The wife of Olu of Warri, Olori Atuwatse III, has disclosed plan of the Olu of Warri palace to bequeath an enduring educational legacy in Warri kingdom, this is just as she harped on the need for every child to receive quality education irrespective of social status.
The Olori stated this at the launch of Human Capital Africa (HCA), an accountability and advocacy initiative spearheaded by Nigeria’s former Minister of Education, Obiageli Ezekwesili, in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
While expressing worry on the decline in quality education in addition to the rising number of out-of-school children, she posited that there was no better way to build the future than by building the children through quality education.
She particularly expressed regret that rather than be a blessing to the people, the rich natural resources of Warri people have failed to uplift their standard of living.
According to her, “Since our ascension, the state of the Warri Kingdom has deeply disturbed my husband and I. The Delta region, where our kingdom is located, suffers from what we call the resource curse.
“A situation where our natural resource wealth, such as oil and gas, leads to poor economic outcomes in addition to creating environmental waste.
“Majority of our people are reeling from poverty and a lack of access while a few stakeholders benefit from the lucrative export. The high level of poverty in our region has turned our youth towards inexcusable illegal activities.
“The poverty level has also contributed to rising number of out of school children especially in the rural/riverine areas.
“According to the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), as of 2021, the total number of out-of-school children in Delta State is 146,000.
“The total number for the south south is at an astronomical 1.2 million. Increasingly, our children’s role models are those who find seeming success from less altruistic means of livelihood.
“Ogiame Atuwatse III and I have made it one of our priorities to channel our influence and greater investment to our most important resource – the young people of Warri Kingdom.
“It is our dream to build a prosperous future for the children of the kingdom, a future where they have opportunities to survive but to thrive.”
While noting that the impact of quality education at a young age open boundless possibilities, the Olori, however, said that quality education should not be the preserve of the privileged few in the society.
“That is why I did like to tell you about my hero. My father, Captain Hosa Okunbo, the third child from a family of 12, came from humble beginnings.
“From his primary to tertiary education, he attended public schools across Nigeria. in Benin, Warri, and Zaria, where he received a rich education that set him on the same career starting line as those from more privileged backgrounds.
“In his lifetime, Captain built industries. But, more than that, he built people by providing work that enriched others intellectually and economically.
“Today, many of those in whom he sowed, including his children, are replicating that. This is the multiplier effect education has. it builds an individual who builds several others.
“Captain attended Federal Government College, Warri when public education in Nigeria was at par with global standards.
“Back then, the average Nigerian child, regardless of social status, had the opportunity to receive excellent quality education that enabled them to stand shoulder to shoulder with their peers around the world. Unfortunately, today, it is not so,” Olori Atuwatse III stated.