A former Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi, has again lamented Nigeria’s poor attitude to education; contending that the nation has not done well in the sector even when compared to some other African countries. He made the lamentation at the weekend at a launching and fund-raising dinner for the newly-established Dominican University, at the Colonnade, Lagos.
Decrying the current attitude of Nigerians of seeing education as a mere expenditure item, Obi insisted that resources allocated to education were investments in the future. He noted that the dividends that countries reap from their investments in education reveal a strong correlation between decent investment in education and economic growth & development.
In a comparative analysis of statistics to buttress his point, Obi said that between 2010 and 2016, for instance, South Africa invested over 5%; Egypt more than 3.5%; and Nigeria barely 1% of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Education. Poor investments in education, he said, produce illiterate adults with the attendant low productivity.
Obi said, “From 2010 to 2014, Nigeria budgeted N1.860 trillion for the sector – or US$11.1 billion at the exchange rate of N160 to the Dollar. In 2015 and 2016, the combined budgetary allocation was N761 billion – or US$2.1 billion at the rate of N360 to a Dollar.
“Therefore, over a period of 7 years, Nigeria with a population of about 190 million people spent just US$13.2b on Education. Juxtapose this with South Africa, the second biggest economy in Africa which, with a population of 55 million invested over US$15 billion on that critical sector in 2015 alone; and Egypt, the third biggest economy with a population of 95 million people spending about US$12 billion in that same year only. Obviously, Nigeria is still in slumber as far as investment in education is concerned.”
In agreement with Obi, His Eminence Anthony Cardinal Okojie said he had listened to Obi on several occasions and urged Nigerians to listen to him as he understood the problems and solutions to many ills in the country.
Earlier, in his keynote address, the National Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Abubakar Mahmoud, SAN, lamented the collapse of education in the country; arguing that the situation called for all hands to be on deck to rescue the sector.
Among other personalities present at the event were Archbishop Alaba Job (Retd.), Archbishop Adewale Martins, Dr. A.B.C. Orjiakor, and Evelyn Opute.