Tunbosun Ogundare – Lagos
The principal of Odomola Junior High School in Epe, Lagos has reportedly sent home one of the school’s female students, Marvelous Barinada, who allegedly ran for Labor Party presidential candidate Peter Obi in the last general election.
The teenage girl’s mother made the announcement in a viral WhatsApp message on Wednesday, along with a written notice from the principal directing the student to go home.
“Miss Barinada Marvelous of JSS 2R is hereby allowed to go home and campaign for Peter Obi against the wishes of the people of Lagos,” the notice signed by the principal reads.
Explaining what happened in her WhatsApp message, Marvelous’ mother said: “This is to inform everyone that my daughter Marvelous Barinaadaa was withdrawn from Odomola Secondary School by the principal today 14th March 2023 just because my daughter Rap her note Book for school using Peter Obi poster paper, this girl is only ten years old, she knows nothing about politics, but she was expelled from school without informing her parents because they said we support Peter Obi and the Labor Party.
“May I ask if the principal’s practice is good, see what is written in the principal’s letter? Then we will say that we are a Nigerian (sic).”
Responding to the incident, Mrs. Folasade Adefisayo, the state’s education commissioner, said in a statement provided to the Nigerian Tribune by the ministry’s head of public affairs, Mr. Ganiu Lawal, on Wednesday that the ministry was looking into the matter.
According to the commissioner, the Ministry of Education has recalled the principal and asked him to explain the incident.
She said neither the Lagos state government, the Ministry of Education nor any of their agencies would instruct any school principal, staff or teacher to behave in this manner.
She assured the public that if the student was indeed sent home as alleged, the principal would be investigated and sanctioned, saying such behavior, if true, was unacceptable.
Mrs Adelfisayo also explained that another principal of Odonguyan, Ikorodu, who was shared on social media, was caught on camera promoting her political choice to students at the school assembly grounds and was appropriately disciplined accordingly.
She said the ministry advocates and runs a public school system free from politics and political insinuation.
However, the Nigerian Tribune contacted Mr. Hassan Akintoye, the state president of the Nigerian Teachers’ Union (NUT), to ask about the reaction to the matter and if this is a regular practice in Lagos schools, he said although he did not confirm if such incidents had occurred. Incident or not, no person or agency has directed any teacher or principal in this state to compel anyone to vote for any particular candidate in the upcoming gubernatorial election.
He said any headteacher who took such action would do so at their own risk as it was an entirely reprehensible behaviour.
The NUT boss said: “But I will first find out if this really happened and then get back to you after that.”
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