On Tuesday, March 14th, 2023, a junior secondary school student at Odomola Secondary School, Miss Marvelous Barinaadaa, was sent home by the school principal for allegedly wrapping her books with the poster of the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, LP, Mr Peter Obi. This action by the principal has sparked controversy and a social media outcry from the student’s mother, who alleges that her daughter’s political preferences were the reason behind the expulsion.
According to the distraught mother, who took to social media to share her plight, her daughter is just ten years old and apolitical. She wrapped her books with Mr Peter Obi’s poster paper without knowing anything about politics. The mother lamented that the principal did not inform them before sending their daughter home and pleaded with Nigerians to come to their rescue.
Part of the message read: “This is to inform you all, that my daughter, Marvelous Barinaadaa, was exited from Odomola Secondary School today 14th March 2023. by the School Principal, just because my daughter used Peter Obi’s poster paper to wrap her notebook for school. And this girl is just ten years old.
”She didn’t know anything about politics, but she was sent away from school without informing the parents because they say we support Peter Obi and the Labour Party. Please, Is this act by the School Principal good? See what the school principal wrote in that letter. And after we will say we are one Nigeria.”
The mother also alleged that the family had suffered a lot because of their perceived support for Mr Obi. She accused the school principal of punishing her daughter for their political preferences and questioned the act’s morality.
However, the President of Odomola Secondary School Old Students Association, OSSOSA, Epe, Apagun Saka Shola, provided a different perspective. He stated that the JSS2 student was sent home for allegedly causing a nuisance and distraction through the distribution of posters of Mr Obi in the classroom. He noted that the move by the principal was to curtail the nuisance being caused by the student in sharing the posters with other students.
According to the OSSOSA president, there is a directive to stop all forms of campaigning in the classroom, as some political parties use students to campaign in class. He clarified that the principal did not expel or suspend the student but sent her home for causing havoc and disturbance in the class during recess by chatting and sharing LP posters with her classmates.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, is also on the issue, according to the OSSOSA president. It remains unclear what actions will be taken by the Ministry of Education to resolve the matter.
This incident highlights the need for clear policies and guidelines on political campaigns in schools to prevent students from being used as tools for political campaigns. It is also important to ensure that school discipline is not influenced by political affiliations, and students are not punished for their political preferences.