7 remarkable quotes by former President Jonathan on security and education in Africa

Last Wednesday, Nigeria’s former president, Goodluck Jonathan, appeared before the Diplomatic Community at the World Press conference in Geneva, Switzerland. The event which was hosted at the Geneva Press Club focused on security, education and development in Africa.

At the conference attended by diplomats, journalists and policy makers, Jonathan defended his administration, giving details of his post presidential focus, but refused to comment on certain issues like the ongoing probe of his Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, “As a former president, any comment I make at this point would affect the witnesses and ongoing proceedings in court and I would be going against the law of my country. So I will not make any comments at this point until all these are sorted out,” he explained.

However, drawing from his experience as the former Head of State, he had quite a number of things to say about education and security and how one impacts the other. Here are seven remarkable quotes from his speech.

Lower education levels are linked to poverty and poverty is one of the chief causative factors of crime whether it is terrorism or militancy or felonies.

If we do not spend billions educating our youth today, we will spend it fighting insecurity tomorrow. And you do not have to spend on education just because of insecurity. It is also the prudent thing to do.

I am no longer in office and I no longer have executive powers on a national level. However, I am more convinced now than ever about the nexus between education and security.

For the future, what Nigeria needs is to focus on making education a priority.

Nigeria, or any African nation for that matter, can never become wealthy by selling more minerals or raw materials such as oil. Our wealth, as a nation, is between the ears of our people.

I feel that what people in my position, statesmen and former leaders, ought to be doing is to help build consensus all over Africa, to ensure that certain issues should not be politicized. Education is one of them.

It is the job of former leaders and elder statesmen to convince Executive and Legislative branches across Africa to work together to achieve the UNESCO recommended percentage as the barest minimum.

In conclusion, he commended the present administration for the generous allocation to the educational sector in the recently released budget. “Thankfully, the administration that succeeded mine, in its first budget, appears to have seen wisdom in continuing the practice of giving education the highest sectoral allocation.”  Jonathan promised the service of his foundation in seeing that former African leaders and elder statesmen work together in ensuring an increase in education in Africa.

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