President Goodluck Jonathan Friday promised Nigerians that with the progress made by his administration in the area of power generation, whoever will succeed him will not face the challenge of electricity supply in the country.
He spoke yesterday when he received a delegation of the National Association of Nigerian Students which also endorsed him to continue in office in 2015.
President Jonathan who was decorated by the President of NANS as the Grand Commander of Nigerian Students, also promised that he would work hard to improve not just the quantity of Nigerian universities but also the quality of its products by ensuring they are rated among the top 500 in the world.
Jonathan said, “We must build Nigeria for the future of our children. We must build a Nigeria where by the time one of you will be on this seat here in future you should not be thinking of power supply”.
The President who recalled the last strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) for six months, said he was particularly pained that they did so based on the document his administration produced to address the decay in the tertiary institutions in the country.
He said, “ASUU should go on strike if nothing is going well in the country there is no problem with that but when you go on strike based on documents we produced to address the decay in institutions, then it is worrisome.
“ASUU shouldn’t have gone on strike for six months on that, if I wanted to cover up for government I wouldn’t have exposed that document to the public.
“We are committed to building infrastructure and manpower. That is why we have this special scholarship where every year we gave 100 scholarships to Nigerians who have made first class to study in any of the top 25 universities in the world.
“If we must talk of nuclear and space research then we must build the capacity.
“This scholarship is for 100 students per year, and is meant for first class students even if they are from same parents.
“The key thing is to reassure you that we will not disappoint you. We will ensure we improve on Nigeria. Nigeria is a leading country in Africa and we must show that leadership in every of our institutions.
“We want to return our universities to the winning ways, our universities must be strengthened, our universities must have to be returned to the top….our universities must not just be big in population but top in the quality. ?We want our universities to be among the top rated in the world. Is not easy to be at top, there is no reason why Nigerian universities cannot be among the top 500 in the world. But we must work hard. As a leading black nation in the world,we must get there, that’s the only way we can reshape, rebuild our nation that our children will be proud of” he said.
The president reiterated his commitment to conducting a free and fair election in the country saying he is already delivering on his promise.
“I have kept fate with my promise that if I have opportunity to preside over elections in this country, I will transform the process. The 2011 elections has been attested to be the best both by international and local observers, I will never preside over elections where we will become a laughing stock like it was in the 2007 elections where the international community found it difficult to congratulate us become of irregularities” he noted.
On the just concluded national Conference, President Jonathan said
the outcome is for the benefit of future Nigerians.
“The National Conference is not for the people of today, it is for us to begin to look at things differently as we begin our second centenary, and build future for our children.
“Your representatives at the national conference were part of those that contributed to a document that will shape our future” he told the students. .
The President while thanking the students for the award and words of encourage which will spur his administration to do more saying, “to whom much is given more is expected”, commended NANS role in the past which he described as patriotic, to stabilise crisis in the educational sector especially in the polytechnics, added that “If there is crisis in our country we will all be losers”.
In his remarks earlier, the Minister of State for Education, Nyisom Wike, speaking on the special scholarship said, so far none of beneficiaries are from Bayelsa or Kaduna states, the home states of President Jonathan and Vice President Namadi Sambo. And that most of the beneficiaries are from the opposition states, adding it clearly shows? the non-partisan, non-ethnic and non-religious nature of the President.
On ASUU agreement, Wike said that the sum of N200 billion has been released to fund, noting that the money came after the Needs Assessment Committee that determined the level of decay in each tertiary institutions in the country.
He also said ?today all universities in Nigeria are hooked online and lecturers can deliver lecture from anywhere in the world.
Wike also disclosed that over 2000 teachers of Unity Schools who were before now being paid N15,000 by the Parent Teachers Associations (PTAs) were given automatic employment on the order of the President.
He also said that every standard college today has standard e-library, in demonstration of the government’s commitment to quality education.
Earlier, Gbadebo on behalf on NANS challenged members of the opposition party who are challenging the performance of the Jonathan administration to a national debate.
He said, “If all what we have said here today is not the truth, I want to challenge anybody in Nigeria to a public debate to come and debunk these things.
“We are now wiser and we would not be indoctrinated. We have formed a group known as Nigerian Students Transformation Vanguard?, to educate students of voting age to support good governance, pragmatic progress in the 2015 elections” he said.
Among the delegation were 10 former NANS presidents and ?eight former NANS senate president?s, Student Union Presidents in universities, polytechnics, monotechnics and colleges of education.