Unity Schools Old Students Association (USOSA) has pledged to partner the Federal Government to help restore the glory of unity schools.
The newly elected President General, Mr Lawrence Wilbert, made this pledge while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sideline of the association’s Annual General Meeting and general elections in Abuja.
Wilbert said there was a need for all stakeholders to do everything within their various capacities to ensure the purpose of establishing unity schools was not defeated.
“By coming on board right now, my job really is to provide purposeful leadership to bring the coalition of alumni associations together to make sure we can engage properly the Federal Government, engage ourselves, both internal and external stakeholders.
“I want to commit my coalition of alumni bodies to partner with the Federal Government to make sure we get the schools back to standard and to what it used to be, the pride of education in Nigeria.
“What we will be looking to do as key stakeholders of these schools, to engage the owners of these schools, being the Federal Government.
“We are looking to engage ourselves through the legislature and our alumni associations to see that we get involved in the management of the schools through what we already do.
“The alumni association already contributes, I dare say, as much as the Federal Government, towards maintaining the schools right now.
“It is no sentiment; we are actually giving back our resources and time to make sure the schools are maintained. It is a lot of work.
“We have industry leaders and government officials, who are alumni of these schools.
“We want to create that movement where we properly engage them, where we bring education to what it should be,’’ the president said.
Wilbert further stated that the association would engage the Federal Government to increase the allocation for education to 15 per cent minimum.
“He, however, applauded the National Executive Council for pushing the states to allocate 15 per cent of their budget to education.
Also speaking, the newly elected secretary General, Mr Nasir Wasagu, said one of the key objectives of the association was to promote national unity and integration.
“ Basically, USOSA as an association is not really to challenge government policies in regards to education.
“The unity schools symbolise unity because children between the ages of 10 and 12 were put together under one roof forgetting where they come from diverse locations in Nigeria with the aim of educating them together, and of course harnessing the potential in them as one people.
“You will agree with me that that the essence of national unity and integration is needed in this country, now more than ever and there is nobody to help the Federal Government foster the unity needed in this country more than the products of unity schools.
“And that is going to be the primary objective of this executive, before we now go further to see how we can engage the Federal Government in advancing the course of education,’’ he said.
NAN reports that other newly elected Exco members include: Mr Michael Magaji, as Vice President General; Chinedu Amure as Legal Adviser; Sotonye Edohore as Publicity Secretary and Mohammed Keana as Ass Publicity Secretary.
Others are Osaigbovo Ezekiel as Treasurer; Khadizat Bisallah as Welfare Secretary; Kingsley Anene as Financial Secretary; Adil Hamman as Assistant Financial Secretary and Idike Odiri as Auditor.
USOSA is Africa’s largest coalition of alumni associations made of Old Students’ Associations from 104 unity schools across Nigeria.