Ex-Kwara gov aspirant decries poor investments in education
A former Kwara State Governorship aspirant, Engineer Pastor Sunday Adebayo Babalola, has said that investments in education by all the three tiers of government in Nigeria are insufficient.
He said education requires great investments and attention for Nigeria to address its developmental challenges.
He said education is the bedrock of societal advancement and development and therefore called on the federal, state and local governments as well as other stakeholders to show more commitment to and investments in educational development.
Babalola, who is a co-founder of Bayo and Bunmi Babalola Foundation (BBBF) spoke on Tuesday during a post-eight edition BBBF scholarship media briefing.
He stated that he and his wife, a co-founder of BBBF, Bunmi, decided to contribute their quota to bridge the support and investment gap in education that they have been sponsoring the scholarships. Babalola said he and his wife, Bunmi, initiated and have been sponsoring the scholarship also as a way of being grateful to God for his manifold blessings on them and to give back to the society part of what God has blessed them with.
He explained that no fewer than 651 pupils and students from Kwara State benefited from the foundation’s scholarship award during the eighth edition of the scheme.
He added that from the inception of the scholarship scheme till the last eighth edition of the scholarship ceremony, there were no fewer than 2,504 beneficiaries comprising 1,120 pupils from junior secondary schools and secondary schools and 733 students from tertiary institutions and the beneficiaries of the 8th edition, consisting of 651 pupils and students from the state.
Babalola said: “We remember with nostalgia how during our school days, we were provided sufficient educational materials and some comforts of life. We are saddened that current pupils and students do not have such provisions from the government.
“That is why we decided to contribute our own quota for the upliftment of educational standards and the welfare of the pupils and students. Not that we have all the money, but we are determined to continue to sacrifice, even our comforts for the educational advancement of the younger generation and for a better tomorrow. We want to leave our society better than we met it.
“It is a non-controversial fact that education is the bedrock of societal growth and advancement. Education is a catalyst for societal advancement. Education reduces sickness, crimes, poverty, sickness, superstition, and societal retrogression. Without sound education, there will not be great professionals, business tycoons, local government, state, national, and world leaders.”
He added, “Somebody asked me, Why are you and your wife still investing in the scholarships through BBBF.
“I thought about it. What are we doing this for? But when you look at it, the governments, at all levels, have failed us. If the state government, sincerely, has been able to fulfil its obligations to its citizens, there will be no need for this. We would have channelled our resources and energies to something else, like establishing organisations that would provide employment to citizens. But we have to do this because there are a lot of indigent, good and brilliant students and pupils who have problems of paying even for menial things such as WAEC fees, NECO fees, and their final exams. So my wife and I thought that we should help such students.
“There are brilliant students and pupils in lower schools, too, which probably will withdraw because the government is not doing its part. We hear billions of naira that are rolling in. Still, we do not see anything in the direction of education or in the direction of infrastructure or creating a very good and enduring business environment. When you listen to the mass media, all you see are praises for the government, whereas there are things that should clearly be done by the govenrment that are not being done even though we hear and read billions that are being expended.
“It is very sad. How much does it take to do these things? Or to get all students and pupils going to school and give them a conducive study environment? Unfortunately, nationwide, we have a very serious issue there. The politicians are not helping. They are just spending the money and travelling all over the world.
“I wish the government would do its part, and we would not need or have a need to do this scholarship so that we can channel our resources to other pro-people or masses welfare concerns.”
He decried the alleged poor state of the education sector in Kwara State.
He called on all the tiers of government to be committed to education development.
Babalola said, “If education is poor or poorly done in Kwara State, you can imagine that it will be a ripple effect for every other thing. If you do not know how to do one thing, you do not know how to do many things. Governance is not good in Kwara. It is a big surprise that they are the ones being the Chairman of Nigerian Governors Forum and Chairman of Speakers. I just laugh! It is very funny to me. Those people should not be raising their heads anywhere in the comity of human beings. Governance in the state is very poor. There is no reason even for us to debate it. Nothing good is happening!
“We, therefore, call on the government, at local, state, and federal levels, to be committed to educational development. The welfare of our pupils and students should be a top priority. The learning environment must be conducive while teachers, lecturers, education administrators, and other support staff should have good incentives to be dedicated and contribute their utmost to educational advancement.”