2023 presidential candidate of the Labour Party, LP, Mr Peter Obi, has said he was looking forward to a Nigeria where only those who know their classmates and have good and undoubted academic certificates can be leaders.
This was because he regretted that the country was busy celebrating people with criminal pasts rather than those that have excelled in their chosen careers, vowing to change the narratives if availed of the opportunity of leading the country.
The former Anambra State Governor who spoke yesterday, in Abuja, while delivering a keynote address at the graduation ceremony of students of Pacesetters Academy, Abuja, emphasized the need for the country to invest more in education as according to him, “without education, there cannot be meaningful development.”
“The politician, who said his presidential ambition was alive, said,”In the next Nigeria, you will not be a leader unless you attended a school, unless you know your classmates unless you have a good certificate whereby if you bring your certificate, nobody will doubt it.”
Obi, while also noting that education was the most important thing that any nation needed, said “What differentiates development and underdeveloped was education.”
“For me, education is the most important thing that any nation needs. What differentiates developed and underdeveloped is education. It is the foundation. Even when you go out and people tell you about measures of development being hinged on the human development index and they tell you it is education, health and per capital income,I will tell you that of all these three, health is about education,if you don’t have a well-educated society, you can’t have a healthy society,” he said.
Noting also that,” You can’t put people out of poverty without education”, the 2023 presidential candidate of the Labour Party, said “The more people are educated, the more they pull themselves out of poverty and that is critical. “
He spoke further:”The more you put people out of poverty, the more you reduce humanity and you can’t do that unless you invest in education. The more people are educated, the more they put themselves out of poverty and that is critical. You can’t have 20 million out-of-school children and think of development tomorrow. We must have to invest in education.
“If you follow 2022 world population of countries, the population of Norway, the population of Island, the population of Singapore and the population of Dubai, if you put the population of these big successful countries together, we are talking of the population of 19.7 million and we are talking of 20 million out-of-school children, so we are more than population of these four successful, thriving, respectable developed
countries put together out of school. So imagine what it will be if we invest in education. So investment in education is critical.,” he said.
“We will invest in public schools, for us to invest in public schools. Nigeria is a country that says they have universal basic education
“As a governor of Anambra State, I did not have what we called private schools or public schools because the children are not private, they remain our own children. So when people tell me about private schools, I would say well, it doesn’t matter to me. We now equipped public schools with computers, when I gave it to them, I gave it to private schools as well.
“You can’t have 20 million out-of-school children and think of development tomorrow. We must have to invest in education.
Obi said,”As a governor of Anambra State, I did not have what we called private schools or public schools because the children are not private, they remain our own children.”
“So when people tell me about private school, I would say well, it doesn’t matter to me. We now equipped public schools with computers. When I gave it to them, I gave it to private schools as well.
“So for me,if I have the opportunity, education will have the highest amount in our budget and our teachers will be celebrated because the most critical components of education are the teachers. They are the ones that our children will take after, they are the ones that talk about discipline but today, we are not celebrating them. Nobody celebrates them but we are busy celebrating and giving national awards to those who have stolen the country dry, we’re busy giving awards to those who should not be part of us. And we are not celebrating the teachers. Things have to change.”
He tasked teachers not to be discouraged by the current development.
“Do not be discouraged because people don’t regard or celebrate you. Know that what you are doing is noble. It is important for the society.
“We can’t have people unless we have people with the right character, we can’t have people unless we have people with the right behaviour, we can’t have people unless we have people with the right discipline.
“As you move to the next stage, know that we want you to be in a different Nigeria, we want you to be part of Nigeria where people who are dropouts will come back to be part of the new Nigeria. Know that the only certificate, the only thing you need is good education. To remain a good person, remain disciplined person, remain truthful, and always do the right thing. It is easy to say that only bad people succeed in Nigeria but please, do not be part of them. That is what we are trying to change,” he added
Earlier, in his welcome message, the Chairman, Pacesetters Schools, Abuja, Barr. Kenneth Imansuangbon tasked the graduands to always strive to be good ambassadors of the school.
Imansuangbon said: “We have trained them well. They should go out and represent the country as ambassadors, they are the future of Nigeria.
“Nigeria needs change and I believe the training they have received puts them in a better position to represent this country because they are the future of Nigeria.”
Also speaking, the Emir of Dutse, Alhaji Muhammad Sunusi lamented the state of education in the country.
The monarch, who recounted his days as a student of one of the unity schools in the country, urged the government to restore the standard of public schools in the country.
He said: “It is quite unfortunate that we have to send our children to private schools in Nigeria. I was a product of Federal Government College, Kano. But we have to ask ourselves why the standard of education in Nigeria is degrading. We have to ask ourselves that. Something has to be done.”
The Emir charged the chairman of Pacesetters schools, Abuja to reset the standard of public schools in Edo State when he wins next year’s governorship election.
“I was told Barr Kenneth is contesting for the governorship of Edo State. It will be a good opportunity and an advantage to the educational system in Nigeria because I believe he will do something about the public schools in Edo State which will be a model to other states because education is the key. Without education, we are going nowhere.”