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UNIFEMGA tasks FG to show serious commitment to corruption fighting

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By Jeleel Olawale

Obafemi Awolowo University Muslim Graduates’ Association (UNIFEMGA) has Sunday, called on Federal Government of Nigeria to as a matter of urgency show serious commitment in fighting corruption which has eaten deep into the fabric of the citizenry in the country by being accountable and transparent in the business of the government, saying those found culpable should be made to face the wrath of the law.

The association made the call at a Press Conference addressed by its National President, Engr. Mohammed Buari, held at Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife (OAU), at the end of the 2024 National Reunion Conference with the theme; ‘’Equal Opportunities for Prosperity in Changing Nigeria’s Consumption-Based Economy to a Service and Production-Based Economy.”

Engr. Mohammed Buari, the National President of the association said, failure of leadership in Nigeria has caused the nation a lot of challenges.

“We have witnessed civil strife, insurgency, banditry, kidnapping, corruption, economic comatose, political rascality and social disorder on the increase.”

He noted that series of security crises we are witnessing in the country is due largely to insensitivity on the part of our leaders, inadequate intelligence gathering on the part of the security agencies all of which constitute a great challenge to good governance and a threat to democracy and economic growth in the country.

Speaking on the roles played by the association, Mohammed said, the Association has given scholarships and grants to 118 OAU undergraduate and postgraduate students at a cost of N11.5 million as part of its welfare gesture to the students on campus, adding that the association has disbursed over N60 million to 1168 students of the Institution.

The association bemoans the continued marginalisation of South-West Muslims by denying them access to political offices, appointment to government establishments including university appointments using various weapons of oppression and intimidation.

“Since Nigeria is a multi-religious and multi-ethnic society, efforts should be geared towards upholding the letter and spirit of the principle of Federal Character without sacrificing merit in all governmental affairs and appointments,” he said.

“The Renewed Hope agenda of the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu Administration is supposed to reset Nigeria’s economic advancement and ease the burden of hardship on the citizenry; but thus far, the selfish activities of saboteurs and insensitivity of our leaders made the last one year a tough one for everybody.

The effects of the removal of petrol subsidy and floating of the Naira on the prices of foodstuffs, goods and services almost paralysed the nation, hence, the need for the nation to think out of the box and come up with a service and production – based economy.

“All elected and appointed leaders should be responsive to the needs and aspirations of the citizenry and embrace good governance, fairness and justice to all as enshrined in the constitution of the Federal Republic Nigeria and make the fear of Allah their watchword, in order to forestall uprising in Nigeria.

“All the three tiers of government in Nigeria should ensure that the lives and property of all the citizens of the country are secured. This is important, as it is only when there is national security that development and economic growth can take place,” he declared.

Mohammed stressed that the private sector should as a matter of urgency partner with the government for the education of Nigerians especially to address all the Infrastructural deficit in our institutions of learning.

“Employment opportunities should be given to teeming unemployed Nigerian youths who are being used as instruments of violence by some selfish and unpatriotic individuals.

“We condemn in strong terms the terrorist acts in some parts of the country, mob actions, jungle and selective killings of innocent Nigerians, and we advise the Federal Government to avoid the present stereotype of pigeon-holing it as a religious issue. It is more of a political, ethnic and economic issue.”

The association recommends the Islamic concept of leadership which is rooted in the institutionalization of principles of integrity, honesty and competency rather than patronages.

It urged all Nigerian leaders as well as all Nigerians to live in peace and harmony, learn to tolerate one another, be fair to all and remember that injustice breeds uprising and violent acts.

The association also had its Annual General Meeting (AGM) where its activities in the past one year were reviewed, and appointed a new set of National Executive Council led by Alhaji Mohammed Buari following the expiration of the tenure of the former National Executive Council.

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Education

NBTE introduces mandatory skills qualification for Poly Graduates

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By Sodiq Adelakun

In a bid to align with global standards and emphasise skill acquisition in polytechnic education, the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) has made Mandatory Skills Qualification (MSQ) a compulsory requirement for graduation in all National Diploma and Higher National Diploma programs.

According to a statement issued on Monday by the board’s Head of Media, Hajiya Fatimah Abubakar, in Abuja on Monday, diploma holders will now receive an additional certification in National Skills Qualification or its equivalent upon graduation.

The MSQ is designed to assess and recognise individuals’ skills and competencies in various fields, ensuring they are well-equipped for the workforce.

According to Abubakar, “It focuses on vocational skills and is typically obtained through vocational training programmes, apprenticeships, and assessments conducted by approved skill assessment bodies.

“NSQ aims to bridge the gap between formal education and industry needs by providing individuals with practical skills relevant to the job market.

“The dual certification of obtaining both an NSQ and an ND in Nigeria offers several benefits, including a comprehensive skill set, increased employability, versatility, professional recognition, and career progression,” she said.

The NBTE head of media further said that the dual certification opens doors to career advancement opportunities as well as provides a strong foundation for upward mobility and career growth.

“The dual certification offers a competitive edge in the job market, enhances career prospects, and equips individuals with the skills and knowledge needed to thrive in their chosen fields.

“This dual certification is expected to significantly enhance employability. However, NBTE is aware of the limited skills training facilities in our polytechnics and is therefore allowing a phased introduction.

“The guideline provides polytechnic administrators with methods for implementing this new provision. Quality assurance is crucial in ensuring the effectiveness and relevance of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programmes,” she noted.

She added that assessors would play a vital role in this process, through evaluating the quality of education and training provided in various technical and vocational fields.

She said their role will include assessing standards, learning outcomes, and the overall performance of Skills Development Centres in polytechnics and other TVET institutions.

“Under the MSQ, HND level students who have acquired NSQ at the ND level can enrol in Quality Assurance Assessor (QAA) training as an alternative to another NSQ.

“The QAA certificate will be valuable in the workplace, as many industries require on-the-job training,” she said.

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Education

UNICAL VC calls for end to impunity, says women leaders will drive growth

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The Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar (UNICAL), Professor Florence Obi, has urged for a radical change to the culture of impunity in Nigeria, emphasising that competence and merit should be prioritised over systemic anomalies.

Speaking at the maiden Conference of the Association of Female Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities, Obi stressed that women’s leadership potential should not be judged by a few failures, but rather by the many who possess the capacity and merit to deliver quality service.

Obi argued that women are natural leaders and effective managers of resources, and that their participation in positions of authority would lead to Nigeria’s growth and development.

She called for a shift away from impunity and towards a culture that allows women to excel without encumbrances.

The conference, themed “Female Leadership in Higher Education Governance: Breaking Barriers and Building Bridges,” aimed to empower women in leadership positions and promote gender equality in education.

According to the VC, “By coming together to inaugurate the Association of Female Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (AFVCNU), we have collectively accepted the responsibility that history has placed on us as leaders of the highest citadels of learning.

“I know our peculiar political landscape which does not give a premium to ideas from intellectuals. But I am extremely confident that our depth of ideas and vision, resoluteness, and commitment can create a new atmosphere for great things to happen not only in our campuses but also in other areas.

“In the course of the last three and half years as Vice-Chancellor, my efforts in this direction have largely been successful and impactful in the system, characterised by courage and doggedness.

“The culture of impunity that has become rooted in our clime deserves radical and courageous measures, no matter whose ox is gored.

“In my university, in furtherance of the culture of academic excellence, my administration instituted the Vice-Chancellor Scholarship for the best students with CGPA above 4.00 on the scale of & across the 110 departments

“Gender sensitisation is very active on our campus and female students are deliberately encouraged to speak against molestation and sexual harassment. Though sometimes such outspokenness attracts negative publicity to the University, I know it testifies to the success of our efforts,” she said.

Speaking further, she explained that allowing more women to come into positions of authority will be the right step in the right direction for the country to move forward.

According to her, “I’m not referring to women that lack capacity, but those who merited the opportunity but discriminated against because of their gender.”

She maintained that the conference is a veritable platform for them to mentor young women in education governance and also encourage them to aspire to any position they desire in academics, politics and other spheres.

“Higher education governance has been in the hands of men since the days of University College, Ibadan, and as at today only about 40 women have been given the opportunity to lead institutions of learning, since the inception of university education in Nigeria.

“From inception, we have had close to 500 or more men head such institutions. So, now that for the first time we are having 24 women serving as vice chancellors, we taught it wise to mentor other women to aspire for greatness,” she said.

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Education

Gov. Yusuf declares state of emergency on education

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…Reveals plans to build 300 labs, hire additional 10,000 teachers

Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf of Kano State on Saturday declared a state of emergency on education in the state.

The declaration took place at Open Arena, Kano Government House, Kano on Saturday.

The Governor said the Kano educational landscape, once a beacon of hope and opportunity for the youth and an example for other states to copy, now stands shrouded in the shadows of unacceptable neglect and decay.

“The problems are multi-faceted: we face a severe shortage of qualified teachers, inadequate teacher training programs, and a lack of basic amenities such as clean water and sanitation in many of our schools.

“These issues, coupled with the socio-economic challenges that many of our students face, create an environment where education is not just difficult, but nearly impossible,” he regretted.

The Governor said an additional 300 state-of-the-art laboratories in 100 schools across the state. The provision of these facilities, he said, will provide the students with hands-on experience in scientific inquiry, fostering a culture of experimentation and discovery that is essential for their future success.

In order to create a more conducive atmosphere for learning, You announced the construction of 1000 classrooms across the State within the next academic session.

“This measure will, no doubt, mitigate classroom congestion that has become a common feature of most of our schools.

“We have also directed that all contractors handling inherited abandoned projects in our tertiary institutions should go back to site immediately,” he said.

As part of the emergency action, the Governor approved the hiring of additional 10,000 teachers, adding that teachers will enjoy periodic training and retraining so as to achieve the vision of making “every teacher, a caring educator.”

“At least 1,000 Academic and non-academic staff will be employed into tertiary institutions,” he said.

Yusuf said, “This declaration is not just symbolic; it signifies a commitment to overhaul our education system from the ground up. We will invest in infrastructure, ensuring that every school has adequate classrooms conducive to teaching and learning.

“We will also prioritise teacher training and welfare, recognising their pivotal role in shaping the minds of tomorrow.”

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