Pandemonium broke out yesterday at the Federal Government Girls College FGGC Benin city, Edo state as the teachers and the principal Mrs. Erhahon engaged in a battle for supremacy over who becomes the PTA chairman of the School. The election which was postponed from October 2015 to January 23rd 2016 by the now former PTA chairman with the help of the principal and was scheduled to start by 9 am with accreditation of parents.
However, there was chaos when the principal ordered security personnel to lock the gate at about 1:07 pm when some parent had not been accredited, the visibly angry parent broke the padlock to the gate and made their way to the election venue insisting that they must vote. For them the principal does not have any right to disenfranchise them. The armed mobile police men that were brought to forestall order were helpless as the parents outnumbered them.
Speaking to lawrenzi.com, some of the parents said the principal had a plan to rig the election using armed police men to scare them, for them, their determination will remain unchallenged as they will not allow her have her way.
The teachers on the other hand staged a walkout of the election venue singing the solidarity song when the candidate they are in support of was disqualified by the principal, for them the principal is exerting so much power because of her interest in the finance of the association. A teacher on the ground of anonymity said;
”the principal has less than six months to retire, now she wants to use this avenue to embezzle funds meant for the PTA, we have a candidate who knows what the school want, our students are suffering, PTA teachers have not been paid and the principal is so insensitive to our plight, she wants to get what she wants before she retires, if she wants retirement benefit, she should go to the federal government not the PTA we will never allow it, we are going to tell her that this is our school, we have a candidate we trust, he has refused to play to the tune of the principal now they want to disqualify him, we will never allow it, the interest of staffs and student is more important than the interest of an individual’’
According to our findings, we realized that the principal already had a candidate of her choice and she was ready to do anything within her powers to make sure her preferred person won the election; we even discovered that she went out to get a guideline from Abuja, as against the constitution just to disqualify a particular candidate contesting for the position of the PTA chairman
The Election however could not be conducted as the teachers staged a walkout, stating that they will never be intimidated. Their position remains unshaken and they remain united against the principal who they see as an enemy to the students, teachers and parents.
Speaking to lawrenzi, one of the candidates (name withheld) contesting said
”We have a long way to go in terms of maintaining the right standard during elections in this country, how can we bring armed police men to monitor elections at a secondary school level? Then, it seems there is something that they are not telling us, anybody who wishes to use the PTA to enrich him/herself should realize that Nigerians are wiser now, the teachers are wiser now and you can see that from the reactions of the parent and the teachers today.
The questions that should be on our lips is, why do they want to disqualify one candidate, why are the teachers in support of a candidate that the principal is not in support of? Until we begin to ask the right questions, then we will not move forward, he concluded.
It is very alarming and disturbing that police men were brought to conduct ordinary elections at a FGGC Benin city, For God sake was it really needed? Can’t elections be conducted in free and fair manner with out employing the use of force? Why would the principal lock out parent who wanted to get accredited? Was there really any need for that? Well we have many questions begging for answers. In all of these, i was quite happy that the teachers stood their ground on the perceived injustice done by the principal of Federal Government Girls College Benin. Lawrenzi will keep you updated on this.
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