BEVERLY HILLS, March 04, (THEWILL) – The Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai has disclosed that shortly after the civil war, the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo advised the Gen. Yakubu Gowon regime to deploy new wealth from oil to building human capital through the implementation of a nationwide free education programme.
While pointing out that the government failed to act on that recommendation, he lamented that “Nigeria as a whole is still paying the price for that error.”
El-Rufai disclosed this on Thursday at the Chief Obafemi Awolowo commemorative birthday symposium at Efunyela Hall of the late sage’s Ikenne country home organised by the Awolowo Foundation with the theme: “Awo, Then and Now: Politics, Economics and Education”.
He noted that three decades after Awolowo’s death and over 60 years after he introduced free and qualitative education to the Western Region, the positive effects of the programme had continued to attract good comments, because he stood for the common good of his people.
According to him, “It is conventional these days to salute the thinking and the comprehensive execution of the free education policy. Sixty years after that signal policy, the consequences still echo in the dynamism of the professional classes and the political consciousness in the West.
“He resisted higher taxes in order to fund the programme.
“Chief Awolowo stood his ground for the common good. It is a lesson for political office-holders, an admonition to do what is necessary, important and consequential, rather than the merely popular.”