Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar on Thursday said that the world was leaving Nigeria behind because of poor education development in the country.
The ex-VP spoke in Abuja at the National Dialogue on Education, Good Governance and National Unity organised by the Unity Schools Old Students Association.
Atiku expressed regret that while countries like Japan and Singapore were rapidly developing without oil and solid minerals, Nigeria with abundant resources had been lagging behind.
He said, “Education is the key to our future, not oil, not solid minerals. For us to rapidly develop this country and improve the living standards of our people, we must focus on human capital development, i.e. education.
“And it cannot be achieved through business as usual in our educational system. We need to rethink what we are doing in and with education. The world is leaving us behind so we need to act fast.”
According to him, education should be the responsibility of states and local governments, while the Federal Government should set standards and ensure enforcement.
He, however, advocated the restoration of the vision and mission of the unity schools by moving their students and teachers outside their region to foster brotherhood and nationhood.
President-General of USOSA, Alhaji Muhammadu Nuhu-Koko, said the dialogue was called to seek acceptable ways of moving the education sector forward.
In a goodwill message, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, said all Nigerians had a great role to play in shaping the future of education in the country.
The Sultan lamented that the lingering strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities had continued to regress education standard.
Former Minister of Education, Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili, called for a neutral body to chart the way forward in education as the issue had gone beyond the Federal Government and ASUU.
She said, “There is no time because the rest of the world has used knowledge as a basis to completely leave us behind the lower rungs of economic development.
“What I think should happen is that the two parties so far seem to have failed to sign the ground for a principal negotiation. This is no longer a matter between the government and ASUU; this has become a
matter between the people of Nigeria, government and ASUU.
“I think the citizens must now demand that there be a neutral approach at identifying what will be the solution to the kind of university system that we want to run.”