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The End Of A Legacy

In the southwestern part of Nigeria, one can hardly find a dead or alive person more revered than the Great Awo, the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo. Although he is also respected in the other parts of the country, he has a near god-like reverence amongst the Yoruba People.

Chief Obafemi Awolowo, is a Nigerian Nationalist who is remembered not only for his political acumen but also for his immense contribution to Education in Nigeria. Some regard him as the best President Nigeria ever had because of the very significant progress that came to his region during his political career. He pioneered free education in the Old Western Region, and his protegees, who call themselves Awoists, have been known to align with his views that education is the bedrock of nation-building.

It is, therefore, shocking that a prominent Awoist in the person of Nigeria’s current president, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, will, by policy, take such a sharp detour from the Awo school of thought pertaining to Education.

Barely two months after his inauguration, Dele Alake, another awoist who is the current minister of solid minerals but Special Adviser to the President on Special Duties, Communications and Strategy, communicated the administration’s intention to increase school fees of federal universities across the country towards the new academic session that started in October. A student loan scheme was supposedly signed into law to address the accessibility of “poor students”. However, the law was repealed a few weeks after public outrage upon the discovery of several loopholes and stringent requirements for interested persons.

A few weeks after the increment, Nigerians were notified of another impending increase in the school fees of unity schools which caused another uproar in a country already plagued with a high percentage of out-of-school children and a very high cost of living courtesy of high inflation.

The most recent development is yet another increase in the school fees of law schools across the federation and the government’s demand for 40% remittance of revenue generated in public institutions all over the country.

All of these are done while maintaining a stance that all government schools, from primary to higher institutions of learning, are “tuition free”, a statement that almost comes across as mocking. This begs a lot of questions. Is this a deliberate attempt by the administration to make Education inaccessible to the poor? Is the staunch Awoist no longer a believer in the Awo school of thought? Or is Bola  Ahmed Tinubu trying to put an end to the legacy of his political mentor, the Great Awo?

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