• Tony Igele

Edo’s Outrageous Anti-Poor University

Values have degenerated so much that leaders no longer know where to draw the line between decency and moral turpitude. This is manifest in a brazen and unacceptable anti-poor admission policy at the Edo University, Iyamho (EUI).

Professor Emmanuel Aluyor, Vice-Chancellor of the University, which a former governor of the state, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, situated in his home town, told the media that the institution is not for the poor.

Justifying the decision of the state government to build another university rather than upgrading the poorly-funded Ambrose Alli University (AAU) Ekpoma, Aluyor said the EUI was not set up to compete with or replace the AAU but rather “to complement it in terms of providing world class education with the best of infrastructure to (cater for) academically-gifted students and the rich, who can afford the fees”.

We consider it a philosophical and moral affront for a tertiary institution established with taxpayers’ money to be officially classified as off-limits for the poor. Nothing should ever be tagged off-limits for the poor in a democratic society since democracy and election of people into leadership positions is a mandate of the masses, rich and poor alike.

It is unconscionable that a university, established by a Labour leader who was elevated by popular mandate to govern Edo State would be ruled out of bounds for the poor. It is a betrayal of expectations and the mandate and should not be allowed to stand. It amounts to a leader from a poor background being assisted to climb to the top only for him to kick away the ladder to prevent other poor people from aspiring to the top.

The primary purpose of government and leadership is to uphold the interests of the poor and provide them with the means of escaping from poverty. A university education is a powerful means of transforming people from poverty to a higher station in life. It is a total misnomer for such an institution built with public funds to be reserved for the rich who already have what it takes to send their children to top universities around the country and the world.

We call on the Edo State Government to immediately scrap the anti-poor policy of the institution, throw it open for all like all other government-owned institutions of higher learning and still make life comfortable for all students.

Edo is rated as the third most debt-burdened state in the country, and it is obvious that both the rich and poor are going to pay for the money secured to build the EUI. Those desirous of educating the rich alone should spend their personal cash and set a private university.

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