What is Nigeria’s most urgent need that must be attended to immediately? I believe that it’s power. Others are good governance and a total war against corruption. They are urgent…we need to generate more megawatts as soon as possible because of vision 2020. We need credible leadership more than ever because the last probes of Bureau of Public Enterprises by the Senate leaves us wondering and dejected. We must fight corruption vehemently like never before. It’s gradually becoming our permanent identity in the committee of nations. They are urgent but how important are all these things? The issue is if the urgent should be given attention at the expense of the important. It is understandable that they are all urgent; things cannot be permitted to fall apart more than these, but what is important is the real issue.
What then is important? Power? No. Good government and governance? No. Anti-corruption vendetta? No. All these things need urgent attention but they can’t compare with what is nethermost important. What is important that needs to be visited and attended to right about now? Education is it! This is a vital aspect of our life and economy that needs urgent attention and it is important for the preservation of our posterity. It is basically the funding educational sector of our economy. We have the brains and the resources to stand tall anywhere in the world. There are enough tertiary institutions in Nigeria, but, where is the funding? The Nigeria state as it were is funding politics, governance and corruption. Every other thing is secondary! But what is most important is the need for the emerging generation to be preserved. They must be packaged to be able to save their world and compete in all ramifications.
Tertiary education in Nigeria in underfunded. It is thought-provoking to note that the funding that some tertiary institutions get from places where excellence is dedicated to is arguably more than the budget of Nigeria as a nation. This is not appalling. These are nations where they have identified what excellence is and they are committed to its actualization. They are never satisfied with the status quoi; they want to discover better ways of getting things done. UNESCO as it were, advocates a percentage of the statutory budget that must be allocated to Education by developing nations. This has never been complied with in Nigeria. The private owned institutions that rising to the occasion are said to be too expensive for an average Nigeria. The owners and the bodies that own these institutions did not make it so, Nigeria government is to be blamed. In fact, if the fees are compared to what is obtainable in other parts of the world, we would understand the place of aid for effective education in today’s world.
Therefore, Nigeria government should be counseled to fully commit to funding of our education sector like before. The lecturers and instructors should be well paid, research and development must be encouraged, and the infrastructure must be upgraded. When they take the lead, private institutions and NGOS will follow. Education needs the vital attention of the government and this is not negotiable with whatever is urgent. After all, UNESCO recommends at least 4 percent of GNP (or 20% of the national budget) for education in developing countries. But Nigeria’s last budget …May God help our leaders to understand!