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Atiku: How I’ll solve crisis in education sector if elected president

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The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has said he will hand over Federal Government-owned universities to state governments for efficient management if elected as president in 2023.

Atiku said this on Monday while speaking as a panelist at the 2022 Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Annual General Conference held at the Eko Hotels, Lagos State.

The conference held with the theme ‘Bold Transitions’, commenced on Monday and will end on Friday, August 26.

The presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, was also present at the event.

The vice-presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Kashim Shettima, was also present at the event to represent the APC presidential standard-bearer, Bola Tinubu.

Speaking at the event, Atiku, who recalled his conversation with a professor in the Federal University, Lokoja, Kogi State, said the Federal Government lacks resources for effective management of federal universities in the country.

The former Vice-President said: “The only way is to make sure that you make conducive environment available to both foreign and local investors to participate in our country, whether it is infrastructure, whether it is education, whether it is power.

“I had an argument with a university professor from Federal University, Lokoja. He said he read in my policy document that I intended to devolve, in other words, to return education to the states. How dare do I do that?

“I said, ‘Mr Professor, do you realise that the first set of our universities belong to the regional governments?’ He said, ‘Yes’. I said who are the successors of the regional government? He said the states.

“I said the children you send to America, to England, who own those universities? Mostly the private sector. So, why is it that you think we cannot do it here? We don’t have the money,” Atiku stated.

Federal Government-owned universities and scores of state universities have been shut since February 14, 2022, following a nationwide strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) over the failure of the government to meet the union’s demands.

Since the industrial action began, several negotiations between ASUU and the Federal Government have ended in deadlock.

Amid outcry over the effect of the industrial action on the country’s tertiary education sector, various individuals and groups have asked the government to find a lasting solution to the crisis.

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