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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

Niger Bridge.

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

invitation.

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

coming days.

?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.

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