Okorocha Advocates Free Education, Human Capital Development

Gov Rochas Okorocha, speaking at Chatham House
Gov Rochas Okorocha, speaking at Chatham House

By Omobolaji Oyegunle , London
Imo state Governor Rochas Okorocha, has called for education to be made free in Nigeria, so as to increase social mobility and also empower the disadvantaged youths to have a better future. On a day when pro- Biafran state agitators disrupted his debut Chatham House – Royal Institute of International Affairs – appearance as a guest speaker, the Imo state chief executive not only emerged as an elder statesman and defender of free speech and democratic rights , he used the thirty odd minutes he had to also call for the development of human capital across Africa, including Nigeria.
After being intermittently stopped in his flow of thinking by the chants of “All hail Biafra, All hail Biafra,” by the remaining lone agitator who gave the Chatham House staff and his aides a very hectic time, including threatening to sue if he sustained injuries during the unfolding drama of a couple of scenes, the composed and smiley governor revealed that:” I forfeited my security votes which is billions of Naira, so that the children of the poor man can go to school.” Amidst pockets of applause and a standing ovation which he eventually got at 1.38pm, when his speech ended, Okorocha made a passionate call for education to be free . “Education must be free so that the children of the poorest of the poorest can be able to go school.” Adding, he told the audience: “I’ m a firm believer in education;” therefore, “I made education free so that our children can have a better future.”
On human capital development, he lamented that Nigeria turns out over a million graduates a year and tens of thousands of them have no jobs to go to afterwards, because they have not been equipped with vocational skills to augment their academicals education. Continuing, he argued that: “there’s the need to focus more on vocational education,” and besides, the sciences: “must be taught in our local languages .” English, he said, “has – only – made us communicate easily with the rest of the world,” without bringing out the best in successive generations.
Earlier, during the disruptive session , he referred to the Biafran state agitators as ,”my children,” and continuing to appeal to their reason , said, “these young men who walked in here are my sons from another part of the South East,” and that :” there’s nothing wrong in what they’re doing.” Despite that, and asking the visibly agitated duo to :”rise up and introduce themselves ,” at the early stages of the disruption , the protesters never gave peace a chance. Even when the chairperson, Sally Keeble said:” I would suggest that the governor be allowed to deliver his speech,” because “we have had ( the first ) twenty minutes of disruption from one individual ,” all these fell on deaf ears until the protagonists were eventually bundled out of the hall, one after the

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