Obasanjo: Africa needs PhD holders with character for development, growth

Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, yesterday stressed the need for more doctorate degree holders that are imbued with character for the progress, development and growth of African countries in all sectors of the economy.

This was as he said that these four cardinal areas of needs, which were government services, industry/private sector, academia as well as innovation and research, were required for the development and progress of any country.
The former president spoke as guest lecturer at the Lagos State University Africa Centre of Excellence for Innovative and Transformative STEM Education (LASU-ACEITSE), in a lecture titled; “Africa Needs PhD Holders of Good Character: Key Pathways.”

While underscoring the importance of a doctoral degree, which he described as the pinnacle of formal education in the system which must be spiced by good character, Obasanjo said PhD without character and good attributes was a nullity.

He said: “PhD without character will only pull the holder down; and if it does not pull him down, it will not elevate him; but he or she will remain stagnant,” he insisted, saying that the quality and attributes PhD holders should possess include, but not limited to confidence, competence, courage, communication, teamwork, trust, humility, equity and justice, knowledge and understanding.
The founder of Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library Foundation, who pointed out that education and character, should go together, and that education without character was useless and tasteless, however, urged the institutions, to as a matter of policy and priority, award their certificates to scholars and graduates who were worthy in learning and character.

According to him, PhD holders were equipped with the knowledge to make significant contributions towards finding solutions to national and global challenges and problems through their frontiers of knowledge.
Obasanjo, while reminiscing on his youth days when there were no university or higher institution, but when Standard VI was equivalent to today’s first degree, further noted that PhD in the next 20 years might not be the pinnacle of formal education.
He said: “Life means that we must learn more and more about more and more, which means PhD will no longer be sufficient. To build character in PhDs should start from home, community, church and mosque, school, among others.”
The former president, therefore, added that any qualification that was devoid of character was useless, saying he believed strongly in character with the fear of God and that all the PhD students should not leave out God in whatever they do.




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