Friday, March 4, 2011


Let me open my write-up with the following quote credited to Ethiopian Statesman and Emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974-Haile Selassie I “Education develops the intellect; and the intellect distinguishes man from other creatures. It is education that enables man to harness nature and utilize her resources for the well-being and improvement of his life. The key for the betterment and completeness of modern living is education. But, ' Man cannot live by bread alone '. Man, after all, is also composed of intellect and soul. Therefore, education in general, and higher education in particular, must aim to provide, beyond the physical, food for the intellect and soul. That education which ignores man's intrinsic nature, and neglects his intellect and reasoning power cannot be considered true education."
I have deliberately set-out the above statement to set the tone for my write-up and belief it would serve as a yard stick for assessment and proper comparison of some of the things I would talk about below. I know many a person would wonder at the above caption and some would go as far as castigating me for such a theme, but really do our elders and leaders genuinely think that young people have something to offer in the scheme of things in Nigeria, do they truly belief that we have something upstairs? Over the years and till present they have answered this begging question in the no. At every opportunity they have told us we are ill-educated, unenlightened, unperceptive, otiose, and unserious and some of their reasons being that we have contributed little by way of discuss and leadership to national development, young Nigerians are giving the country a bad image all over the world etc. What an Irony, it seems they have never given it a thought; they’ve never had the time, and or luxury to realize that their persistent and unrelenting follies have brought on our generation its present misadventures.
It is sardonic for our leaders and elders to make pronouncements that sound as if they are better than us their children, it is unafrican and unparently. I bet they are disappointed that some of us have refused to be beaten by our environment, have refused to be encumbered by our environment .This reminds me of a Yoruba saying which translates in a question and answer that can be adapted thus “my friend with knock-knees the luggage on your head is rickety and angulated? And he answered “you are looking at the top and not the bottom.” Is it our fault that some our parents bite more than they can chew by begotten more children than they can qualitatively cater for, is it our fault that primary and secondary teachers are poorly remunerated and as such these pivotal level of education cannot attract adequately qualified and highly motivated teacher and as a result many of us cannot be said to be able to read and write well even after secondary school, is it our fault that we were born into an environment which glorifies mediocrity and does not give room for meritocracy or is it our fault that we were born into a system where everything is comatose?
I once attended a programme on the theme “youth are leaders of tomorrow” and funny enough all the nine speakers at the event were above fifty years of age, I then wondered what the mindset of the organizers of the programme was. Is it that the young men and women who were supposedly being talked about don’t have anything to say or what? Nigerian young men and women are making their mark all over the world the only place where they still remain on the back seat is in Nigeria. Nobel Laurel Professor Wole Soyinka was once reported to have made a comment saying that his generation was a failed one and one cannot but agree with him .To drive his point home lets beam our search light on some of the current problems of the Nigerian society and let see if it is the youth and young persons who caused them.
In 2009 a total of 1,182,381 candidates registered for the University Matriculation Examination (UME), and it was reported that the nation’s universities both public and private can only accommodate about 98,000 of these candidates that same year. The plain statistic is that it is only one out of every 12 candidate who wrote the examination that would be admitted and again it translates into the fact that only about 8.3 % of these candidates would get a place in the universities, so it means that passing the examination does not guarantee you would get admitted. This is obviously a case of continuous lack of foresight, planning and or deliberate attempt to frustrate an ordinary citizens’ from getting educated. Our consecutive leaders have caused us this problem and our elders have condoned it.
Every action of our leaders and elders in the past and till present has proven beyond reasonable doubt that their thoughts and actions are always in the present, personal and geared toward self aggrandizement. They’ve planned for themselves and their families and forgotten that if your son or daughter schooled abroad he would definitely come back to lead or rule people who have lived and schooled in Nigeria, and mind you there is nothing like “ceteris paribus “in Nigerian Economics. Our leaders and parents have refused to realize and understand that partial and general equilibrium should be modify to include the human factor because rationality is a mirage in Nigeria. Some people still gullibly thought that Babangida never prayed that SAP should succeed but what they fail to realize is that the economic variables are different in Nigeria.
In conclusion I will say that our leaders and elders have done us a great disservice by not creating the same conducive environment where they grew up, schooled and live in for us .All they do is talk about the good old days, they do forget that some people struggled for the good old days. So it is incumbent on them to start planning and struggling for a better future for themselves ,their children and children which is only possible in a politically stable and progressive Nigeria.

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