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Former President Obasanjo Blames FG For Not Adopting Education For All Initiative

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…. As Gbajabiamila says there’s need for human capital development

….Nigeria cannot afford to introduce tuition – ASUU

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By Gloria Ikibah

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said that Nigeria’s inability to key into the Education For All Global Initiative years back was a bad miss.

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Former President Obasanjo stated this on Tuesday in Abuja, at a National Summit on Tertiary Education Reform organized by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, with the theme “Re-imagining Tertiary Education in Nigeria: Issues, Challenges and Solutions”.

The elder statesman disclosed that almost there are 20 million out of school children in Nigeria presently and this he says is ‘a ticking time bomb for the country’.

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According to him, “if we do not get them back to school, we are preparing for Boko Haram of tomorrow”.

Obasanjo said: “We must find a solution. So what are the issues? The issues to me are that we are cutting more than we can chew. Who is looking at our population ahead of time, five years from now and ten years from now, and what can we do about it? And apart from food which is very important, who are the people thinking about that and working forward on that. After food and after health, the next important aspect of our life is education. No if this is the position and these are rights that we must have, what do we do? We know that if we continue the way we are going, by the year 2030, 2040, 2050 what our population would be.

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“We have to think about it and how we would sort it. And I believe, that you asked where did we miss the road? We missed the road when the whole world is talking of education for all and we did not follow that. It was bad news. We today we have 20 million out of school children. Almost 10 percent of the population. We continue to miss and we are still missing. That is a very bad one. Can we do anything about it? I believe we can.

“Those 20 million children that are out of school, we can get them back to school. If we do not get them back to school, we are preparing for Boko Haram of tomorrow. It will happen as sure as daylight. What can we do where are these 20 million children? Where are they located. Can we have schools in the morning and afternoon to get them in at least for six years. In the period of six years where this is happening, we would prepare for the transition from primary school to secondary school. And if we are able to do that, we have started the process of lifting education, an instrument of nation building”.

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The Speaker Gbajabiamila, stressed the need for human capital development, which he said the nation’s greatest resource was its people.

According to Hon. Gbajabiamila, the Summit is the manifestation of the commitment in the 9th House of Representatives to engender a national conversation to consider bold ideas and radical innovations to restructure and reform public tertiary education in Nigeria.

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“The nation’s greatest resource is not the oil that flows through our deltas nor the abundant minerals that lie underground in every corner of our country. Our most incredible resource has always been the Nigerian people. This immense collection of tongues and tribes, bound together under one flag, striving through adversity and achieving despite every obstacle. As we are gathered here this morning, our cause is more than to seek solutions to the challenges of tertiary education in Nigeria. In fact, we are here today on a mission to save Nigeria”, he asserted.

He said for Nigeria to reach its potential and achieve the greatness it is capable of, she must invest in the people

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“In this generation, social, economic and political development is, and will continue to be powered by advancements in information and communication technologies. We must provide the resources to modernise and improve our education infrastructure and provide the right training for young people from primary through tertiary education. This goes to the heart of our survival as a nation and as a people. I say that because I believe our country will not survive long if our children cease to believe their best dreams are possible here,” Gbajabiamila added.

The Speaker said education was the silver bullet that would eliminate poverty in the country.

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He stated: “Education is the silver bullet that eliminates poverty and lack; it presents hope and confidence and reduces violence and strife. Education offers us the promise that by the application of our minds and the works of our hands, we can make this world better and improve the life of man on this earth. Education is the gift that keeps on giving through generations. A university degree, or tertiary qualification of some other kind, can be the catalyst that changes the trajectory of an entire family. Evidence abounds of the transformations that can happen when ambition and diligence are amplified by access to quality education and training”.

The Minister of State for Education, Goodluck Opiah, commended the Speaker Gbajabimila for intervening in the face-off with ASUU and organising the summit.

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Opiah said this was in continuation of the Speaker’s commitment to ensure that the legislature contributes to creating stable environment for our tertiary education sector.

According to him, as more universities were established to improve access to the growing population, the dwindling economic realities made it difficult for government to sustain the adequate funding, to maintain the quality of teaching and learning, infrastructure as well as maintain the structures necessary for attracting global talents needed to sustain intellectualism.

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He said there has been several attempts to reform the funding structure by TEFUND, which has released over N2.3 trillion to the various institutions to create more infrastructure, support research and improve documentation.

He said however, the increasing population with its associated increased demands for tertiary education has made it difficult to satisfy the various demands for funding by government.

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The President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, Prof Emmanuel Osodeke, said Nigeria can not afford to introduce tuition fees in the Nigerian university system now.

According to him, considering the level of poverty and corruption in Nigeria, it would be unfair for the government to put more burden on parents.

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“The students are already paying too much fees in the universities. They can not be made to pay more”, he said.

He noted that government needs to invest in the welfare of lecturers and inject funds into the education system to improve the system.

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Prof. Osedeke also noted that there is a systemic problem in the Nigerian universities which has nothing to do with funds.

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After giving my wife, N100k, she lodged in hotel with her lover for 4days, man tells Court

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Mr Hakeem Olarenwaju has narrated his ordeal to a court, how he gave his wife, N100,000 and she lodged in a hotel with her lover for four days.

To this end, Olarenwaju, has approached Grade A Customary Court, Mapo, Ibadan, Oyo State, seeking that it dissolves the 16-year-old union between him and his wife, Fatima Olarenwaju.

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Hakeem told the court that his wife whom he met as a single parent started misbehaving a few years into their marriage.

The plaintiff stated that he went into marriage with the defendant despite his father’s disapproval of their relationship, and that today he is regretting his action.

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Hakeem explained that Fatima who was initially loving, dedicated and obedient, suddenly changed and became defiant despite allowing her to bring to his house the child from her first marriage.

According to the plaintiff, the defendant constantly denied him sex and rubbed shoulders with him in the house.

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He further stated that she took to leaving home without his knowledge and consent, adding that there were times she travelled without informing him.

Hakeem added that he later found out that she was having an affair with another man whom she sometimes lodged with.

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Fatima, he added, finally moved out of his house.

He thus begged the court, if his prayer of divorce was answered to grant him custody of their two children whom she has failed to be a good example to.

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Fatima was absent in court despite being served court summonses.

Hakeem while giving his evidence said, “I went against my father’s wish and went ahead in 2006 to marry my wife who I met as a single parent.

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“Fatima and I had a blissful marriage despite the criticism from my family and my father in particular.

“She was well behaved and dedicated to me and our children. We were always together and shared each other’s dreams. She was my best friend.

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“I gave her N100,000 to start a business which blossomed and flourished in a short period.

“We were a happy family until my wife started misbehaving in 2010.

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“Fatima cultivated the habit of leaving home without my knowledge and consent and would return home late.

“The more I complained, the worse she became. Fatima would call off my bluff any time I threatened to deal with her.

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” I overlooked her shortcomings and allowed her to bring her daughter by another man to my home. But rather than be thankful for my display of generosity, all I got from her were abuses as a result of her caustic tongue.”

The plaintiff further said, “My lord, my wife is unfaithful to me. She was dating another man while under my roof.

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“She would lie to me that she was going to cater at a party being a caterer, but would go and spend the weekend with her lover.

“Fatima once travelled out of town for four days without informing me. She left no clue about her whereabouts while her phone was switched off.

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“I later learnt she travelled with her lover for those days and this led to a quarrel between us.

“I reported her to her parents and they helped resolved our differences, but Fatima to my chagrin abandoned all her duties in the home.

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“She refused me sex and stopped cooking my food. Her daughter was the one preparing my meals.

“She totally neglected me and refused to have anything to do with me.

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“Fatima finally packed out of my house which was why I came to court.

“My lord, I entreat the court to officially end our marriage and grant me custody of our two children.

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“Fatima’s lifestyle is questionable and as such can’t be a good example to our children.

The court president, Mrs S.M Akintayo, adjourned the case after he has heard the plaintiff and ordered that a fresh hearing notice be served the respondent.

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Truck Kills Road Safety officials on patrol

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By Gloria Ikibah

Two patrol operatives of the Federal Road Safety Corps were crushed to death on the Ikot-Ikpene-Aba road on Friday.

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Corps Spokesperson, Bisi Kazeem said that the crash occurred as a result of excessive speed indulged in by the driver of a DAF articulated truck while trying to dodge a pothole along the axis.

“According to preliminary investigation, the fatal crash involved a FRSC Patrol Vehicle and a white coloured truck.

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“The road crash affected a total of eight male adults, out of which two sustained severe injuries, two were killed while the remaining four passengers were rescued without any injuries.

“The injured persons have been taken to Ikot Ekpene General hospital and the dead deposited in the mortuary of the same hospital”, Kazeem stated.

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The Acting Corps Marshal, Federal Road Safety Corps, Dauda Biu, decried the incessant knock down and crushing of patrol operatives.

Biu said that the killing of the two officers was part of the recklessness of some drivers who have continuously violated the legally prescribed speed limit.

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He pledged the resolve of the Corps to apprehend perpetrators of the deadly act and make them face the full wrath of the law.

The FRSC boss conveyed his heartfelt condolences to the families of the staff who lost their lives in active service.

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Biu further assured the public of the Corps’ resilience to ensure that the perpetrators of such bad driving culture were forced to face the law.

“We advise motorists to desist from such act by complying with acceptable road safety regulations, as the Corps will not spare anyone engaged in this deadly act of recklessness on the road,” he added.

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Blind teacher In Oyo State Shares His Experience

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A visually impaired teacher and freelance broadcaster, Ayanwale Ayantola, who teaches English Language at the Adeniran Memorial Grammar School, Ogbomoso, Oyo State, and shares his experience.

*Some people with visual impairment had difficult childhoods. Was it the same for you?*

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I can say yes because the impression Nigerians have about people with disabilities is not encouraging. I was not born blind. I lost my sight when I was a SS2 pupil, though I had a visual problem when I was in junior secondary school. I attended Ori-Oke Baptist Primary School, Ogbomoso, and Ori-Oke Community High School, but did not graduate from the school because of the problem I had with my sight. As a JSS2 pupil, I noticed that I could not see clearly. That led me to use recommended glasses. Later, I found it difficult to see the blackboard unless I moved closer. My school principal and some other teachers noticed the problem when my performance dropped because they knew I was a brilliant pupil.

So, they told me to bring my parents to school and when they came, my father explained the challenges I had with my eyes. We later went to Jos, Plateau State, where I had the first surgery. Each of my eyes was operated on three times, but I did not know what the doctors told my dad. However, I was advised not to force myself to read with the eyes but rather to use the level of vision I had left to aid my movement.

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*Did the doctors tell your parents what was wrong with your eyes or why you could not see clearly?*

Yes. I was told I had glaucoma and my father was advised to enrol me in a school for the blind. In 2007, I was enrolled in the Oyo State School for the Blind, Ogbomoso, where I spent about eight months learning Braille and typewriting. I wanted to become a medical doctor and was a science pupil at Ori-Oke Community High School. I was told that I could not continue as a science student, so I became an arts pupil. After learning Braille and typewriting at the school for the blind, I went back to SS1 at Adeniran Memorial Grammar School, Ogbomoso, where I currently work as a teacher.

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*Can you remember the point when you completely lost your sight?*

When I was at the school for the blind, I could see partially and move about to do one or two things. I lost my sight completely in 2006. That was the time I forced my eyes to read printed copies of the materials I used to prepare for examinations organised by the West African Examinations Council. That was against the advice I was given not to read with my eyes. I can remember that on the day I lost my sight, I visited one of my seniors in school. As I tried to enter the class, I hit my forehead on one of the pillars and fainted. That was when I realised that I could no longer see.

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*How did your condition impact your relationship with people in your community?*

Many of my friends left me because they thought I was no longer part of them since I would attend a school for the blind, which was a boarding school. When I graduated from the school, I could not find any of them, because they had moved ahead of me academically, having returned to SS1 due to my condition.

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*How did you qualify as a teacher?*

I attended the Federal College of Education (Special), Oyo, and studied English/Visually Impaired Study. I graduated between 2004 and 2005. I found it easy to cope there because of my knowledge of the use of Braille. I could still see partially when I was at the college, so it was not difficult to find me around the school. In fact, I was the one guiding most of the blind students there. But now, people guide me because my sight is completely lost. I also attended the National Teachers Institute.

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*Were you bugged by your inability to attend a university and study Medicine, which was your dream course?*

I felt bad. My life has totally changed. If not for the advice I received, I wanted to commit suicide.

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*Read full story in Punch*

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