By Deborah Tolu-Kolawole
The presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 presidential election, Peter Obi, on Saturday accused the Federal Government of giving national awards to individuals who “stole the country dry” while failing to recognise the roles played by teachers in moulding the “leaders of the tomorrow.”
Obi, who advocated for an increased budgetary allocation for education, spoke during the graduation ceremony of Pace Setters Academy in Abuja. He blamed the country’s level of development on the government’s understanding of the importance of education.
He stated, “Education is the most important thing any nation needs. It is the foundation of development. If you don’t have an educated citizenry, you can’t have a healthy society. You can’t pull people out of poverty without education. This is because the more people you ensure get education, the more they would be able to pull themselves out of poverty.
“We can’t have 20 million out-of-school children and start to talk about development tomorrow. That is why we need to invest in education. During our campaigns, we said we will invest in public schools and private schools. We talked about having a budget for every child in a way that the budget for each child will be paid to their respective schools, whether private or public.
“As the governor of Anambra State, I didn’t have anything called private school because there is no private child in Nigeria. I equipped schools with computers and other necessary facilities. If I have my way, education will have the highest budget and teachers will be celebrated. They are the ones moulding the children.
He referenced a teacher, Akeem Badaru, from St Michaels School in Ogun State for winning Cambridge’s best teacher award, beating 99 other countries. “Many Nigerians did not know. We are busy giving national awards to those who stole the country dry,” he added.
The founder of the school and LP governorship aspirant in Edo State, Kenneth Imansuangbon, in his remarks, charged the graduating students to be at their best always.
“The students are the future of Nigeria and we have trained them. It is now time for them to go out and practice what they have been taught,” he added.
When our correspondent contacted the Spokesperson for the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Willy Bassey, he said, “OSGF was not the ministry; it’s the mandate of the Federal Ministry of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs.”
However, no representative of the ministry, which was previously under the purview of the current SGF, George Akume, could not be reached at press time.
Also, the Special Adviser to the President on Special Duties, Communications and Strategy, Dele Alake, could not be reached.