by crossriverwatch admin
A students’ re-orientation campaign tagged: “Do the right thing – Nigerian Tertiary Institutions of Learning – Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow: Implications for national transformation” was flagged off yesterday at the new auditorium of the University of Calabar.
Organised by the National Orientation Agency (NOA), the campaign is going to be a nationwide tour of Nigerian tertiary institutions.
The event was declared open by the Executive Governor of Cross River State, Senator Liyel Imoke who was represented by his special Adviser on Youth, Culture & Orientation.
Minister of Education, Prof (Mrs.) Ruqayyatu Rufai who was supposed to chair the event was represented by an aide in the event which witnessed a huge turnout of students that seemed very enthusiastic about the campaign.
Some of the speakers at the event blamed the Nigerian political class for the brazen corruption that has stunted the growth and development of young people in the country.
They also identified incessant disputes, brain-drain, under-funding or poor financing of quality education, cultism, corrupt practices and abuse of trust as major problems and challenges facing the educational sector in Nigeria.
In his goodwill message, Senate Leaders and Senator Representing Cross River Central Senatorial District, Senator Victor Ndoma Egba (SAN), could not hide his feelings as he accepted the fact that Nigerian politicians are actually ‘criminals’ as asserted by one of the discussant.
He said: “…yes, I know that we (politicians) are thieves…but we are not the only thieves, we also have other bigger thieves in Nigeria such as bankers, lecturers, businessmen, oil merchants (referring the audience to the case of fuel subsidy thieves) amongst others”.
He urged the students and young people in general to keep faith with the country and trust that the future will be better than today. He also enjoined them to strive hard and contribute their own quota to national development.
In his presentation, Femi Odekunle, a Professor of Criminology in the University of Abuja and anti-corruption crusader, discussed the dimensions and implications of moral decadence in Nigeria’s tertiary institutions of learning. He advocated a return to sound moral and family values as a means of re-engineering commitment and patriotism amongst young Nigerians.
Professor Odekunle expressed worry over how more and more Nigerians especially the politicians are opting for private aircrafts in the country. To him, “owning aircrafts is not supposed to be a priority to rich men in Nigeria if they really have the interest of the poor majority and unity of the country at heart”.
Professor Muhammed Ladan of the Faculty of Law, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria who spoke on the imperatives of industrial harmony and academic excellence in a productive educational system, lamented that the Nigerian government continues to appropriate only 8.7% to education as compared to Ghana’s 31%, Cote d’Ivoire’s 30%, Uganda’s 27%, Morocco’s 26.6%, South Africa’s 25.8%, Swaziland’s 24.6%, Mexico’s 24.3%, Kenya’s 23%, United Arab Emirates’ 22.5%, Botswana’s 19%, Iran’s 17.7%, USA’s 17.1%, Tunisia’s 17%, Lesotho’s 17%, Burkina Faso’s 16.8%, Norway’s 16.2%, Columbia’s 15.6%, Nicaragua’s 15%, India’s 12.7% leaving Nigeria on the 20th position in that order in the UNESCO rating.
The implication according to him is that, this attracts Nigerian politicians to send their wards for schooling in those countries while siphoning and robbing the poor masses in Nigeria and bastardizing the educational sector in the country.
He said he regrets each time he reads on the pages of newspapers as the President of the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS continues to congratulate and commend President Jonathan for appropriating a paltry 8.7% to education.
Professor Ladan insisted that Nigerian politicians are corrupt and visionless. He accused the politicians of defrauding the country while being loyal to some other countries by investing and promoting the economies of those countries through their endless patronage in education tourism and travel.
He said he was appalled by the amount politicians take home as against the academia including professors who trained politicians in schools and advocated for the promotion of visionary and disciplined leaders in the educational system as a key to a productive environment for learning, devoid of corrupt practices and indiscipline amongst others.
Emeka Eluem Izeze, the Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief, Guardian Newspapers Ltd, also spoke about establishing an effective framework for sustainable value re-orientation in tertiary institutions of learning while Comrade Jude Imagwe, the Special Assistant to the President on Youth and Students Affairs who spoke on the challenges of value re-orientation in Nigeria’s tertiary education system said: “Nigerian politicians do not like the youths of this country, as such they don’t like to encourage the youth towards positive venture. They are only interested on the youths during elections. That’s the only time you may see them on campus or elsewhere where youths are found. The youths must rise up to the challenge and take over whatever they desire in the country”.
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