Afe Babalola Decries Infrastructure Neglect in Nigerian Schools

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Kehinde Lawal

The Founder and Chancellor of Afe Babalola University Ado Ekiti (ABUAD), Chief Afe Babalola, has expressed concern about the dilapidation of infrastructure in many Nigerian tertiary institutions.

Speaking at the seventh International Conference on Infrastructural Development in Africa (ICIDA), held at the Lagos State Polytechnic, Ikorodu, Babalola, who was represented by the Provost, College of Science and Management Sciences, ABUAD, Professor Adeolu Durotoye, said the state of infrastructure in Nigerian tertiary institutions is responsible for the alarming rate of Nigerian students going abroad to study.

He attributed the level of dilapidation in schools and other vocational institutions over the years to neglect by successive regimes, while appealing to government to address the problem by increasing budgetary allocation to education.

“For Nigeria to catch up with the rest of the world in terms of quality education, government must comply with the 26 per cent UNESCO benchmark for education. I recall that Chief Obafemi Awolowo devoted 54 per cent of the budget to education. Targeting a certain percentage of GDP each year will ensure that the education infrastructure deficit is slowly reduced, while demands for new infrastructure are met.”

The Chairman ICIDA and Provost, College of Art and Built Environment, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana, Professor Joshua Ayarkwe said the conference was aimed at rethinking infrastructure development in Africa, adding that approaches to it in Africa are Eurocentric.

“We have come to realise that there is no way we are going to develop without an inclusive thinking, so we need to really look beyond what we are doing. We need to position ourselves and look beyond the current mode of development and embrace the fourth industrial revolution,” he said.

The Director of Higher Education, Lagos State, Mr. Semasa Sutton who represented Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, said adequate attention must be given to Nigeria institutions which will aid positive response and achievement to infrastructural development, adding that the state government has done well to support the school on massive project and development.

Speaking with journalists, the Rector of LASPOTECH, Mr. Samuel Sogunro said infrastructure planning and investment are the critical development potential of huge economic growth to Africa.

“Physical infrastructure covering transportation, power and communication through backward and forward linkages facilitate growth, while social infrastructure including water supply, sanitation, sewage disposal, education and healthy, which are in the nature of primary services, have direct impact to the quality of life.”

He said the gathering of scholars and intellectuals would surely fix the problem of infrastructure complexity in Africa and address the void in the fundamental infrastructure development and management.