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Yusuf Ali on how to rebuild Nigeria’s education system

By Kehinde Olatunji
04 December 2018   |   4:32 am
The move to make the Nigeria’s educational system competitive globally was a center of discourse at the sixth Convocation ceremony and the conferment of honorary and postgraduate degrees of Oduduwa University, Ipetumodu, Osun State

Ali (left) receiving his award from the Founder of Oduduwa University, Dr. Rahman Adedoyin after being conferred with honourary doctorate degree (honoris causa) in Public Administration by Oduduwa University…recently

The move to make the Nigeria’s educational system competitive globally was a center of discourse at the sixth Convocation ceremony and the conferment of honorary and postgraduate degrees of Oduduwa University, Ipetumodu, Osun State

Till date, the problems in the education sector stems from sublime to the ridicule. No successive government has been able to effectively design and implement a road map to achieving quality education for our people. The issues militating against how our nation’s ivory towers could rank shoulder with other globally acclaimed institutions are multifaceted.

Just recently the Federal Government said it was poised to tackle corruption in the varsity administration, inadequacies in facilities for teaching, learning and research, among others. The government holds that inadequate funding; deficits in teacher quality and quantity, including quality of professors; and governance deficits, among others are germane in reshaping the future of the nation’s educational system.

It was against this backdrop that a leading legal luminary and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mallam Yusuf Ali on Wednesday in Oduduwa University proferred workable solutions on how Nigeria’s education system could work.

Ali, who was conferred with the honorary doctorate degree in Public Administration of the Oduduwa University in Osun State licensed in 2009 by the Federal Government, to run as a private institution, recalled how the formal education started as a private endeavour until much later in human development, when different forms of governments were instituted among men, and states decided to take interest in the education of their citizens.

An Ilorin, Kwara state born lawyer who was honoured alongside a fellow silk, Olusola Oyeyemi, son of a retired justice of the Supreme Court (Justice Oyeyemi) as co-beneficiary of doctoral degree in Public Administration, remarked further, “as time went on, it became evident that governments alone could not provide education for all citizens, and private persons and other groups started to set up educational institutions. The acknowledged best universities in the world today, the likes of Cambridge, Harvard, Oxford and so on, were products of such efforts.”

Ali who has been using the vehicle of Yusuf Ali Foundation of which he is the founder and sole financier to intervene in many public institutions by donating to the scholarship worth N2.088million to 50 students of his Alma Mater, Ibadan Boys High School WAEC & NECO, called on the Federal Government to encourage the establishment of more private universities because it is becoming clear that they may be the stables that will produce forefront intellectuals in science and other disciplines.

He said private universities should be encouraged to maintain the educational standard for which they are now known, adding that “it is my prayer that, as Cambridge and others in that league have become centres of educational excellence and reference points, so shall Oduduwa University become in the nearest future.”

Going forward in making Nigeria’s education work better, Ali stated as follows: ‘today, the distinguishing factor between our public universities and other universities all over the world is the stability of academic calendar. Whereas, stability of academic calendar is assured in other universities all over the world, that is not the situation with our public-owned tertiary institutions, except the University of Ilorin, where there has been a consistent stability of academic calendar since 2001.

“The instability in the academic calendar of our public tertiary institutions, has so much eroded the credibility of certificates from these institutions, to the shame of all of us. It is clear that private universities have taken on the challenge to liberate our educational system from the clutches of stagnation and lack of competitiveness.

“I therefore, call on all stakeholders in our educational sector, especially the Federal and State governments that have tertiary institutions and the various academic and non-academic unions in the institutions to please, in the interest of our nation and our children, find common grounds on issues affecting the institutions in order to ensure that we institute a stable, progressive and workable academic calendar in our tertiary institutions. It existed in the past and we can recreate it now.”

Ali whose legendary philanthropic gestures cut across like donation of a Twin Dormitory to the university of Ilorin; donation of an 80-bed hostel to the Osun state University; 30unit ICT centre to the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife; a 10-bed advanced trauma centre to the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital; 30unit ICT centre to the College of Law, Crescent University, Abeokuta Ogun state; Endowment of the Crescent university College of Law building; 40unit e-resource centre to the Kwara state polytechnic, Ilorin; a brand new Kia Rio 2014 model to the university of Ibadan for the use of the Department of Arabic and Islamic studies of the university.donation of 20-room luxurious hostel to Fountain University, Osogbo, among others, called on other well-meaning, well-to-do Nigerians with the wherewithal, to join in the move by beaming their searchlight of philanthropy on private universities in order to secure the future of generations yet unborn.

Ali, on behalf of himself and the other recipients expressed gratitude to the Chancellor, Board of Trustees, Governing Council, Management, Staff and Students of Oduduwa University “for this rare honour. We shall endeavour to live with and improve upon the qualities the institution found in us that made the award possible.”

Earlier the Chancellor and Founder, Oduduwa University, Dr. Rahman Adedoyin described Ali and Oyeyemi as great men of noble birth, using their profession and hard-earn wealth to touch lives and reshape society for good. He said since the university was founded about 10years ago, only six Nigerians have been honoured with doctoral degrees including ex-finance minister, Dr. Mrs Okonjo Iweala; former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and now Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi; former Accountant General of the Federation, Mr. Jonah Otunla; Executive Secretary of Muslim Ummah, South West Nigeria, Prof. D.O.S. Noibi and Alhaji S.O. Babalola, Deputy President, Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA and Proprietor of AlHikmah University).

At the well attended event were Mr. Kehinde Eleja, SAN; Oba Justice Ademola Ajakaye; Oba Adebayo Adelodun, SAN; the JAMB Registrar, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede; Vice Chancellor, Osun state University, Prof Labode Popoola; Vice Chancellor, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Prof. Saburi Adesanya and
Chief Titus Supo Ashaolu, SAN.Others in Ali’s entourage were a former Secretary to Oyo state Government, Alhaji Akin Olajide, Prof. Abdulwahab Egbewole, SAN; Dr. Idowu Waheed Olanrewaju and honourable Justice AbdulRaheem Akangbe.