Osun Government Donates Opon Imo To Rescued Chibok School Girls

The State Government of Osun as donated Opon Imo ‘Tablets of Knowledge’ to rescued Chibok School girls towards their rehabilitation.
Recall the state government had in 2013 launched a revolutionary tablets of knowledge for senior secondary school students in Osun.
The programme has in the past 4 years placed a computer electronic device in the hands all student, some of which are from poor background and in rural environment where access to such devices would not have been possible.
Performance of students writing the WASSCE examinations has since improved year on year, culminating in a 46% pass rate in five subjects including Mathematics and English in 2016.
Please see below, images of the the Rescued Chibok School girls using their devices.

Opon Imo: Beyond the Rhetorics By Tona Adewale

IN the last few days the media has been agog with the news of the launch of Opon Imo, tablet of Knowledge by Osun state Governor, OgbeniRaufAregbesola.

What is rather disheartening about the various write-ups on this Opon Imo project is that most commentators have decided to swallow the project hook, line and sinker without trying to ex-ray some of the salient questions begging for answer. I am for ICT revolution and i don’t have anything against the project whatsoever. But the point I am making is that some of the issues surrounding the tablet are shrouded in secrecy, that one begins to wonder if there is any hidden agenda or may be the governor is not telling the whole truth concerning Opon Imo.

One of the reasons why our democracy has remained at infant stage is simply because we are not critical enough at times to see through the veil or maybe it is a “collective amnesia”, just to borrow the word of the Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka. Instead of putting public officers on the spot whenever the need arises so that we can get the best from them, most of us have turned to emergency praise singers whenever a project debuts without looking at the merits and demerits of the said project. We have shied away from proper auditing of every project our elected officers churn out to us. We have failed to look at the sustainability; instead, because of the spur of the moment, we are always quick to join the bandwagon. And this is more reason why most of these projects are either abandoned midway, moribund or turn out to be a total waste of taxpayer’s money.

The point I am making here is that issues such as sustainability, the actual cost of the project and those behind the project and their technical knowhow have not been subjected to proper scrutiny for us to be sure if the project is worth celebrating after all. Again, several figures ranging from N8.2billion, N8.4billion and N8.6billion naira have been bandied as the cost that the introduction of Opon Imo would save for Osun State. Governor Aregbesola, during the launch, however, posited that the Opon Imo tablet would help Osun save N50.25billion naira over a period of 10 years. All these figures do not add up.

In another analysis by Salihu MohammedLukman,who claimed to be a development economist and activist writing under the caption “Governance—Knowledge Nexus: Opon Imo—Inspirational Message from Osun State” published in Thisday of Wednesday, June 12, 2013, also brought another dimension into the discourse.He said:  “The question at this point is:  What is the cost of the 150,000 Opon Imo? Governor RaufAregbesola, who conceived the idea, while window shopping in an electronic store, announced during the launch that the total cost of the e-textbooks is slightly above N200million. One of the things that the Opon Imo project necessitated is the installation of solar panels in schools to power the devices.”

Lukmanalso contended that the total estimate for buying textbooks to schools according to the Ministry of Education is N8.6billion, arguing that the total number of textbooks may not be up to 63, covering 17 subjects contained in Opon Imo. “For the purpose of analysis, let us take the estimate of N8.6billion as sufficient. At the same time, let us also ignore the arithmetic multiplication of N63,000x 150,000=N9.45billion, based on the average rate of N1000 for each textbook and therefore adopt the value of N8.6billion as the correct budgetary value required. This means that with Opon Imo, Osun is saved N8.4billion from its current budget.”

With the above analysis by Lukman, two things could be deduced here: It is either Lukman is one of the praise singers commissioned to do the image laundering for the project or a member of Governor Aregbesola’s cabinet who chose to do the image laundering using pseudo name to cover his identity because his write up which contained the breakdown of the total budget for education gave him up as an insider writing from a source which other commentators are not conversant with.

None of the dignitaries present at the launch deemed it fit to seek to know the ICT Wizkid and the company behind the Opon Imo project. Neither were they interested in some explanation by those who assembled the tablets in order to ascertain its workability, if the students will be able to cope with their new found toy. All they were interested in was a mass hysteria, “Ogbeni has done it again.

More worrisome is the fact that Governor Aregbesola despite flaunting his achievement on the project as the one that no man under the sun has ever achieved did not deem it fit to tell his audience how much the state expended on the project.

Was it an oversight on the part of the governor? Was he trying to hide some facts from the prying eyes of the public? Aregbesola, who claimed that the project has been in the pipeline since July 2011, may not want to tell the public that his son Kabiru is the contractor behind the multi-billion naira project for obvious reason. Though, I don’t think there is any law that precludes governors from awarding contract to their son if he is qualified, but whether there is due process in the whole thing is another matter.

But despite the hide and seek game between Osun State Government and the contractor, former Governor of Lagos state, Mr. Bola Tinubu, in his characteristics manner unveiled Kabiru and showered encomiums on him for being the architect of Opon Imo project.

This may have lent credence to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the state who maintained that there are more to the Opon Imo project than meet the eyes.