Comrade Danielson Akpan, the Global President of National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, has decried the stagnation in the challenges bedeviling our nation.
Speaking during the International Student’s Day 2019, he called for a governance that will positively affect it’s citizens in all ramifications.
Akpan spoke on the theme: ‘The Same Challenges Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, Where is Nigeria Heading?’
He said: “November 17th is a date set aside by the United Nations to celebrate students globally.
“Their bravery, challenges and roles played in shaping the world with origin from Czech Republic where students were massacred by the Nazi’s forces in 1939 for opposing the brutal Nazi’s front.
“Let me congratulate every student across the globe on the occasion of the International Day of the Students.
“Students worldwide continue to struggle in the face of daunting challenges, academic, economic, social political emancipation, and facing a future not well prepared for them where time and opportunities are distorted in meeting individual and collective aspirations, especially in Africa.
” I enjoin students across the globe to use this year’s occasion to raise pertinent concerns as evidenced across nations.
Nigerian students have become a victim within and outside the educational sector. Lots of issues are begging for attention. From maladministration to corruption, insufficient funding to lack of/poor facilities, moral decadence exhibited both by staff, lecturers and students. Brain drain syndrome amongst others, it is crystal clear that the educational sector in Nigeria is experiencing very alarmingly, a deterioration deserving urgent arrest.
“The greatest problem confronting the educational sector in Nigeria is lack of funding and corruption in the system. This is perpetrated by government, intervention agencies (TETFUND, UBEC, PTDF, UBEB, etc) and school managements.
“In the 2020 proposed budget of the Federal Government of Nigeria, a paltry 4.5% was budgeted for the entire education sector. This is worse and does not guarantee an assured future for citizens in a globally competitive changing world. Countries like Kenya, Ghana now prioritize education, while Nigeria appears with misplaced priority. A visit to any public higher institution in Nigeria will reveal the rot which years of neglect, lack of funding, corruption, academic instability and social vices has wrecked on the sector.
“If our government cannot implement the 26% UNESCO standard budgetary allocation to the education sector, how then are we to produce competitive manpower for local and global relevance? How serious are we in arresting the obvious deterioration that has crippled the education sector? Even the glorious tertiary institutions that were once our pride are in shambles.
“Our educational sector is now at its all time lowest level. As disturbing as this is, there’s no deliberate effort by the ruling class to halt the dangerous tide. We continue to pay lip service to relevant sectors like agriculture, health, finance and housing.
“Corruption has eaten deep into every sector of our national life. Despite ongoing efforts by the incumbent administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR to fight corruption, the obvious reality is that the corrupt ones and their styles of looting keeps changing (presumably even within the government) hence the need for institutional reforms. To successfully fight corruption, our institutions of governance must be strengthened. Individuals must not be bigger than the agencies, departments and the people that they superintend over. We all know that corruption fights back. Every Nigerian must fight corruption, expose those in the habit and help in the recovery of looted funds and national assets.
“The insecurity in Nigeria is still alarming. We cannot continue to pretend over this. Notwithstanding the gains recorded by the military in the fight against insurgency, particularly in decimating Boko Haram, it is painful to note that insecurity has assumed a different dimension across regions. In the last 10 years, more than 200,000 Nigerians have lost their lives to incidences of violence occasioned by economic, political and social deprivations. We cannot have a peaceful nation when sections or tribes have sense of entitlements in a nation where allocations, resources, opportunities and positions are not evenly distributed.
Nepotism, bigotry, extremism and lack of policy continuity are issues we must deal with if we must lead and live in an egalitarian society and as one indivisible entity.
“Rather than celebrating the International Students Day, it is important that as a representative of millions, especially the future leaders, highlighting some of the issues limiting our progress as a nation deserves attention than any other, and Nigerian students wish these issues are attended to in the interest of a prosperous, stable and united Nigeria.
“More efforts should be intensified in ensuring that all threats against national unity, cohesion and peaceful coexistence are dealt with.
Our military and police forces must be well motivated, adequately trained and given effective weapons superior to ones used by insurgents, bandits, herdsmen and militants.
Their welfare must continually be prioritized in order to get their best in restoring orderliness and ensuring national unity.
“Our judiciary is becoming a laughing stock as judgements are dished without case reference. Due diligence have been sacrificed on the altar of political expediency. The greatest challenge confronting the judiciary is corruption which no doubt has permeated the Nigerian judiciary. This is more than worrisome. Anarchy can only erupt when the judiciary no longer dispense justice according to the rules and in favour of those deserving of it.
Being the last hope of the common man, the judiciary should remain apolitical, purge herself of corrupt elements and dispense justice without fear or favour.
As you all know, the rule of law has become a subject of hypocrisy. Many departments of government fail to respect court judgements on issues before the courts. This singular action portrays our democracy as experimental. No organ of the state should act independent of our laws else they promote impunity and infringe on the rights of Nigerians.
Recent actions by the judiciary have heightened fears amongst Nigerians on the partial judgements emanating on some issues. The judiciary must also ensure that court judgements are obeyed.
The best way to addressing the rot in the educational sector is by allocating 26% of our annual budget to education. The decline in the sector is unbearably noticeable and except we plan as a nation not to compete with the rest of the world with intelligence and competence, the future is doomed.
All acts of corruption in the education sector must be addressed. Highhandedness and moral decadence in tertiary institutions in Nigeria should be urgently addressed.
The education curriculum should be redesigned to meet today’s entrepreneurial and technology driven economy. State governments should stand up in complementing the FG by budgeting 26% for educational development in their states.
Nigerians die daily due to avoidable health challenges. Our health centres are daily becoming death centres. Inadequate personnel and lack of functional equipments are issues that must be addressed.
Every local government in Nigeria should have at least one world class health facility that can address any health condition of any citizen, poor or wealthy. Medical tourism should be halted.
“Maternal mortality should be eliminated. Children, pregnant mothers, disabled citizens and aged people should enjoy health benefits of medical payments upto #100,000.
“HOUSING AND INFRASTRUCTURE
Unless we invest heavily in housing and infrastructure, we shall continue to experience low standard of living amongst citizens.
Every Nigerian deserves a shelter. Infrastructures should not be built or concentrated mainly at the urban centres. Deliberate attempt should be made at opening up the rural areas as mostly all urban centres on Nigeria have become overfilled and infrastructures overused.
Government should remain focused on providing infrastructures that can earn us revenue in no distant future.
“The government must begin a deliberate policy of integration. Whereas unemployment is one of the factors leading to social disorderliness and insecurity, the private sector must be encouraged to generate more employment opportunities for the teeming youths. Our female population must be provided with soft loans and encouraged to go into small scale businesses. The vibrancy of the youthful male population should be an advantage. Vocational and Technical skill acquisition centres should be established to tap the energy of the youthful ones in production lines.
Cultural and sporting activities should be encouraged amongst the youthful population. For us to progress, we must begin to invest in social securities for the future.
“While all hope is not lost in addressing our challenges, Nigerian students join their counterparts across the globe in celebrating the steadfastness of the world’s most deprived strata of the society.
No amount of challenges should be strong enough to make us deviate from coming up with solutions that can make our world more conducive. Let us shun acts of violence, vices and immorality capable of derailing our pursuit of excellence.”