Chris Steven, Abuja
The Federal Government has disclosed that it was considering removal of education from the Concurrent Legislative List and place it under the Exclusive List to provide focus and centralised administration of education in the country.
Minister of State for Education, Professor Anthony Anwukah gave this hint in Abuja during a send-forth reception organised in honour of the immediate former Executive Secretary of National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Julius Okojie.
According to Professor Anwukah, who admitted that there were a lot problems facing the education sector in Nigeria, some of the problems could easily be overcome if the affairs of the education sector are centrally run.
He argued that education just like the military, is critical to the nation and must not be left at the whims and caprices of the state governments.
The development is coming in spite of recent calls by many Nigerians for devolution of power from the federal to states with the Minister insisting that education is a federal project.
He said: “We have a lot of problems facing education sector in this country. Over the last two weeks, I have been pondering on a particular idea, whether as a country, we can continue putting education on the Concurrent List.
It is coming to a stage where we have to brace up to the fact that education is a federal project and can no longer be left at the whims and caprices of the states. Like, Army and others that are federal projects, this country will brace up to the fact that education must be centrally run by the Federal government and no longer run by the various states.
I’m going to discuss this idea further with stakeholders. Education must cease to be on the Concurrent List and be a concern to the people,” he said
He described Professor Okojie as his very good friend but often times had to disagree in order to agree on certain issues pertaining to the areas of his jurisdiction.
“Julius is a very unique person. He is good man, somebody who appreciates the goodness of superior argument. When you convince him he is very ready to agree with you. We wish him well. He may think that he has left a very hot seat but when the serious need comes, we will always insist that he is drafted into the hot seat. We are still together,” he said.
Professor Okojie in his remark, asked his successor, Prof. Abubakar Adamu Rasheed to be courageous, saying the task of Executive Secretary of NUC was a difficult one in view of the happenings in the tertiary education sector in Nigeria.
He noted that he enjoyed working at the NUC because of the good support he received from the staff of the Commission saying he administered the Commission with the fear of God and neighbour.
The occasion was a gathering of friends, colleagues, associates and well-wishers to eulogise Okojie for his 10 years of meritorious service as NUC Executive Secretary following his retirement on 1st August, 2016 after completing his two terms in Office.
It was attended by many dignitaries including the former Inspector General of Police, Mr Solomon Arase and his wife, former Minister of Health Prof. A. B. C Nwosu, former Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ahmadu Ali, who was also the immediate past Chairman Governing Board of NUC, among others.