Worried by the low level of development of the country, the Vice Chancellor, Ahman Pategi University, Patigi, Kwara State, Prof. Mahfouz Adedimeji, has spoken of the need for qualitative education that will propel the nation building and raise generations of those who will learn to live together in peace and harmony with the capacity to fight the war of ignorance and poverty. This was as he said that despite the enormous challenges facing Nigeria and its people, the future has much to offer and the prospects are vast, provided all hands are on deck. Adedimeji disclosed this at a Public Lecture, organised by The Companion, an association of Muslim men in Business and the Professions in Lagos, held at the University of Lagos, as part of the activities marking the just concluded Elective National Conference of the group.
In the lecture, titled: “Building Nigeria That Works For All: Prospects And Challenges,” Adedimeji, a Professor of Applied English Linguistics, noted that there are challenges in the course of making Nigeria great, “but that the prospects are overwhelming if everyone is committed to playing his or her part,” The guest speaker, who also detested the level of hunger, poverty and unemployment in the country, however, noted that with hunger, poverty and unemployment, security would be compromised and crime would ravage the land. Therefore, on the need to combat ignorance and illiteracy, the lecturer recalled the Federal Government disclosure in September 2021 that over 76 million Nigerian adults, representing 38 per cent of the estimated 200 million Nigerian population are illiterate, describing ignorance as a misfortune and a disease which can only be cured with education. The consequences of illiteracy, according to Adedimeji, include increase in unemployment, crime rate, substance and drug abuse, child marriage, diseases, frustration and low esteem all of which are inimical national development.
He, therefore, called for programmes that must be strengthened to enhance literacy rate in the country, even as he lamented that patriotism is missing in many Nigerians, including those who have been educated by the country without taking loans, indicating that it is not sufficient to go to school, but more important to be educated enough to know the right from the wrong and to always do the right thing always. However, for Nigerians to keep hope alive, the guest lecturer stated that Nigerians must contribute their quota and play their part in various corners so as to make Nigeria greater. Adedimeji, who lamented that Nigeria is presently at a crossroads, however, declared that the way forward includes building strong institutions and strong men, affirming that the country can only work for all, if strong institutions replace “our weak institutions”. Thus, the don advocated for an independent judiciary, vibrant press and competent private sector, as well as committed civil society to make Nigeria work for all. Adedimeji called for provision of security and conflict management systems, even as he expressed regrets that inefficiency has continued to threaten the nation’s security architecture.