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Sunday, 27 March 2016

Letter to President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.. by Godwin Oriaku

EPISODE ONE :EDUCATION


The place of education in any given society establishes the period in time the said people belong to. We all live in the same planet earth but not in the same period.

Most Nations still live in the 20th century while others, fortunately, have found themselves in the 21st century. This occurrence is not determined by the extent to which they are blessed with human and natural resources, but their level of Education/Enlightenment and how well they’ve been able to apply the knowledge acquired over time, to the development of their society, community, and Country.


It is an aberration to the development of a people for their government to relegate to the background, the relevance of Education. If Education has brought a glimmer of light to most continent, country and her people, then, it should be the basis for any country that so desire greater height amongst her people. Civilisation was said to have begun at the shores of Africa – Egypt. It is saddening enough to note that no African countries falls under the confines of the 21st century. Reasons for this tragic position are obviously traced to the lackadaisical manner with which governments at different times have undermined education. This was bore out of greed and a severe need to sustain the level of ignorance among the people so they don’t rise up against the powers that be. The fear that the people would someday question their policy, greed, misappropriation of public funds, etc was enough reason to kill and take education away from the people, destroying not only their future, but the country's place in the global picture.

My. President, to justify the level of attention education is given in Africa is to justify its position with recent evaluation and the place of Africa’s Tertiary Institutions in world’s ratings. It is tragic enough to note that no African university falls within the range of the world’s top 30 Universities. If this is a true mirror of Africa’s position in the World today, then the future of the African continent is a threat to itself.

Mr. President, at this juncture, we shall simply narrow our minds to our country of interest, Nigeria – the "giant" of Africa. We were, and will always be irrespective of the challenges that befall our great Nation, courtesy of our people and past leaders. Nigeria’s commitment to Education is largely depicted by the alarming rate of illiteracy in the country. Nigeria is a great nation, richly blessed and endowed, but our respective managers over the years have not been able to justify the essence of these resources to our country Nigeria. They have not been able to reflect the blessings of these resources. Instead, the people suffer as though they lived in a barren land.

Our universities are but a reflection of our respective leaders, while our graduates, a reflection of what the future holds. I do not wish to resuscitate the level of decadence and the atrocities committed over the years under the auspices of educational development. We shall for the sake of “National peace and development” stick to the vision this book holds for our great Nation Nigeria. But one thing is sure - for education to grow, a revolution would be a prerequisite.

My. President, an average Nigerian does not possess what it takes to acquire basic education. The level of starvation in our society kills the very zeal, and passion to acquire education. Parents strive to survive. Children, having felt the impact of suffering, feel a mandate to bail the family out of its poor state hence, education, not an option. In most developed countries today, education has been made compulsory and free from childhood to 18 years, or to a certain level they consider a dose for anyone to contribute positively and immensely to his or her immediate society. This is not because these countries do not have other areas that require development, but they realise the uncompromising essence of education. The above policy is to encourage the child, empower the child, protect the future of the child as well as protect the future of the country against darkness and internal threat. Above all, discourage parents from using their ward as an economic tool to empower the family as prevalent in Nigeria and other African countries where children are meant to hawk in order to sustain the daily survival of the family. Most annoying, these parents simply sit at home and make more babies.

My Dear President MB, amongst every ten (10) Nigerians, there is a common story from eight (8) of them on how they personally paid their way to-and-out of school. This is born out of the strong desire to acquire knowledge, a desire not friendly found especially with the economic hardship in the country. If an individual pays his/her way through school which is really the case in our schools, the question is; how much of his/her time has he/she got to devote to studies and lectures? And how much time is taken by the full or part-time job that provides the income which directly pays the bills? With the above situation, concentration and commitment to one’s study becomes a mirage, but Nigerians still scale through these hardship. Great people!

Education policies are made, bills passed all in the name of resuscitating our education and adding value to our graduates, no doubts, all efforts seem to have betrayed the very expectations of the Nigerian people. The very sound of another proposed policy ache the ear of an average Nigerian, knowing fully well it’s just another means by another brother to rob the Nation.

It is saddening enough to note that our political leaders realise the decadence of our education system.  Hence, the abrupt shoving-off of their wards to schools outside the shores and borders of our dearly beloved country. MY. PRESIDENT, if our education system was rated the best or among the very best, would you or the wards of our political leaders abandon our finest standard of education for anything lesser? Hell no! Our education system is left the way it is simply because our leaders are not patrons of the system. They send their wards to acquire the best education outside the country so they would be duly empowered, return to take over from where their fathers left-off politically.  Nigerians have come to realise that depriving them of the proper benefit of education is also an attempt to prevent them from rubbing shoulders with our leader’s wards in terms of credentials and the quality of education obtained by their wards. This is not a patriotic spirit neither does it project or propel a bright future for our dear country.

My President, the poor state of our primary, secondary and tertiary institutions is a far cry from what a decent education system should be. The incessant strikes by ASUU, primary school teachers, secondary school teachers, elongated 3 years program to 5-7 years before horsemanship in the case of medicine and the NYSC scheme, no doubt your colleague(s) who ventured into business would have been well represented in the society. All these frustrated years do not in any way spell or guarantee good job or success upon successful completion of the said program hence; the relegation of education to a useless state. The cry of parents on National TV and Radio does not impact enough to excite the ears of our political leaders.

A PATH TO AN END PATRIOTISM

My President, Nigerians and civil servants by all means must or should be a “patriot” willing to serve and sacrifice whatever it takes to uphold the interest and values of our dear country. A patriot must believe in his/her country, must believe not only the present status of his/her country, but the future of the country. Drastic and immediate measures will be recorded if our political leaders have their wards at home on a regular basis like every average and common Nigerian, but this is not the case. The need for patriotism as a prerequisite for all civil servants and political leaders irrespective of their portfolio is crucial to developing our education. If we believe in our country, then we must believe in whatever is obtainable in the country, for a man who believes in his prowess does not falter in expressing it before the general public. If as a prospective leader or leader of this great Nation, your wards school abroad, how then do you justify your love for this country and what is presently obtainable herein?

Our dear President, the constitution should be reviewed to accommodate these positions that will take us to a positive end in our education sector:
All civil servants including the PRESIDENT must have their wards “school” here in Nigeria and in our PUBLIC SCHOOLS. This is to obtain a reasonable interest from the office of the President, Governors, Ministers, Judiciary and other members of the executive. If the President and members of the National assembly, Minister as well as the governors have their wards in our schools, it will generate a direct supervision of our education system by our leaders through their wards.
Nigeria as a country should embrace global position/practices in terms of funding education, providing groundwork and ensuring we produce quality and resourceful graduates.
Incessant strikes by educational bodies would also mean that our leaders' wards would grace their homes; this of course would instigate relevant questions by their wards to their parents who are at the helm of affairs in the country. We do not have access to our leaders, but their wards would most definitely relate the minds of the people to their parents. This again, will break the monster between our political leaders and their subjects in the education sector.

In order to create a befitting learning environment, and quality education for our children, subsequent Government would be left with no choice than to invest appropriately to enhance the standard of education in the country which becomes beneficial not only to their wards, but to all Nigerians.

President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, let us all eat from the same pot based on equal right to education and allow individual assimilation to spell a natural difference and status amongst us.

I fear the case of insecurity for the wards of our political leaders would be cited as a barrier hence; this position.
Insecurity cannot be completely erased from any society, but can be managed; insecurity shall be addressed in subsequent episode. Presently, the wards of our political leaders who study in America, Britain etc still enjoy some sought of security benefit, so it shouldn’t be a barrier to their children schooling here in Nigeria as such adequate security will be provided.
There must be leverage if excess is to be tamed; the fact that their wards could be in any form of danger based on their actions would naturally conscientise our political leaders to desist from corrupt practices, and further promote positive actions, decision, policies and governance that will not provoke public anger.

CONCLUSION
My President, building standards in our education sector to an appreciable status will definitely be a collective responsibility; a system where everyone shares the same and equal right to education. System where people are encourage to acquire knowledge for the well-being of not only themselves but also for the future of their country.

Our political leaders should not feel slighted by the notion that their wards must attend government owned schools, rather, they  should embrace patriotism, a patriotic spirit which connotes you strongly believe in the education system of your country. A spirit which drives your very soul towards positive development in every aspect of our education system, a spirit not beclouded by sentiments, greed, and personal interests but of sincerity and a sense of equality.

Thank you General Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. God Bless Nigeria!


Godwin ‘oriaku
godotoriaku@gmail.com

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