By Shina Abubakar
Founder, Centre for Values For Leadership, Prof. Pat Utomi, has called for emphasis on solid primary and post-primary education to solve lack of middle level manpower in the country.
He disclosed this at the launch of Akin Ogunbiyi Foundation, an event held at Atlantis Event Centre, Osogbo Osun State on Wednesday.
Leading panel of discussants that included; Seye Oyeleye, Director Development Agenda for Western Nigeria Commission,
Ayopeju Njideaka, CEO, Nurturehouse Consulting and an educationist, Adetutu Sangonuga in speaking on the paper presented by ex Vice Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Prof. Michael Faborode, founder, Centre for Values For Leadership, Prof. Pat Utomi, said more attention should be given to primary and post primary education.
According to him, if there is solid foundation at primary and post primary levels, many people may not need tertiary education to be relevant, entrepreneurs and solve problems.
He added that rather being a problem, Nigeria’s population should be it source of strength, if China and India with larger population could be providing for larger population, saying technical and vocational education should be given adequate priority.
Also Gen. Akinrinade in his opening remarks said without education, the country was heading nowhere.
He recalled an interview granted by Chief Obafemi Awolowo in 1979, where the late Premier of Western Region was asked how he would raise funds to finance education.
Akinrinade said late Awolowo, while responding to the question, said if it was possible to ship everyone living in Nigeria to United States and bring those in US to Nigeria, before long, those shipped to Nigeria would turnaround the country and make things work better.
He said proper education would enhance Peoples’ productivity and contribute better to the economy.
In his paper titled, “Education As An Input Variable For National Development,” Prof Faborode, said government should address the rot in the education system from tertiary institution, since those that would drive both primary and post primary levels of education would be trained at that level.
He said, “Need for economic policy coordination, national planning and political will without well-coordinated inter-sectoral economic planning, that provides targeted financing for government priority programmes, backed with necessary political will by both the executive and legislative arms of government all the lofty plans will not yield the desired outcomes.
“In order words, we cannot divorce even the best technically sound initiatives from the ambience of the overall economic operating environment, favourable and strong political will, bolstered by informed and transformational cross-sectoral coordination of the economy.
“This is why we applaud the setting up of the new Economic Advisory Council by the Presidency. In the education sector which is our concern in this colloquium, the NUC’s Blueprint, 2019-2023 has laid out an agenda for revitalising higher education in Nigeria.
“The Federal Ministry and the National Council on Education may wish to cause a similar in-depth analysis and development of such a focused agenda for the Polytechnic and Colleges of Education subsectors, as well as for Secondary and Primary Education. Similarly, the 2050 Blueprint should be of interest to the Economic Advisory Council in preparing Nigeria ahead of the emerging doomsday scenario.”
In their separate goodwill messages, Osun State governor, Adegboyega Oyetola, former National Security Adviser, Gen. Aliyu Gusau, former Prime Minister of Niger Republic, Alhaji Ahmadu, ex Military Administrator of Lagos State, Brigadier General Raji Razaq and ex Osun state governor, Olagunsoye Oyinlola all commended the chairman of Mutual Assurance Benefit, Akin Ogunbiyi, for organising the programme and urged education planners to focus on technical and vocational education.