Gambari Identifies  Education As  Weapon Of Change


By Ben Nwanne

Professor Ibrahim Agboola Gambari, has identified   education as a powerful weapon for change.

Professor Gambari who is the Chief of Staff to the President of Nigeria, was speaking on Wednesday, April 27, 2022 at the 14th Convocation Lecture of the Delta State University Abraka.

In the lecture,  he articulated a nexus between Education, Peace, Democracy and Development.

He advised fresh graduates to forget the mistakes of the past as they contemplate their future, adding that “quality education is a great help”.

Professor Gambari explained that Education is not necessarily a guarantee for success, but rather a continuous learning and adaptation to circumstances.

“The greatest University is your reading material, continuous learning and personal development. The best teacher is a perpetual student” he said, adding that nobody should allow himself or herself to be used for evil purpose.

He informed the audience that the Nigeria Start-up Bill currently before the National Assembly would encourage initiative and entrepreneurship which would make many young graduates self-employed.

In discussing peace, Professor Gambari said that those who are interested in peace making must develop knowledge about causes of disaffection, develop empathy with those involved in the crisis, develop commonality of interest as basis for discussion so as to build consensus in addition to creating a safe environment both physically and emotionally for peace talk and negotiation to take place.

Professor Gambari, who turns 78 on 24th November, noted that peace would be enhanced by a system of inclusiveness.

“There is no alternative for good governance and democracy’ he said, adding that all should participate in politics as ”politics is too important to be left for politicians alone”.

The Ilorin Prince  disagreed with the widely held belief that there should be weak leaders and strong institutions, rather, he is of the opinion that there should be strong leaders and strong Institutions,  arguing that weak leaders tended to weaken strong Institutions.

The versatile international figure who arrived Delta State University Abraka at 11:25am in an helicopter marked 5M CHM to the excitement of all, reminded the audience that the task of building Nigeria belonged to Nigerians as others would not do it for them.

According to him, international finance is cowardly, as it does not go to where there is crisis. Although he is not known to have contested for any elective office, Professor Gambari is not politically naive or apolitical in any way.

Despite the challenges which have beset the country both politically, economically and in terms of security, he believes that Nigeria has done well, having sustained a democratic system since 1999.

He pinpointed the governorship elections in Edo and Anambra States where candidates of other parties (not the ruling party) won as evidence of free and fair elections.

While conceding that there are challenges such as visible, palpable voter dissatisfaction, he believes that democracy is still the best type of government. Quoting Winston Churchill, he said, ‘democracy is the worst kind of government, except for any other type of government’.

He went paradoxical when he stated that ‘the cure for poor democracy is more democracy’.

He grabbed the opportunity to list some of the achievements of the seven year administration of President Mohammadu Buhari, whom he had served when he was Military Head of State as Minister of External Affairs (1984-1985) to include building of railways, seaports and the 1.7 kilometre Second Niger Bridge which is nearing completion as well as the emphasis on technology and innovation to drive the economy.

Professor Gambari noted that despite the high reportage of insecurity issues, the situation had improved, recalling that there was a time when Boko Haram hoisted its flags in seventeen Local Government Areas in the North but that has changed; adding that some State Governors, Local Government Chairmen and even Civil Society Organizations can do a lot more than they are doing to enhance security in their various jurisdictions.

Professor Gambari,  graduated from the London School of Economics in the United Kingdom at 24 and obtained a Doctorate Degree at 30 from Colombia University, New York in the United States of Amercia.

In his remarks Professor Sam Oyovbaire, the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council of Delta University Abraka, a long – standing friend of the Guest Lecturer, expressed gratitude to him for finding time to deliver the exciting lecture despite his understandably tight official schedules.

He recalled their experiences at the then Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria (ABU) where they met in the 1970s as young lecturers.

Presenting a plaque to the Convocation Lecturer, the Vice Chancellor of Delta State University, Abraka, Professor Andy Ogochukwu Egwunyenga, expressed the Univerisity’s gratitude to the August Visitor. – Prof. Ben Nwanne is the Director, Directorate of Ceremonials, Information and Public Relations, Delta State University, Abraka.

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