A professor of political economy and management expert, Pat Utomi, has urged government at all levels and fellow Nigerians to show better commitment to the country’s education system to enable it yield necessary dividends for national development.
Utomi spoke yesterday while delivering a lecture as the guest speaker at the roundtable and award ceremony of Flannel Business School in Lagos.
The popular economist noted that in today’s world where everything is driven by knowledge, the country cannot develop unless it has knowledgeable citizens.
He decried the sorry state of the nation’s tertiary education, saying those who make decisions are far from the environment while their children do not attend universities in the country.
Utomi described as unfortunate the shutting down of the nation’s university system for over six months, saying this “is totally unacceptable.
The economist said it was unimaginable that “one person in Abuja steals more than we need to fix the university system, as per the request made by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU)”.
He said: “We live in the age of ideas. Only those who have knowledge would be effective and make impact unto this world.
“How do you transmit ideas? The most powerful way in transmitting ideas is books, because you can interrogate, question and throw things in-depth in a book in a way that enables you to influence thoughts. And, if you are going to create a thought leadership that takes us down the path of solving so many kinds of problems we have today, who enables us achieve leadership in a challenged world, then we have to mint something, really, that is part of culture and paying emphasis on the book.
“Our reading culture is critical for our educational system. It’s critical for the effectiveness of any democracy because this is where you bring out the issues that may lead to outcomes that society can use.”
On the current state of Nigeria’s higher education, Utomi said: “The problem with tertiary education is that those who make decisions are distant from the environment.
“First of all, most of their children don’t attend Nigerian universities. That’s the truth of the matter. A few do, and it is not a criticism of whether they have or don’t have. But the point is that they won’t feel it directly.”
Chairman of Flannel Business School, Dr. Gbenga Olowo, urged Nigerians to write their stories for posterity.
The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II; Osile Oke-Ona Egba, Oba Adedapo Adewale Tejuosho, and Lagos State Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Folashade Adefisayo, among other personalities, won awards at the event.