June 11, 2024

Why foreign investments aren’t driving economic development in Nigeria – Moghalu


Professor Kingsley Moghalu

…Says education system not fit for purpose

Mbanefo clocks 94

By Adesina Wahab

Former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Prof. Kingsley Moghalu, has said it is a mirage to think foreign investments will drive economic development in the country when some basic things are missing in the system.

He therefore urged Nigerian leaders to stop wasting scarce public resources junketing across the globe to look for foreign investors.

According to him, when skilled workforce, regular electricity among others are lacking, drawing investments to the country for economic growth would be a mere dream.

He stated this on Tuesday while delivering the fifth Arthur Mbanefo Lecture titled “Education and national development: Meeting Nigeria’s challenge in the 21st Century at the Arthur Mbanefo Digital Research Centre, the University of Lagos, UNILAG.

Moghalu, who was also a presidential candidate in the 2023 general elections in Nigeria, blamed the absence of skilled workforce on what he called “the not fit for purpose nature” of the education system in Nigeria.

“The strength or failure of every nation depends on the strength or failure of its education. It is the foundation for development and unfortunately, it is not a matter of priority in our country. Allocation to the sector in the national budget has revolved around five percent in the average, short of the recommended figure of about 15 percent.

” What is the purpose of education? One may ask, it is when that question is answered and the purpose known that education goes beyond literacy. Education is for economic development. It is for building national identity and good citizenship. If you see somebody vandalising public properties like it is done by some people on Third Mainland Bridge or the Second Niger Bridge, then it means such vandals have had education passing them by or that education did not do its job in their lives,” he said.

On why education is not fit for purpose in Nigeria, Moghalu explained that not much has changed since the first National Curriculum Conference was held in the country in 1969 to chart the way forward regarding appropriate curriculum for the country.

“Even though Nigeria was experiencing civil war at that time, leaving a section of the country out of the deliberations, some critical decisions were taken. It gave birth to the Universal Basic Education, UBE, Technical and Vocational Education among others. But as usual with policies in the country, enough effort is not put into the implementation of the policies. Our students are still tied to colonial curriculum that cannot meet the needs of our society,” he said.

To enhance research and development in Nigeria and speed up our economic growth, he suggested that attention be shifted to science, technology, engineering and mathematics, STEM, education.

He urged the country to take a cue from nations such as Finland, South Korea, Israel among others and pay adequate attention to the sector.

In his remarks, Chief Arthur Mbanefo, a former Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, expressed displeasure that those in the academic space are not given the respect they deserve.

“It is a pity that what a Professor takes home monthly is peanut. I have served as Pro Chancellor at UNILAG, Ahmadu Bello University among others, and I know what the challenges facing the universities are. In some other climes, teachers are celebrated. In 1993, I was part of the government’s team that helped in resolving the faceoff between the government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU. I was the one who suggested the introduction of the Education Tax that gave birth to what we now know as Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFund,” he said.

The Chairman of the occasion, Dr Tolulope Adewale, called for concerted efforts to stem the rot in the country’s education sector.

The Vice Chancellor, UNILAG, thanked Chief Mbanefo for his donation of the centre to the university.

Friends and associates of Chief Mbanefo including Uncle Sam Amuka, the Publisher of Vanguard Newspaper, former Attorney General of the Federation, Chief Bayo Ojo, SAN, Senator Bode Olajumoke, Dr Ambrose Orjiakor among others graced the event.