Rep. Benjamin Kalu has thanked President Buhari for appointing Prof. Godswill Obioma as the new Registrar/CEO of NECO. Expressing his support for the president’s choice, Rep. Kalu remarked that Prof. Obioma, by virtue of his vast experience and achievements, is the right fit for a NECO saddled with the enormous challenge of adapting to a Covid-19 and post-Covid-19 era. He also mentioned that leaders of Abia State in Abuja, across party lines, were equally in support of the appointment and planned to host a reception to celebrate the appointment.
Read Rep. Kalu’s message below:
May 31, 2020
PROF. GODSWILL OBIOMA’S APPOINTMENT; THE RIGHT FIT FOR A POST COVID-19 NATIONAL EXAMINATION COUNCIL
Education is one of the most powerful drivers of sustainable development. This rationale drives our collective pursuit of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4, inclusive and quality education for all, so that all Nigerian children should complete free primary and secondary schooling by 2030. However, the attainment of this lofty goal demands excellent performance from institutions like the National Examination Council (NECO), the only indigenous public examination body in Nigeria.
As far as executive appointments go, none has been as spot on as His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari’s appointment of Prof. Godswill Obioma as Registrar and Chief Executive Officer of NECO. This appointment comes at a time when NECO confronts several challenges seeking to undermine its operations, including the tasks of repairing the integrity of the examination body, solving infrastructural and technological deficits as well as fulfilling expectations to improve the turnaround time of examination results. However, adaptation to a COVID-19 and post COVID-19 era will be the single greatest challenge of the Council in a world that has been forced to reimagine its way of life.
Following the fourth UNESCO COVID-19 Education Webinar, organized on 9 April 2020 to examine the coping strategies currently considered by various countries to manage high-stake exams, it has become clear to me that unique home grown solutions are required for the peculiarities of our own challenges. Afterall, as UNESCO’s Head of Education Research and Foresight, Mr. Sobhi Tawil, put it, “We have been imposed, globally, an experiment in remote learning. We are all managing different ways that we can”. NECO’s leadership must figure out exam delivery modes that are complaint with new public health standards and technological realities while remaining inclusive and accessible to the millions of Nigerian children in rural areas. This responsibility is an intricate dance which will require the innovativeness and insight of a leadership possessing extensive local and international experience. Prof. Obioma’s breadth of experience, his wealth of academic achievements, as well as his far-reaching contributions to education policy reforms in national and global contexts immediately distinguish him as the right fit for the job- the square peg in a square hole.
A distinguished product of Abia State, Prof. Obioma has spearheaded a number of policy reforms and institutional changes in Nigeria’s educational curriculum including; the 9-year Basic Education Curriculum, the Senior Secondary Education Curriculum, the 34 Senior Secondary Entrepreneur/Trade subjects, the 2014 Edition of the National Policy on Education, among others. He has served as the Chairman of Nigeria Education Roadmap of the Federal Ministry of Education and Executive Secretary, Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council. Internationally, he has consulted for UNESCO, UNDP, WORLD BANK, DFID and UNICEF, having served in various delegate and leadership roles including President of UNESCO International Bureau of Education (IBE); Member, International Experts Meeting on Key Curricular and Learning Issues in the Post 2015 Education and Development Agenda held in Geneva; and Member Nigerian Delegation to the adoption of the SDG in Education in 2014 in Nakoya Japan.
Indeed, working as a key player in several government committees and panels on education development in the country, Professor Obioma has contributed immensely in formulating education policies in Nigeria in the last two decades with a record of achievements too vast to enumerate.
A few days ago, I was privileged to preview his proposed 11-Point Agenda for NECO; his roadmap that impressed upon me a determination and sincerity of purpose sufficient to reignite the hope of even the most stoic pessimist that there is indeed a feasible prospect of inclusive and quality education for all Nigerian children. It is therefore with unreserved delight that myself and several other leaders of Abia State in Abuja, across party lines, express our support for President Muhammadu Buhari’s wisdom in appointing Prof. Obioma to lead the new and improved NECO, even as we prepare to host a reception event for the new Registrar/CEO in the coming days.
Rep. Benjamin Okezie Kalu
Member, Bende Federal Constituency of Abia State