Former president Olusegun Obasanjo on Wednesday in Cotonou urged African nations to provide quality education to ensure peace and tolerance in the continent. Obasanjo made the call at the ongoing International Symposium for the launching of African Initiative for education, peace and development. He said without education, no peace effort would yield any positive result, adding that the most of the intolerant sections of the African society were illiterate.
The former president, who gave example of the lingering Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria, said the worse hit part of the country, North East geo-political zone, was the least educated. He attributed such to the level of literacy in the region, adding the insurgents were able to penetrate the region due to level of education in the area.
The former president, who compared the level of literacy between the political zones in Nigeria , said while the South West, as at 2010, had 77.9 per cent of literacy, South East achieved 66.66.8 and the North East had only 18.1 per cent.
On the level of literacy among women within same period, Obasanjo said the South West had achieved 79.9 per cent; South East, 69.6 per cent and North East only 15.4 per cent. He said the South West, which was the most educated region, was more tolerant, peaceful and developed section of the country. He said the Boko Haram insurgents found it easier to penetrate the North East because of its level of education.
Obasanjo, therefore, urged participants of the symposium to find solution to the lingering crises in parts of Africa, be it political, religious or cultural. He also urged traditional, religious and political leaders to establish organisations to train youths on crafts to enable them be self-sufficient and prevent them from joining terror groups.
Also speaking a former president of Benin Republic, Soglo Neciphore, said culture was the source of human identity and urged African nations to to use culture as tool for development. ‘’We shall raise the level of awareness on education and culture for our people to understand each other; our governments should not be identified by any religion and at the same time not put any to disadvantage.’’
He said Japan China, and many other developed nations were identified by their culture and had used it effectively for their development.