*Gov. Zulum, Sultan praise VP for setting up The Learning Center in Maiduguri

*The students and teachers are the heroes, VP says

Leadership is not just about holding exalted positions, but the real test is in the dedication and service to the people, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.

Prof Osinbajo said this yesterday night in Abuja, at the fifth anniversary celebration of the North East Children’s Trust (NECT) Learning Centre; a charity educational centre he envisioned in 2016 and which took off a year later in Maiduguri, for children orphaned by the insurgency in the North East.

The event which featured different performances by some of the students highlighted the changes that have occurred in the lives and circumstances of many of the orphans and had in attendance government dignitaries and traditional rulers from the North.

In his remarks before he led the cutting of the cake, the Vice President, who was accompanied by his wife, Mrs Dolapo Osinbajo, described the children and teachers of the North East Children’s Trust Learning Centre as real heroes, especially the children – orphans, who had overcome the trauma of the insurgency in Borno State and some parts of the North East.

Also speaking at the ceremony, the Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum and the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar praised the Vice President for spearheading the initiative, as well as his dedication and commitment to the education and welfare of the children in the school since it was established.

The NECT learning centre, which boasts of some of the best facilities in terms of education, vocational education and digital literacy, now has 173 of its children now in secondary school.

According to the VP, he was very impressed when he met with the outstanding young men and women who passed through the Centre.

Commending the immediate past and current Borno State Governors: Kashim Shettima and Babagana Zulum for their roles in the development of the Center, the VP noted that “if you are not able to serve the people with everything that you have and with all your heart, then it would be irrelevant and perhaps even unjustified. So, I want to really commend Governor Zulum and his predecessor Governor Shettima for the great work they have done.”

He specifically praised them for their dedication to ensuring the best for the children. According to him, since “Governor Zulum took over from the former governor, he has also done incredible work, not just promoting the work of the centre, but also in advancing it.”

On the impact of teachers on the children’s education and well-being at the learning centre, the VP said: “these teachers are a special bunch of people, very special, and I explained to them what we are trying to achieve. This is not any ordinary school. We are trying to achieve and develop a school that would be a world-class learning centre.

“I said to them, that what we want from you (teachers) is a generous spirit; we want you to love and care for these children. And the teachers have been incredible and absolutely wonderful; they have done such a great job with everything you see today.

“These ladies and gentlemen are the real heroes of the story of the learning centre. And in the past five years, they have contributed in every way by just being there night and day, ensuring that they love and care for the children.

“We now have a situation where the learning centre has become a model, a centre where young boys and girls who have been traumatised in one way or the other, are now accommodated in a loving and caring environment and they are given the very best facilities in terms of education and care. And, of course, vocational education and digital literacy.”

Similarly, while thanking the NECT board, led by Mr. Jim Ovia, the management, and all who have contributed to the centre’s development, the VP, again, commended the Borno State government for also generally doing a lot of work in the area of education and building schools.

“I believe Borno State is possibly one of the luckiest States in this country, just going by the leadership that the State has had. Immediately after Governor Shettima, comes Governor Zulum. No State can ask for better than Governor Zulum, who had taken over from his dynamic predecessor, Gov Shettima.”

Similarly, in his remarks, Governor Zulum, “applauded the vision of Mr. Vice President to establish this very important school in Borno State.”

Stating the root causes of insurgency as the lack of education, increasing poverty, among others, the Governor highlighted the huge number of orphans and out-of-school children in the State.

But he noted that the establishment of the NECT Learning Centre, particularly in Maiduguri, will go a long way in reducing the number of out-of-school children in the State.

“One very important aspect of this learning centre is that it is critical to development. In addition to providing intensive literacy and numeracy to the children, this school also offers strong technical and vocational education; and strong digital literacy to the students.

“And I think, this is the type of education that we are looking for; because it will make the students become self-reliant,’’ he said.

Making reference to the Presidential Committee on the Repatriation, Returns and Resettlement of Displaced Persons in the North-East, which is chaired by the Vice President, Governor Zulum expressed confidence that the VP would ensure the objectives are met.

“I believe that Mr. Vice President will contribute his quota, because the President has inaugurated the committee headed by his humble self to look into the possibilities of repatriating Nigerians that are living in the Republic of Cameroon, Chad and Niger, in addition to the resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons.”

In the same vein, the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar, thanked the Vice President for his selfless service and “commitment and concern to such project” even as he urged other leaders and State Governors to take ownership and replicate such initiatives.

“I’d like to thank the Vice President to continue this initiative and many more. You will not lack committed people who will work with you and any other person to improve on this initiative and make it much better,” the Sultan said in his remarks.

The colourful event witnessed singing, dancing and stage performances by the children of the Centre to resounding applause from the audience, which included several dignitaries from Federal and State Governments, private sector and diplomatic corps.

Dignitaries at the event included former Borno State Governor Shettima; Deputy Governor of Plateau State, Prof. Sonni Tyoden; Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Pauline Tallen; Senator Ali Ndume; Chairman of Zenith Bank, as well as Chairman, NECT board, Jim Ovia; the Emir of Kano, His Royal Highness, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero, other royal fathers and ambassadors, among other senior government officials.

Released by:

Laolu Akande
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity
Office of the Vice President
22nd March, 2022


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