ISSUED AT THE
OBAFEMI AWOLOWO BIRTHDAY COMMEMORATIVE SYMPOSIUM, TITLED
“AWO, THEN AND NOW: POLITICS, ECONOMICS & EDUCATION”
THURSDAY, MARCH 3, 2016
OBAFEMI AWOLOWO RESIDENCE IKENNE-REMO
OGUN STATE, NIGERIA.
Whereas the country is currently undergoing a myriad of challenges including in the political, economic, educational and social spheres, the Obafemi Awol?w? Foundation, as it bi-annually does, mounted a one-day symposium in order to dissect the challenges and prospects of the Nigerian State. Ideas and insights presented by the keynote speaker, discussants, and guests revolved around the ideas and ideals of Chief Obafemi Awol?w?.
Chief Obafemi Awol?w?, first Premier of Western Nigeria and former Vice-Chairman of the Federal Executive Council, was, and still remains the benchmark for good governance even 29 years after he had passed on.
Chief Obafemi Awol?w?'s legacies cut across education, politics, economy, labour, welfare, among others.
There is now a reversal of the good legacies that were put in place in the times of Chief Obafemi Awol?w?.
There is a general tendency by some progressive politicians to imitate Awol?w?'s legacies but this has not been all-encompassing in terms of human development
The most stellar legacy of Obafemi Awol?w? was education, which his government vigorously pursued and implemented at the regional level, even though this was not allowed to be replicated at the national level.
There are grave existential challenges facing the country, especially in the areas of national security, human development and economic productivity
There is now a dearth of educational progress and the trend must be reversed, particularly in the western part of Nigeria.
There is a dearth of policy actions on sound recommendations that come out of intellectual gatherings such as seminars, conferences and workshops
Attempts to grant access to quality education have been made without adequate planning and sustainable strategies on the parts of various governments.
There is a connection between educational development and economic development
There is a connection between state-sponsored education of youths and the level of their national consciousness and patriotism.
The current economic crisis is a result of over-reliance on oil, (mono-cultural economy), which has been compounded by corruption of the ‘extractive agents' among the Nigerian political elites.
Nigeria's federal structure is defective and in need of urgent reforms
There should be fiscal prudence, geared towards economic growth and development in order to achieve national economic rebirth and prosperity.
The National Economic Conference being proposed by the Federal Government should involve not only experts and practitioners, but also representatives of all critical stakeholders.
The malaise in the educational sector must be urgently tackled and uprooted.
Privatization of education must go hand in hand with adequate state budgetary allocation to the public educational sector, so that the children of the poor are not undeservedly disadvantaged.
There is a need to properly examine the contents and contexts of the national educational policy and carry out necessary reforms.
Citizens should engage in self-education and personal development to enrich their minds, as Chief Awol?w? did.
There is a need for the contemporary political elite to emulate progressive politics in order to achieve true and sustainable development.
Progressive politics and governance must be focused on development. This should be done in a proactive and not reactive manner.
There is a need for an all-encompassing, citizen-oriented national orientation programme in order to give the citizenry a sense of belonging and participation in national affairs.
There is a need to unite Awoists and all progressives of all generations, irrespective of class, ethnic or religious leanings, for ideological, political and cultural re-birth.
Nigerians in general, and political elite in particular, should emulate the leadership virtues and values of Obafemi Awol?w?
Political parties should be ideologically driven and should have clear programmes and policies to which they can be held accountable whenever they are entrusted with power.
There is a need for political leaders, particularly those in public office, to adopt a modest and exemplary lifestyle so as to cut waste and reduce corruption.
There is a need for continuous inter-generational discourse on pressing national political and social issues.
Chair : HE Malam Nasir el-Rufai,
Governor of Kaduna State;
Host Governor : HE Senator Ibikunle Amosun
Governor of Ogun State
Keynote Speaker: Professor ??gun Gbadeg??in
Discussants : Dr Oby Ezekwesili,
Senator Femi Okurounmu
Professor Alade Faw?le
Professor Ayo Oluk?tun
Moderator : Professor Ladip? Adam?l?kun
Rapporteurs: Dr Tunde Oseni
Mrs. Grace Edema
Convener: Dr ?latokunb? Awol?w? Dosumu
Executive Director, Obafemi Awol?w? Foundation