The presidential candidate of the Alliance for New Nigeria (ANN), Fela Durotoye, has said Nigerian leaders do not value the nation’s education sector because they (leaders) lack ‘qualitative’ education.
Mr Durotoye made this known at an annual leadership and entrepreneurs’ conference organised by the students of the Department of Economics, Obafemi Awolowo University, on Wednesday.
His criticism is coming at a time university lecturers are clamouring for proper funding of Nigerian universities and have shut down academic activities in various schools.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) embarked on an indefinite and ‘total’ strike on Sunday and the compliance of some schools.
Addressing the comatose state of the education sector, Mr Durotoye said Nigerian leaders do not really have the quality “of what we can call education”.
“Since most of them have no idea of what education actually means, they are always finding it very difficult to actually define the space of education in a nation’s development. If you do not have something it is possible for you not to value it” he said.
Also, he faulted the curricular of the country’s tertiary institutions, saying “there’s need to have practising individuals in the disciplines design it.”
“We can specialise our institutions, and once we specialise our institutions, we specialise the people. Our generation must build a nation where everybody gets equal values without necessarily have to know anybody, where you want and receive equally those opportunities the rich get easily.”
Stating the exploits of Nigerians abroad in the academic world, Mr Durotoye added that statistics show that many Nigerians abroad “either top their foreign colleagues or they fall within the top five often in any field of study”.
“Nigerians are born with wings to fly this is why everywhere Nigerians get to in the world to study, they are always among the top five. It is time we start investing in the education, especially the teachers and students by providing the learnable environment for our educational system.
“We must commit to investing in the future of the nation through a positive investment into our education,” he said.
Speaking on how to revive the Nigerian economy, he said it is imperative to cut the cost of governance and “make governance effective”.
“We need to review down the salaries, remunerations, of our government officials, most especially the senators. If we try to pay all the elected officials the minimum wage, we will have a long way to go in serving the rest of the people. So, it is important that we must cut down the cost of governance in Nigeria.”
He also advised state governments to leverage on all the resources of Nigeria present in their states so as to avoid debts.
Mr Durotoye said there are 11 states with about 28 local governments “fully blessed with gold and all kinds of natural resources.”
“It saddens joyous hearts often to know that despite the natural resources, the country is still wallowing in ‘economy outcry’.”
He said Ondo State is one of the locations with the largest amounts of bitumen in the world, “but despite all these, the state, like every other naturally endowed states, still goes for all these resources abroad.
“If we turn every local government in Nigeria to an economic hub, by ensuring that all the economic resources from them are used to develop each of these local environments, we will go far, and high in Nigeria as a nation.”
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