A former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has said over 14 million children are not in school and are deprived of education and opportunities that will allow them to develop their abilities and become useful to themselves and their communities.
In his speech at the Teach For Nigeria (TFN) 2020 Fellowship graduation ceremony which held virtually on Saturday, he said to transform the nation’s education system in a sustainable way, Nigerian youths must take up leadership positions, championing different innovative solutions at every level of the society and across different sectors.
He said: “In short, they will be added to the poverty group. It is inspiring to see the work that TFN is doing to equip promising future leaders with the skills and experience to drive the change that we need.
“In Nigeria, we must understand that our education system was already in crisis before the pandemic hit us; the outbreak has exacerbated the ever-widening gulf between the learning opportunities of our most privileged children and our less privileged children.
To close the gap, he said Nigeria requires prompt action from well-meaning Nigerians imbued with courage, patriotism, commitment, foresight and love, in critical mass, to spearhead the movement for a new Nigeria generally but particularly in education.
TFN, an organisation committed to ending educational inequity in Nigeria, graduated 161 fellows who have impacted approximately 9,660 students in 80 schools across Lagos, Ogun, and Kaduna states.
The fellows have spent the past two years improving the academic outcomes of their pupils, while igniting the love for learning in them, instilling self-belief and successfully galvanising parental and community support to aid in their pupils’ learning process.
Obasanjo urged the fellows to leverage their acquired skills and experiences to continue to be advocates for educational excellence and be ambassadors for change, driving the movement for freedom and justice in Nigeria.
“Do not let anybody tell you that you are leaders of tomorrow, you are leaders today. Let nobody use today to make tomorrow impossible for you. I started making contributions to the world when I was serving in Congo in 1960, I was only 24 years old and I was under age 40 when I became Head of State. The time to act and seek and seize responsibility is now,”
“From my experiences leading Nigeria and in pushing for universal basic education, I strongly advise that you remain resilient in your fight for educational equity; you must not relent on the strides of deploying solutions to tackle the myriads of problems confronting our education system.
“You must continue to build on the foundations of our heroes and bring to Nigeria the glory she truly deserves,” he said.
He commended the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of TFN, Mr. Gbenga Oyebode and Folawe Omikunle respectively.