The House of Representatives, on Wednesday, rejected a motion urging members to adopt at least one public school in their localities for the purpose of paying registration fees for students sitting for the West African Examination Council, National Examination Council and Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board examinations in public schools.
Trouble started when a member representing Etsako Federal Constituency, Edo State, Anamero Dekeri, moved a motion on the ‘Need to compel JAMB, WAEC and NECO examination bodies to register students for free in the 2023-2024 examination exercise.’
Dekeri premised his motion on the need to assist poor parents in the education of their children, noting that the prevailing economic situation in the country has made it difficult for many parents to fund the education of their wards even in public schools.
Dekeri said, “The House notes that one of the major challenges of the low-income earning parents is the education of their wards particularly in payment of examination fees,” and urged his colleagues to prevail on the “Ministry of Education to declare 2023 and 2024 WAEC, NECO and JAMB registration free to enable the common man have a direct benefit of fuel subsidy removal palliatives.”
He further called on the House to urge “The Minister of Finance, Budget, Economic and Financial Planning to come up with a robust framework that will give the poor masses a sense of belonging in Nigeria.”
House Leader, Julius Ihonvbere while supporting Dekeri by way of an amendment to the motion, prayed members of the House to take it upon themselves to adopt at least one public school secondary school, particularly the one they attended, and pay off their examination fees. This, he noted would count as corporate social responsibility on their part.
In his contribution, Hassan Doguwa, representing Doguwa/Tudun Wada Federal Constituency, Kano State, commended Dekeri for the motion, urging the House however to be careful not to compel lawmakers to sign up to pay the said examination fees.
Doguwa said, “The motion is very good but some of us are already doing this. Let us be careful. We can intervene in any way we can but let this not come in the body of the motion because there is going to be a problem.”
Doguwa urged the House not to force the responsibility on lawmakers, many of whom, he noted, were already implanting similar schemes in their various constituencies.
On his part, a member representing Andoni/Opobo Nkoro, Rivers State, Awaji-Inombek Abiante, expressed worry with the use of the word “compel” in the title of the motion, warning that the House lacks the constitutional powers to compel the examination bodies to register students for free.
Picking holes in the amendment suggested by Ihonvbere, Abainte urged his colleagues to tread carefully, noting that adopting a school to the exclusion of others may portray lawmakers in a bad light in his constituency.
“Let’s say I picked a school I attended to pay their examination fees. What about the other public schools in that constituency? Does that portray me in a good light before those other schools?” he asked.
When the motion was out to vote, a majority of the lawmakers present at atWednesday’s plenary voted for it to be stepped down and the House Speaker, Abbas Tajudeen, hit the gavel as the “nays” had their way.