Okon Bassey in Uyo
For the country to overcome its numerous challenges and problems there is need for the federal government to invest heavily in the education sector and research for new discoveries of how to move the nation forward.
The assertion was made by Mr. Iboro Otu at the launch of a group, Ambassadors for Leadership and Entrepreneurial Responsibility for Tomorrowâ€™s Nigeria (ALERT Nigeria) in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
ALERT Nigeria is a non-profit organisation that offers young Nigerians the opportunity to actively participate in creating practical and meaningful solutions to leadership and entrepreneurship challenges within their communities.
Otu, a director of the body said investing in education is how the country will survive the coming decade, stressing that sound, practical and relevant education is the future.
He said in some parts of the world, people are excited because they are seeing a new world led by knowledge, economic progress, renewal of spirit for exploration, research, development and innovation.
â€œOld ways are giving way to the new, old thinking is dying away, giving birth to new, radical, innovative, research-led future; one that is mostly underpinned by knowledge enabled and accelerated through technology.
â€œHowever in Nigeria, our education system is still playing catch up due to the heavy under-funding of the sector which has led to a wide ripple effect of challenges and limitations. Research which has helped the developed world to drive innovation is seeing little support and backing here.
â€œIt seems as if the clock of our education system stopped working 20 years ago. Funding for research and development has dwindled from top in the 80â€™s to bottom in 2017 and as a result, standards have fallen,â€ he lamented.
Otu maintained that education is the new oil the country needs but, â€œeducation today is in many forms. Yesterdayâ€™s structured education is almost extinct. Todayâ€™s education is practical and applicable, solution solving, community relevant, entrepreneurial in structure, inclusive, networked, sustainable and most of all communal.
â€œThe days of outdated hand-out education are slowly dying away because new knowledge, research and development is happening almost hourly; postulations are changing almost daily, discovery and innovation are the buzzwords; we need to be part of it. We need to structure ourselves to be part of this new oil and knowledge-driven era.â€
Out, who also unveiled a sister agency, the Iboro Otuâ€™s Leadership and Entrepreneurship Discourse (IOLED), disclosed that the body is to build a vibrant pool of 124 young entrepreneurs and leaders in communities annually across the 31 local government areas of the state.
â€œALERT Nigeria proudly launches in Akwa Ibom State and unveils its IOLED programme. Our programme is designed to crystallize community engagement and development through entrepreneurship and effective leadership.â€
The Chairman, ALERT Nigeria Technical Working Committee, Prof. Enoidem Usoro had explained that the body through the IOLED programme has marked strategies to address some of the leadership and entrepreneurship problems the nation is facing.
He said the body has assembled a diverse team of stakeholders comprising academics, policy experts, students, entrepreneurs, innovators, civil society, media, and investors to work together to solve the problems of youth entrepreneurship and leadership in Nigeria using Akwa Ibom State as a pilot case.