TIME

Atiku gives northern elders valuable advice

- Atiku Abubakar has advocated for priortisation of education in the north



- He said this would make the economy of the region better



- The former vice president also emphasized the importance of educating girls





Former vice president, Atiku Abubakar has revealed that the provision

of education in the northern region would help revive its economy and

make it one of the best regions.







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In an article written on his website, Atiku said he has always been an

advocate of free education as it was the secret to development.



He also advocated for the prioritisation of the girl-child education

as training a child was equal to training a community.



Read what he wrote below:



""""On March 3, I read a piece of news which has given me great joy,

in the midst of all the bad news coming out of Northern Nigeria. The

governors of Northern Nigeria have decided to abolish school fees in

secondary schools across the region.

I remember back in the year 2000,

while serving as Vice President, I convened

the Northern Education Summit, at which

far reaching recommendations were made.

As the highest ranking elected

leader form the

northern states, I saw it as my

responsibility to

preach the message of improved access to education,

especially in my immediate region, where I knew a major

educational gap existed. I also believed that improving

access to education was key to the revival of the

economy of the region.

Unfortunately, all the states except two or

three failed to make any reasonable move

towards implementations of those

recommendations. Because state

governments are directly responsible for

secondary education (with very important

roles in primary education too), it would

have been easier to drive a regional

education renaissance from the state within

the region, but the efforts of the summit

and subsequent lobbying from my office

could not convince the states. I was very

disappointed.

I am very happy at this moment that the

northern states have finally decided to do

what is right, and hope that more states join

in this effort. I have always advocated free

education at primary and secondary levels,

and believe the state should dedicate

resources to funding both levels of

education, even if it can't do anything else.

If we can properly build the primary and

secondary foundations, our children will be

able to make informed vocational or

tertiary education decisions.

Now that these states have taken the big

step forward in providing free secondary

education, there is equally a need for

expansion of facilities to cope with the

growing number of pupils wishing to enter

secondary schools. The states also have to

actively recruit students by making a

dedicated push for adoption in the local

communities. State governments need to

partner with local district heads, women

(mothers and women leaders), market

leaders, religious leaders and influential

members of communities, to encourage

more young people to attend school. If

parents need to receive incentives to

release their children to go to school, and

this is the only option on the table, I believe

no price is too high. I believe however, that sensitisation would work

better than cash incentives.





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The job of getting more of our children to

school is not that of the state alone. But the

state needs to see the community as

stakeholders, and actively partner with them to drive the message of

education. I remember in my father's time, he had to be arrested and

locked up for refusing to let me attend school. That extreme measure

may not have been needed, if there was active community organising and

sensitisation before the scheme was flagged off.



On a final, and very important note, the Northern states must ensure

that girl children receive a priority access to secondary school

education. We must remember that when we train a girl, we train a

community. Educated women are more likely to raise a more educated

community, improve family economics and lead economic renaissance from

the grassroots. The economic outlook of the general region and Nigeria

as a whole will improve if more of our women are given access to

education.



As I have always said, education gave me everything; whatever you do,

get an education.""""

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