Sola Ojo, Kaduna
The Senator representing Kaduna Central and Chairman, Banking and Finance, Uba Sani, on Monday called on rich businessmen and politicians of northern extraction to stop lamenting the extreme number of out-of-school children in the region and put up resources to solve the problem.
The lawmaker made the call as a guest speaker at the maiden Uba Sani Foundation West African Examinations Council (WAEC) scholarship award ceremony for 175 indigent students drawn from 38 secondary schools in seven local government areas in his constituency.
Uba Sani Foundation had conducted the mock examination in the 38 public secondary schools before arriving at the best five from each of the schools. The Foundation also promised to support those that passed their WAEC and JAMB to further their education.
“I congratulate all the successful students. You have done exceedingly well and must be commended for emerging tops. This has been a painstaking and thorough process. The Foundation made deliberate efforts to ensure that the process is credible which is the only way to guarantee the integrity of the exercise.
“Education in the North is in serious crisis. A recent survey conducted by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) indicates that the population of out of school children in Nigeria has risen from 10.5 million to 13.2 million, the highest in the world.
“Of this outrageous population of out-of-school children, about 70% are in the North of Nigeria. This is quite disturbing and must worry all of us who still care for the North and Nigeria in general.
“The Kaduna State Government has made education a key priority, implementing measures aimed at addressing the huge challenges facing education in the state. Governor Nasir El-Rufai is indeed changing the face of education in Kaduna State.
“But the government alone cannot do everything. We must stop lamentation. We must work the talk. Businessmen and politicians of Northern extraction should join us by going back to their respective grassroots and I believe that, in the next two to three years, the number will reduce drastically as we join hands.
“If we fail to take education seriously and address its challenges, we shall end up mortgaging the future of our children, and by implication the future of our country,” Sani said.
On the scholarship, he said, “as you may well be aware, this scholarship scheme is designed to assist brilliant children of the poor and vulnerable who may not be able to continue their educational pursuit owing to the inability of their parents to meet the demands for registration fees for examinations, tuition fees and other important materials needed for their study.”
Earlier, the Executive Director of the Foundation, Ibrahim Dan-Halilu, said the examination that led to the selection of the beneficiaries was conducted in collaboration with principals and examination officers of the participating schools to ensure transparency.