By CALEB AYANSINA
ABUJA — Former Minister of Information, Professor Jerry Gana, has stated that for a meaningful transformation to take place in the country, government at all levels must be ready to fund the education system adequately.
Professor Gana, who is also the Pro-Chancellor of University of Lagos, also threw his weight behind the agitation of Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, in its ongoing strike.
He noted that ASUU’s demand was not about salary but the need for required infrastructure to function better.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, and the Federal Government had been at loggerhead over failure of the latter to fully abide by the 2009 agreement reached with the former.
Gana insisted that government was not doing well with the current funding of education system in Nigeria, adding that education deserved serious attention for the county to move forward.
He said: “We are not funding education properly in Nigeria. Because education is very important, we must invest in education if we are really serious about transformation.
“ If anybody says education is more expensive, then try ignorance. As a nation, we must resolve to spend our GDP on the education sector. In the past, Chief Awolowo in the South West used to spend 50 percent on education, the same thing in the north, we must fund education, and any good thing is expensive.”
“Government is doing its best but I think it should respect what ASUU is saying, that it is not about salary, but about really getting infrastructure in the universities.
“I have a privilege now to be a pro-chancellor of the University of Lagos, and so, I am on the side of the universities. Give us resources; restore that excellence into this education sector by funding the university and after the funding, let the university use the money judiciously.”
He admonished parents and teachers to promote sound character education among teenagers and youths in the country, as education without good character was a disaster.
Gana, who stressed the imperative of honesty, integrity and trust in building a peaceful society, noted that the three core values that would ensure justice, equity and fairness in the society were gradually eroding in the country.
”All these bring peace within the family, community and the nation at large, without these in the society their will be chaos, because people will loose sense of justice, fairness and equity.
”It is extremely important, the act of promoting the moulding of sound character, especially, among our youths. The programme is a call to building the nation.
”Character is essential to the future of our society; this is what we should devote our time and energy to by building people of a sound character, because education without character is a disaster,” he said.