OrderPaperToday – Former vice president and candidate of the PDP in the last presidential election, Atiku Abubakar, has blamed the Buhari-led government of consistently underfunding the education sector, thereby contributing to its steady decline.
He made the remark at the National Assembly today during a public hearing on the Modibbo Adama University of Technology (MAUTECH), Yola Establishment Bill.
The bill seeks to convert MAUTECH from a specialised institution offering only courses in technology to a conventional university that will also offer courses in social sciences, arts and humanities.
Speaking at the hearing, the former vice president lamented that despite continuous population increase, the present administration has not made efforts to put in more funds to accommodate the increase.
“We must invest heavily in education. I have carefully studied the declining allocation of resources to the education sector from 2014 till date and it has been dropping and today it at its lowest,” Abubakar said.
Speaking further, he added that Nigeria is struggling to cope with its population boom, necessitating the need for increased funding for education.
Abubakar lamented that the Universal Basic Education (UBEC) Act passed during his tenure as vice president has not been effective enough and went ahead to accuse state governments of diverting funds meant for uplifting the education sector.
Addressing the bill undergoing hearing, he stated, “When we were in office, we passed compulsory education from primary to secondary school.
“Deputy Senate president, senators, and members of the National Assembly, I would appeal to you to look at the defect in the bill in the sense that funds given to states to develop education are being diverted. I want to appeal to you to amend the law in such a way that if a state does not deploy the resources for education, it is penalised by making sure that government at the federal level steps in directly to invest in education”.
On MAUTECH, the former VP stressed that the conversion to a conventional University will promote equity and fairness in the troubled North East region.
“At least, qualified Adamawa citizens and other students within the catchment area would have the advantages of accessing admission into highly competitive courses like medicine, law, pharmacy, etc., which the country badly needs and sadly lacks in sufficient numbers,” he added.
“This indeed is the surest way to accelerate access, quality, relevance and equity for our people in Adamawa State, the Northeast and indeed Nigeria.
It is equally part of a right step toward rebuilding a broken people. We lose nothing and gain everything if we just get this done”.
Meanwhile, sponsor of the bill, Aishatu Dahiru Ahmed, said the bill to convert MAUTECH to a conventional University was conceived to provide opportunity for youths who are not in the field of technology to access education.
“There is the irresistible need to convert the Modibbo Adama University Of Technology, Yola, a mono- disciplinary, limited and yet resource gulping institution of higher learning to Modibbo Adama University, Yola, a multi-disciplinary, dynamic, community relevant and engaging institution of higher learning.
“It will also have well-grounded students of Technology with knowledge of the Social Sciences and Humanities and not just Technology Robots.
“It is most disturbing that the restriction of the University to purely technology courses has led to a dramatic drop in student enrollment from 7,309 to 3,795 in the 2016/2017 academic session alone since the restriction came into force. This is a 48% reduction,” Ahmed submitted.
Also present at the hearing were deputy Senate president, Ovie Omo-Agege, who represented the Senate president and FCT minister, Mohammed Bello.