Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, has assured Nigerians that no universities will be on strike if he’s elected president.
He made this assurance at a town hall meeting organised by Channels TV on Sunday.
His assurance came when a member of the audience quizzed him about his plan for education in the country, taking into account the 8.2 percent allocation education received from the Federal Government’s 2023 budget.
In responding, Obi urged the audience to disassociate their thinking from referring to education as a cost instead of an investment.
“Education is an investment, not an expense, because the more your country is educated, the greater the development,” Obi said. “So, if you look at it as an investment… that’s why I said you’ll get more out of it if you fund critical social investment.”
When redirecting his thought process to funding education, Obi presented a plan that included introducing many strategies to ensure that the universities are well funded and properly function.
Read also: 2023: How Obasanjo’s support for Peter Obi may shape poll outcome
“First, it is a combination of a lot of things. Our universities today are poorly funded, and all the tertiary institutions are poorly funded,” he said.
“One is that you need to change the method of funding them. The country has to contribute, while the companies are to continue with the TETFUND contribution, and we will do a combination of loan system that will enable the student to pay what is required. We are not going to burden their parents—every other country I know, including developing countries, has changed.
“So it is going to be a contribution in three ways in order to be able to fund tertiary institutions properly, and I assure you that we are going to do everything to get it.
“One, there will be no strike again. We are not going to close school for any reason because, at the tertiary level, where the global average is 38 percent, we are at 9 percent.
“So we are not going to take chances. We are going to do so many other things—so it’s not just people being in universities. In Pakistan, there is a university that has almost 1 million students.”
“There’s no reason why we can’t do it with all forms of learning here… I assure you no university will be on strike except his own (Yusuf Datti University) is on strike.”