BENIN CITY – Former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, GCFR, has advised politicians in the country to eschew bitterness and embrace development even if it is brought by the opposition party.
General Gowon made the statement when he commissioned the newly rebuilt Iyioba Girls College, Benin City.
The former Head of State who was impressed by the large turnout of appreciative community people, students and staff of the school at the commissioning however expressed disappointment that the opposition political parties shunned the event.
According to him, “the future is for young people, and as the leaders of tomorrow all they need are the right conditions to learn well and grow well and utilize their knowledge to develop the country to make it bigger and better.
“From what I’ve seen today, since this school caters for all children of parents of all parties and religion, I expect the other parties to come here and show solidarity.”
The former Head of State however said he was delighted to be at the school’s commissioning and congratulated the Governor for rebuilding the school.
He said: “from what I saw of the photographs of what the school used to be, and what it is now, this is really what a modern school should be. I used to use blackboard in school, but you are using whiteboard. I would have liked to be a student here, but I’m too old to come back to class,” he said.
Earlier, Governor Adams Oshiomhole said the state government embarked on the Total School Transformation agenda in the state to restore integrity to public schools in the state.
According to him, “by restoring integrity to public schools, we are developing the mental strength of the child of the poor in public school that he is not inferior to the child of the rich in private school. This is the beginning of an egalitarian society.”
Also, yesterday, General Gowon flagged off the state’s free eye glasses and testing for pensioners and persons above 60 years who live in the state, and called on all tiers of government across the country to institute welfare care for people as they advance in age.
General Yakubu Gowon who declared open the free eye testing and free eye glasses to persons above 60 years at the Stella Obasanjo women and children hospital in Benin City, commended Edo State Government for the initiative.
“I am glad that the state government has a commitment for the elderly through the provision of free eye glasses because the eye is very important. The federal government and other tiers of government should take a cue from Edo state” he noted.
According to him, democracy works best when the dividend of democracy are evenly spread amongst the young and old irrespective of where they reside.
The governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole disclosed that on assumption of office he came to the conclusion that the elderly need special help and that government has a responsibility to show that it cares for the elderly.
“we have discovered that most elderly people thumb print outside the line and thereby void their votes because of poor sight. Anyone whose votes has been voided on account of poor vision has lost his right to punish those who under develop the country. Having good eye is a precondition for one man one vote,” he noted.
The governor disclosed that the government will embark on free medicare for those above 70 years and above noted that the free eye glasses and free eye test exercise will be taken to the headquarters of the three senatorial districts of the state and they do not have to travel to Benin city.
The Commissioner for Health, Dr. (Mrs.) Cordelia Aiwize who was commended by the governor for the strides made in the ministry, said the free eye glasses programme in the state will take care of 20, 000 senior citizens who are both indigenes and residents on a monthly basis and called on them to embrace the opportunity to improve their sight.