Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has called on governments at all levels to prioritize education, saying government must always ensure that for no reason should schools be shut down.
Speaking at the 20th convocation of Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Edo State, Oshiomhole said when Nigerian schools were shut, those in other countries remained open and students from shut Nigerian schools were expected to compete on the same level with their peers from other climes where schools remained open.
He said: “There are many universities that are on strike, and ASUU has cleverly reversed the conventional saying or even law which says, ‘no work, no pay.’ Now, ASUU finds itself having to now say, ‘no pay, no work’.
As we speak, I am sure there are a number of universities that are not working because the governments have not paid the workers. I am also aware of reported cases of some state governments saying straight away to the universities that they are not going to be able to pay more than a fraction of the subvention that they have been paying on account of the current economic challenges.
For me, I am clear that if the Nigerian state defaults in every aspect of its obligation to the people, the federal and state governments must never default in its obligation to ensure that teaching and learning never get stopped.
“The truth is, Nigeria must reorder its priorities. We must never allow our educational institutions to close down. Closing down by one minute will cost us more than one year of our Gross Domestic Product, GDP, because every time we stop learning, as President Barrack Obama would say, ‘when we go so low, they continue to go so high’. And yet, we are expected to compete on a level playing field.”