The Governorship Candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in Rivers State, Senator Magnus Abe, has claimed the state government has been secretive with the budget of the state in the past eight years.
He made this claim while speaking on Channels TV’s Sunday Politics.
The senator was asked to disclose if he would reduce or increase the budgetary provision for education if he is voted in as the governor of the state come March 11, but he said it was hard to answer the question as the budget of the state had not been in the public domain for the past eight years.
He said: “It is very very difficult for one to put numbers to these challenges because, at present, the numbers are just not visible.
“In this state, we don’t see the budget in the last eight years. So, nobody knows what is being proposed for education.
“So, nobody can actually discuss either to increase it or reduce. We can’t tell what is going in or what is coming out, what is being expected.
“That will be the very place to start, by opening up the finances of the state so that everybody has an idea of exactly what is going where.”
He lamented that public education was comatose in the state, vowing to revamp the sector if voted in as the next governor of the state.
“Public education is non-functional. Public schools have been overgrown by grasses. We need to focus on the quality of education; the curriculum and teachers.
“Our education system needs a total makeover. Almost all the graduates we are producing can’t find a job,” he added.
He promised to make primary and secondary education tuition-free, while providing support for students at higher institutions in form of grants, loans and bursaries.
Abe, however, added that “education can be free for the pupils, it can be free for the students but it can not be free for the society. There is a cost and we have to actually determine what that cost would be and be prepared to pay it.”