Olumide Akpata, President, Nigeria Bar Association, has blamed the falling standard of education in Nigeria on the quota system policy.
Akpata said this in his 46th and 47th combined Convocation Lecture of the University of Benin, his Alma mater.
The NBA president spoke in Benin on Thursday on the topic: “Re-prioritisation of Education; A Panacea to the Obstacles Challenging National Development in the 21st Century Nigeria.”
He regretted that the policy relegated meritocracy to the background.
Akpata asserted that in terms of wits and expertise, the current set of Nigerian University Vice-Chancellors could not be compared to Vice-Chancellors appointed shortly after the first and second generations of Nigerian universities were established.
He said: “The moment we began to lay the foundation for the collapse of our education is when, rather than be guided by the best standard practices and principles, we prioritised systems that are administered on the basis of ethnicity, and son of the soil. This crept into the education system and it now holds sway.
“Look at the first sets of Vice Chancellors we had in Nigeria then and compare them with what we have today. For instance, the first Vice Chancellor of this University was Prof. Enitan Njoku.
“He was from the South Eastern part of Nigeria. The same school was at one time led by Prof. Gbadebo who was fathered by a Ghanaian. The first indigenous Vice Chancellor of University of Ibadan was Prof. Kenneth Nwaokadike, but born in Awka, the present Anambra State.
“There was also a time a man from Ondo State became the Vice Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University.”
Akpata called for what he described as retooling of the curricula particularly in the teaching of law and practice.
He also urged Nigerians to galvanise support and vote for leaders that would prioritise education in Nigeria come the 2023 general elections in the country.
He said: “Without taking anything away from Anambra election, we must all go out and register to vote and begin the process of rebuilding our country.
“This is the only way that Nigeria’s problems can gradually and effectively be resolved, but they may want to discourage you that politics is a dirty game.”