Oshiomhole: Education must top governments’ priority list

Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State.

Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State.

Governor Adams Oshiomhole says education must top the priority list of governments at all levels, if the country must make any headway. Speaking at the 20th convocation of the school, where seven finished in First Class Division for the 2013/2014 and 2014/2015 sessions, Oshiomhole urged management of universities to, on their parts,  ensure that schools are not shut saying shutting down schools affect Nigerian students’ abilities to compete with their foreign counterparts that enjoy uninterrupted academic calendars.

“There are many universities that are on strike, and ASUU has cleverly reversed the conventional adage, or even law, which says, ‘no work, no pay’. Now, ASUU members find themselves saying 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 states have not paid them, and also I am 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 Nigerian state, federal and state governments, must never default in its obligation to ensuring that teaching and learning never stop.

“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 GDP because every time we stop learning, as Obama would say, ‘when we go so low, they continue to go so high’. And yet, we are expected to compete on the level playing field.“So, the next government must consolidate on what I am already doing and continue to do even more, including keeping promises that I made in good faith, but which I may not have been able to deliver timely, but those promises must be delivered, and these will be in my hand-over note.

“The future that I see, the growth and development of universities will not be based on the generosity of a state governor, because nobody knows when we are going to get out of where we are in. The challenges are mounting. The government needs to provide a variety of public services at a time of declining revenue. In the short run, there will be no quick fixes. So, the university must be creative.

He said the university would grow not courtesy of miracles, but on the basis of determined efforts by management, staff and students to do things differently.   Earlier, Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Ignatius Onimawo, paid glowing tribute to Governor Adams Oshiomhole, for his invaluable contributions to the development of the university.

He said, “The massive interventions of the state government under the leadership of the Governor Oshiomhole, are eloquently manifested in the number of projects that were built from government’s intervention funds/grants. Undeniably, the governor has boldly etched his name in gold in Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma.”

He appealed to the governor-elect, Godwin Obaseki, to continue in that light so that the heights attained would be surpassed.According to the Oninawo, 8,692 diploma, and first-degree students graduated for the 2013/2014 and 2014/2015 academic sessions, while 492 postgraduates were conferred with their awards for the two academic sessions

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