By Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
A legal luminary and university administrator, Chief Afe Babalola (SAN), has condemned the federal government for allegedly ignoring the directives given by United Nations Education and Socio-Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) that 26 percent of the budgetary allocation should go to the funding of education.
Babalola, who identified funding as the greatest scourge devouring the country’s education sector, said many of the states, including the federal government, budgeted as low as seven percent for the sector, which he described as pivotal to the develop of the country.
Speaking during the 6th convocation ceremony of his university, Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD), the legal icon advised that the federal government should set up a centralised body to conduct unified examinations for all undergraduates of the university, saying such remains the best way to inject standardisation into the system.
At the event, the President, African Development Bank (AfDB) and former Minister of Finance, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, and the Chief Executive Officer of Channels Television, Mr. John Momoh, bagged prestigious Honourary Doctorate of the university.
Babalola disclosed that the two eminent Nigerians were rewarded based on their sterling contributions to the development of the country, particularly the youth population.
The university also graduated a total of 1,042 graduates with 72 bagging first class honour degrees from different departments.
He regretted that Nigeria has one of the most poorly funded universities globally, stating that this necessitated the low ranking of the country’s citadels of learning accorded in webometrics rating.
“The quality of education is most desirable but is also an expensive enterprise. It is no more news that education sector is in crisis due to poor funding. Whereas UNESCO recommended that at least 26 percent of the national budget should be dedicated to education, Nigeria budgets less than seven per cent
“I urge the federal government to revisit the moribund education bank to enable students access loans at reduced rates to finance their education and also to start their own businesses after graduation.
“This is the surest way to put an end to rising unemployment particularly for graduates after leaving universities,” he said.
Babalola also appealed to the federal government to establish an airport in Ado Ekiti as well reconstruct Ado-Ijan-Ikare road for easy access to the university.
“The federal road leading to this university, the Ado-Ikare road, is in bad condition, of course there is no rail line and there is also no airport here. With the provision of these two amenities in Ekiti State, Nigerians will benefit from the 400-bed multi system hospital which has latest equipment here in this university,” he said.
Responding on behalf of the honourees, the former Finance Minister, Adesina, noted that the future of Africa didn’t depend on population and natural resources, but how best they can use the available resources to convert their visions to reality.