Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State has identified unearned income from rent, rather than productivity, as the major challenge facing Nigeria in terms of its economic development.
Aregbesola, who spoke as guest lecturer at the 10th Convocation Lecture of Lead City University in Ibadan, encouraged the Federal Government to directly create 50 million jobs in a move that will turn Nigeria into an economic power in two decades.
In the lecture, titled “Evolution of Private University Education and Issues Miscellany in Governance of the Federation”, Aregbesola said: “I will like to posit that we should get 50 million of our compatriots to be working i.e. engaged in productive activities that will bring them at least N25,000 a month.
‘’From this, N1.25 trillion will be generated in the economy every month from real productive engagement,” he said.
“These jobs can be created and paid for by ways and means in diverse areas of the economy like agriculture and food production, clothing and footwear, housing, environment, critical public infrastructure like roads, bridges, airports, railways, water resources development etc that will provide basic needs for the people and cut imports by 90 per cent, reducing foreign goods to critical machineries and raw materials we do not have at home. This will catapult Nigeria into a superpower within two decades.”
He traced the history of private university to the emergence of Igbinedion University, Okada, Edo State, Babcock University, Ilisan Remo, Ogun State and Madonna University, Ikija, Anambra State in 1999.
The governor described the period as a time when applications to the Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board, JAMB, University Matriculation Examination, UME, had peaked at over 750,000, but the maximum admission granted was a paltry 50,000.
Aregbesola emphasised that such action had disoriented more than 700,000 qualified secondary school leavers who could not find placement in federal and state universities at the time.
He noted that one of the challenges of society that the universities must solve was how to see university education as a compulsory social service which must be provided to the largest number of people at little cost.
Aregbesola lamented a situation where only the children of very few could afford the fees of private universities.
“No civil servant can, from his or her legitimate earnings, afford these schools and their fees for their children. This has created a problem on its own. Recently, some students could not pay their fees in a university because they invested in Ponzi schemes that went flat and lost their money.
“One of the challenges of society that the universities must solve is how to see university education as a compulsory social service and which must be provided to the largest number of people at little cost,’’ the governor said.
In his welcome address, the Vice Chancellor, Lead City University, Ibadan, Professor Kabir Adeyemo, said the university annually convenes the convocation lecture as part of efforts to strengthen education and knowledge acquisition.
Prof. Adeyemo commended Governor Aregbesola for registering his quality leadership in the political space in the country, saying his high level of intellectual capacity qualified him to be invited to deliver the institution’s 10th convocation lecture.