By Phil Okose, Onitsha
Sequel to the recent closure of schools in Zamfara State, the Vice Presidential Candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, in 2019 elections, Mr. Peter Obi, weekend called on political leaders at all levels of government, not to be blinded by their quest for power, ahead of 2023 elections, when the country is gradually collapsing under the weight of insecurity, banditry and corruption.
Obi said that “it is disheartening that we, the political leaders could be so fixated on the 2023 elections when every aspect of our country is collapsing, owing to the horrible spate of violence,
banditry, kidnapping and all manner of violence and injustice going on in the country. People are busy struggling to decide who will be the driver of a car that has engine problem. Should we not come together and fix the car first, then look for a competent and qualified driver later?”
Obi had earlier in his interview on Arise TV, when asked about his plans for 2023, stated that fixing Nigeria’s problems were more important to him than any political ambition in 2023.
According to him, the closure of schools, which numbered about 7, 000 in the North, spelt a grave danger for the country.
In his words, “This country is going through very difficult times. We have several thousands of schools closed in the North. Kaduna alone, as I heard, has about 5000 schools shut down. So the whole of North together may have about 7000 schools shut down. And this is happening at a time Nigeria has the highest number of out of school children.
“From my experience as a Governor, each primary school has about 250 to 500 students on the average. If you multiply 7, 000 schools by average of 500 students, you have 3,500,000 students out of school, in addition to the already existing 15 million out-of-school children in Nigeria, that is about 18 million out of school children.
“Our focus therefore should be how to get these children back to school. We are living in a time when the ‘biggest oil’ or national treasure is education and human capital development.
Obi also expressed deep concerns over the shutdown of schools in Zamfara State, owing to high level of insecurity in the area. He urged the government to realize that pushing more children from school into the streets due to insecurity, may eventually result in an unprecedented level of chaos if nothing is done. He called on the Federal Government to create the safe learning environment for the children to return to schools.
By Phil Okose, Onitsha