Layi Olanrewaju, Ilorin
A University don and distinguished Nigerian scholar, Prof. Olu Obafemi, has cautioned youths particularly students not to make themselves available as tools for violence before, during and after the 2019 general elections.
He also advised them not to be used as instruments of thuggery or be seen as facilitating political violence.
Prof. Obafemi of the Department of English in the University of Ilorin (UNILORIN) gave this advice, in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, while answering questions from newsmen, in Ilorin, at the weekend.
According to him, like other countries, the destiny of the nation should be in the hands of the youths but that the leaders should prepare them for it rather than make use of them negatively.
But he, however, lamented that Nigerian youths were not sufficiently prepared for the future and therefore stressed the need for them to be made to benefit and participate inclusively in good governance so that they can properly earn the future they can live.
Commenting on the ongoing face-off between the Federal Government and ASUU, Prof. Obafemi, called for truce on the matter but, however, appealed to the government to respect the initial agreement reached with the union because according to him , it had already been broken.
The don, who was the former President of the Nigerian Academy of Letters, also a playwright and a poet, urged ASUU to have a rethink about always seeing strike as the solution to resolving crisis but rather as a last resort because of the aftermath results of such actions but rather, look for other effective and impactful alternative to strike.
He urged the government to help build the type of education the nation needed for development and not a glorified secondary school which some Nigerian universities could be referred to today that lacks laboratories, resource inputs, libraries, infrastructures and quality staff that are well motivated.
He is, however, of the view that the nation still needs more quality universities considering the country’s population which is almost two hundred million and students inability to have access to the existing universities .
A former director of research, National Institute for Policy ana Strategic Studies (NIPSS) Kuru, Jos, Plateau State, Prof. Obafemi urged the government to always implement the policies recommended by the institute for good governance in terms of economy, security , training agriculture and politics stressing that if such policies had been fully implemented, the nation would not be at her present position.
The don called on the Nigerian Copyright Commission to be more responsive to its responsibilities of curtailing piracy so as to rescue writers from those he referred to as thieves who are specialised in stealing intellectual properties at the detriment of the writers.
Prof. Obafemi laments that reading culture is dying in our society which he attributed to the social economic realities, lack of accessibility to books, empty libraries and lack of encouragement to writers as they are always shortchanged.
He called on Nigerians to think of a common language that would be spoken as our lingua franca stating that continuous speaking of English as our common language will continue to have negative effect on us as Africans.