The continuing desperation to hide away the misappropriations and misapplication of several hundreds of millions of Naira meant to alleviate the sufferings of staff and students, arising from the water crisis in Queens College, Yaba-Lagos has pitted hitherto sisters against sisters, husbands against wives, mothers against fathers, etc and corporates, like the school administration, Parents Teachers Association (PTA), Old girls association, Lagos State Ministry of Health, Federal Ministry of Education and Stakeholders, against each other.
The issue at stake, and to which the threat of the exposure of the squandering of the hundreds of millions of Naira allocated by the Federal Ministry of Education to resolve the water crisis, repair some infrastructure/amenities and enhance the welfare of the students of Queens College, Yaba is being irrelevantly directed at, is Dr (Mrs) Lami Amodu, who over the years have built her capacities and competences in the profession she loves so much and, through various seminars/workshop she has attended, networked with other professionals, to the consternation of her peers.
With these credentials that have seen Dr (Mrs) Lami Amodu’s profile rising by the day, despite envious and misdirected attacks on her person and integrity, she became a subject of false accusations and blame, on the misappropriation of the allocated funds to Queens college, Yaba where she resumed at in February 2016, and unceremoniously transferred to head another Federal College in Uromi – Edo State, thereby swapping positions with her fellow Kogite – Mrs Are, who incidentally were bosom friends/sisters hitherto, before the devil of cover-up of misdeeds came between them.
When Dr (Mrs) Lami Amodu held sway as Principal of Queens College, Yaba the provision of portable water was paramount on her agenda to resolve.
Taking advantage of her networks and personal contacts, especially at the Federal Ministry of Education, she reached out for assistance from individuals and corporate organizations. As assistance was not forthcoming from some MDAs approached, she then leveraged on her contacts with some NGOs, foreign organizations and the Australian government through its high commission in NIgeria.
Help came her/school’s way, but was paltry for a total solution of the water crisis being experienced at Queens College, Yaba.
Not discouraged, Dr (Mrs) Lami Amodu then approached the PTA, whose Chairman – Sir Dr John Ofobike felt so sympathetic that he has to commit his personal funds to the tune of almost N5m to solve the water problem. Again, the impact was not much, as the water crisis persists amidst other failing amenities.
With all these flickers of hope and the aggression in pursuing the resolution of the water crisis, especially as it affects the students’ welfare directly, the Federal Ministry of Education magnanimously allocated several hundreds of millions of Naira to Queens College, Yaba for the first time in years, specifically and especially to solve the water, renovate the health clinic, purchase drugs, solve accommodation problems, the then Principal – Mrs Are who superintended over the disbursement of the funds, established conduit pipes, through which almost ninety percent of the allocated funds were misappropriated, in connivance with some principal staffers of the School.
Unfortunately, how Dr (Mrs) Lami Amodu’s name came into this mix, having been transferred out of Queens College, Yaba to Uromi long before the hundreds of millions of Naira was allocated to Queens College,Yaba remains a conjecture to be imagined.
Hazarding a guess as to why so much misguided aggression is directed at Dr (Mrs) Amodu, it would be noted offhandedly that the questionable character of her successor and the disburser of the allocation from the FME, must have made Mrs Are to mobilize those who she has successfully co-opted into the spend-thrift scheme, to take aims at Mrs Amodu, to the extent that the opposing Old girls Association camp, to the camp that welcomed her on resumption, took it upon themselves to exploit every of their available contacts at the Presidency, MDAs, NASS and even foreign embassies, just to rubbish the image and integrity of Dr (Mrs) Lami Amodu.
As the mudslinging was going on, Dr (Mrs) Lami Amodu’s profile and proficiency at her desk continued to rise, to the chagrin and disbelief of her traducers, and to the admiration of some of her peers and bosses.
While instituted probe panels were being compromised to cover up the truth that was the misapplication of the FME allocated/water rescue funds, Dr (Mrs) Lami Amodu got promoted and transferred to the Federal Ministry of Education to head the Secondary Education department – a position that enables her oversee all the Federal Unity schools in Nigeria, including Queens College, Yaba.
In this her new posting, she proved her mettle as a performer of no mean status, which immediately endeared her to the Honorable Minister of Education. At her vantage position in the Ministry, she was able to narrate her side of the face-off with Mrs Are and other staffers of Queens College, Yaba to the utter consternation of several of her colleagues, who retorted that they were not as informed as they were later, especially with documentary evidences shown to them.
The unrelenting war of attrition between the dramatis personae and the corporates played out itself during the investigative panel’s sittings, where the truth and nothing but the truth of the situation in Queens College was unfolded by the Chairman of PTA – Sir Dr John Ofobike, who’s tenure expires in October 2019.
The continuous covering up of the true position of the disbursement of the allocated funds to save the lives of students in Queens College, Yaba who develop illnesses associated with the consumption of contaminated water sources, cannot be sustained, as there must be records of disbursements from the bursary department of the school, the banks statements of accounts, the contractors and the several “conduit pipes” established by Mrs Are.
Therefore, the panel needn’t look far to blame Mrs Are, Mrs Oyinloye Yakubu and their co-conspirators for the subsisting water crisis in Queens College, Yaba.
From the entire scenarios, it is very clear that, while Dr Mrs Lami Amodu tried so hard to attract funding/donors to solve the water problem in Queens College, and in the process, got transferred out of Queens College, the beneficiary of the eventually released/allocated funds was Mrs Are, who made sure, despite being retired, still call the shots at Queens College, definitely with the active connivance of some Federal Ministry of Education officials, who ensure that the truth about the misappropriation gets covered up and kept away from the Minister, and to some extent a former Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, who is now the Acting head of the Civil Service of the Federation – Dr Mrs Folashade Yem-Esan.
As Dr Mrs Lami Amodu retires from the Ministry in two weeks’ time, she will be leaving with her integrity intact, unblemished character, head-high and a promising future. She will also be leaving behind a lot of people who do not believe in hard work and building their capacities. She will be leaving behind those who hate honest people.
Dr Mrs Lami Amodu will be leaving behind staffers of the Federal Ministry who unfortunately do not care about the kind of society/environment they will be leaving behind for their children.
Full of lamentations and regrets that the little space she operated in, will be remaining not better than how she met it, she will continue to pray for the Ministry, its personnel and the country at large for the change of attitude towards one another, and express love for our dear country Nigeria.
Nigerians must learn how to eschew envy towards fellow Nigerians, irrespective of the circumstances we may find ourselves.
From the experience garnered so far by Dr Mrs Lami Amodu during her sojourn in the Ministry and some other portfolios/offices she has managed, it may take several thousands of men and women of honesty and integrity to begin to insist on doing the right things, openness in governance, transparency in our conduct in public life and be accountable.
These are minimum irreducible expected of public, and even private individuals. Importantly, those who erred must be punished to deter others from committing some infractions.
Alhaji Salami Dan’Azumi
Quality Education Advocate