Fred Ezeh, Abuja

Federal Government, on Thursday, demanded the merger of Association of Private Schools Owners of Nigeria (APSON) and National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS), two similar bodies run by the private school owners with related responsibilities.

The Government was of the opinion that the two associations, if merged, would achieve more result in their quest for better education system than operating individually.

Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, who hosted the representatives of associations in Abuja, had to intervene to avert a “near shouting match” at the Minister’s conference hall where the event was held.

Adamu registered his discontent with the fact that both associations operate along parallel line for almost same purpose, reminding them that they could only achieve little or no progress in such situation.

He said that, though, personal interest or something of that nature could be responsible for the acrimony, suggesting that they dissolve the bodies and form one strong, indivisible and formidable association through which they can pursue their course.

He said: “Yes! We have freedom of association in Nigeria. So, you can have or belong to as many as associations if you like, but i think the Ministry of Education will be better served, Nigeria will be better served and the education system in general will be better served if there’s a credible central body that we would relate with.

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“Unless there’s some personality clashes or something like that, I don’t understand why there would be two associations for private school proprietors. Howbeit, the Ministry is ready to deal with both of you if there’s good reason but we prefer to work with one.”

National President of APSON, Dr. Godly Opukeme, in his remarks explained that APSON was registered in 1995. But in 2005, when NAPPS was registered, they met with the leadership on better way they could work together for the betterment of the schools but unsuccessful.

He said: “After several efforts that yielded no fruit, we officially became strange bird fellows in 2013, when we it was obvious that could not work together.”

The NAPPS President, Chief Yomi Otubela, on his side asked the Minister to disregard the statement of APSON President that NAPPS never accepted to work with APSON.

He said: “Prior to 2005, there were multiple associations in different parts of Nigeria. Some were registered and some were not. We were advised then by the Federal Ministry of Education to disregard the individual identity and form a formidable association that would fight the cause of education. In 2005, over 50 associations came together to work as one.”

The Minister, after listening to them briefly, invited the leadership of both associations to his office for possible reconciliation meeting.