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I intend to hand over federal varsities to states if elected president, says Atiku

Samuel Akpan

Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), says he plans to hand over federal universities to states if he is elected president.  

Abubakar spoke on Monday at the opening ceremony of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) general conference in Lagos.

According to the former vice-president, one of his proposed reforms is to create an enabling environment for foreign and local investors.

Abubakar said the reform will include healthcare and education because the government alone cannot bring about development.


“One of the fundamental reforms I have in my policy document is to encourage the private sector as far as the development of the country is concerned — both foreign and local. It is very essential because the federal government does not have the resources to do all the things that they want to do,” he said.

“The only way is to make sure that a conducive environment is available for the local and foreign investors to participate in the development of our country, whether it is infrastructure, education and healthcare.

“I had an argument with a university professor from Federal University, Lokoja. He said he read in my policy document that I intend to devolve, in other words, to return education to the states. How dare I do that?


“I said: ‘Mr professor, do you realise that the first set of our universities belongs to the regional governments?’ He said, ‘yes’. I said ‘who are the successors of the regional government?’ He said: ‘the states’.

“I said the children you send to America or England, who own those universities? Mostly the private sector. So, why is it that you think we cannot do it here? We don’t have the money.”

The nation’s public universities have been shut since February due to the strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). 

Stakeholders have accused the federal government of being insensitive to the plight of students and not prioritising the demands of ASUU.

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