Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Saturday tasked governments at all levels to deliver on their roles on provision of basic education for the benefit of all Nigerians, especially the girl child.
Osinbajo made the call as the special guest at the Mallpai Foundation 2021 Literacy Day, with the theme: “Promoting Literacy for Better Education in Nigeria,” in Abuja.
According to him, education is the best ticket to the full enjoyment of all human civil, socio-political and economic rights.
Osinbajo said: “So, when we talk about human rights that have been declared, the only way to access those rights, including economic rights, is by education at the most basic level.
“The ability to read and write, not just in one’s own language, but other global languages is crucial; to be deprived of education is to be deprived of means of pursuit of a dignified existence.
“It is the only means where one can fully contest or collaborate with others for the benefits that life offers and it is so important for us, especially those who are policy makers.
“We owe our people the duty to educate them, we owe our people the duty to lift their minds to the level where they can benefit maximally from their environment and give benefits to others.
“Every study, every survey that you have seen confirms that education, especially of women, has a multiplier effect on everything around them.
“If you educate a woman, she transforms her environment completely. It usually means a longer life span for herself and for her children.
“It means they are less likely to die of communicable diseases, since they understand the modern practices of hygiene and sanitation and follow useful material on healthcare.
“All of these things are possible; everything is possible if the mind of a human being is educated.
“Every child has talent, every child that is born is born with some talents and some abilities, but nothing will happen if they are not educated to express those abilities.”
The vice president commended the Foundation for its initiative towards improving people’s access to education and skills acquisition opportunities for poor and underprivileged communities.
He also noted that such had enabled disadvantaged and out- of-school children surmount the hurdles of getting formal education, especially on account of prevailing culture.
“In every zone of the country where there has been free education, particularly Western region, there was a great deal of resistance in Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s introduction of free education.”
He reiterated that a lot needs to be done through the courage of individual and corporate convictions, for the goals of girl-child education to be achieved.
Also speaking at the event, Gov. Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi State commended the Federal Government’s efforts under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, to provide basic education, aimed at meeting future challenges.
According to him, with several successes, Kebbi state had keyed into some educational programmes that provided access to those without access to education.
“We challenged Professors of Higher institutions and told them that under our Universal Basic Education Board law, our best brains should lead where the greatest challenges are in the state.
“These professors accepted and today 21 Local Education Authorities in Kebbi State are led by dons from across different universities.
“The remarkable success recorded is that they were able to face the challenges as trusted and able to look at the government, to say we can do better here and differently.
“In spite of this, the community has to get involved; today there is a consequence in poor investment in getting children back to school, especially the nomadic.
“There is therefore the need for society not to avoid inclusion of young people in accessing quality education.”
The Minister of State for Education, Mr Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, said that what the Foundation had done was expected of everybody, saying “government is all of us”.
According to him, since 2009, the Founder of Mallpai Foundation, Hajiya Aisha Atiku-Bagudu, started this programme she had reached out and touched many lives positively.
Nwajiuba said: “The only way we are going to uplift one another is to help one another grow.
“Essentially, education provides that something that turns nobody into somebody, by putting something inside that body.
“The thing you put inside that body, you put in the brain and that is what education enables a country to do, we are all here to support Mallpai and recommit ourselves that no child is left behind.”
The event attracted people from all walks of life and featured panel discussion on policies aimed at reshaping the education of the girl-child.
MALLPAI means “Mass Literacy for the Less Privileged and Almajiri Initiative”.