Nigeria needs radical reform –Onaiyekan

Archbishop Emeritus of Abuja Catholic Archdiocese, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, yesterday, said Nigeria needed drastic and radical rebirth.

He said disturbing wind of pessimism was blowing across the nation, almost bordering on generalised despair, but advised that disintegration was not the solution.

According him, the proposal of dismembering Nigeria is a huge gamble that is not as simple as it appears.

Delivering the convocation lecture on the theme: “The Catholic Church in education in Nigeria: Between public and private” at the 10th anniversary of Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu, Onaiyekan said the country was seriously sick while long delayed and unfulfilled hopes were leading many to give up on the viability of the Nigerian project.

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“Building together a greater nation comes at a great cost, which we must all be ready to pay. I am quite convinced that those costs, high though they may be, are much less than what it will take for us to disintegrate. Almost every aspect of our national life is calling for drastic and radical renewal,” he stated.

He submitted that poor education produces bad government, adding that bad government cannot deliver good education.

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Onaiyekan stated that public schools were afflicted by gross neglect and mismanagement while the private ones that offer quality education were adjudged expensive.

He noted that education is a right and therefore, should be made available to every child.

“The fact that a child finds him or herself in a so-called ‘private school’ does not mean that this right should be abrogated. Government should not be allowed to continue to abdicate its responsibility in this regard.

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“It is about time that proprietors of non-government schools joined hands to fight for the rights of the children in their schools. This can go a long way to reduce the cost of private schools,” he said.

The cardinal said there was no reason why private institutions like Godfrey Okoye University should not be receive support from government because their students were not trained for another planet.   He called for public private partnership (PPP) in education.

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