Students of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile Ife, Osun State, have charged the Federal Government to fund education adequately, as the nation marked its 57th independence anniversary.
In a statement jointly signed by the Students’ Union president, Mr Edward Ibukun Oyekan; secretary-general, Mr Adeoluwa Boluwajaiye and the public relations officer, Mr Simon Okediji, the students decried the state of the nation’s education system, state of the economy, security and various other agitations within the country.
They particularly regretted that 57 years after independence, the majority of Nigerians still struggled with hunger, diseases, and illiteracy, while the nation still struggled with the poor economy, insurgency and terrorism.
The statement reads in part: “Nigeria is fast losing its relevance in the comity of nations due to a drastic fall in its economic strength, inability to combat and overcome the protracted Boko Haram insurgency, and failure of the government to put all the existing institutions to work towards the path of progress.
“Nigerian government has totally disregarded the place of the youth in nation building through its open insouciance and insensitivity to their plights.
“Nigerian government has failed to understand that a nation that refuses to educate its youths is certainly toeing the path of social perdition, political doom and economic disaster.
“By choosing not to properly fund the education sector, the government is depriving the youth of the essential weapons required to fight oppression, selfish leadership regime and the tyrannical tendency of the ruling class.”
They also tabled a list of demands they wanted to be met both by the Federal Government and the management of the university.
They said, “Education should be properly funded in order to raise the current standard of Federal Government-owned institutions across the country.
“The Federal Government should invest more of its energy in charting a new course of development that will encourage massive and effective diversification of Nigerian economy.”
They also demanded immediate revisit to the recommendations of the last national conference “or fast-track other means of engaging the public on important national discourses such as restructuring, devolution of power, and so on.”
Among other things, the students also demanded that the Federal Government honour its agreements with all trade/professional unions that just suspended their nationwide strikes in order to ensure the smooth running of the various institutions.
“The Federal Government should consider more peaceful and diplomatic means of attending to IPOB (Independent People of Biafra)’s agitation, rather than deploying the military to the zone when the situation hasn’t gone beyond the competence of the Nigerian Police.”
They demanded that the management of the Obafemi Awolowo University make learning and living condition of students on campus more conducive by building more lecture theatres, well-equipped laboratories and hostels.
This, they explained, include constantly cutting grasses and clearing bushes to guarantee a safer, and healthy living environment; as well as renovating all the existing halls of residence.