Gov. Adams Oshiomhole of Edo has explained that his government took a tough stance against erring teachers, because even ‘the Bible says he who does not work, does not eat.’
Oshiomhole said this at an Inter-denominational Service organised by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) for him in Benin City on Saturday, as part of activities to usher in a second tenure in office on Monday.
Oshiomhole said he prays to God every day to have the courage to do the right thing for the people of the state.
The service attracted the cream of the society in Edo State including former Head of state, General Yakubu Gowon, chieftains of the Action Congress of Nigeria, market women, Youths and students.
The event was held at the hard court of the Samuel Ogbemudia stadium.
On the plea by the Chairman of the CAN, Edo Chapter, Bishop Peter Imasuen, for the recall of the sacked teachers, Oshiomhole said: “the prayer I ask for everyday is for God to give me the courage and wisdom to take the right decision”.
“The Chairman of CAN has asked me to undo all that we have done. I am a Catholic and every day I ask God to forgive me my sins, even as I forgive those who sin against me.
“I appreciate the power of forgiveness but the Bible says the labourer deserves his wages and the Bible also says that those who do not work should not eat.
“And these are the challenges of leadership. The Bible also tells us that if a finger leads you to commit sin, it is better to cut it off.
“If a teacher would lead us to commit sin we better dismiss that teacher.
“For Edo to work, all its parts must work. Every man and woman of age must work. That is why I take my work seriously.
“Every leader must device the right means under the guidance of God to deploy the carrot and the stick.
“Just as much as you desire to honour or reward those who helped to deliver service,you must also find the courage to bring to line those who think they can earn without working” he explained.
Oshiomhole, remarked that the courage to do the two was what he asked for and the courage to define the limit, and that “is what has guided me”.
The Governor said “it is important that I also clarify that it hurts me when I have to say to a man who voted for me only four months ago that his job is over.
“Ninety- eight percent of those teachers or more voted for me. I actually met some of them and know some by their name.
“I know they are relations of ACN leaders. Even yesterday, I learnt that one is the wife of a very senior ACN leader, a very personal friend.
“But my understanding of my brief is that, if I don’t have the courage to instill discipline in our public service, the capacity of the government to deliver will be severely weakened”.
Oshiomhole, explained that all those beautiful schools will come to naught if the teachers are in Onitsha when they are supposed to be in the classroom, adding that “I worry about the future of our state.
“If we must have a work force that would produce men and women who have the capacity and the skill to contribute to the growth and development of Nigeria, we must pay maximum attention to access, quality of public schools with teachers that are ready to teach and impact knowledge in an environment that is enabling” the governor noted.
In his message, Most Rev. (Dr.) Friday John Imakhai said the victory of the governor and his deputy were well deserved.
He said “in view of the monumental and positive impact of the policies of his administration on the lives of the people of the state, evident in all spheres of our common life.
“It was a leadership predicated on a well thought out and faithfully executed vision and transformation of the state”.
The Cleric who took his text from 2nd Kings, Chapter 18 v 1:8 with the theme: “Godliness in the Act of Governance” said the governor’s visionary leadership was there for all to see.
“The massive votes of the people were an expression of your vision and a clear mandate to enable you continue the good work you have started.
“What the people saw in Edo was purpose driven and result oriented leadership poised towards good governance and service delivery, rather than leadership reduced to a huge joke.
“Good governance is participatory, consensus oriented, achievement oriented, accountable, responsive. By implication the views of the minority are taken into consideration in the process of decision making.”
In his remark, Gowon expressed delight that the people of Edo voted massively for the governor.
Gowon said: “I am here not only to congratulate the governor but the good people of Edo State for casting their votes for him to be governor for a second time.
“It is certainly the choice of God. The result of the election shows that it is one of the best in the country.
“It reminds me of the support I had during the Nigeria crisis. Bendel State was one of the states that gave me the greatest support.”
Gowon also expressed confidence in the ability of the governor.
“I can assure you that he would do his best to surpass what he did in the first term.”
He told the governor, “you should look higher after this. That is our prayer.”
The church later said special prayers for the Governor and family, the Deputy Governor and his family, the Judiciary and Legislature, the nation, the Oba of Benin and Traditional Rulers.