As the Minister further said on the occasion, “no nation can rise above the standard of its education because it is education that serves as the springboard for every kind of development. If education is weak and dysfunctional, society and its development will also be weak and dysfunctional.” Our social dysfunctionality today manifests in value erosion and character failure that engender “the rise in the incidence of corruption, moral decadence, juvenile delinquency, examination malpractices, cultism and drug abuse among our youth…”
Quite agreeably, Mallam Adamu posited that to be able to restore order to the Nigerian society confronted with a mountain of challenges, including those earlier identified, “education offers us the knowledge, tools, skills and attitudes with which to address and surmount these challenges, to correct and overcome inhibiting deficits, and to put our country on the path of accelerated development and sustainable change.”
While canvassing a declaration of a state of emergency on education in Nigeria as a way of frontally confronting its hydra-headed challenges, the Minister’s masterstroke lies in putting education at the front burner of national discourse with the whole Federal Executive Council thinking and talking about education with a view to walking their talk. The outcome of the retreat still reverberates among critical stakeholders till now and there are indicators it will continue to do so for some time to come.
The retreat, which was addressed by President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, Dr Kayode Fayemi (Minister of Mines and Steel Development), Dr Ogbonnaya Onu (Minister of Science and Technology), Senator Udoma Udo Udoma (Minister of Budget and National Planning), Prof. Anthony Anwukah (Minister of State for Education) as well as Prof. Michael Omolewa and Prof. Peter Okebukola, ended with recommendations that would change the fortunes of education in Nigeria if implemented. Fortunately, the political will to implement them were evident based on the submissions made on the occasion by those who matter.