As the power seekers are going around seeking the votes of Nigerians, they move in the usual way promising heaven and earth to the teeming Nigerian populace, what tops the list of their promises are employment generation, power supply and building basic infrastructure such as, good roads network to improve the perennial transportation problem facing the country. Also they are promising to improve the standard of living of Nigerians. Another sector that is receiving attention by these power seekers is the educational sector; they promising to create more institutions, and improve the working conditions of those that work in these institutions. This is not the first time we here promises from the mouth of these power seekers, they had in the past promise heaven and earth and most a times they hardly fulfill these promises. For instances in the past, they have promise to create jobs, but ended up taken jobs away from the hands of the masses by privatizing most of the government establishments, which provides employment for the people of Nigerian and now all these firms are in a state of comatose after the privatization and thereby rendering those working in these companies unemployed, NITEL is a perfect example.
They also crippled most of the industries we have by their inability to improve the power supply in the country after promising to better the power supply. Little wonder most of the textile industries we have are grounded and are only the shadow of their old selves and a number of surviving firms have left the country for neighbouring countries like Ghana and their likes. And large numbers of people working in these organizations are rendered unemployed and are now roaming the streets without any gainful employment.
Since the inception of democracy in Nigeria in 1999, among many sectors which have suffered serious setback in the hands of the power brokers is the education sector, it is no longer news that the sector is not adequately funded, lacks standard infrastructure such as good class rooms, good chalkboard, science laboratory, a good technical workshop for technical students, the boarding houses lack good accommodation, the student in public schools are badly fed, inadequate fund for research and development, lack of qualify teachers, where the qualify teachers are available they are ill-motivated and badly remunerated, despite the inadequate funding of the sector, yet funds appropriated to the sector is been diverted for personal use by those charge with the responsibility of managing the sector. In fact the problems facing this sector are numerous and enormous and those in authority are not ready to do anything, even as they go about seeking re-election and those that are asking for our votes for the first time do not have a well articulated plans for this sector.
One of the major problems facing the sector aside the inadequate funding is how our institutions have now turn to a mere certificate issuing centres instead of the centre of excellence they use to be in the past, where anybody who pass through these institutions will not remain the same, but today, people go to our institutions and just acquire certificate and they will not be anything better than the way they were before. This is because that is just what is expected of you to do in Nigeria. Yes the government and other jobs providers place more emphasis on paper qualifications rather than knowledge, even political appointment require only your paper qualifications, will you be surprise to here that in Nigeria a nominee for ambassadorial post could not resides the National anthem and the national pledge, even capital of a state in the country is not known by this nominee what a shame!
So people go to institution to acquire certificate since the policy makers cannot change this and thereby encouraging examination malpractice. Lecturers now give marks to the highest bidders and not to those who deserves these marks, while those who actually work for the marks will be failed. Politicians have now flooded the system and spoil these “naughty professors” with money, while the good professors are gradually leaving for private universities in the country. That’s why a local government chairman could be in his local government in Yobe state for instance and he is an Msc students in Uyo, even if he did not attend lectures and sit for exams, he is assure of passing the exams and consequently get certificated, while national assembly members gets Phd in Ibadan for example, while they run their shows in Abuja, the situation has become so bad that some 2.1 students hardly can defend their results as people pay money to get first class degrees.
What an academic sacrilege! You see a number of corps-members that do not know how to fill some of their forms in the camp; a popular case was that of a graduate of one of our institutions that doesn’t know the meaning of next of kin. Yes a corps-member. Honestly the situation is terrible and no body is saying anything, we are just interested in producing a large number of graduates who cannot solve the problems facing the nation.
Nobody is even talking of the secondary schools where, nothing is actually happening, this is evident by the constant poor show of Nigerian students during the WAEC May/June and NECO examinations where only 20 to 15 percent of those who sat for the exams usually pass the exams and even this number if properly probed, you will find out that a large number of these people that pass the exams sat for the exams at the various ‘miracle centres” we have in the country. Yes these centres are scattered across the country. It baffles some of us when we here people run to countries like Benin Republic for better education, even countries like Togo, Ghana not to talk of South-Africa, Egypt where Nigerians go for qualitative education. This is to tell you the gravity of the problem in Nigeria as regard our education.
Should this situation continue like this? This is the questions Nigerians must ask those seeking our votes to provide answers to. If they really need our votes, they must be asked to give vivid explanations on how they intend to move our great country out of this mess. Nigeria is too big a nation to be depending on countries like Togo and Benin Republic to provide education for her citizens. No! We can’t just take this abnormality. For long we’ve been seeing this as if it does not matter, but I say it really matter, education of a nation is too big to be toy with.
Though I have not heard nor seen the campaign programmes of all the opposition parties with regard to education, but that of President Goodluck Jonathan been the sitting President and the presidential flag bearer of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who starts out by establishing a Federal University in each geo-political region and other 3 extra making the number to be 9 new universities add to the already existing ones. One could say this is a right step in the right direction, though experts in the field of education have criticized the establishment of new universities and suggest that the existing universities should be upgraded to meet the world standard. That notwithstanding the president must be given kudos for the bold step he has taken and be encouraged to continue with the good work. Even the planed integrating of the almajirai to our education programe if it is a sincere move and not politics of sort, the president deserve commendation.
The year 2011 is marking a new beginning for Nigeria, after we have spent the first 50 years of our nationhood in total darkness and virtually all the sectors of the economy have perform below par while some are total failure, the educational sector is still hanging and depending on the strength its gathered from her past glory. And the 2011 general election is fast approaching. Now the power has been given to the masses. We are to decide who rule us and tell them how we want our country to be rule. So, it is time to let the vote seekers know that our educational institutions must be returned to the right order, our teachers must be given a good remuneration, and they must be motivated with better condition of service. Gone are the days when we say the reward of teachers are in heaven, they must be rewarded right here on earth, a better monitoring of our institutions must be put in place to check the excesses of some of these bad eggs in our institutions who have turn our universities and other education institutions into market place where diplomas and degrees are bought with money.
We should support those who will adequately funds our education to provides us with the required materials needed to solve the human capital deficiency in the country, yes we must votes in people who must be for the progress of the nation, not people who are in government and send their children abroad to study thereby join in crippling our schools back home not legislators who will frustrates bills for better education for their selfish interests. Our eyes must be open now or remind blind forever.
This is not time to starts preaching the gospel of religious and tribal sentiments, like what is going on in the country right now, if we starts the new beginning like this is going to be too bad, let us come and put our heads together and unite to fight a good fight of survival for the progress of our country and for the betterment of our life and bequeath to our children a country where everyone of them can live and be free and be happy, a country where a Yoruba man can live in Borno and Igbo in Ibadan and an Ijaw live is Otukpo without fear or been intimidated.
Nigerians we must go back to issue-base politics rather than the propagation of religious-tribal politics. And the youths must not give themselves out to be use as political thugs, we must ask for good governance and not be an agent for unleashing violence on others say know to violence and yes to good governance. As earlier stated our eyes must be open now or remain blind forever.
Suleiman Nasiru wrote in from No 1b Rimi road off Rimi Drive Angwan Rimi, Kaduna and can be reached on 07030476699, (sirkknas at gmail.com)
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