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Big Story : Prof. Julius Ihonvbere’s Quiet Revolution

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By John Mayaki
Investment in education is how you separate serious political actors committed to comprehensive, long-term societal change and transformation from those who just want to survive the next election cycle. And that’s because education investments take time to yield results. The impact of a solid primary and secondary school on a child won’t manifest fully until several years after. More so, it cannot necessarily be ‘commissioned’.

It is therefore unsurprising that most actors pay lip service to it and focus on the famed stomach infrastructure. The focus is always on winning the election, thus creating and perpetuating the very real and consequential problem of short-termism, leaving the society in a problematic loop of endless cyclical motion without any real progress.

It takes courageous and visionary leaders to break the loop, balancing the immediate needs, particularly in the area of infrastructure which aids economic growth and raises the standard of living, with necessary investments in intangible societal assets for sustained development and peaceful integration. Prof. Julius Ihonvbere, the member representing Owan Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives is one of such leaders.

Himself a product of quality education and spirited pursuit of scholarship, he is leading a quiet revolution in Owan, building a generation of well-educated and tech-savvy pupils and youths poised to take full advantage of the digital economy and accelerate development in the area with ingenious innovations.

This was not achieved at the expense of other critical interventions – Prof. Julius Ihonvbere is one of the lawmakers with the most constituency accomplishments that cut across agriculture, power, trade, and primary healthcare. His cutting edge in the area of education, which is globally acknowledged as the centrepiece and most vital tool of extensive and stable growth, is a result of smart thinking and shrewd resource management. He has sought and clinched relevant partnerships and collaborations, opening a world of opportunities to children and youth adults in the corners of Owan.

Primary schools have been constructed, renovated, and retooled to ensure equitable access to quality learning in tandem with obtainable standards in forward-thinking societies. From Eguaoje primary school in Oah-Okpuje to Aweika primary school in Ivbiughuru, Owato primary school in Oke-old, Eshioriri community primary school in Erah, Ese primary school in Ivbiaro, Ake primary school in Ake; the list is long and exhaustive.

He commissioned an enrolment mobilization exercise and ensured its success by providing conducive learning spaces and other added incentives.

Most remarkably, he has built – and continues to expand – an army of web designers and digitally empowered youths in the constituency. He facilitated trainings on website development and 21st-century skills that enable young people to join a lucrative global workforce, and distributed laptops and other technological devices that would have proved limiting barriers.

He has opened up Owan, gave new dreams and skills to the youths, set the children on the path of a safe and secured future, and provided mothers and fathers the means to live with dignity. It is a sweeping and total success only possible with a clear vision.

Let us note the quiet revolution that is going on in Owan so that in another few years, when Nigeria is placed on the global map by a bright-eyed young inventor from the constituency tucked inside Edo State, we can remember that it was a representative’s courage and brilliance that wet the ground and planted the seeds.

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