‘Atiku not handing over federal varsities to states’

The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, has refuted media reports that he plans to give out Federal universities to state governments if given the mandate as President come 2023.

The Media Adviser to Atiku, Paul Ibe, stated this in a statement, Monday evening, in Abuja, saying that it was phoney.

Mr Ibe said they had observed with sadness how the report was badly misunderstood of what the former vice-president referred to during the plenary at the 62nd annual conference of the Nigerian Bar Association with regards to education and what steps he will apply to resolve the challenges in the area.

It stated, “The report is false, untrue, unfounded and not a true reflection of what Atiku said while responding to a question on devolution of powers, a key component of his policy framework. What the PDP presidential candidate referred to was his plans for a phased devolution of power to the federating units.

“The report in some sections of the media is, therefore, a misleading and false account of what transpired when the PDP presidential candidate fielded questions as a panelist at the opening ceremony of the NBA conference.’’

The Media Adviser pointed out that the former vice-president simply referenced a university professor while responding to questions put to him.

He disagreed with what the United States of America had in common with the first-generation universities in Nigeria which were controlled by regional governments adding that with suitable setting-up and staged decentralisation of power, federal universities which had now become bulky could have better working conditions under the sectional associate units.

He further explained that education would continue to be on the concurrent list when given the mandate to govern the country as he said that the report was visibly false and intended to cast aspersions on the personality of the presidential standard-bearer.

He emphasised that the former vice-president was not avoiding his duties as a leader when in office as the information was trying to make a point.

“We wish to restate Atiku’s avowed commitment to education as a game changer for socio-economic development and national security. He remains concerned about the prolonged strike by university teachers and restates his position that under his watch, the ASUU-FG imbroglio will be better managed in the interest of both the students and academic staff.’’

According to the Media Adviser, to underscore Atiku’s commitment to addressing the structural deformities in the Nigerian system, the former vice-president also revealed that he had empanelled a committee of judiciary specialists to draft a presidential position paper which will lead Atiku’s government, if voted, from the onset in the terms and conditions of delegated power and resources to the other arms of government.

He stated that it was an objective at making the Federal Government less-burdened and more valuable in its core purpose.

“We implore media organisations to be wary of unfounded stories in the course of carrying out their constitutionally guaranteed responsibility of informing, educating and entertaining the people.’’

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