Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has called for free and compulsory primary and secondary education across the African continent. Atiku made the call at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State, as chairman of the 2016 Zik Lectures hosted by the Faculty of Social Sciences of the university. According to the former vice president, “Free and compulsory education would enable every African child to acquire basic education to help the continent produce an enlightened citizenry,” adding further that “free education was the norm in those countries that we (Africans) look up to as models for development.” The Turaki Adamawa revealed that it was free and compulsory education that transformed his life and equipped him to play the kind of roles he now plays in society, rather than ending up as a rural person in the old Adamawa province of northern Nigeria. For this reason, according to him, he has devoted much of his philanthropic endeavours to investment in education, which led to the establishment of an education village in his native Yola in Adamawa State, where students, irrespective of their background and means, are provided with quality education from kindergarten to university. He said further that “in the educational village that I established in Yola, our focus is not just providing students with high quality education from kindergarten to university. We are also focused on providing them with the skills to become leaders in their various communities and countries. That is why we involve them in the lives of the surrounding community so they become part of the solutions to the challenges those communities face. Thus critical thinking, problem solving and leadership development are integral parts of their educational experience.” The Turaki paid tribute to the lecture organisers and the sponsor of the series, Senator Ben Obi, and also to the keynote speaker, Mr. Raila Odinga, former prime minister of Kenya, and all those who in various ways had complimented government’s efforts in expanding and advancing the frontiers of education across Africa. The former vice president urged them not to rest on their oars, as the end result of their labour and input in mass education would be a better and more enlightened African society and environment that would not only be development-friendly but beneficial to all and sundry.
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