The Federal Government has been advised to desist from applying cosmetic solutions to the dire situation in the country’s energy sector, but to adopt a policy driven by data and analyses to overcome current challenges in the sector.
The advice was given on Thursday in Abuja by Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili, former Education Minister and Senior Economic Adviser, African Economic Development Policy Initiative (AEDPI).
Mrs. Ezekwesili spoke at the 9th Wole Soyinka Centre Media Lecture Series. According to her, access to electricity and quality education in the country will remain a pipe dream if the Federal Government retains its habit of formulating and implementing cosmetic policies in the energy sector.
“We are entering a new economic sector in the world and it is an economic sector that will be driven by artificial intelligence, robotics, simulation signs, internet and big data.
Where will all these happen in our school system when the issue of access to basic energy seems to be an issue?" she asked.
"We must pursue integrated development and do the linkages and connect the dots between facilities like energy and the quality of education we want to give our children," she explained.
Mrs. Ezekwesili added that there is a need for government to inform the people about how much it is spending on education.
"When I was leading education in the country, we innovated something called community accountability and transparency initiative. This was supposed to enable all communities to know the amount budgeted for any of the schools and be able to trace the quality of the investment that had been done," she said.
Other speakers at the event included Mr. Edward Kallon, UN Resident/ Humanitarian Coordinator; Mr. Gbemiga Ogunleye, Provost, Nigerian Institute of Journalism; Ms. Imeh Okon, Project Manager USAID Energy; Dr. Anthony Akah, former acting Chairman, Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC); and Dr. Hamid Bobboi, Executive Secretary, Universal Basic Education Commission.
This year’s media lecture series had the theme, "Light Up, Light In : Interrogating the Nexus of Electricity and Basic Education in Nigeria.”