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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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Rivers PDP Extols Wike’s Leadership Qualities

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Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Rivers State, Ambassador Desmond Akawor, has described Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike as the Joshua of our time who, against all odds, stood up to liberate the people of the state from the forces of darkness and oppression.
Ambassador Akawor stated this on Monday when he received the leadership of Grassroots Development Initiative, GDI, who paid him a solidarity visit at the PDP Secretariat, Port Harcourt.
Ambassador Akawor emphasised that the governor has exhibited enough sagacity  and courage by  bringing  the state out of the pit which his predecessor plunged it, stressing that GDI should be grateful that the governor they worked so hard to install was performing wonderfully well to the admiration of all in the state.
“Most of you who are leaders of GDI joined him when nobody gave him the chance that he was going to succeed”, Akawor said, noting that the party was happy with any GDI member who occupied any position in the administration because he worked hard for it. Ambassador Akawor, who disclosed that local government election would take place next year, said the party would campaign during the election as if it is a national election.
He also warned members of GDI not to associate with any member of the party found to be nursing gubernatorial ambition, saying that at the right time, the party would decide on the direction to go.
“very soon the game will start, various candidates will come up, my appeal to you is that do not get yourself distracted, Rivers state is a peculiar family” he noted, and urged the group to continue to pray for the Governor to actualise his laudable plans for the state.
The state PDP Chairman also told the GDI members not to allow moles infiltrate their fold and cause division among them, urging them to remain vigilant, united and focused.
Ambassador Akawor, who disclosed that all the actions of the Governor were geared towards protecting the interest of the people of the state irrespective of party affiliation, recalled how he  (Governor Wike) saved Barr Joy Nunieh, who is not a member of the PDP from being kidnapped by security forces.

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Ex-Agitator Wants Obaseki To Run People-Oriented Govt

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A peace ambassador and leader of Amnesty Phase II in Delta State, Mr Kingsley Muturuhas described Governor Godwin Obaseki‘s victory as the final blow to godfatherism in Nigerian Politics.
He, however, called on the governor to carry everyone along and ensure that his administration ran a purposeful and people-oriented government.
Muturu said this in a congratulatory message to Gov. Obaseki following his victory at the just concluded Edo governorship election.
He noted that Obaseki‘s victory in the election was an indication that no godfather could succeed whenever the people were determined to take their fate in their hands.
According to him, the era of godfatherism in politics was finally coming to an end as people can effectively protect their votes in spite of all odds.
“I congratulate the governor of Edo who is now the governor-elect on his hard fought and well deserved victory.
“The people of Edo have spoken with one voice and that should be respected.

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Group Knocks Obasanjo Over Comments On State Of Nigeria

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A group of elders in the country, The Patriotic Elders Council, PEC, has faulted ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo over his recent statement that Nigeria has failed and is badly divided.
PEC said Obasanjo should bury his head in shame because he laid the foundation of the problems currently facing the country and therefore, has no moral right to make such comments.
Obasanjo had during a recent consultative dialogue attended by various socio-cultural groups including Afenifere, Middle Belt Forum, Northern Elders Forum, Ohanaeze Ndi Igbo and Pan Niger Delta Forum, said something must be done to avert the looming disaster.
He said, “I do appreciate that you all feel sad and embarrassed as most of us feel at Nigerians with the situation we find ourselves in. Today, Nigeria is fast drifting to a failed and badly divided state; economically our country is becoming a basket case and the poverty capital of the world, and socially, we are firming up as an unwholesome and insecure country.”
Reacting, however, to Obasanjo’s assertion, the Patriotic Elders Council (PEC) said his comment was least expected of a two-time leader and an elder statesman.
The group in a statement signed by Alhaji Muhammadu Ari Gwaska, its Chairman and Chief Simon Shango, Secretary, said Obasanjo was wrong in his statement.
Part of the statement reads: “Though, sometimes Obasanjo’s utterances are right; but unfortunately, most times, he is condescendingly wrong. His latest public statement at the consultative dialogue is a perfect example of the many instances he is wrong and sounds unconvincing even to himself.
“Ex-President Obasanjo, more than any other Nigerian leader, knows the institutionalized, intricate and complex problems of Nigeria, as the country’s democratic leader from 1999-2007. And he midwived all the two successive administrations which came after him.

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