Fiery social rights defender and business man, Patriot Patrick Eholor has filed a proposed bill to the Senator representing Edo South Senatorial Zone, Senator Matthew Urhoghide in order to achieve accountability and transparency in governance.
Eholor also enumerated bills aimed at improving educational excellence in Edo State and Nigeria, in order to build a stronger ‘next generation of Nigerians’, who will take revolutionary action in order to build a stronger human society of the country.
“One finds it hard to know where to start in trying to talk about Nigeria”, Eholor began, while responding to questions regarding the proposed bill.
“No doubt, Nigeria has become a failed state. It wasn’t to long ago that Nigeria seemed to have greater potentials than South Korea. In South Korea, thieving politicians go to prison. In Nigeria they are hailed. We have only been led by thieves with no vision. There must be a revolution of some sort. Otherwise, our future is bleak. The days of glory as an oil producing nation are over. The thieves with their ill gotten wealth will continue to control our democracy. We must figure out how to keep them from participating in our democracy, and hold those of them in service accountable “.
The five-point legislative proposal of Patriot Patrick Eholor, proposed for major improvements in the national education sector, as well as means of checkmating the excesses of elected politicians with regards to corruption.
Eholor had written to the senator under the caption “Proposal of Vital Bills for Passage Consideration by the National Assembly of Nigeria”, and proposed that:
A bill abolishing acceptance fee as a condition for gaining admission into tertiary institutions be totally abolished,
Another bill to criminalize sex-for-grades on students by lecturers, with a penalty of not less than 15 years in jail for offenders,
A bill making the voters card a prerequisite for admission into tertiary institutions, scholarship opportunities, NYSC posting and employment in order to encourage electoral participation among youths,
A bill mandating instant award of full scholarship for students who emerge best in their fields of study,
And last but not the least, a bill prohibiting salaries and all forms of allowance payments for political office holders who are convicted of corruption.
The proposal focuses attention on the welfare of students and youths alike, by seeking their protection from selfish and greedy lecturers and educational systems which seek to exploit them.
For instance, Eholor argues in the first proposal argues that once a student passes examination into higher institutions, he is qualified to study in that school and does not need to pay again for admission.
He also frowns at the ignoble trend of male lecturers to manipulate female students into succumbing to their sexual desires in order to graduate. The social rights crusader is of the opinion that very stiff sentences be handed down to offenders to serve as a deterrent to others.
“Many lives and future have been ruined by these randy lecturers. Do you know how many brilliant students failed to graduate because they will not give in?
“Do you know how many girls have contracted sexual-related diseases, or forced into abortions leading to permanent injuries and deaths because these men won’t tame their wild desires?”, Eholor fumed.
He also is seeking automatic free education in form of scholarship for all best students, just to encourage them to live their dreams.
Ultimate Equals, as he is fondly called, also seeks to empower the young people through political consciousness.
That was why he also proposed that the Voters Cad be made mandatory for them.
“With your voters card, you can decide who your leader will be, and it’s best if our youths begin early to participate actively in politics. When voters card is made compulsory, they will know of its impotence in their afffaird snd can them decide who rules them.”
In his response, Senator Urhoghide commended the patriot for the bills proposal, and enumerated efforts that have already been made by the 9th Assembly of the Senate to address some of these issues.
He also explained his own personal contributions in the area of bursaries and scholarships for students in Edo South;
“My sincere position on each of the suggested bills is as follows:
On Bill 1: This is a good suggestion only for operation at the Federal level. Education is on the concurrent list in our operating 1999 Constitution as amended. This means legislation by the National Assembly applies only to federal government owned institutions. The states are not bound by such legislation. Only their State House of Assembly that can legislate on the bill, pass it and assented to by the governor that can it law in that state.
“So to make it law in Nigeria, the NASS and all the different State Houses of Assembly must pass the bill. Be reminded also that universities and other higher institutions owned by them are not bound by an act of the NASS unless such a state legislature has been taken over by the NASS.
Also speaking on the sex-for-grades demand by lectures or teachers in schools in Nigeria, he replied;
“this bill was sponsored in the 8th Senate by Senator Ovie Omo-Agege. Unfortunately, it was not assented to by the President before the closure of the 8th Assembly on the 4th of June 2019. In this 9th Senate, the bill was sponsored again by Omo-Agege, has passed second reading and been referred to the committee on Tertiary Education and TETFUND for further Legislative action, which involves public hearing and other Committee considerations before the final report is sent to the Senate at plenary for final consideration and passage.
“After the third reading and passage by the Senate, it is sent to the House of Representatives for concurrence. After consideration by the House, it will be sent by the Clerk of the NASS to Mr President for assent. Be informed also that the penalty on conviction is as harsh as you have proposed if not even harsher”.
On using Voter’s card as precondition for admission into Edo schools, he stated “I am afraid that this legislation is only in the purview or the exclusive preserve of Edo State House of Assembly”.
Continuing, he said “Bill for instant award of scholarship, bursary to best graduates in Nigeria, I wish to observe that this already exists. Apart from federal government which is through the Federal Ministry of Education and its scholarship board, other agencies dedicated to scholarship are PTDF for all Nigerians, NDDC for the 9 states that make up the Niger Delta region including Edo State. Virtually all state governments that appreciate the value of education in development of society have automatic scholarship programs(undergraduate and postgraduate) for indigenes. So bringing a bill like this to an Assembly usually does not enjoy popular support because their citizens are not hindered at all by lack of sponsorship when it comes to graduate or postgraduate education. Virtually all states in the north have automatic scholarship for their students. They even pay their WAEC and NECO examination fees.
“In the south, states like Lagos, Rivers, Bayelsa, Ebonyi, Delta, Oyo, Akwa Ibom, Cross-River etc have automatic postgraduate scholarship programs for their indigenes. Only very few states like Edo that have not deemed it wise to prioritize award of scholarship to their indigenes. In fact since 1999, it is on record that no government of any party coloration has given scholarship or bursary to our students in institutions of higher learning. Not even payment for WAEC and NECO exam fees as a way of helping their indigent parents or guardians.
“This is what informed my decision to give scholarship to indigent students in public schools in Edo South Senatorial since 2015. Today I have 244 of them. 89 university students, and 155 secondary school students. These are the children of the poor who on account of the circumstances of their birth would not get the benefit of education.
“From 2015, I pledged to do this with my salary/allowance as the Senator representing Edo South. All the benefiting students are from Edo South including all the tribes resident in Edo South. The award for 2019 is going to be considered shortly but for the Covid 19 pandemic.
“The Senator Matthew Urhoghide Scholarship Scheme(MUSS) is suprintended by a Board made up of men of distinction, who have not been partisan or exhibited unfairness in the award”.
On the bill prohibiting the payment of salaries, allowances or any form of benefits for former office holders who are convicted for corruption or any other felony during or after their tenure, Urhoghide pointed out;
“I wish to say that we already have this in our previous legislations, statutes including or Penal and Criminal Codes. Just like they are barred from holding public office, they are also barred from benefiting from public funds”, the Senator elaborated.