Features

The Exit of NECO Registrar and the Passion for Politicising Issues

The death of Professor Godswill Obioma, the National Examinations Council (NECO) Registrar and Chief Executive Officer brings to bear the penchant to politicise all issues in the country. This is following reports propagated by some media houses that the NECO registrar was assassinated. This is significant as it is coming on the heels of the assassination of the former presidential political adviser, Ahmed Gulak.

Peoples Gazette had reported that Professor Godswill Obioma was murdered. According to the news platform, gunmen stormed his residence on the night of 1 June 2021, strangled him to death, and left without taking anything.

The Guardian confirmed the report by Peoples Gazzette, maintaining that “The assassins came in and killed him and left without taking anything,”, a piece of information it said the wife, Elizabeth Obioma corroborated. It pointed out that Obioma disclosed her husband returned to Minna from a trip to Abuja when the assassins pounced on him.

The Guardian added that “Obioma joined the list of high-profile Nigerians killed in the last week, former presidential aide Ahmed Gulak and former Enugu high court judge Stanley Nnaji was murdered in Owerri and Enugu states in Southeast Nigeria.”

Although tacit, another AIT correspondent consolidated on the claims of assassination by tying it to the Nigerian Senate probe of N6.5bn contracts. The popular AIT journalist and reviewer, Chuks Akunna, who made this known on her Twitter page, said her last conversation with late Godswill Obioma hinged on the ongoing Nigerian Senate probe of N6.5b contracts. All of a sudden, he got strangled to death 8 days after their conversation. Her words:

“This is soft-spoken NECO Registrar, Prof. Godswill Obioma. At about 7 am May 24, 2021, we spoke on the ongoing Senate probe of N6.5b contracts. Said his predecessors were uncomfortable, but that he wouldn’t speak “for now”. Last night he was murdered in his Minna house. RIP Prof.”

In the same vein, self-styled activist and former Aviation Minister, Chief Femi-Fani Kayode, was quick to join in with a deft statement politicising the matter. In his words, “On Sunday, Ahmed Gulak, a prominent Northerner, was killed in Owerri. Threats of reprisals were made. On Tuesday, Godswill Obioma, a prominent Igbo and Registrar of NECO was killed in Minna. The killers stormed his home, strangled him and left without taking anything. It begins!”

Meanwhile, the NECO registrar, Godswill Obioma has been confirmed to have died of natural causes. As opposed to viral reports of attacks or reprisals hinged on tribal differences, sources from the deceased family confirmed that the NECO registrar died after a brief illness.

Godswill Obioma II, who is the first son of the deceased, in a statement to Mustapha K. Abdul, the Director of Human Resource Management, NECO, revealed that his father passed on from a health ailment. His words:

“Dear Sir, this is to formally inform you that my father Prof. Godswill Obioma, the Registrar/Chief Executive of NECO passed to eternal glory yesterday 31/5/2021 after a brief illness.”

“We request that you kindly notify the Board, Management and the entire staff of the Council of this development. We shall keep you duly informed.”

The Registrar was reported to have slumped in his bedroom in Minna, Niger State yesterday after an official trip to Abuja and rushed by his wife and other relatives back to National Hospital, Abuja where he eventually gave up the ghost.

More so, President Buhari appointed Prof Obioma last year as NECO Registrar. The confirmation letter dated 15 May 2020 was signed by the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu.

Obioma, who was born on 12 December 1963, was a Professor of Education Measurement and Evaluation. He was formerly the Ebonyi State Resident Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The Abia State-born educationist is said to have redefined educational policies, monitoring, and evaluation in Nigeria. The giant strides he recorded as the Chairman of National Education Research Development Council (NERDC) are quite enormous. For instance, he launched a platform for local educationists to reach their ultimate potentials through what was tagged the National Book Policy (NBP).

Through the NBP, the opuses of indigenous authors were brought on stream to build on local creativity. The NBP ticked off investigation and research into the production of books in specialized areas; for example Braille for the visually impaired; support for the establishment and growth of libraries at all tiers of the educational system, including promoting and rewarding local authorship of educational books in the country.

Some of his impacts in NERDC in redefining curriculum development, refurbishing the quality of teaching and learning materials, policy formulation, and re-structuring from basic to tertiary education have remained reference points amongst education specialists.

Prof. Obioma has worked in several other capacities one of which was his position as Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of Ebonyi state. While serving in this capacity, Prof. Obioma, his good job was evident in the smaller number of post-elections petitions which emanated from Ebonyi in the last elections.

Several observers pointed out that President Buhari must have monitored his impeccable antecedents before appointing him as the right candidate for the job of NECO registrar May last year.

The coalition of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) commended the appointment of Prof. Godswill Obioma as the National Examination Council boss following his wealth of experience in the educational sector. The Professor of Education Measurement and Evaluation was equally tipped to entirely restructure NECO and bring massive innovations to the educational sector given its good antecedents. Regrettably, the cold hands of death truncated this expectation.

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