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2023: Kwara Central candidates harp on quality education, healthcare, poverty alleviation

By Odun Edward, Ilorin
04 October 2022   |   2:42 am
The need for qualitative education, health systems and enduring poverty alleviation schemes dominated talks, yesterday, at a debate session. The event was organised for Kwara Central senatorial District Candidates by the Correspondents Chapel of the state’s council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ). The speakers included candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Bolaji…

The need for qualitative education, health systems and enduring poverty alleviation schemes dominated talks, yesterday, at a debate session.

The event was organised for Kwara Central senatorial District Candidates by the Correspondents Chapel of the state’s council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).

The speakers included candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Bolaji Abdullahi; Labour Party, Umar Faruq Akanbi and Social Democratic Party (SDP), Ridwan Apaokagi.

While Abdullahi is the former Minister of Sports, Akanbi is a former chairman of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) and Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in the state. Apaokagi is a medical practitioner and owner of a private medical facility in Ilorin.

The candidates were unanimous in their submissions that if Nigeria must regain its lost glory, the education sector must be made to work again.

They lamented the over eight-month industrial action by members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), which has rendered students redundant at home.

The debaters also decried the alarming rate of insecurity and poverty in the country, resulting from youth unemployment.

Abdullahi said: “Nigeria is at great crossroads. We are going through challenges we have never experienced before. While Nigeria has the largest economy on the African continent it’s also home to the poorest people in the world. Poor higher education is hindering the country’s progress.

“2023 provides the opportunity to reset the button if Nigeria should remain a strong united nation.

“I want to give Kwara Central a strong voice at the National Assembly. I have the education. I have experience, as a former minister. I’m going to be part of the people that will use the instrumentality of legislation to move the country forward.”

On his part, Akanbi condemned the recruitment of youths by politicians as thugs, saying lack of leadership has dwarfed Nigeria’s development, despite being endowed with abundant natural resources.

He said: “Nigeria’s economy is in shambles. Students are at home because of the ASUU strike. Refineries are not working, yet we continue to budget for Turn Around Maintenance (TAM), and import refined oil.

“We have all these problems because we do not have a legislature that is up to its billing. We need a strong legislature that will put the executive on its toes on anything the executive is doing against the interest of Nigerians. This is the kind of representation I want for my people.”

In his submission, Apaokagi said: “What do you expect in a country where the president and ministers cannot be treated even for malaria. The roads are bad because public officers do not travel by road. Most patients die because they cannot afford N3,000 for medical treatment.”

Apaokagi, who canvassed the participation of civil servants in partisan politics without losing their jobs, said: “Nigeria is going to collapse if we don’t all rise to salvage it. God will never come down to change a people’s condition unless they change it by themselves. No to money politics! We should chase away those who have ruled this country before.”

Earlier, the chairman of the chapel, AbdulHakeem Garba, said the essence of the debate was to give the candidates the opportunity to meet with a large gathering of newsmen to sell their programmes to the public.

He commended the Abiodun Fagbemi-led organising committee for a job well done.