Who Will be Peter Obi’s Minister of Education?
By Akachukwu Ifeanyichukwu
The public education sector of Nigeria is currently in a critical state as staff unions of federal universities have been on an unending industrial action for the last five months.
Federal institutions are dilapidated as they are poorly funded and the approved funds are rarely used for the approved task. If elected on February 25, 2023, the Peter Obi-Yusuf Datti Baba Ahmed-led administration will have to face the uphill task of rebuilding the sector from the foundation and this would be done by who he appoints as the Minister of Education if he is given the mantle of leadership.
During his tenure as Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi revitalized the education system of the state using strategic partnerships with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), the World Bank, the Department for International Development (DFID) of the United Kingdom and the European Union (EU).
The state was the first to procure and distribute more than 30,000 computers to secondary schools, including 22,500 from Hewlett-Packard (HP).
The Managing Director for the Personal Systems Group at HP described the deployment as the biggest of such projects in the Middle East and Africa.
The Anambra State Government provided Microsoft Academies to more than 500 secondary schools, which the Head of Microsoft in Nigeria described as the biggest such deployment in Africa so far.
The State provided Internet access to more than 500 secondary schools, which were characterized by the Director of Galaxy Backbone as “incomparable to any in the country.”
More than 700 buses were given to secondary schools in the state by the government. Boreholes were provided in schools all over the state and lastly, numerous classrooms were built in all the 177 communities of the state. This led Obi to receive awards from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and other prestigious organizations.
Here is a short list of the qualified members of the Nigeria Academia for the possible post of Minister of Education:
Emeritus Professor Umaru Shehu (North)
A must-know name in the Northern region of Nigeria is Professor Umaru Shehu, a distinguished physician, academic, and administrator, who is the chairman of the Board of Directors of the Institute of Human Virology, Nigeria (IHVN).
Professor Shehu, who was educated at the University of Ibadan and Liverpool, is a distinguished fellow of the National Postgraduate Medical College. He was a pro-Vice-Chancellor (Academic) of the Ahmadu
Bello University, Zaria from 1977-1978.
From 1978-1980, he was the Vice Chancellor of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and Chairman of the board of management of the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan between 1991 and 1994. He was also Pro-Chancellor and Chairman, Governing Council of the Bayero University, Kano, and the University of Lagos between 1993 and 1999. He has also chaired the boards of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) and STOPAIDS.
A one-time president of the Academy of Science and consultant to the World Health Organization (WHO), Professor Shehu holds the prestigious national award of the Commander of the Federal Republic (CFR). A world-renowned scholar with many publications to his credit and membership in international and local professional bodies, Professor Shehu is a Professor Emeritus of Community Medicine, at the University of Maiduguri, Nigeria.
Professor Kayode Adebowale (West)
A popular name in the Western academia of the country is Kayode Oyebode Adebowale, a Nigerian professor and scientist and the 13th Vice-chancellor of the University of Ibadan. In October of 2021, he became the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, having formerly served as the deputy vice-chancellor (administration) of the school and as the Dean of the Faculty of Science in the same institution.
Prof Kayode Adebowale was born on January 11, 1962, and he is a native of the Gateway State, Ogun, in Western Nigeria. He had his primary education at St. Marks Primary School, Oke-Ijaga, Ijebu Igbo between 1967 and 1972 while his secondary was at Ayedaade Grammar School, Ikire between 1973 and 1978. He bagged his BSc in Chemistry in 1984 from the University of Ibadan at the age of 22. He received his Master’s degree and PhD from the same university in 1986 and 1991 respectively. He began his academic career as a Graduate Assistant at the University of Ibadan and became a professor of Industrial Chemistry in 2006.
He was once a lecturer at the Federal University of Technology. He has a record number of 137 published and peer-reviewed scientific papers, 14 conference papers, and 3 technical reports. He was formerly the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration), at the University of Ibadan.
Professor Aniebiet Inyang Ntui (South-South)
A name strongly involved in Nigerian academia is that of Professor Aniebiet Inyang Ntui, an international author in the field of Library and Information Science and the current university librarian of the University of Calabar.
Ntui holds a BSc (Ed), Dip (Computer Techniques), M.Ed., MLS, and a PhD in Library and Information Science. She has over 20 years of experience in the library and classroom of the University of Calabar, Nigeria. Professor Aniebiet is an Associate of the European Union Research Initiative – Europeana, the University of the West of Scotland’s Centre for African Research on Enterprise and Economic Development, and the University of Glasgow’s UK-COP 26 Universities Climate Network. She is also a Fellow of various international library associations and institutions. She has served as a Consultant of Information Management to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, United Nations Development Programme, and the World Bank. She is a recipient of the Nigerian Library Association, the 2020 Award of Excellence, and the 2021 Award of Honour for her contributions to the development of librarianship in Nigeria.
She is one of the Most Read Researchers in Nigeria according to information available on the Web of Science Site.
Who do you think will eventually become a member of the Obi-Datti cabinet if he is eventually elected as President of Nigeria?