Education Stakeholders, speaking with one voice and acting together, have the population, brainpower and structures to determine outcomes of presidential, gubernatorial and legislative elections in Nigeria.
JESAC’s membership is voluntary and consists from primary to tertiary and includes teaching and non-teaching staff, parents and alumni associations. The inaugural members include NUT, AOPSHON, ANCOPSS, SSANU, NASU, ASUU, ASUP, COEASU, NAPTAN, SSUCOEN, SSANIP and EEMI.
The philosophical foundation of JESAC is that it makes strategic sense for education stakeholders to move away from being passive political watchers to being proactive political playmakers and game changers focused on electing ethics and education friendly political leaders who will be positively pre-disposed to provide and effectively manage resources for transformation of education.