Experts seek urgent solution to marginalization, poverty

UNILAG, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academics and Research), Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe


Urge inclusivity, equality, diversity 

Nigeria will address growing social problems, particularly poverty and marginalization and move towards achieving sustainable economic and social development, if access to inclusive, equitable, quality education and healthcare are prioritised, experts have said.

The experts, including scholars at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), who gathered at the 2017 inclusivity conference organised by the institution, at the weekend, said challenges loom if the country continued to neglect the need for inclusivity, equality and diversity. 

The scholars, including Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academic and Research, UNILAG, Prof. Toyin Ogundipe, who was the conference chairman; professor of Community Medicine and Public Health, Adebayo Onajole; Associate Professor of Pediatric Dentistry at Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Morenike Folayan; co-ordinator of Philosophy and Leadership Projects, Prof. Jim Unah and popular activist, Bisi Alimi, insisted that inclusivity, equality and diversity (IED) remained a quest that could soon explode unless proactive measures are designed. 

The experts said the challenges are solvable if steps are taken to design a school curriculum that would properly educate Nigerians from elementary schools to other higher institutions on the need. 

They said: “The deliberate involvement and participation of population groups who might otherwise have been excluded or marginalised from universal access to opportunities is the bedrock of inclusivity.
 
“Access to inclusive, equitable, quality education and healthcare is imperative for ending poverty in all its ramifications and achieving sustainable economic and social development.”Prof. Unah said Nigeria must create an inclusivity programme in form of curriculum and drive it through primary to tertiary institutions to ensure that the concept becomes a part of Nigerians, particularly the younger generation. 

“We need to look at how inclusivity connects with us and how it has become an ethical terminology that needs to be developed and driven through the primary, secondary and tertiary institutions.”
   
Also, Alimi lamented that Nigeria ranked zero in terms of inclusivity, equality and diversity, adding that Nigerian laws promote religion, but placed women as second-class citizens as well as crippled the rights of homosexuals. 
 
He noted that the country must admit that it has problems, realise that prayer is not the solution to the challenges and work towards addressing its diversity.

In this article:
Toyin OgundipeUNILAG


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