The report of alleged forceful sales of the portrait of the Delta State governor, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori to secondary school principals and Chief Inspectors of Education (CIEs), by his Commissioner for secondary education, Mrs Rose Ezewu, has not only rattled her but upset the State government.
Sources close to the corridor of power, disclosed that the report caused stirs in the cabinet of the governor who was visibly miffed with the ugly development.
Mrs. Ezewu, was accused of allegedly forcing secondary school principals in the State to purchase the portrait of the State governor, Rt. Hon. Oborevwori for the sum of N20, 000 payable into an undisclosed bank account.
She was also accused that aside the portrait of the governor, the Secondary Education Commissioner’s portrait, was also compulsory and must be placed in strategic places and offices in their various schools.
As if that was not enough, a further allegation of setting up a taskforce headed by her alleged accomplice, one Tony Edah, to monitor the level of compliance by about 489 principals across secondary schools in the State and effect payment on or before the end of the month (October) was further levelled against her.
It was alleged that the arrangement of Commissioner Ezewu, also affected the 25 CIEs as the taskforce was secretly set up in a hurry without carrying the ministry along in order to rake in over N20 million for herself and cronies.
If the move had not be exposed early enough and nibbed on the bud, the alleged sales of the portraits would have raked in for her, the whopping sum of N20.560 million.
To seal the illicit deal, it was alleged that the principals and CIEs were barred from obtaining the portrait of Oborevwori and that of Ezewu from any other sales outlet except at the Ministry of education only after the mandatory payment or defaulters would be made to face her wrath.
She was equally accused that she had appointed one Israel Akpokeri, a said, “director” in the ministry, to inform the principals and CIEs to comply for their own good.
But unsettled by the allegations levelled on her, on Saturday 14th October 2023, Ezewu, denied the allegations compelling school principals, CIEs to purchase portraits of the governor and herself.
Not satisfied with the outcome of her first move, to clear her already battered image by the report, on Sunday 15th October 2023, one principal, Mr. Etavwaire Ejovwoke, was purportedly sponsored to Delta Rainbow Television (DRTV), main news, Edjeba Road, to deny the allegations.
Also unfulfilled with the television broadcast, on Tuesday October 17th, the Education Commissioner, held an interactive session with journalists on same issue to further exonerate herself of the weighty accusations.
It would be recall that The Story, has reported that as the 2023/2024 academic calendar settles down in public secondary schools in Delta State, while it mark joy for teachers to welcome pupils and students entering new classes or stages in their academic life, the reverse seem the case for principals and Chief Inspectors of Education (CIEs), who are not only groaning the pains of the subsidy removal but what they described as massive extortion.
Findings have revealed that secondary school principals in the State are being allegedly forced to purchase the portrait of the State governor, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori for the sum of N20, 000 payable into an undisclosed bank account by Mrs. Rose Ezewu, the State Commissioner for secondary education.
It was learnt that aside the portrait of the governor, the Secondary Education Commissioner’s portrait, is also compulsory and must be placed in strategic places and offices in their various schools.
It was reliably gathered that a taskforce has been purportedly established by the education commissioner headed by Ezewu’s accomplice, one Tony Edah, to monitor the level of compliance by about 489 principals across secondary schools in the State and effect payment on or before the end of the month.
Checks revealed that others affected by the clandestine arrangement of Commissioner Ezewu, are the 25 CIEs as the taskforce was secretly set up in a hurry without allegedly carrying the ministry along in order to rake in over N20 million for herself and cronies.
A source who pleaded anonymity alleged that the governor’s portrait and that of the Commissioner are compulsory for all public secondary schools at a cost of N20, 000 each to tune of N20.560 million.
It was alleged that the principals and CIEs are barred from obtaining the portrait of Oborevwori and that of Ezewu from any other sales outlet except at the Ministry of education only after the mandatory payment or defaulters would be made to face her wrath.
Further investigation revealed that Mrs. Ezewu had allegedly appointed one Israel Akpokeri, a said, “director” in the ministry, to inform the principals and CIEs to comply for their own good.
“I am directed to inform Principals and CIES to collect the photograph of His Excellency and that of the HC secondary at the office of the honourable commissioner. This is to be placed in the CIES’ offices and all Principals’ office”.
It was reliably learnt that the “illegal taskforce team” has swung into actions, allegedly invading schools to collect the said money from the school authorities, but with resistance from majority of the principals who are determined “to fight to finish this time around”.
Sources alleged that principals from Uvwie and Oshimili south councils are complying but one cannot be certain about the amount paid.
Some of the principals who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of being victimized by the Education Commissioner, said “enough is enough, because the Commissioner has been allegedly milking them since she returns in this second term.
They also alleged that the Commissioner had visited them at various times both in Ughelli, Warri and other places for her endless drive for money (about N30,000 from school heads to wage Kola), and she is now moving from one CIE’S office to another also expecting same entertainment from them.
She was said to be going round on familiarisation visit without the accompany of Permanent Secretary (PS) and Director of the Ministry but instead allegedly parading one Mr Israel Akpokeri as a director in the ministry, a development that infuriated stakeholders in the ministry of education.
It was gathered that the Israel Akpokeri is her forerunner, “If claim that the Israel is a director in the ministry, let her show the world, the department that Israel is heading”, another source hinted.
Miffed by the unfolding development, concerned stakeholders have called on the governor and others to urgently investigate, intervene and nip the ugly development in the bud.
At the time of filing this report, several calls put across to her phone line and text message sent to her to get her side of the story were ignored.