By Folaranmi Ajayi
Following claims that teachers in Lagos state public schools have been under pressure to vote for candidates of the All Progressive Congress (APC) ahead of the general elections, Edugist has done an environmental scan to separate facts from fiction.
Nigeria’s presidential and national houses of assembly elections hold on February 25, while the the governorship and state house of assembly elections will hold on March 11.
Every vote counts and politicians are deploying strategies to win as many votes as possible. It is within this context that the claims about Lagos state government deploying various methods to win over the vote of teachers for its preferred candidates ahead of the election have been made.
From giving teachers in the state bonuses for January which is unusual to allegedly using public school principals as tools towards compelling teachers to vote for a preferred candidate.
The Lagos state government gave teachers in public schools a 15 per cent bonus in January. That is 15 per cent increase on the salary paid to teachers in the state. This means that teachers who earn N30,000 were paid N45,000. This was repeated in January. .
Oluwatunde Josiah, a level 8 public school teacher in Lagos (not real name), told Edugist that he got a 15 per cent increase on his salary for the month of December and January.
He said, December bonus is a usual way to appreciate teachers’ effort every year. But” you would understand that another in January is another message to us all which is really not clear. But, it was well received and we appreciate the Lagos state government for giving us a 15 per cent bonus in January.”
Meanwhile, some educators within the educational space have accused the principals of public school as being the errand boys of the LASG by forcing teachers to get their PVC and vote for the government’s preferred candidate.
Speaking on the allegation, Adebisi Adeola, a level 14 teacher confirmed to Edugist’s correspondent that indeed teachers were asked to go get their PVC and compelled to vote for a certain candidate. .
She said the principal of her school in a meeting with teachers told them that it was whosoever that was ungrateful that would not vote for the governor ahead of other candidates for what he has done for teachers.
“Don’t be ungrateful especially to your governor as the one paying your salary, you can see he gave everyone December and January bonus,” she told Edugist.
Reacting to the allegation, another public school teacher, said the government is bent on making teachers vote for all-APC candidates across board, especially teachers in Lagos.
Oladejo Daniel (not real name), told Edugist that the body language is clear and that you may not directly hear it from anyone compelling teachers to vote for a candidate but that is the truth of the matter.
“It is believed that since the APC is the ruling party in Lagos, teachers are expected to vote for their employers and the signs and body language are very clear.”
“You know teachers are complaining that they are busy and they can’t get the voters card, like in my school now when we have meeting the principal stated that we must vote for Tinubu as our person but no one will come out boldly to say it.”
Speaking on the allegations, a school principal in Lagos who does no want her name in print told Edugist that; ” if your basic salary is N30,000 that means you will get N15, 000 for January and N15, 000 for December,” she said.
Edugist reached out to other principals and efforts to get their response proved abortive as of the time of filling this report.