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Oke-Ogun Forum Holds First Education Summit

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The Forum For Oke-Ogun Progress (FFOP) has organised the 1st Education Summit at Oba Wuraola Hall, Iseyin, Oyo State on Monday, 3rd January, 2022.

The Summit was convened Mr. Saheed Adekunle Muraina (FCA), the Founder/ President, Forum for Oke-Ogun Progress (FFOP) to examine the state of Nigerian Educational System and proffer possible panacea to some drawbacks in the country’s primary and post-primary education.

The theme of the Summit was “Education: A Panacea to Youth’s Drug Abuse, National Insecurity and Economic Challenges in Nigeria”.

It was aimed at re-awakening the youth regarding the significance of Education on the wellbeing of individuals and the Nation in general, realising that security and economic challenges are directly connected to a sharp fall in the literacy level among the youth across States of the Federation.

The Summit was attended by Leaders, educationists and a host of over other two hundred (200) participants including His Excellency, Engr. Oluseyi Abiodun Makinde, Mr. Jonah Oguniyi Otunla (OFR), Immediate Past Accountant General of the Federation both ably represented by Dr. Lukman Adisa, (Special Adviser to the Oyo State Governor on Federal Constituencies), Dr. Ahmed Tunde Popoola (CEO/MD, CRC Credit Bureau, Lagos), Alhaji Abdulrahman Balogun (Head- Communications, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission- NIDCOM, Abuja), Local-Inspector of Education (L.I.E.), Iseyin Local Government, Student Union Leaders, Students from Secondary and Post-Secondary Institutions, Principals, Vice Principals and Teachers from ten (10) local governments areas of Oke-Ogun, Oyo State among other distinguished intellectuals.

State Of The Nigerian Educational System
The Summit reviewed the state of Nigerian Educational System noting that there has been a consequential fall in the standard of education from how it was in the last two decades despite several government intervention programmes.

The Summit also noted that the cost of education has become almost out of the reach of the teeming youth from poor backgrounds while crime rates of varying degrees have become an order of the day in our various institutions of learning. For instance, back in the 80s, what we used to see as offences among pupils were sticking chewing gums on the seat of another pupil that was about sitting down innocently but who would find it difficult to stand up later after the gum would have stuck his uniform on the seat.

Also, back in the 80s when we were growing up, some other problems among students were noise making whilst in class and missing deadlines for home assignments. Today, our schools including primary and secondary levels are faced with mass cheating in the examinations or impersonations during the course of examinations, guns and knife crimes, students bullying other students and even teachers not to talk of drug abuse, night clubbing as well as cultism among the youth.

Many teachers here present would agree with me that some staff members in our primary and secondary find it safer and better to keep mute when certain students are committing some atrocities than to correct the erring ones due to the fact that their parents or even the deviant students would descend on such teachers heinously. It has got that bad in our educational system.

Observations
The Keynote Speech, “Education: A Panacea to Youth’s Drug Abuse, National Insecurity and Economic Challenges in Nigeria” was delivered by Mr. Saheed Adekunle MURAINA (FCA), the Founder/ President, Forum For Oke-Ogun Progress (FFOP).

The speech noted that there is a dire need to re-evaluate the destructive consequences of educational neglect among the youth while cybercrimes and quick-rich syndrome are embraced by several youngsters in Nigeria without recourse to its eventuality. This implies that the Government at all levels need to sensitise youth on the significance of quality education and improve funding for education in the country. It is sine qua non to remember the sayings of our founding fathers. For instance, Late Chief Obafemi Awolowo of blessed memory warned Leaders in the country that ‘the children of the poor you failed to train will never let your children have peace’. Similarly, Late Mallam Aminu Kano of blessed memory said ‘Nigeria will know no peace until the child of a nobody can become somebody without knowing anybody.’

In addressing these challenges especially at grassroots levels, Forum For Oke-Ogun Progress (FFOP) in collaboration with Kareem Alao Memorial Education Foundation sought to improve literacy levels in the country by giving scholarships to ten (10) government-owned university students in Nigeria. It is interesting to note that the FFOP scholarship process was made transparent through automated application, merit-based selection as well as instant result after the FFOP Aptitude Test. This is because, FFOP believes that one should not be transparent but must be seen to be transparent. So, as an FFOP scholarship applicant you need not to know anybody. It is your performance that will stand you out among the equals. Besides, ten (10) public schools in Oke-Ogun area Oyo State that produced best candidates in the year 2020 WAEC Examinations were accorded awards of honour. Some individuals in the society such as Barr. Ahmed Raji (SAN), Dr. Ahmed Tunde Popoola (FCA), Mr. Jonah Oguniyi Otunla (OFR, FCA) and Mr. Waheed A. Kareem (FCA, LL.B, BL) who have distinguished themselves by fostering educational developments in Nigeria, particularly in Oke-Ogun Area of Oyo State were granted awards of honour during the Summit.

L-R: Abdur-Rahman Balogun, Head of Media, NIDCOM, Dr Lukman Adisa, S. A. to Gov. Makinde of Oyo State presenting an award of honour to Dr Ahmed Tunde Popoola, MD/CEO, CRC Credit Bureau Lagos while the President and Founder of Forum For Oke Ogun Progress (FFOP) Mr Saheed Muraina looks on at Wuraola Hall, Aseyin Palace, Iseyin, Oyo state during the second Education Summit of the Forum.

Recommendations
Firstly, the Government needs to consider not only problems with individual students but also the system of education in our country. The major emphasis has been hitherto on the certificate acquisition but less emphasis on the academic intelligence, moral values, cultured-ness and compassion of students. Education is all about bringing out the unique potential of every individual student so that they will be prepared to face hurdles and shortcomings in life, empower them to be vehicles of love and hope for the World.

Secondly, Nigeria as a country is facing myriads of drug-related, security and economic challenges occasioned by the neglect of quality of educational system as noted by Dr. Ahmed Tunde Popoola (FCA) who was a distinguished Speaker on “Education: A Panacea to Youth’s Drug Abuse, National Insecurity and Economic Challenges in Nigeria”. He further mentioned that lack of youth’s access to quality education has led to indiscriminate intake of drugs such as Alcohol, Cocaine, Heroin, Marijuana, Opioids, Glue and Methamphetamine, which has thrown the country into the abyss of Terrorism and extremism; Farmers-pastoralists clashes and transnational organized crimes; Socio-political development and environmental challenges; Armed banditry and militia group activities as well as Border security, cyber and technology challenges. The foregoing still suggests that the youth were contentiously led into the destructive tendencies as a result of the fact that they are not sufficiently engaged. This indicates that the Government needs to adequately address youth’s engagement for meaningful educational and socio-economic developments in Nigeria.

Thirdly, it is the primary role of the school to teach skills, to impart knowledge and to establish a sound values base in relation to health and drug use, not to change behaviours that may be determined by factors beyond the influence of the school.

Fourthly, a core component of the school curriculum should focus on equipping young people with information about drugs, the life skills necessary to enable them to deal with different situations without turning to drugs, the ability to resist pressure to use drugs and an understanding of what drugs are.

Fifthly, a safe and supportive environment, which is made possible by a set of clearly communicated policies and procedures that provide care, counselling and support for all students and ensures a cooperative approach among staff, students, parents, and related professionals, agencies and the police.

Sixthly, mechanisms for continuous monitoring and review of the country’s approach to education for drug abuse prevention and incident management. The country should enforce collaboration with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), under the European Union funded project, which recently launched the 2021-2025 National Drug Control Master Plan (NDCMP).

Seventhly, youths in the country should be up-skilled so as to provide them for the jobs of the future, leading to youth-based wealth for the Nation. Proper engagement of youth in educational programs will reduce the desire and willingness to obtain and use drugs and to prevent, reduce the uptake of drug use.

Eighthly, education should be treated as a public-health issue that requires serious attention so that the youths can be saved from continuously receiving inferior education; suffering from mass unemployment and rising armed bandits.

Ninthly, Education should be employed more as a strategic tool for advancement of technology needed for nation’s economic and socio-cultural development.

Tenthly, investments in the Youth should be prioritized by Governments at all levels so that they can become a positive force for national development.

Conclusion
Forum for Oke-Ogun Progress (FFOP) Education Summit has sought to contribute to our societal transformation through the sensitization of youth (the future of Nigeria) on the significance of education and to counsel them on dangers of drug abuse, cultism and quick-rich syndrome (such as yahoo yahoo, money rituals). FFOP is also poised to encourage the youth on the merit of hard-work, academic intelligence, cultured-ness, character and compassion towards their fellow human beings. The Summit equally revealed that an acquisition of quality education paves way for genuine wealth and happiness while the dearth of it worsens citizens’ literacy levels, engenders blunders, poverty, crimes and unfulfilled lives. Education is therefore consequentially required especially among the Nation’s teeming youth so as to lower drug abuse, insecurity and economic challenges in Nigeria.

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