A Lagos lawmaker, Hon. Abiodun Tobun on Wednesday appealed to the Federal Government to dialogue with the striking Non Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU) in the interest of Nigerian students.
Tobun made the appeal in an interview with the newsmen on the sideline of his annual distribution of Free Universal Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) forms to secondary school leavers in Epe, who are seeking admission into tertiary institutions.
The lawmaker, representing Epe Constituency I at the Lagos State House of Assembly, distributed 250 forms to students.
NASU strike, which commenced on December 10, 2017, has lingered for over a month now.
“When there is a dispute, it should be resolved, it is my prayer that the Federal Government and all those in charge of the educational sector will listen to the demands of NASU.
“Their request should be addressed and they should resolve it so that the schools will be reopened for full academic activities, ” he said.
On the Free UTME forms distribution, Tobun said: “We need to come back and impact on the lives of our people .
“Today, we are distributing 250 forms to secondary school leavers and I don’t think I know more than or two of them.
“We have done it in the past impacting directing in the lives of our young ones.
“This is a give back mechanism to the society because education is the bedrock of development.
“Some parents can afford to buy the forms, while some cannot, but I feel I should encourage the students and add values to the society.
“This is also a way to complement the good job of Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode in the area of education.
“Many of those who enjoyed this annual gesture in the past have gained admission into tertiary institutions,” he said.
The lawmaker revealed that the performance of those who enjoyed previous gestures has kept encouraging him, adding that many of them have moved forward and that he felt elated and motivated.
He stressed that he had been giving out free GCE forms to students annually to help indigent constituents.
Tobun, however urged the beneficiaries to be determined and remained focussed saying that they will be the one to help other indigent students in the future.
The lawmaker said that he would also organise Pre-UTME coaching programme in core subjects for the students so that they could succeed in the examination.
“If we get better results, we are going to increase the number of the beneficiaries next year,” he said.
According to him, 25 other students were sponsored to Government Technical College, Odomola Epe for three- year courses in 2016 and they would soon graduate, while a new set would go in.
In his goodwill message, Hon. Bola Gbabijo, a former member of the Federal House of Representatives, said that many parents in the area were unable to sponsor the education of their children, which he said was why Hon. Tobun came to their rescue.
Gbabijo, who urged the parents to assist their children to ensure they pass the examination, advised the beneficiaries to work hard to justify the magnanimity of the lawmaker.
Also speaking, Hon. Faliu Arebi, a former lawmaker from the area, said that the gesture would increase the number of Epe ambassadors in Nigerian universities.
Arebi, who called for a declaration of a state of emergency in Epe public schools, urged Tobun to work with Ambode on the proposed International Airport and the Sea Port in the area.
The former parliamentarian urged the Lagos State House of Assembly to get prepared and raise its voice against the rampaging activities of herdsmen and farmers.
One of the beneficiaries, Master Ahmed Olufowobi, a 16- year old student described Tobun as “a good man” saying that the gesture would help his resolve to study Medicine and Surgery.
Another student, Miss Damilola Balogun, said: “I have my O’level results but my parents do not have money for UTME form.
“I thank our lawmaker for this gesture which will help me pursue Business Administration in the university.”
Mater Ibrahim Adeleke, one of the students sponsored to the Technical College studying Electrical Electronic also appreciated the lawmaker for his kindness.
Master Lasisi Idris, an undergraduate student of LASU studying Medicine and Surgery, who benefited from Tobun’s free UTME form in 2017, lauded the lawmaker for his magnanimity.
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