The Commissioner, Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, Delta State,
The Supervisory Councillors on Education of Warri South, Warri North and Warri South-West LGAs,
The Chief Inspectors of Education in the three LGAs,
The Chairmen, NUT in the three LGAs,
Staff and Students,
Gentlemen of the Press,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
I am highly delighted and elated to welcome you all to the 5th edition of the Comrade Mulade Sheriff Inter-Local Government Quiz and Essay Competitions for Riverine/Rural Secondary Schools in Warri North, Warri South and Warri South-West LGAs.
This annual competition is aimed at bridging the gap between the Riverine, Rural Schools and their urban counterparts so that the coastal schools can have a full taste of what they have been denied over time in terms of academic competitions and exposures.
We are using this opportunity to promote and sustain the existing peace among the ethnic nationalities in the communities within the three (3) Warri LGAs, particularly the Ijaw, Itsekiri and Urhobo ethnic groups.
Part of the primary aims of Center for Peace and Environmental Justice, CEPEJ, is to promote educational awareness among the Riverine/Rural Communities, and also to assist the less privileged but highly intelligent students to pursue their education and career in life through scholarship support.
Our NGO, CEPEJ, is using this medium to appeal to and charge Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, all Governors in the South-South Region and Nigeria in general to pay more attention to the improvement of the education sector.
We urge multinational oil companies operating in these areas to channel more of their corporate social responsibility functions to the development of education, so as to help reduce illiteracy and put an end to civil unrests in their operational areas, in line with the 4th Goal of the SDGs.
While the southern parts of Nigeria may have done pretty well in child education, there is still a number of out-of-school children, and as such the government should do everything possible to make education compulsory.
Distinguished guests, you will agree with me that the prevalence of out-of-school children in the northern parts of Nigeria is alarming and this is already being encouraged in the southern region of the country.
I sincerely appeal to those in positions of authority to do everything possible to sustain our childrens’ education, especially children from poor homes, as this will help to reduce the numerous vices we are currently grappling with in the society.
The importance of education in the advancement of a nation cannot be over-stressed. The truth is that education is the bedrock and live wire of any country’s economy and civilization. Show me a nation that is backward in development and I will show you a nation that has little or no interest in the education of its people.
If Nigeria, the most populous black country in the world hopes to meet up with the pace of global advancement in technology, as seen in civilized countries such as the USA, UK, Germany and Canada, then the country must be serious about the education of its citizens. Any nation that refuses to develop its education sector has sold its future to failure.
As we continue with our efforts to sensitize, promote and create awareness on the importance of education, it is our hope that other well-meaning Nigerians will complement our efforts towards the development of our youths through various knowledge-based and competitive activities that will stimulate learning.
Let me use this medium to congratulate the three best schools that emerged as representatives of their LGAs in this contests, and to compete with other schools in the three (3) Warri LGAs.
Those competing today are shining examples for others to emulate, and I charge them to always show good examples, and to constantly see themselves as beacons of hope to their mates and those behind them.
There are no role models in our educational system anymore. The reasons are clear; schools have been corrupted, so showing good examples hardly attracts any reward.
I hereby charge all the participants to obey the rules of the quiz and essay competitions, as it was designed for equal representation and participation of schools across the three (3) LGAs. In future, other schools will be part of the quiz and essay competitions. Therefore, I hereby announce to you that we have considered drawing more riverine/rural schools from Bomadi, Burutu and Patani LGAs, to be part of this educational programme in the 2022 edition.
It is worthy of note that I, Chief (Comrade) Mulade Sheriff, was a victim of lack of education due to the challenges of the riverine terrain. It is against this background that I encourage you all to work hard and live a life of hope. It is possible to make it to the top so long as you are committed to your studies.
My background has made me to be very committed to promoting and sustaining quality education and peace in the three Warri LGAs as my immediate constituency, and in Delta State at large, and I am ready to support and partner with individuals, CSOs, private and public organizations towards promoting and sustaining the existing peace among Ijaw, Itsekiri and Urhobo ethnic groups in the Warri Area.
I wish to express my sincere appreciation to the Chief Inspectors of Education in Warri North, Warri South and Warri South-West LGAs and their staff for their commitments and encouragement towards making the programme a reality and a success. I equally appreciate the facilitators and the panel for their roles in spite of their tight schedules.
Finally, I thank all the participating schools in the 2021 competition, all the Principals of the various schools and their staffs, as well as the host, Hussey College, for its support. We all should remember that COVID-19 is real, so we should keep to the NCDC and Delta State government COVID-19 protocols, by washing our hands regularly, ensuring that we use face masks and observing social and physical distancing in order to stay safe.
I pray God Almighty to guide and protect our children throughout their educational pursuits. I wish you all a great time. May God grant you all safe journeys back to your respective destinations, as we look forward to the next edition of this great quiz and essay competitions.
God bless you all.
Chief (Comrade) Mulade Sheriff, PHF, FNES
America – Nigerian IVLP
National Coordinator/CEO, Center for Peace and Environmental Justice (CEPEJ).