In keeping with the wish of the late foremost Nigerian lawyer, Gani Fawehinmi, 20 students from different higher institutions in the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria have been awarded N100,000 each to continue with their educational programmes. The students are the latest beneficiaries of the annual Gani Fawehinmi Scholarship award instituted by the popular Nigerian lawyer during his lifetime and which still continues to this day as specified in his will.The beneficiaries all expressed their gratitude to the late Fawehinmi, his family and members of the Scholarship Board. As part of the activities for the event, Pai Obanya, an emeritus professor of the Institute of Education, University of Ibadan, delivered a lecture on education and corruption.
Obanya identified de-corruption of the education development process Nigeria as the surest means to achieve growth in the country. According to him, “education, as conceived and practised in Nigeria, would need to be de-corrupted for it to serve the purpose of de-corrupting larger society. This would require a holistic clean-up that takes into consideration politics, policy, programmes, process, and products- the five pivotal points in the education development, ” such that when good politics yields good policy, the policy becomes fertile ground for good programmes. According to him, good programmes stand the chance of determining good process, while good processes are most likely to bring about good products, who now become change agents in the society. He added that education is not literacy, ability to understand and use English language in a variety of life situations, neither is it technical competence nor the possession and exhibition of knowledge in all its possible forms. The primary meaning of education, he said, is to ensure the inter-generational transmission of cultural heritage to younger generation. He listed the major concern of education as “unleashing and nurturing of human potentials for the all-round development of individuals for the ultimate goal of self-actualization and consequently enhancing every individual’s capacity to contribute meaningfully to society’s continuous development.”
On his part, Professor Abiodun Ogunyemi, president, Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU and chairman of the event, advocated the need to entrench free education in Nigeria as available resources can fully support free, qualitative and compulsory education. While noting that the leaders may not allow such, he pointed out that the “onus is on us to fight for what belongs to us.”
Members of the academia, activists, students and other guests at the event commended Fawehnimi for the initiative, which he started in 1974.
Oladipo Fashina, former senior lecturer at the Department of Philosophy, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife and chairman, Gani Fawehinmi Scholarship Board, Muhammed Fawehimi, lawyer and activist and first son of the late legal icon and a host of other speakers urged the students to use the money judiciously and also learn to give back to the society.