Former Vice President, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku, said, Monday, that the
flag off of the construction of the second Niger Bridge by President
Goodluck Jonathan was belated, “as the project ought to have been
completed before now.”
Atiku stated this while delivering a keynote address at the 16th
annual conference of African Council for Communication Education.
The conference was entitled “Communication, Children and the Youth in
the 21stcentury,” and was hosted by the Department of Mass
Communication, University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
At the time Atiku was speaking at Nsukka, President Jonathan was in
Onitsha, Anambra State, flagging off the construction of the second
The former vice president, however, commended the President for
eventually flagging off the construction of the second Niger Bridge
after long years of wait.
He said that when completed, “the bridge would boost economic
activities and transportation in the South-East zone and environs.”
In his address, Atiku urged participants at the ACCE conference to
find solutions on how best to ensure that 10 million out-of-school
children returned to school.
“The participants should also seek solution to the high rate of
unemployment facing youths in the country,” he said.
He tasked the media on content that would promote the Nigerian
economy, which, he said, has diverse sources of revenue and employment
generation. “We don’t have to depend just on oil, but on agriculture,
solid minerals, manufacturing and services,” Atiku stated.
He said, “The media as an agenda setter should promote ideas for
building the 21stcentury robust economy. You also have the
responsibility to promote an education system mix of academic and
vocational training, so as to cater for diverse needs of the youth and
the emerging economy.”
Atiku, a presidential hopeful in the All Progressives Congress,
advocated that federal schools be handed over to states in which they
were located, saying, “It would help in administration and management
of the schools.”
He added, “The Federal Government should also focus on setting
regulatory standards and insist on implementing these standards.
“It will save cost as well as make it easier in management if federal
schools were handed over to the states.”
The Vice Chancellor, University of Nigeria, Prof. Bartho Okolo,
expressed appreciation to the former vice president for honoring the
Earlier, the Head, Department of Mass Communication in the
institution, Dr. Ray Udeaja, explained that the aim of the conference
was to continue to advance evolution of communication education in
Africa as well as guarantee the dignity of young Africans in the
“We are aware of the faith our society reposes on those of us who are
in the academics. This is why we organise such conferences as these to
enable us contribute to sustainable development.
“This conference targets young Africans who are our successors on this
planet,” he said.
Udeaja added that the ACCE 2013 annual conference held this year
(2014) because of the protracted Academic Staff Union of Universities
strike last year.