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Public Hearing: Atiku Decries Congestion In Higher Education Sector

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Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, has said that Nigeria’s higher education sector is overburdened by population growth.
He suggested the establishment of more tertiary institutions across the country to cope with the country’s growing population.
He stated this at a public hearing on a bill to establish Modibbo Adama University Yola, held at the National Assembly Complex, Abuja yesterday.
The bill which passed second reading in the Senate on November 13 seeks to convert the Modibbo Adama University of Technology (MAUTech) Yola, a mono-disciplinary institute to a multi-disciplinary and engaging institution of higher learning.
Abubakar said that the higher education sector was also overburdened by a significant youth bulge.
“More than 60 per cent of the country’s population is under the age of 24 years; almost one in four Sub-Saharan people reside in Nigeria, making it Africa’s most populous country.
“From an estimated 42.5 million people at the time of independence in 1960, Nigeria’s population has more than quadrupled to 186,988 million people in 2016 (UN projection).
“The United Nations anticipates that Nigeria will become the third largest country in the world by 2050 with 399 million people,’’ Atiku said.
The former vice-president said that with such projections, Nigeria’s exponential population growth was exerting immense pressure on the country’s resources and overstretching public services and infrastructure.
Abubakar further explained that record from Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) indicated a wide disparity between the number of applications and the actual number of successful admission in the nation’s tertiary institutions.
He said that converting MAUTech Yola to a conventional university would expand the chance of qualified candidates to get placement beyond the limited confines of engineering and sciences.
“The conversion of the university to a conventional university which in addition to courses in science and technology will have the mandate to run courses in medicine, pharmacy, law, the arts and social and management sciences, among others.
“This indeed is the surest way to accelerate access, quality, relevance and equity for our people in Adamawa.
“I formally join fellow compatriots in the advocacy for the conversion of the university from a specialised entity to a conventional one,” Abubakar said.
He, however, appealed to members of the National Assembly to review the law on compulsory basic free education, alleging that the funds given to states to develop education were being diverted.
Sponsor of the bill Sen. Aishatu Dahiru (APC-Adamawa Central) said that the world was moving from mono-disciplinary institutions to multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary institutions of learning.
“In keeping with this, it will also have well-grounded students of technology with knowledge of the social sciences and humanities and not just technology robots,’’ she said.
In his remark, Chairman, Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TetFund Sen. Ahmad Kaita, said that the institution would provide the much needed technical knowhow that would aid the country’s technological advancement.
President of the Senate Ahmad Lawan while declaring the public hearing open said that the institutions were central to the growth and development of the much needed workforce in the country.
Lawan who was represented by the Deputy Senate President Ovie Omo-Agege said that the institution would be useful to the proposed catchment areas of Adamawa.

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Nyako Blames Politicians For Nation’s Security Challenges

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A retired Naval Officer and former senator representing Adamawa Central, Sen. Abdul-Azeez Nyako, says politicians should largely be blamed for the current security challenge in the country rather than the military.
Speaking to newsmen yesterday in Yola, Nyako said the Nigerian military which is currently overstretched is doing its best on the situation and deserved commendation.
He said politicians needed to do more in their expected role of providing good governance, particularly in addressing conflicts in their areas and in tackling key issues like extreme poverty that led to insecurity.
“The bulk of us (politicians) are providing bad leadership; we are only concerned about distribution of resources instead of good leadership or how to resolve issues and get our people out of mess,” Nyako said.
He said if politicians could address the socio-economic challenges that led to Boko Haram insurgency, kidnapping and other violent crimes, over 80 per cent of security challenge in the country would be contained.
He observed that the military had actually degraded Boko Haram insurgents in North East forcing them to resort to guerilla tactics unlike before when they operated in formations.
“What I mean by operating in formation is that they used to muster platoon strength, company strength, battalion strength and probably brigade strength to face our armed forces at the peak of the insurgency.
“They are now degraded and cannot fight in formation; they resorted to guerilla tactics which make things difficult as they are mixed with civilian populace. It’s like fish inside water.
“With this development, the military, government and civilian population have to evolve new tactics to deal with the matter.
“This kind of operation has to be intelligence heavy; there must be communication between civilian population and security agencies. It needs big transfer of information, quick reaction and protection of informants,” he said.

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Igbos Must Work Hard To Get Power In 2023 – Tanko Yakasai

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The South-East must work hard and convince other parts of the country to accept its candidate for the presidency come 2023, Elder Statesman, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, has said.
Yakasai, a former Presidential Liaison Officer and founding member of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), spoke with newsmen after a closed door peace initiative by some eminent Nigerians at the Sheraton Hotel, Lagos.
He said: “There is no reason to deny  the South-East the opportunity to produce the presidential slot in 2023.
“The North, West have had it. It will not make sense to deny the South-East. But then, the Igbos have to work hard for power and convince people because it is a matter of numbers.
“They have to convince the rest of the country to accept whoever they put forward to be accepted”, he said.
He said there was need for mass-based political parties that would be controlled by the masses and not by a few individuals.
“In our days, nobody ever claimed to be the owner of NPN, NCNC, NPP among others. The people must make sure they take ownership of the party.
“I hope the people will try to turn the parties to the masses. The  mistake former President Olusegun Obasanjo made to say he was the national leader of a party killed the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP),” he said.
Yakasai said that when ownership of power is controlled by entire members, the internal  electoral process would become better.
“In our days, we paid to be members of our party. That way, no one or few persons can control the party. The beginning has a bearing on the process.
“Political parties must find a solution to do away with issues that will make the people sceptical”, he said
On the “Amotekun” security outfit floated by governors of the South-West,  Yakasai said arming the outfit was his major concern.
“If Amotekun is allowed, soon it may spill over to other regions and may become out of control when other regions come up with armed security outfits that may lead to uncontrollable situation in the country.
“Every Nigerian is interested in Nigerian project. Every Nigerian is benefitting from Nigeria as a nation,” Yakasai said.

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C’River Rerun Poll: Imoke Congratulates Egbona, Etta

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Former Governor of Cross River State, Senator Liyel Imoke, has congratulated Dr Alex Egbonna and Dr Davis Etta for emerging winners of the re-run elections for Abi/Yakurr Federal Constituency and Abi State Constituency respectively.
Egbonna is of the All Progressives Congress (APC) while Etta is of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
Imoke in a statement personally signed by him and issued yesterday, said with the elections over, it was time for all to unite for the common good of the people of the federal constituency where he comes from.
While acknowledging that depsite the tension during the preparation for the polls, he was happy that the election was conducted under a peaceful atmosphere.
He commended both the politicians and electorate “for the maturity exhibited through this election season.
“Now that elections are over and I believe the better politicians won, we must all sheath our swords and unite for our common good.
“We must condemn and abhor the denegration and abuse of leaders and the perpetuation of divisive tendencies. Abi/Yakurr and indeed Cross River State, can only grow if we give our representatives the requisite support.
“I also expect that Alex (Egbonna) and Davis (Etta) will provide qualitative representation for the Federal Constituency and the State Constituency, respectively.
“Finally, while acknowledging everyone’s constitutional right to seek redress, I advise that this matter not be pursued any further in the courts. For John Gaul and Iwara, I believe you did your best and I wish you well in your future endeavours,” the statement said.

 

Friday Nwagbara, Calabar

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