Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, worried over the current high rate of unemployment in the country, has challenged governments at all levels – Federal, State and local governments “to do more in the area of employment”.
Speaking at the 10th anniversary and 6th and 7th convocation ceremonies of Tai Solarin University of Education (TASUED), Ijagun, Ijebu Ode in Ogun State, Mr. Obasanjo warned
If there is no job for the unemployed to feed themselves and also to contribute to the development of the country then, we will all be sitting on gun powder.”
If University education was not for development then, it was not serving any useful purpose. It must be for development, personal, local, national and even global and that is very important”.
The former president stressed that education is a meal ticket for anybody that has it, adding that it is also a means of breaking poverty circle. Obasanjo advised,
I believe in lifelong education. Nobody should stop learning until he or she dies”.
Obasanjo said his acceptance of the award, even when he had rejected the one from the BELLS University, was because of the name, Tai Solarin, which the university is named after and late Chief Hannah Idowu Dideolu Awolowo (mama Awolowo), alongside whom he is being awarded, describing the two as role models as far as education development is concerned in Nigeria.
I don’t indulge in accepting Honourary award not even in Bells University of Technology. It became a must because of the personality which the University was named after. He is one of the best educationists this country ever had, then his memory should remain real with everybody.
Also, anywhere mama is being honoured, we must join hands to to honour her”, he explained.
Obasanjo was honoured with Honourary Doctorate of Education in Political Science while HID was honoured with Honourary Doctorate in Business Education. Also, Aliko Dangote was conferred with Doctorate in Science and Business Education. Late HID Awolowo’s daughter, Mrs Tola Adeniran, received the award on behalf of her mother.
Mr. Obasanjo further stated that he accepted the award because a decade in any human life was not a joke, stressing,
I believe to honour this institution is an exercise that is worthy”.
The former leader also disclosed that his administration wanted to convert four colleges of education to degree awarding institutions 12 years ago wondering why the National Universities Commission, NUC, could not approve it. He said,
This is the first University of Education and any agency of education must be accorded with honour. The idea came 12 years when I was still at the helm of affairs that we have University of Agriculture then why can’t we have University of Education then Ogun State took the advantage of it to establish it”.
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According to him, the proposed colleges for upgrading included Adeyemi College of Education, AIvan Ikoku College of Education, and two others in Kano and Zaria.
At that time at the federal level, four Colleges of Education, which belong to the Federal Government would be turned into University of Education. They included the Adeyemi College of Education in Ondo, Alvan Ikoku College of Education, one in Kano and I think the other in Zaria. We were ready to go. Well, why we could not go, Peter Okebukola is here, you can ask him and he will tell you,” he said.
He however, commended the Ogun State government for taking up the initiative to establish the first University of Education in Nigeria, saying:
Well, the Ogun state government took this initiative and behold, we had the first University of Education in Ogun State. Mr. Governor, please help us to thank your predecessor for this”.