Labour Party’s presidential candidate Peter Obi has said he would exploit the quranic proficiency of northern Nigerian schoolchildren to give them a career pathway built on skills.
At a televised dialogue underway on Arise TV, Mr Obi said northern children’s ability to master the Islamic holy book indicated they would be able to master skills to hike out of poverty.
“If they can learn Quran, it means they are intelligent,” Mr Obi, a former governor of Anambra, said as part of a broad response on tackling education. “I will meet them where they are learning Quran” and let them know they can have skills.
“What we need to do, other than increased investment in education, is also to have increased inspection across state and local government,” Mr Obi said.
Education in northern Nigeria has lagged behind the rest of the country for decades, with a substantial majority of the country’s out-of-school children being from the region, per UNICEF estimates.
Mr Obi has repeatedly suggested that education in Nigeria could play a major role in piloting the country out of endemic poverty and deprivation. If elected at the upcoming presidential election, he said he would earmark 10 percent of federal budgetary provisions to education, a feat never before achieved in the country’s 62 years of self-government.