Monday 9 January 2012

The Place of Education in Nation Building since Independence

A paper presented by Oludare Ogunlana at the Federation of Oyo State Students Union, (FOSSU) essay writing Competition Grand Finale on the 16th September 2010 at the House of Chiefs, Parliament Building, Oyo State Secretariat, Ibadan, Oyo State

I fell highly honored to be part of this occasion, organized by the Federation of Oyo Students Union, FOSSU in commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The title of the event has been carefully chosen and much relevant to our present liberation struggle in Nigeria. Education is “food” and bedrock of any national development.
It is pertinent on this occasion to make the point clear that many successful nations of the world are ever demanding of more and more education in order to continue to embolden and transform their educational sector, thereby strengthening it for competitive development. Indeed the former Prime Minister of Great Britain, Gordon Brown fittingly argued that “a nation cannot be the first, if it is second in education” 

Our founding fathers got it right from inception but something went wrong along the line. The dream of our founding fathers like Azikiwe, Awolowo and Balewa was to use education as a catalyst for our rapid national development in term of economic growth, technological advancement and political development through university system. It was on record that University College (University of Ibadan) was established in 1948 as part of the British Policy of extending higher education to its colonies under a scheme of “special relations”
The dream was finally realized when in October 1960 the University of Nigeria was established at Nsukka. It therefore became the first fully autonomous full fledged university in Nigeria with its own charter and with powers to grant its own degrees. It was the first of the independence era university conceived as a result of Nigeria initiative rather than as a part of the British colonial policy for her colonies. By the end of the 1960’s Nigeria has a total of five autonomous Universities namely, the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (October 1960), the University of Ibadan (October 1962), the University of Ife, now OAU (October 1962), Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria (October 1962), and the University of Lagos (October 1962). In 1970, the government of the Mid-West state established another university, the Mid-West Institute of Technology at Benin. The name was later changed to University of Benin in 1972 after it was accorded full


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