The governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos State, Mr Jimi Agbaje, says he will focus on primary education, housing and transportation amongst other areas if elected in February’s governorship election.
Mr Agbaje told Channels Television on Tuesday that huge improvement was needed in the education sector, stressing that the Lagos State government had not paid enough emphasis on primary education which was most important in the education of every Nigerian.
“We need to make Lagos work better. A lot of the education budget is spent on secondary and tertiary education. Lagos State has spent about three per cent on primary education and it is negligible.
“Children don’t have a good foundation. Because the primary level is not working, you have children in the private primary schools.
“If you get the foundation right you will be spending less as you go up the ladder,” he said.
The PDP governorship candidate said that he would ensure that basic education remained free, emphasising that there is no country that makes progress without a good primary education foundation.
“Lagos State spends about 14 per cent of its budget on education. The western region spent 40 per cent of its budget on education.”
He further said that his administration, if elected, would ensure that funds were set aside for the training of teachers in the state.
Mr Agbaje said: “Education is about innovation and creativity and it is pertinent that children are prepared along that line”.
“Education has change all over the world and it is no longer the one-plus-one is equal to two. It is about innovation and creativity. You will find that a lot of those who have changed the world did not get to where they were from university education. It is the kind of education that they received at that basic level.
“Currently, about 82 per cent of the education budget is on recurrent expenditure and if you want to make progress, have schools that have laboratories and other necessary facilities, you have to change the round.
“The younger ones today are not very familiar with the use of libraries. We will use education programmes that children can learn from.
“It is time that we begin to have free Wi-Fi hotspots for the young ones to access the internet and get access to materials online.”
He said that funds for the needed improvements would be generated from leakages that we would be tightened. Expound the economy to be able to raise money.
The rate of unemployment in Nigeria is on the increase, with many graduates not being able to secure a job.
To tackle the challenge, Mr Agbaje said that technical and vocational skills acquisition would be funded to empower individuals to be productive.
“The state government spends about 1.5 per cent of its education on technical and vocational skills.
“We will address unemployment better if we place emphasis on vocational skills,” he said.
The governorship candidate also stated that he would set up a job portal for university graduates to guide them in terms of trainings that would prepare them for jobs.
According to him, the state would collaborate with private sector companies to achieve the needed training.
On the issue of housing, he said that Lagos needed about 200 thousand housing units every year and that he would be exploring the possibility of producing housing units for low income earners.
“You will reduce the cost of land to near zero.
“There is bureaucracy in the cost of getting approved plans and this must change.
“Lagos is the worst state by World Bank report, to get approved plans. We will correct that and this will contribute to reducing the cost of housing. We will look at the cost of production of the house by exploring industrial scale housing. For instance, we will get roofing sheets in large quantity.
“We must provide for too many people coming into Lagos State,” he said.
As elections draw near, several peace accords have been signed, between presidential candidates and between governorship candidates.
Everyone of them had pledged commitment to ensuring a violence-free election and Mr Agbaje also urged supporters to be peaceful and ensure they do not get involved in acts of violence, before, during and after the elections.