Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, said poor education is responsible for the lack of socio-economic development in Nigeria.
Bankole explained that Nigeria has become focused on the attainment of paper and certificate qualifications so much that it now parades the highest population of illiterate graduates in the world.
The former speaker said this at the weekend while delivering a lecture entitled: ‘Tertiary Education: The pathway to sustainable development’ during the fourth open lecture series of the Institute of Education, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye in Ogun State.
Bankole said there are many challenges and roadblocks to development, but that education should provide the lens through which the nation can envision, create and erect lasting solutions to pervasive and persistent challenges to development.
He explained that the impact of poor education is feasible everywhere in the country ranging from graduates who are unable to find placement with their certificates and uneducated or unengaged youths who turn to a life of crime and bad behaviour.
According to him, it is no wonder that Nigeria is also facing severe poverty, adding that poverty and inequality are entrenched in societies without good education which creates room for extremism and terrorism.
The former speaker, however, urged all stakeholders in the education sector to support efforts at finding solutions to the problem confronting the nation, adding that Nigeria is suffering from bad leadership because of ineptitude in the education sector.
Bankole observed that there is no quality participation from the intelligentsia and called for quality research works by scholars and students in tertiary institutions which he noted are part of the problems confronting democracy in Nigeria.
The former speaker while highlighting the role of tertiary institutions in the enhancement of sustainable growth noted that higher institutions in the country should live up to their responsibility of serving as a pool of knowledge and ideas.
“We will continue to educate, inform ourselves and we will continue to intervene. We can intervene by putting men of character to lead us, while we have all types of people, please give them business, let them go and make money if it is what they want, but don’t put them in strategic positions of governance.
“Regardless of the revenue accrued by the economy, the need for better universities must remain a priority if Nigeria is to progress. The federal government has pledged to invest N369 billion towards education in this year’s budget, we must ensure that we hold the government accountable to this and that those monies are used judiciously to improve learning experience.
“We must continue to push for better funding for education; we must continue to demand high standards in schools. We must continue to create opportunities for all Nigerians to obtain good educational foundation on which to build their lives.”
Vice Chancellor of the university, Professor Saburi Adesanya, who was represented by Professor Kamaldeen Balogun described the lecture series of the institute as a timely contribution for knowledge and educational development.
He said the lecture will contribute to the economic and manpower development of the country, adding that it will develop potentiality and overall achievement of sustainable development in schools.
Director of the institute, Professor Alaba Adenuga, commended the state government for its belief in academic freedom, noting that the lecture was part of the institution’s efforts to assume its rightful place and serve as a catalyst for socio-economic development.