Date Published: 10/28/09
THE WHOLE TRUTH ABOUT EDUCATION IN NIGERIA By Dr. Ifeanyi Egwuatu
EDUCATION , an unimpeachable instrument of development in every dynamic society, nah country, had been comatose in Nigeria. It is today moribund, and certainly not by accident. This systemic collapse in education is rather a subterfuge concocted by the ruling caste to flesh-out their strangle-hold on the populace, albeit to not only emasculate them enroute quick tractability for mellow servitude, but also assure that their ever-pampered clones are merely shoulder length behind. Even when it is evident some of such surrogates are at best protoplasmic, they are nevertheless lorded over the helpless masses to only perpetuate the imperious gestures prescribed by their patriarchs in a near family tradition.
It is heart-rendering to observe the present administration upturn itself in its drabness, may be in the dumb spirit of rule of law (whatever this means), to quickly erect a morgue, fit enough for a rebranding giant of Africa, in wait for the palpable demise, a la euthanasia, of the only mechanism, organic, that levels out and guarantees progression for a people, a nation. The hatchetman is one bloated Sam Egwu, a Ph.D holder and a teacher turned mortician whose line is intrusive: To stall every request for the coroner’s expertise which will issue from such a deplorable loss by the ever watchful and sympathetic civil society and the irrepressible Professor Awuzie led ASUU. Little use straying into the involvement of peculiar pastors, who tacitly laud this void as it enlivens their filthy lucre via their people-alienated strictly-for-the-rich privately owned schools, for a trick from their over-flowing miracle box as what remains of our dear education is ignobly slated for cremation. No vestiges. No fossils. No ground to articulate dissenting hunches. No awareness. No competition, and no rivalry. The baton is intact as an incontestable right. It belongs to the oligarchs.
SUCCESSIVE governments in Nigeria have proved to be a matrix of good students of the Bible. Ignore the seemingly divide in faith which is sporadically instigated by the ruling recidivists as a diversionary apparatus to efface rectitude and install in its stead acrimony, anarchy and bloodletting, thus providing them, the slavelords, the much desired chaotic ambience for their sole responsibility-LOOTING, MORE LOOTING AND much MORE LOOTING. They are at home with the story of the forbidden fruit and how this unholy apple can, with a munch, tear down the hitherto drawn shutters of knowledge-an exclusive of the gods. In a straight line extrapolation these self-imposed rulers picked the symmetry between this miracle fruit and education; irrespective of your take on this both are for the emancipation, enrichment and attendant enthronement of the plebeians. Education holds the magic wand. But these oligarchs recognize the duality in its chemistry, first as a process which does not terminate in cerebral development and second as an institution that galvanizes the various acquisitions into procedural functionality.
Putting it differently, Education must be total to give the intended result. And it does when properly applied. So, for them, encouraging “good” education is akin to assuming spectatoral posture while ones fiefdom is not just subverted but torn to shrills. A desperate ailment, the doctors say, calls for a desperate diagnosis. Something has to be done fast. But how? Since mere mortals can not expressly “forbid”.
Donning their thinking cap these evil-mongers came up with a mundane approach – strangulation. Eureka! “If we can not 'forbid' education we can at least strangulate it so much so that what the system churns out will remain ill-baked-semi-literates" they mused. Education has no place for mediocrity. It is like Alexandar Pope’s Spring; drinking a little inebriates, imbibing more sobers one again. “Be sure the supply is epileptic in keeping with a primary school parlance – half education is a dangerous disease. Let the people be infested so that our children will equally have their way.
Cashing in on the paradoxes presented by this veritable organ of growth and maturation the pot-bellied one, criminally brash, unscrupulous and vitriolic, during his first enslavement journey initiated the strangulation agenda. But he needed a footman of kindred make, an equally eviscerated species, to accomplish this turpitude. An ally was found in ALLI and jointly they kickstarted the willful politicization of education. Governments at various levels, overnight, became interested in students union governments and who and how they came into power. Tertiary institutions were by choice starved of funds all in a bid to cower them and consequently vitiate criticism, protest and opposition to their unpopular policies and pilfering. Those who refused to hold back their thoughts and tongues were labeled radicals and either expelled from school or slaughtered (UNIFE, ABU). It takes a radical lecturer to breed radical students. The annihilation must be started from source to achieve totality. The "leftists" should be frustrated out of the system or made to complain from an inaudible position; hence BRAIN DRAIN.
The higher institutions became mere extensions of the group in power. The effete vice-chancellors are now card carrying members of registered political parties, as soldiers in authority dropped their uniforms, and shamelessly flaunt such to the chagrin of the academia. In a typical Nigeria fashion, these political vice-chancellors began to give away their lecturers, conspire with central power either to sack them as radicals or deport them (Patrick Wilmot). School authorities must appear in party rallies with their students if only to confer legitimacy and acceptability to the rogues who imposed themselves on the people.
Having transformed from pilferers to kleptomaniacs, and later recidivists they now loot in billions of dollars so that their children can afford to school even in planet Mars. Nigerians, the much touted happiest people in the world, watched aghast and in disbelief as this theatricals unfolded .They were too numb to react and in their lax attitude Education became a pastime for their children. It is no longer envied as what our schools produce cannot find their bearing in the 21 st century world. Any wonder the best university in Nigeria today is rated 50 th in Africa and 5840 th in the world. This giant is haemorrhaged!
And the surgeon is not equipped enough to arrest the imminent death. Rather people are cajoled into believing that ASUU is the bane with their incessant demand for salary increase. They tend to forget that ASUU is an amalgam of egg-heads. Poor ASUU are patriotic. More patriotic than the stroppy Senator Emordi whose selection into the hallowed chambers does not represent any grass root interest as students in her supposed constituency could have mauled her if she was there on their ticket. You ponder over the quick-fire sentiments she displayed at the ASUU-Senate Committee on Education negotiation you see what some mothers in politics have degenerated to. No milk, all bile.
Listen to some of the students talk you will feel a greater pain. In their badly collocated sentences they lay the blame on the feet of ASUU and go ahead to advise them to shift ground. But for students like the OAU-IFE SUG President who voiced strongly his support for today’s sacrifice for a better tomorrow for the youths, one would have asked the government to “carry go” in their attrition.
Let no one be deceived by the recent break-through in negotiation for the emancipation of education. It is a placebo; a ruse. The agenda did not begin with this administration, and like the perennial power problem cannot end with them. The decision to strangulate the public education system in Nigeria is a well-thought out step by the ruling class to subjugate the people perpetually until the oil in our land dries up and the foreign reserve depletes to nil. It is a collective affront and calls for a collective resolve.
Dr . Ifeanyi Egwuatu