Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar yesterday accused state governments of posing the “greatest threat to education as they divert funds allocated for the development of the sector.”Speaking at a public hearing on the bills establishing Modibo Adamawa University Yola, Adamawa and the Federal University of Agriculture and Technology Funtua, Katsina State at the National Assembly complex in Abuja, he urged the Senate to immediately enact a law to penalize erring states. He alleged: “There is a threat in the sense that monies being given to states to develop education are being diverted.
“There is a need for you (Senate) to enact a law in such a way that a particular state that refuses to deploy the funds earmarked for education is penalized.”He, however, commended the senators for pushing for the piece of legislation.
The Waziri Adamawa went on: “I feel moved by the plight of our teeming youths denied admission over the years by our inability to convert Adamawa University to a multi-disciplinary institution.“Nigeria’s population has quadrupled by 2016, as it will be the third-largest population by 2050. We must then invest in education.“Our population is putting immense pressure on public service and funds. We must then invest in education.”
According to him, the nation’s provision for education is at its lowest, noting: Figures from JAMB show a clear disparity between applicants and the number that eventually get admitted.”The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate on February 23, 2019, presidential election pointed out that about two-thirds of applicants for tertiary education do not get admitted, leading to insecurity and poverty, both of which are “pronounced in the North East.”He further said: “Even when admissions are offered, it is more precarious for parents to send their children.
“Our advocacy for the conversion of the university of technology from a specialized university to a conventional university will push up enrolment for admission,” Abubakar noted that parents spend up to $1billion yearly to train their wards abroad. He expressed delight that the move would enable indigenes to access admission in specialized courses in an educationally disadvantaged state like Adamawa and reduce the gender gap.
Sponsor of the bill, Aisha Benani (Adamawa Central), recalling that she first made the move as member of seventh House of Representatives, stated: “The fascination that has kept us is the fact that the world is moving from mono-disciplinary institutions to multi-disciplinary institutions.”
In a related development, erstwhile Speaker Ghali Na’Abba of the House of Representatives has urged the Federal Government to undertake urgent reforms for the transformation of the education sector. During the official opening of Waldorf Knoll Academy yesterday in Abuja, he regretted that the nation’s education infrastructure had for long been dilapidated. He said: “I believe that all the laws that are supposed to be in place for the improvement of the Nigerian education sector are in place. What is important is for the executive arm to wake up to its responsibilities.”