The Oasis Reporters
March 21, 2019
The determined resolve and mien in little school girl, Success Adegor in downtown Sapele, Delta State in Nigeria has unwittingly placed on the same status with what a group of African-American students who, in 1957, were the first black students ever to attend classes at Little Rock Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, US did.
While Success Adegor would rather prefer to be flogged than being sent out of school, the Little Rock Nine insisted on going to school despite the hostility of racism and threat to life that they faced.
The symbol and face of the Little Rock, Arkansas 9 was Elizabeth Eckford and this resulted in integration as a fallout of the Brown v. Board of Education epic case, ably argued by Thurgood Marshall .Eckford’s public ordeal was captured by press photographers on the morning of September 4, 1957, after she was prevented from entering the school by the Arkansas National Guard. A dramatic snapshot by Johnny Jenkins of the United Press (UP) showed the young girl being followed and threatened by an angry white mob; this and other photos of the day’s startling events were circulated around the US and the world by the print press.
Success Adegor was lucky to have the social media trail her in a video clip that went viral, finally exposing the deplorable condition of her primary school in Sapele and the hidden charges or levies collected from pupils, while in public, the government mouths ‘free education’, whereas the schools remain decrepit, underfunded and hardly ever properly functional.
The Success Adegor viral video so embarrassed the Delta State government that it threatened to sanction the school head or anyone found culpable.
News later filtered out that the head teacher was issued with a query, and was immediately suspended from duty.
Success Adegor was reportedly sent home over her parents’ inability to pay for her second term examination and books.
She is a primary three pupil of Okotie-Eboh Primary School 1, Sapele, in the Sapele Local Government Area of the state, allegedly sent home by the head teacher of the school.
The seven-year-old girl in the video which has attracted the attention of Nigerian celebrities, including a comedian, Ayo Makun, aka AY, and Instagram sensation, Mr Jollof, has said she preferred to be flogged to being sent out of school, according to a Punch newspaper report.
The state Commissioner for Education, Mr Chiedu Ebie, who spoke to The PUNCH, noted that the state government operated a free education policy and it was illegal for the school authority to demand examination levy or any other unauthorised levies from pupils.
“The fact is that we (government) operate free education policy in Delta State,” Ebie said.
He claimed that many school heads had been demoted or suspended for imposing unauthorised levies on pupils, explaining that the only authorised levies in the state public school were for consumables and sports wears.
The commissioner, who frowned on the action of the school, said the ministry of education had commenced investigation into the matter and vowed to ensure that anyone found culpable in the illegal levy saga would be sanctioned in line with civil service rules.
He said, “We discovered overtime that some school heads take the laws into their hands by imposing illegal levies. We have battled this in the last three and half years of this administration. We have had school heads suspended and demoted.
“Once again, this is another case of a school head taking the laws into her hands and imposing levies that ought not to be imposed on the pupils.
“We have what we referred to as ‘approved levy’ in our schools. It is issued by the ministry (of education). The approved levy is N100 for consumables and no school head has the right to collect above N100.”
He added, “Also, for sports wears because of inter-house sports and other sporting activities, we have a flat rate of N750. It’s clearly specified and clearly defined. In this case, I understand that it was exam levy of N800 and a levy for a book of N1,000 and another one for N300.
“Let’s give her the opportunity to hear from her. The video has been trending for the last two days and she must be aware of it. If I am not convinced or satisfied with her response, then judgement or punishment will be meted out to anyone caught culpable pending the conclusion of a more detailed investigation in line with civil service rules.”
The government may have spoken nicely, but a look at the dilapidated structures in the school shows one thing, that one of the richest oil producing states in Nigeria is definitely not maintaining school structures. At least the public can see that. Therefore if physical structures are not being maintained, is it imprest account that government would deem fit to release to headteachers for the running of their schools as a way of relieving the teachers from collecting levies?
Public spirited individuals have been falling over themselves to change the school bag of Success Adegor, award her scholarships and provide other amenities for her after seeing her in the trending video.