He said this while speaking with journalists in Abuja, Friday, on his view that the federal government had to account for the April 14 abduction of female students by Boko Haram insurgents.
The don who said that he was not concerned about how blames should be apportioned, but on the need for the government and all Nigerians not to relent in ensuring that the girls were brought back home safe, stressed that, “it is on this account that I wish to express my solidarity with the parents of these girls and my appreciation to all those who have kept the bring back our girls campaign alive,” he said.
He expressed concern that the little that was left of the girl-child education in the North East, where hitherto it was difficult to get 30 per cent of girls into school, has been further badly affected. “It will take several years of sincere redirection of mind, heart and resource to mend. Of course, the long-term effect of this onslaught on education is very difficult at this moment to quantify or immediately imagine,” he stated.
Describing education as “the path through which a shoeless child treads to become president,” Professor Oladele insisted that, in acknowledging the power of education, all great minds in history invested, protected, defended and opposed anything that might endanger it.
He also described education as an asset that was more important than oil or any other resource, while challenging President Jonathan to rigorously protect and fiercely defend this valuable profession, be it in times of peace or war.
He saw the abduction of the schoolgirls as sacrilegious and an assault on education, noting that any assurance of safety and protection of the vulnerable that was not backed up by swift deterrent action, was a tragic assault to community confidence in investing in this most valuable resource.
“These brave girls and their parents, despite threats from Boko Haram, defended education with their freedom. Yet, more than 200 girls were loudly and forcefully taken away for daring the enemy and having confidence in us,” he said and urged that Nigerians must not rest until the girls were brought back.
Professor Oladele Akogun, also called on the federal government to apologise to the parents and people of Chibok for failing to protect their children from insecurity.
“Nigerians must “hold accountable those to whom we entrust some responsibility, even where the issues affect the poor and the powerless,” he said and wondered why it took the federal government long to take action when the girls were kidnapped.
According to him, the government must accept that it made a mistake because it gave assurances to the girls, their parents and the Chibok community that it would protect them.
“We need the president and the governor to acknowledge and pacify the people that they made mistakes, so that the people could believe them when they give similar assurances subsequently,” he stated.