By Olufemi Adediran, Abeokuta
The Unity School Old Students Association (USOSA) has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to consider appointing one of their members as the next Minister of Education.
According to them, Unity schools, as a strategic vehicle for national integration and unity, should continue to play its role and be protected as assets of strategic national importance.
The Chair of the Board of Trustees of USOSA, Mrs Aisha Muhammed Oyebode lamented the worsening state of Unity Schools across the country, prompting many former unity school old students to send their children and their wards to schools outside the country.
She also lamented the inadequate funding of Unity Schools by the Federal government, saying this was an untenable situation that should not be encouraged “as it is tantamount to investing our hard earned resources in foreign schools and developing foreign systems of education”.
The old students noted that for development at any level to occur, there must be security, hence the state of security in the country should be given urgent attention.
The Old Students Association spoke in a communique issued after the 35th plenary of USOSA the theme, “USOSA RESURGENCE: HARNESSING OUR DIVERSITY FOR NATIONAL SECURITY”, held at Kings College Annex, Adeyemo Alakija Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, at the weekend.
The communique signed by Lawrence Anirejuoritse Wilbert (President-General) and Nasir Wasagu (Secretary- General) respectively, stated that, “USOSA as a Community of graduates from the Federal government secondary education institutions, that benefitted immensely from the unity school concept and a functional public sector education system, with demonstrable track records for consistent support and partnerships with the Federal Ministry of Education, calls on President Muhammad Buhari to consider naming an ex-student of the Unity schools as the next Minister of Education.”
The body, said, “USOSA believes that it is now time for Nigeria, as a nation, to begin to reap from the huge strategic socioeconomic investment in generations of Nigerian citizens who have benefited from the excellent secondary education provided through the unity schools, as they represent some of the most competent persons in their fields across the globe,”
The communique emphasised that the Federal and State Government need to involve committed stakeholders in achieving transformation of the education sector while encouraging higher enrollment from the regions that are lagging behind.
The 11-point resolution further sought for articulation of strategies “to ensure that its members that are qualified for leadership roles get a chance to become involved in politics, gain political appointments, become government employees or leaders in the private sector, at all levels.
“USOSA must create a network of members with a clear development ideology that cuts across all interest groups,” adding, “USOSA is of the position that Government alone cannot solve the problems of the education sector. USOSA members are ready to rise to the call of national development duty, in education.
“USOSA calls for the practical application of the Rule of Law to help address the corruption in the education sector as people live above their income and hereby proposes a robust Judicial Activism and intense investigative journalism to track and expose defaulters.
“USOSA shall continue to support the Federal Government in its aspirations to reinvent public sector education, while supporting the repositioning of the Unity schools as an integral part of the nation’s strategy towards a safer, more united and progressive Nigeria”.
Muhammed-Oyebode, while calling for a change in the attitude of Nigerians who have not invested in their own schools reflects a lack of moral obligation.
“We all went to public schools in Nigeria; and our education was paid for by tax payers. We need to give back. We send our children to schools abroad. Some of these schools have alumni who have made endowments that are as large as the budgets of some African countries.
“Everywhere we go abroad there are outstanding Nigerians who have benefitted from being educated in Nigeria. We are contributing to the development of various country’s
education systems by sending our children to school abroad. Each of us has a moral responsibility to give back and help restore the schools in which we were educated to what they used to be,” she said.