A former Secretary of the defunct National Democratic Coalition, Pa Ayo Opadokun, has warned against unsound national policies, saying they can ruin the country’s development.
Opadokun, who is the Convener of the Coalition of Democrats for Electoral Reforms, made the remarks in a keynote address on ‘Nigerian Education and Library Services’ at the Molete Baptist Church, Ibadan on Sunday.
He said, “The military started it all. The military has little regard for education. This is a major setback for Nigeria. This has hindered the country’s ability to contribute significantly to human civilisation.
“They worsened the situation because they sheepishly conceded to the enforcement of the so-called lingual franca on us. What they have done to us is that the mother tongue, which should be the foundation or superstructure upon which a child can be educated, was shattered.
“The learners are going through jeopardy now because they lack the fundamental superstructure upon which their education should be based. This spells doom as they do not understand the foreign language that was foisted on them and they don’t have a good grasp of their mother tongue.
“In most homes today, use of mother tongue is punished because it is regarded as vernacular. That is injustice in the area of education.
“The military came and frustrated our negotiated federal arrangements. That is part of the crisis of our lives. The military had little regard for education. The leaders allocated so little to education.”
Opadokun lamented that a paltry three to five per cent of the national budget was allocated to education over the years.
He said, “Hardly would 20 per cent be spent on education. About 50 per cent would be spent on bureaucracy and contracts.
“In the last eight years, our recurrent expenditure as a nation has been between 78 and 82 percent. With such a scenario, how can a nation develop?”
He urged the people to make further investments in education by buying books for their children and by supporting the development of library services in schools.
Without a change of orientation, he said, “I do not see hope in the horizon for Nigeria because those who should ask questions are busy grumbling. Both the young and the old are not doing the needful. That would not bring a good result. Those who lament are not in my good books.
“Nigerians know what is wrong but they are busy lamenting. They know what to do to right the wrong but they do not have the guts or the conviction of the heart to face the consequences of their action to ensure that the right thing is done. So, God be with all of us.”
The Host Pastor, Molete Baptist Church, Reverend Edward Alabi, said, “Here, we do not hold the issues of education and the importance of the library with levity. A child who doesn’t like reading cannot cohabit with me. Raise a child, plant a tree, read a book and you would be seen as a great person.”