Prof Pat Utomi has said that the country is experiencing a huge challenge of living in denial about its problems.
He said there is a certain conceit by Nigerians regarding the Nigerian condition and the place of Nigeria in the world and they think that Nigeria is too big to fail.
Utomi, the two times Nigeria Presidential aspirant, who was the Guest Speaker at the 6th Pre-Convocation Lecture of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), in Abuja, disclosed this during his lecture titled, “Political economy of education: “Issues and challenges of opening and distance learning in Nigeria.”
According to him ” if we were not living in denial, one of the things we would have realised is that our country is in a rolling civil war.”
He said many people are dying as a result of violent death than any other country in a war situation.
“We are struggling with Boko Haram, the crisis in the north Central and in the South South, we are dealing with all kinds of issues like militancy and so forth.
“More people die in Nigeria, a violent death than many of the countries in war. What we have in Nigeria is an evergreen civil war.
” How are we going to make progress when there’s so much violence everywhere?
“We have a zero-sum mindset. People are struggling with things that they shouldn’t be struggling over.”
Meanwhile, Utomi, who’s also the co-founder, Lagos Business School, has called on the federal government to prioritise education and health for its citizenry.
He said education would help to ameliorate the poverty of Nigerians.
In his speech, the Vice Chancellor, NOUN, Prof Abdallah Adamu, warned that the National Universities Commission (NUC) will shut down any university that rejects degrees from students of the institution.
He said this while responding to a question raised by a student about non-admission of NOUN nursing graduates by some unnamed university in Nigeria at the 6th pre-convocation lecture.
Adamu said NOUN degree had become acceptable globally.
He said the NUC for a long time had hindered the growth of tertiary education in Nigeria through its regulations.
According to him, it took the commission some time before it embraced private universities.
The commission, he added, had refused to adapt to the rapid change of education globally.
“This is a conversation into which the NUC has to be drawn. As guardians of the idea of a university in Nigeria, the NUC has been traditionally slow to change. For the NUC a university was 100 hectares of the condominium with many faculties and traditional teaching methods.
“To be sure, it is changing but the pace has been slow. It took it long to accept the idea of private universities and even such methods of pedagogy as the case study method. But we must not blame the leadership of the NUC alone,” he said.
Earlier in his response, the chairman of the lecture and registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Prof. Is-haq Oloyede, called on all institutions of the federal government to respect the law.
“The Council of Legal Education is a creation of the law. The National Youth Service Corps is a creation of the law and therefore NOUN is created by the law. If we decide to be lawless there will be anarchy.
“If anybody disagrees with a law the best place to go is the National Assembly not to take the law into his own hands. I, therefore, call on agencies of government to be lawmakers rather than lawbreakers,” he said.