Former Vice President and chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Atiku Abubakar, has called for primary and secondary education to be free and compulsory across the African continent.
Atiku made the call, at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State, in his capacity as the chairman of the 2016 Zik lectures, hosted by the Faculty of Social Sciences of the university. The topic titled “Crisis, education and Africa’s recovery.”
According to the former vice president, “free and compulsory education would enable every African child to acquire basic education, to help the continent produce an enlightened citizenry,” adding that free education is the norm in those countries that we (Africans), look up to as models for development.”
On a personal level, Atiku Abubakar also known as Turaki Adamawa reveals that, it was free and compulsory education that transformed his life and equipped him to play the kind of roles he now plays in society, rather than having to end up as a rural person, in the old Adamawa province of Northern Nigeria. For this reason, according to him, he has devoted much of his philanthropic endeavours to investment in education, which led to the establishment of an educational village in his native Yola, in Adamawa State, where students, irrespective of their background and means are provided with quality education from kindergarten to University.
He says further, “in the educational village that I established in Yola, our focus is not just providing students with high quality education from kindergarten to university. We are also focused on providing them with the skills to become leaders, in their various communities and countries. That is why we involve them in the lives of the surrounding community, so they become part of the solutions to the challenges those communities face. Thus critical thinking, problem solving and leadership development are integral parts of their educational experience.”
The Turaki pays tribute to the lecture organisers and the sponsor of the series, Senator Ben Obi. He also pays tribute to the keynote speaker, Mr Raila Odinga, former Prime Minister of Kenya, and all those, who in various ways have complimented government’s efforts, in expanding and advancing the frontiers of education across the continent of Africa.
The former Vice President urges them not to rest on their oars, as the end result of their labour and input in mass education, would be a better and more enlightened African society and environment that would not only be development-friendly but beneficial to all and sundry.