Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
Former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has berated a trend in African politics where, according to him, politicians are resorting to political coups as a substitute for military coups, critiquing the phenomenon as bad the continent.
Jonathan made the observation at the weekend while speaking on behalf of other awardees at the convocation ceremony of Igbinedion University Okada, in Ovia North East Local Government Area of Edo State.
The ex-President was awarded with a honorary Doctor of Science doctorate at the university.
Mr Jonathan cited the violence at the recently concluded governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states as heartrending, falling short of what ought to “happen in any normal society,” he said.
“What happened in the last governirship elections in my state, Bayelsa State, and especially in Kogi State, where that young lady was burnt alive in her house, is something that should not happen in any normal society. Something is fundamentally wrong with our political system,” the former President stated.
“Only yesterday in Ndjamena, we were discussing the politics of our continent. Most of us former Heads of States, Presidents, former Presidents, Vice Presidents.
“The way African politics is going we are replacing military coup with political coup d’etat and that cannot sustain the continent,” he said.
He pleaded with politicians to play politics by the rules and for the overall interest of Nigerians.
“Let me plead with my fellow politicians, they should stop killing people,and destroying properties because people want to own offices,” he said.
He commended the founder of the institution, Sir Gabriel Osawaru Igbinedion, for his perseverance and doggedness in sustaining the private university over the years, saying that government alone cannot champion the cause of citizens’ education.
The ex-President said no country can develop above its level of education, calling on both private sector and government to play their roles in ensuring that the educational standard of the country is improved on for the development of Nigeria.
He also called on Sir Igbinedion to resuscitate his moribund Okada Airlines to further propel the country’s aviation sector, saying that Nigerians want the airline back.
Addressing graduands, Mr Jonathan said the survival of the country rests on the shoulders of the youths, advising them to be focused. He said he was convinced that the knowledge they have acquired throughout their learning years has prepared them well to face challenges ahead.
Earlier, the Hon. Chancellor, Sir Igbinedion, said the institution, in its first 20 years, has graduated well over 1,000 doctors, while the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) says it has inducted only a little over 82,000 medical doctors.
The institution’s Deputy Chancellor, Lucky Igbinedion, who spoke for his father, mentioned the World Health Organization (WHO) disclosed that Nigeria needs a total of 237,000 doctors for an efficient healthcare delivery system, but that only 35,000 doctors are available.
He said based on the dearth of doctors in the country, the institution has pleaded with Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) to increase the admission quota to the institution to be able to meet up with the health demands of citizens.
On his part, the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman, Governing Council, Prof. Sheikh Amhed Abdullah, tasked the students to use the knowledge gathered over the years to transform the country.
He further charged them to be promoters of peace, a united Nigeria and agents of social change, stating that the future of the country lies in their hands.
Also speaking at the event, Edo State Governor Mr Godwin Obaseki, commending the university for success recorded since its inception, said his administration has invested much in the education sector through the introduction of the EDOBEST programme, where teachers are trained and retrained, stressing that it has made students and pupils to move from schooling to learning.
The Governor went on to urge the awardees to use the honour done them to create a link with the institution and, by extension, the state.