Atiku: I Did Not Say That I Would Turn Over Federal Universities To State Governments

Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate for the 2023 general election, has clarified his statement regarding his education policies if elected in 2023.

Atiku stated that he would not transfer federal universities to the states, stating that education would remain on the concurrent list.

In a statement released on Monday evening, Atiku’s media aide, Paul Ibe, claimed that his boss’s remarks at the plenary of the 62nd annual conference of the Nigerian Bar Association regarding education and how to address the crisis in the sector were misconstrued and quoted out of context. 

According to a statement from Atiku’s media office, “For the avoidance of doubt, Atiku did not state that he would turn over federal universities to state governments if elected president in February of next year.”

“The report is false, untrue, and unfounded, and it does not accurately reflect what Atiku Abubakar said in response to a question about the devolution of powers, a central component of his policy framework.”

The statement stated, “What the PDP presidential candidate was referring to were his plans for a phased devolution of power to the federating units.”

“Therefore, the report in some media outlets is a misleading and false account of what transpired when the PDP presidential candidate answered questions as a panelist at the opening ceremony of the NBA conference,” the author writes.

The media office of the PDP presidential candidate emphasized that “in response to the question posed, Atiku Abubakar merely recalled his conversation with a university professor, in which he argued that the United States shared similarities with the first set of universities in Nigeria, which belonged to the regional governments, and noted that with proper planning and phased devolution of power, federal universities that have become unwieldy could be made to function more effectively.”

“He also maintained that education would remain on the concurrent list under his administration if elected.” According to the Atiku media office, the report was clearly intended to cast doubt on the former vice president’s character and create the impression that he will shirk his responsibilities if he is elected president in the upcoming presidential election scheduled for February 2023.

“We wish to reaffirm Atiku Abubakar’s stated dedication to education as a game-changer for socioeconomic development and national security. He reaffirms his position that the ASUU-FG impasse will be better managed under his watch in the best interests of both students and faculty.

“To underscore his commitment to addressing the structural flaws in our system, the former vice president also disclosed that he had appointed a committee of judiciary experts to draft a presidential position paper that will guide his administration, if elected, from day one on the terms and conditions of the transfer of power and resources to the other layers of government in an effort to make the federal government leaner and more efficient in its core functions.”

“As part of their constitutionally mandated duty to inform, educate, and entertain the public, media organizations are urged to avoid publishing unsubstantiated stories”.

Wisdom Bassey

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