The senator representing Lagos Central, Mrs. Oluremi Tinubu, has emphasised that education is vital to making meaningful changes in the country.
She said Nigeria would face a dangerous future, if the youth do not acquire the right education.
The Federal Government, the senator said, must invest heavily in education to have an upright youth population and a corruption-free society.
Mrs. Tinubu spoke at the weekend at the inaugural lecture of the National Union of Lagos State Students (NULASS) at the Faculty of Education of the University of Lagos (UNILAG).
She spoke on the theme: Students as panacea in the emerging new Nigeria.
The senator noted that the efforts of past administrations were not enough to stabilise education.
Describing students’ activism as the driving force of social change in the past republics, the senator noted that today’s students had not lived up to expectations.
The reason, she said, is that the ideals that give meaning to life were being eroded, adding that students’ bodies were not insulated from the rot.
She said: “Nigerian students today have not lived up to the expectations, let alone become positive participants in the business of nation-building. We live in difficult times, an era when all ideals that give meaning to life are being gradually eroded. Unfortunately, students are not insulated from the societal rot; that, in a way, may be partly responsible for the sorry state of students’ unionism.”
Recalling the progressive activities of the past leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Mrs. Tinubu said it would be impossible for the present crop of students’ leaders to cause positive change, if campuses were not rid of vices that have been impediments to quality education.
She added: “To rid Nigeria of vices and corruption would be an uphill task. The social vice called corruption has been so permeated into our nature that it will take the act of God to eradicate it. It is my ardent believe that, as long as our students have uncorrupted minds, all hope is not lost for our country.”
To set the country on the path of change, the former Lagos State First Lady said students must imbibe the virtue of honesty, discipline and hard work.
She said there was need for societal re-orientation that would reward hard work and punish crimes.
“We cannot fight corruption in a country, where a public officer found to have embezzled billions of naira is fined a couple of millions of naira in the name of plea bargain. What type of message are we sending to our youths; that they can do anything and get away with it by plea bargain?
“We need to put more efforts in our actions to send clear message to our youths, because many of our leaders are not being seen as good role models for them to emulate,” she said.
For students to be effective in building a new Nigeria, Senator Tinubu urged them to positively engage in seven areas of national life, including family, religion, education, talent development, public communication, economy and governance.
The lawmaker, who said the era of violent students’ unionism had passed, said: “Students must be actively involved in the process of development of their immediate communities. Students can form local pressure groups to monitor programmes of their elected representatives.
“This local pressure group can also influence the society by carrying out socially-beneficial programmes, such as debates, street carnivals, environmental sanitation and education on harmful effect of drug use, prostitution and armed robbery.”
The senator said she was proud of the Lagos students for their foresight and their thought on issues affecting the wellbeing of the nation.
She said students have key role in nation-building and such role must be carried out in line with decorum and civility.
The Dean of Students’ Affairs, Prof. Tunde Babawale, described NULASS as one of the most organised students’ bodies on the campus, praising the Lagos State students for the peaceful conduct of their elections.
At the event were member of the Lagos State House of Assembly Segun Olulade, former Deputy Majority Leader of the Assembly Lola Akande and representative of the Lagos State Deputy Governor Mrs. Adebimpe Rufai, among others.