By Favour Udeh
Corruption exerts devastating negative impacts on education and the economy, says president of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Prof. Abiodun Ogunyemi.
Viewed from the angle of its manifestation and negative impacts on society, Ogunyemi said corruption places more emphasis on abuse of power at various levels.
Speaking at the Gani Fawehinmi Annual Scholarship Award 2017, the ASUUpresident noted that Nigeria’s economy could support free, accessible and compulsory education at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels, if effectively managed.
He stressed that, going by the nature and the characteristics of the ruling class, the population that has always controlled the resources of this country is less than 1 per cent. He also said that Nigeria spends as much as $1.5 trillion on foreign education and the beneficiaries are the children of the ruling class; he, therefore, warned Nigerians, especially youths, to continually be alert lest they are hoodwinked.
Professor emeritus, Institute of Education, University of Ibadan, Pai Obanya, giving a lecture on “Corruption and Education” at the event, also explained that corruption goes beyond looting of funds and embezzlement, as it also entailed the upturning of cherished values.
The professor, in relating corruption to education, further said that there was a difference between spending on education and investing in education.
“Spending on assets that have multiplier effects on the future of the children and the nation means investing in education. Since the government is merely spending on education, the education system itself has become corrupt,” he said.
He also noted that Nigeria’s lamentable educational condition has drawn global attention.
According to him, in the “Perceptions Report of Transparency International (2016), Nigeria is ranked 134 out of 176 countries. She is outclassed in the rankings by 17 sub-Saharan countries: Cape Verde (38), Mauritius (50), Rwanda (50), Sao Tome (62), Senegal (64), South Africa (64), Ghana (70), Burkina Faso (72) Lesotho (83), Zambia (87), Liberia (90), Benin Republic (95) Gabon (101), Niger (101), Ethiopia (108), Cote d’Ivoire (108), Togo (116), Tanzania (116), Mali (116), Malawi (120), Sierra Leone (123), Djibouti (123).
“But in the recent years, Nigeria has made some adjustments thus: 2012 (22), 2013 (25), 2014 (27), 2015 (26) and 2017 (28).
“Looking at the economic hard data, corruption has negative effects on national development. It leads to perpetuation and worsening of poverty, reduces the level of investment and productivity in national development that lowers income level and increases poverty level then creates more corruption, and it becomes a vicious cycle.”
Former general secretary of the Amalgamated Union of Public Service, Slyvanus Ejiofor, said that, in the bid to de-corrupt the society using education, the country requires a different perspective on education.
“It should go beyond the scope of formal school to that of people’s daily living,” he said.