‘Nigeria has the highest illiterate and uninformed graduates in the world’
From Segun Olatunji, Abeokuta
The former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, has blamed the socio-economic under-development of the Nigerian society on poor education and outright lack of it.
Bankole regretted that Nigeria had focused so much on paper and certificate qualifications to the extent that the country now occupies the unenviable position of having the highest population of illiterate and uninformed graduates in the world.
The former Speaker said this while delivering a lecture entitled: ‘Tertiary Education: The pathway to sustainable development,” during the 4th open lecture series of the Institute of Education, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State.
Bankole noted that in a country like Nigeria where there are many challenges and roadblocks on the path to development, education should provide the lens through which the nation could envision, create and arrive at a lasting solution to pervasive and persistent challenges to development.
He explained that the impact of poor education and outright lack of it could be seen and felt everywhere in the country, ranging from graduates who could not be employed despite their possession of certificates to uneducated or unemployed youths who eventually turn to a life of crime and bad behaviour to make ends meet.
According to him, it is therefore not a surprise that Nigeria has also been confronted with severe poverty. Bankole added that poverty and inequality have further become entrenched in societies without good education, resulting in a conducive environment for extremism and terrorism.
The former Speaker then charged all stakeholders in the education sector to support all efforts at finding solutions to the problems confronting the nation, adding that Nigeria’s future has suffered from bad leadership because of ineptitude in the education sector.
He regretted the lack of quality participation from the intelligentsia and called for quality research works by scholars and students in tertiary institutions, which he noted had become part of the problems confronting the growth of democracy in Nigeria.
Highlighting the role of tertiary institutions in the enhancement of sustainable growth, Bankole noted that tertiary institutions in Nigeria should live up to their responsibilities of serving as pool of knowledge and ideas.
The former Speaker said: “We will continue to educate, to inform ourselves and we will continue to intervene. We can intervene by putting men of character to lead us. While we have all types of people, please give them business, let them go and make money. If it is the money they want, they should go and make money, give them business but don’t put them in strategic position of governance. “Regardless of the revenues accrued by the economy, the need for better universities must remain a priority if Nigeria is to change and progress.
“The Federal Government has pledged to invest N369 billion towards education in 2016 Budget, we must ensure that we hold the government accountable to this and that those monies are used judiciously to improve the learning experience of faculty and students alike.
“We must continue to push for better funding for education; we must continue to demand high standards in schools. We must continue to create opportunities for all Nigerians to obtain a good educational foundation on which to build our lives.”
OOU Vice Chancellor, Prof. Saburi Adesanya who was represented by Prof. Kamaldeen Balogun, described the lecture series of the Institute as a timely contribution to knowledge and educational development.
He said the lecture would contribute to the economic and manpower development of the country, adding that it would further develop the potentials and ensure the overall achievement of sustainable development of the school.
The Director of the OOU Institute of Education, Prof. Alaba Adenuga, commended the state government for its belief in academic freedom, noting that the lecture was part of the institution’s efforts to assume its rightful place and serve as catalyst for social economic development of the country.