Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, ASCSN, has advised President Muhammadu Buhari to distance himself from alleged campaign by Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State to auction the 104 Federal Unity Colleges, FUCs, to private enterprises and state governments.
Governor El-Rufai had made the call the Founders Day programme organized by the King’s College Old Boys Association in Lagos.
But ASCSN in a statement signed yesterday by Secretary-General, Alade Bashir Lawal, insisted that besides the fact the campaign was ill-motivated and designed for personal aggrandizement, it was also an anti-people education policy pursued by People’s Democratic Party, PDP, during President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration but was resisted by millions of Nigerians.
The union lamented such obnoxious policy was what Kaduna State governor was urging President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressive Congress, APC, to start all over again.
The statement read: “We advise President Buhari to be wary of the likes of El-Rufai who wants to push him to enter into a collision course with the entire citizenry by embarking on this very unpopular policy barely four months after he assumed office.
“Besides, the Kaduna State governor himself should concentrate on carrying out programmes that will uplift the living standards of millions of Kaduna State citizens, particularly the poor masses who roam the streets of Kaduna and its environs in search of means of livelihood instead of embarking on self-centred agenda that will make qualitative secondary education a commodity only for the rich in the country.”
ASCSN recalled that because of the divisive, ethnic and religious politics in the First Republic, which still existed today, the then Prime Minister, Sir Tafawa Balewa, in1966 conceived the Unity School idea as centres for nurturing and inculcating a sense of oneness and national virtues into Nigerian children, while at the same time serving as models for secondary education in Nigeria.
“Thus, in 1966, the Balewa administration set up three Federal Unity Colleges, one in Warri for Western region, another in Sokoto for Northern region and the third one at Okposi for Eastern region.
“Today, the Federal Unity Colleges in Nigeria are 104 and records at the West African Examinations Council, WAEC, and the National Examination Council, NECO, clearly show that students of these schools excel in examinations set by the two bodies when compared with other secondary schools in the country.”
The ASCSN argued that the Federal Unity Schools were one of the few institutions, such as the armed forces, the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, etc, that were still existing to instill national consciousness and unity into the citizens.
It contended further that to auction such schools to private individuals or the state governments was to continue to sow the seed of disunity in the country.