Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar has reiterated the call on government at all levels to place improved attention to the management of the education sector in the country.
The former Vice President made this remark in commemoration of World Teachers’ Day, which is celebrated yearly on the 5th of October.
Atiku, who spoke during the commissioning of the S.H.E Initiative office in Abuja on Wednesday, said that it was regrettable that education is not getting the proper attention it deserves from all stakeholders.
The Security Health and Education (S.H.E) Initiative is the brainchild of Atiku’s wife, Hajiya Titi Amina Abubakar.
According to the former Vice President, the poor management of the education sector, which is manifested in poor remuneration of teachers and the attendant consequence of prolonged industrial strike action by teachers, cannot engender the kind of progress and development that we desire as a country.
Atiku said further that, “with the increasing expansion of the poverty line across all age demographics, the smartest direction to go is to invest in education. When people are educated, it becomes a lot easier for them to create wealth and make personal decisions that will promote a good lifestyle for their families and the society.
“The current practice whereby education takes the last rung of our investment priorities is not only self-sabotaging, it is indeed a threat to national security.
“Most of the challenges that face us today in the name of security issues are concerns that started from illiteracy and later grew to economic disempowerment, which soon grew into national security concerns.”
He said that notwithstanding the poor working conditions of teachers in many states, they have continued to contribute their quota to nation building.
The Waziri of Adamawa reminded that as globally attested to “No Nation can grow higher than the quality of its education system and no education system can grow higher than the quality of its teachers.”
To this end, he affirmed that progress and development may continue to elude us as a nation unless and until we have trained and well-motivated teachers.
He described as unacceptable a situation where some states owe teachers’ salaries for months, noting that it is counterproductive for our development initiatives.
He expressed a firm commitment to address the plight of teachers and indeed of the entire education sector working in collaboration with the state governments if elected as president in next year’s election.
Also speaking at the event, wife of the former Vice President, Hajiya Abubakar noted that the S.H.E Initiative is borne out of a genuine concern to reverse the trend of the ugly socio-economic realities in Nigeria that has pushed many people, especially women to the receiving end of economic hardship.
“Through the vehicle of the S.H.E Initiative, Nigerian women will be setting the agenda to reverse the spiral decline in their socio-economic lives, as well as that of youth and people living with disabilities,” she said.
Hajiya Abubakar, who is also the founder of the Women Trafficking and Child Labour Eradication Foundation (WOTCLEF), encourages all Nigerians of goodwill to join in her campaign in driving home the objectives of the initiative.