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AASU Makes Case for Affordable Education in Africa, ApplaudsTinubu, Dangote, Oyakhilome, Kyari over Efforts
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AASU Makes Case for Affordable Education in Africa, Applauds Tinubu, Dangote, Oyakhilome, Kyari over Efforts

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In a passionate address to mark the 2024 Africa Students’ Day, HE Osisiogu Osikenyi Enyinnaya, President of the All-Africa Students’ Union (AASU), called for urgent action to make education in Africa affordable and accessible for all, commending President Bola Tinubu’s Student Loan Scheme and urging African private sectors to follow the example set by Nigeria’s Dangote Group, the Africa’s second-largest contributor to education after the Nigerian government.

The event, held in Nigeria’s capital, commemorated the sacrifices of students who fell victim to the Soweto massacre on June 16, 1976, while protesting against educational injustice in apartheid South Africa.

Highlighting the escalating costs of higher education, President Enyinnaya pointed out that university students are now expected to fork out an average of $3,000 in fees annually. “Institutions of Higher Learning in Africa have gone on a spree of fee hike with little or no palliative for students,” he lamented.

In response to this crisis, Enyinnaya applauded Nigeria’s President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for signing the Students Loan Bill into law and establishing an Education Bank. He also praised similar initiatives by other African governments that provide relief to indigent students.

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Despite Africa’s economic growth averaging 4.3 percent GDP rise, education remains underfunded by governments across the continent. The AASU president urged for more efficient use of public expenditure on education and called for innovative financing solutions, including public-private partnerships and private sector involvement.

In a stirring call to action, Enyinnaya urged African private sectors to follow the example set by Nigeria’s Dangote Group. As Africa’s second-largest contributor to education after the Nigerian government, Dangote Group invests $24 million annually into Nigeria’s educational sector. This includes infrastructural support to tertiary institutions, donations like the BUK Business School and Aliko Dangote Business Complex at the University of Ibadan Business School, as well as scholarships and remuneration for lecturers.

The AASU commended the Africa’s wealthiest person for his philanthropy in education, health, and empowerment. “We hereby laud the large-heartedness of Africa’s wealthiest person especially for prioritizing his philanthropic works,” Enyinnaya stated.

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AASU then called on “Governments of Africa and other stakeholders to continue to give their unalloyed and pragmatic support to Alhaji Aliko Dangote; and warm detractors who are enemies of Africa’s progress to desist from wanton smear campaigns on him and his investments that have been of tremendous blessing to Africa on all sides.”

The continental students’ body also hailed the contributions of the founder of the Loveworld Incorporated worldwide, Rev Dr. Chris Oyakhilome, to education in Africa, saying “We wish to thank Our Man of God, Our Grand Patron – Rev Dr. Chris Oyakhilome DSc DSc DD; for his passion for Education, and his dauntless stance on matters concerning Africa and her contemporary development. May God continue to increase you, Man of God!”

AASU equally commended the commended the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Limited) led by Malam Mele Kyari as Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) “for strides especially towards making the Nigeria state-owned oil company become the largest and “Most Capitalized Company in Africa” via the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) has provided the organization with the opportunity to shed some of its toxic liabilities.”

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Not forgetting his colleagues, the AASU President said, “Importantly, may I thank my colleagues – Student Leaders across 55 countries on the continent of Africa who have been delivering Dividends of Student Unionism in their various spaces on the continent. Dare to struggle; Dare to win”, he concluded.

As student delegates from across the continent gathered in Abuja for the 2024 Africa Students Day press briefing, there was a collective resolve to ensure that education in Africa is fit for the challenges of the 21st century – equitable, innovative, and above all, accessible to every student.

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Comrade James Ezema is a veteran journalist and media consultant. He is a political strategist. He can be reached on +2348035823617 via call or WhatsApp.

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