In continuation of our programme on the current NUT election we reached out to the Chairmanship candidate of the Integrity Teachers Congress, Mr Pedro Okhuoya. Excerpts
DAB: Who is Comrade Pedro Okhuoya?
Pedro: I was born on Jan 15, 1971. I attended Owerri Central School. I attended College of Education Ago Iwoye where I read English History. I proceeded to the Adekunle Ajasin University, Ago Iwoye for my degree programme. After working in many schools, I am at present serving at State Comprehensive Junior College, Alimoso.
DAB: you are one of the contestants for the post of Chairman of Alimoso Branch of NUT. What do you intend to do differently?
Pedro: It has been my ambition to contribute my quota to the welfare and development of teachers in Alimoso. In 2005 I contested as Independent Candidate for Secretaryship. I came second. In 2009 I contested the chairmanship position. Again, I came second. This year I have the mandate because of my ambition to help teachers, liberate them from the dungeon. That is my ambition. That is my aim. By the Grace of God, come 25th of this month God will help us.
DAB: What are the programmes you wish to implement if you are elected?
Pedro If I am elected come May 25, my government would be accountable to all. We shall be pragmatic in approach to teachers welfare. We are going to give teachers loans based on negotiation with banks at a reduced minimum rate. Not 28, not 30 per cent. If I can lead the crusade in Abesan Cooperative Society which was 10 per cent and I fought for reduction to 5 per cent, I will be able to fight for reduction of interest on NUT loans if I am given the mandate.
I Promise that NUT Teachers bus would be delivered during the first year of my tenure. I am also promising an ultra-modern NUT secretariat. Negotiations are already ongoing with philanthropists and NGOs for the achievement of these goals. Immediately we win this election we will hit the ground running.
We are also going to have a welfare store for teachers where they can purchase foodstuff in bags and retail. The payment would be deducted from salary at the end of the month without tears. We are also going to furnish teachers with adequate information. That is why we are utilising the services of an IT Guru in the person of Oyin Adejobi as our publicity secretary. In the past teachers have not been receiving Christmas, Sallah and birthday messages. In the same vein, we have also said that we are going to make sure that NUT is removed from the oligarchy that has been ruling the union in the past.
There is no way the union can do well with all these godfathers and godmothers. The union is supposed to be for all. That is why we are going to take the bull by the horn and remove the NUT from the cocoon of godfathers.
DAB: What do you want to do on teachers welfare generally?
The teachers have been asking us everywhere we went why they are closing by 3.30. It is because of the Standard set by the International Labour Organisation that the minimum hours you can have is eight hours. We are still putting in eight hours. On assumption of office, we are going to up synergy with other local governments in Lagos State to negotiate and present it to the governor if there can be allowances paid for the hours that have been added.
LASACO is an insurance company that insures all civil servants in Lagos State, including teachers. What NUT is supposed to do is to collate documents of deceased teachers and forward to LASACO for payment. The reverse has been the case with teachers. The benefit is supposed to be paid to deceased teachers dependants. Under my government, I will make sure this is pursued vigorously.
Finally, I want to tell the generality of teachers in Alimoso that Pedro remains committed, that Pedro is a visionary leader. By giving him this opportunity because he has attempted it severally,. Now I am soliciting that they should rally round me and vote for me. I promise that I am not going to disappoint them. I am an advocate of the Late Pa Michael Imoudu, a veteran labour leader who fought the colonial leaders to a standstill. In his time, he never built a house. It was Edo State Government that came to build a house for him. I am an apostle of Pa Imoudu. I have told my family this is a cross I am prepared to undertake. This a cause I am dedicating my life to. I have told my family it can cost my life. With God on my side I shall succeed.