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Unizik: Experts link illiteracy, poor ethics to insecurity, governance issues in Nigeria

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By Gabriel Chy Alonta 

Education experts and scholars have identified illiteracy and poor value orientation as issues fueling rising insecurity and stunted growth in Nigeria.

The experts made the observation at the Annual National Conference of Faculty of Education, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra state. 

The 2-day conference, which took place at the Chike Okoli Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies of the institution on Wednesday, Orient Daily reports, was themed, “Re-engineering Education for Good Governance, Security, Creativity and Environmental Protection for National Development in COVID-19 Era”*.

In a keynote speech, the Dean, Faculty of Education, Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu Alike Ikwo (AEFUNAI), Prof. Rosemary Igbo, described the theme as timely, which, she said, conveyed the message of the moment, adding that “governance and security are turbulent the world over”.

Igbo, while decrying that that the rising tension in Nigeria was linked to Illiteracy birthing insecurity, frustration and retarded economic growth and development, stressed the need to ensure health, food, personal, political, financial and community securities as way out.

The keynote speaker listed rule of law, responsibility, equity, effectiveness, efficiency, accountability, strategic vision and transparency, as indices of good governance, and remarked that such characteristics could only be attained through proper education.

She then called for implementation of literacy education, civic education, ICT, environmental education curricula, and so on, to promote unity, self-reliance, national tolerance and community service. She said it is only through education that good governance, security, creativity and national development can be guaranteed.

In a lead paper presentation on ‘the place of intellectuals in re-engineering Nigeria education for good governance and national security’, the ASUU chairperson, Enugu State University of Science and Technology, Enugu, Prof. Chinedu Aguba, called on the intellectual community to continue to challenge the education status quo, while regretting that education is treated as a privilege rather than a right in Nigeria. 

Prof. Aguba decried the dearth of infrastructure that still characterised the education system in Nigeria in the 21st century, and charged the intellectuals to take the bull by the horn to bring about rapid, desirable changes in education. 

According to him, our problem is not ethnicity nor religion, but it has a lot to do with intellectuals. The collapse of education is a collapse of the nation. Education remains key for progress.

“If a person is educated but with no sound moral, it is no education. Every intellectual must be guided by truth and justice. We should continue to interrogate the situation for the good of society because good governance is a product of education. 

“This is why the rising number of out-of-school children is a great concern to both intellectuals and society at large. It is a pointer as to what the future holds.

“Educated societies have minimal records of violence ratio in the world. Educated people are easier to govern but difficult to enslave. There is a high correlation between good governance and security, and this can only be achieved in Nigeria by re-engineering education”, the ASUU chairperson told his audience. 

As part of intellectuals’ involvement in advancing education in Nigeria, the lead paper presenter tasked intellectuals to engage in advocacy with state actors towards ensuring that teachers are selected on merit, as well as to obey the 26 per cent budgetary allocation to education sector as recommended by the UNESCO.

While declaring the conference open, the university vice-chancellor, Prof. Charles Esimone, described the conference theme as very apt considering the fallen standard of education and insecurity facing Nigeria. Esimone, represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Prof. Frederick Odibo, said, “We need capable human resources to re-engineer education for better governance, security, creativity and national development”.

The vice-chancellor reiterated his vision to make the university the best university in Nigeria, among the 10 universities in Africa and among the top 200 universities in the world before the end of his tenure. He said he would achieve the feat through deft combination and execution of the core functions of the university – teaching, research, and community service.

In a remark, Unizik Faculty of Education Dean, Prof. Nkechi Ikediugwu, said education was the bedrock of any good governance, security, creativity among others, while calling for its re-engineering through human resources to foster national development. She said the conference would be beneficial to the government, teachers, students, and the nation at large.

Ikediugwu, a professor of educational management and policy, added, “It is my passion to carry both staff and students along in my administration. The faculty will continue to stand out in activities in the university. “We have started making moves to ensure timely graduation of our undergraduate and postgraduate students who will be great assets to the university and the nation at large”.

Earlier, the chairman of the occasion, Prof. Godwin Umeasiegbu, harped on reinvigorating education in Nigeria especially in the COVID-19 period, for sustainable national development.

Prof. Emeka Ibeagha, the LOC chairman, had, in a vote of thanks, lamented the recent security threats facing the South East, and recalled how the conference dates were altered as a result. He admitted that security system in Nigeria needs rejigging, averring that there would be no development without adequate protection of lives and properties of the citizens. 

Cultural display and dance by Africana International Troope (AIT), led by Professor of Human Kinetics Education, Oby Okonkwor, formed the high points of the annual national conference.

The conference was moderated/anchored by the Director, Centre for Disability and Special Needs Research (CENDASNER), Prof. Willie Obiozor.

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