UBEC; Bobboyi’s Strides And The Apathy Of States, A Vindication.

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By Abubakar Yusuf

Univeral Basic Education Commission UBEC is an institution charged with carrying out of significant functions both in the primary and post primary Education in Nigeria.

These functions are in line with the act that established the commission to operate, through direct supervision of funds disbursement, utilisation and monitoring,to ensure the purpose intended is not derailed.

Even though, the commission also operated as a route were appropriated funds from the federal government are voted and assessed for the developement in all facets of primay and secondary education across the country.

In line with the act that set up the commission,it is mandated to exercise it’s responsibility through direct intervention and counterparts funds from the 36 states of the federation.

These provisions was clearly spelt out to provide uninterrupted developement of primary and secondary education as the basic foundation towards the realization of our educational developement, and to achieve the UN goals in the education sector,as well as domestication of policies and programs relating to the continuous developement of the Education in Nigeria .

As part of it’s mandate, the commission charged with trainings and retraining of boith teaching and non teaching staffs, provision of instructional materials and other incentives to mitigate the statutory provision that will grow teaching and learning in Nigeria.

In addition to making funds available,the primacy of it’s functions is to also access counterparts funds from 36 states of the federation as a leeway to habe some level of control on the utilisation of the appropriated and released funds on yearly basis to states .

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This statutory and basic functions being carried out by UBEC overtime under the indefatigable leadership of a renowed academic and technocrat, Dr Hamid Bobboyi imbibed the strict compliance devoid of any deflection.

This is also at the backdrop of many challenges faced by the well rehearsed agency of government that ensured all the provisions that set up the commission are followed to the later, especially in the area of funds disbursement, monitoring and utilisation.

This ugly developement had reared its head overtime as the new management under the Executive Secretary,Dr Hamid Bobboyi did not concede to any intiatives that sharply negates the laid down procedures.

The shortcomings from states on the blatant refusal to access funds on the basis of either not interested in the dictates of the provision guiding UBEC operations, or flayed monitoring the utilisation of funds allocated.

But, the provisions clearly stated the assessment of funds after payment of certain percentages of counterparts funds, as monitoring the utilisation is the crux of the existence/creation of UBEC.

This general apathy from states had strengthened the commission to step up it’s intervention programs in all the states of the federation, to bridge the gap of deliberate refusal to access the readily available funds by states.

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Be it as it may ,it is practically impossible for such intervention to address the growing need in our basic educational system, especially with uncooperative attitude and recurring negligence from state governments to access readily available funds, running into over 41 Billion.

This ugly trend had affected and contributed in no small measure to the Infrastructural decay, dillapidated structures as well as ailing system, due to negative actions being displayed by state governments.

The urge to divert funds meant for UBEC projects at state level to non prioritised areas, had led to fast decay and systemic problems in our basic schools, and not obviously the denial or administrative bottlenecks from the commission.

This deliberate efforts of states to release counterparts funds contributed to the ugly pictures being witnessed all round the country,even as the commission make efforts to redressed the situation from the lapses of state governments.

This is also in addition to records that had shown the flagrant abuse of release of counterparts funds to states without regularisation overtime.

The funds jamboree of some states had militated against states for the refusal to comply with the funding provisions clearly stated by the act.

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Because of obvious financial profligacy of some states that desired sanctions from UBEC,alot of idle and unacessed funds lie fallow at the commission.

This had attracted alot of criticisms and cynicisms without due clarification which intended to draw a battle line with UBEC, whose mandate is strictly adhered to under the leadership of Dr Hamid Bobboyi,the Executive Secretary of the Universal Basic Education Commission UBEC.

But, it is crystal clear,that the onus lies with some state governments that deliberately refused to access a whopping 41 Billion, due to negation of statutory provision of counterparts funds.

It will be a great disservice to our current generation and those yet unborn for states to continue in this trend,inspite of efforts by the new commission to ensure seamless assessment of funds without meddlesomeness.

With access to budgetary provisions both in capital and recurrent,the current situation of structures and personel in the schools across the states is a wake up call for states, to redirect efforts to avoid out of school children, against one of the goals of SDGs.

The management of UBEC no doubt is alive to it’s responsibility and will not live any stone unturned in efforts to ensure education for all ,inline with the SDGs template debuted between 2020-2030.

Yusuf is a Public Affairs Analyst and can be reached on yus.abubakar3@gmail.com

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