By Sonia Dibie
Delta State Commissioner for Information, Mr Charles Aniagwu, has reaffirmed that the state government was establishing more universities to create more spaces for admission seekers and to raise the quality of graduates produced by the institutions.
Aniagwu said the development was also informed by the decline in the number of candidates seeking admission into Colleges of Education and Polytechnics.
He disclosed this while interacting with media executives during a visit to media houses in Lagos on Thursday.
The Commissioner, who was in company with the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Olisa Ifeajika and Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Media, Mr Nelson Egware, visited Channels Televisions, ThisDay Newspapers, Vanguard Newspapers and The Guardian, said “we are having a lot of gaps in admission spaces.”
He said that the team was in Lagos to thank the media colleagues for their support over the years as gatekeepers and key operators of the newsroom.
“As a state, we appreciate all the media houses that have supported us in reaching out to our people with our modest achievements.
“We don’t believe that propaganda should be part of our advancing the course of governance and that’s why we are here to thank you for all that you have done in supporting us over the last five years and half,” Aniagwu said.
On the issue of free education, Aniagwu said that there was a lot the media could do on mindset change on free education in Nigeria.
“A society gets the leadership they deserve; for instance, free education shouldn’t be obtainable in Nigeria because of inadequate funding of the sector by the government.
“What is done in developed climes is to provide opportunity for people to borrow and pay fees and pay back when they start working.
“When you preach free education, the money spent on funding free education also belongs to the children of the artisans.
“Our public schools are in bad shape because government can’t fund the schools adequately and I believe that if we are to improve the standard of education in the country, there is need to introduce some form of fees to augment government funding,” he added.
He said that when Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa assumed office, everyone was interested in civil service job even when there were no vacancies.
“We said we will not go through that route and designed and began implementation of training young people in skills and creating jobs and wealth.
“Today, we are proud to say that we have trained and established no fewer than 5,000 entrepreneurs in STEP, YAGEP and other entrepreneurial programmes and the beneficiaries have also engaged other fellow Deltans,” he said.
On herdsmen menace in Delta, Aniagwu said it had been a challenge nationwide, adding that regional security outfit could not solve the problem.
He said that the Federal Government must outlaw open grazing, nomadic animal husbandry and embrace ranching as a panacea to herders-farmers crises in the country.
“Without ranching there can’t be any reasonable solution,” he stated.
In separate responses, Managing Editor of Thisday Newspapers, Mr Joseph Ushigiale, thanked the commissioner for his proactive steps in information management and dissemination in Delta.
He commended Governor Okowa for the upgrade of three institutions to universities, saying that the future belonged to the knowledge economy.
“Let me commiserate with you over the gas incident in Agbor. We saw gory pictures of what happened; so many people lost their lives in that sad incident.
“The state government should, going forward, find a way to relocate such business to safer areas,” he said.
The Editor of Vanguard, Mr Eze Anaba, described Aniagwu as one of the most decent commissioners and commended him for his dexterity in information management in Delta.
He stated that lack of clear policy on education destroyed free education in Nigeria, and urged that all hands must be on deck to rejig the system.