Wednesday, August 28 2013
When I was in primary school, I remember teachers repeatedly reminding us how much of a hope we were to our country, how the “children” were the hope of the future. Moving on to secondary school, I was told alongside other students that the youths are indeed the future of this country, and every passing day, we were taught every morning, at assembly, to represent our families in only ways that would dignify our nation. Those days are far behind me now, because I am no longer a child. I am no longer a child, not because I am in my 40’s or any advanced age, but because I have witnessed things contrary to all the teachings taught to me over time, and have come to realize that all my teachers ever taught me was to build hope in me, heavily relying on my childlike nature at the time. Life has taught me different now. Youths have never been the hope of the Nigerian future, its politicians are.
Politicians, a great number of your ilk are versed in the art of making promises. You call them Manifestos, I call them Lies. From election year to election year, a variety of your type preach “change” under different umbrellas, swearing to sweep away all markers of oppression an economic disappointment from the lives of the common man. You key in on the yearnings of the people, the sectors you know give them sleepless nights; you do not assess it because you have any sustainable plans to make them better, you only do so because your “interest” in it looks good on paper, and would serve you well in the polls, as long as you can come up with a horde of grammatical jargon to “pad” your interest from paper to the ears of the good people of this nation. There is absolutely no truth in your mouths.
One aspect of development you politicians fail to deliver on is Education. It is indeed true that quality education CANNOT be totally free. I for my part have taught in a government owned secondary school, and I can say for a fact that the idea of “free education” is a total sham. Nothing is free in this country, and wherever it exists i “theory” it fails in practice. Education is too important to be continuously trifled with like your ilk do. The fact that a majority of you can afford to give your wards the best of education in Europe or elsewhere does not mean the child of the common man should not have a fighting chance in the least. The terrible part is a good number of you were opportune to get quality education here in Nigeria in the wake of the struggles of our fathers’ past. Some of you were recipients of Federal Government awards to broaden your knowledge outside the country. Yet, Nigeria today cannot boast of fully funding the education of deserving students outside this country. A while ago, I read of Nigerian students in Ukraine who were allegedly stranded in the slavic nation because their country did not make good her promise to fully cover their costs of study over there.
It is a different case entirely in majority of the states in the country today. The last cut off marks released for students taking common entrance examinations in the country was quite disheartening. The figures presented readily shows that the “future” of our nation is endangered. Here I would pause and ask myself, do politicians really care? Do they really regard the average Nigerian child as the “future” of Nigerian development? In my opinion, (and its a bitter one at that) the only “future” the average Nigerian politician cares about is that of his kindred. The only hope they see lies in their families. The common man who took his/her time to wait on the queues at the polls has been reduced to take a “sidon look” position. Politicians and their cohorts in private establishments live in elysium, while the rest eke out a living in the harshest conditions.
I have noticed a trend among the “upcoming” politicians as well. These are the young ones who enjoy brief stints as officials in student unions while still in school. One would expect that these ones would shake the shackles of corruption that has become a trademark of politics in the country; but the truth is they are really only gearing up to take huge chunks off the “national cake”. You see them vilifying politicians on social media platforms, via video blogs, et al; truth is they are mere social media marketers for these old guns to launch themselves into the political consciousness of the average Nigerian youth. They help politicians loot the minds of the erstwhile brightest and youngest minds, transforming them into mindless attack dogs against their opponents; virtual soldiers for a cause that does nothing to bring about true change. The ongoing ASUU strike is an example of the various ways the Federal government has failed the youth of this country. When would anyone show genuine concern for the fate of the Nigerian youth? True development in this country cannot be achieved if students spend more time outside lecture halls than they are in it. No groundbreaking research can be conducted by students where there are no state of the art facilities to encourage such…. (Oops, I forgot that there are private Universities owned by the likes of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar that can provide such facilities). Where these facilities exist, they are well away from the grasp of the average Nigerian child whose parents have to borrow and beg to see them through Federal institutions.
My dear Politicians, Change is relative. From where I sit the change I see you lot go on about is that of your automobile once you get elected, or that house you live in, or the frequency at which you go on trips outside the country. The change we all yearn for is really far from your agenda. Quit fooling yourselves trying to get our “votes” by invading social networks (the hallowed sanctuaries of many frustrated young adults in this country) like its a rite of passage to your edge of glory. There is no need to bore myself (yes, myself) with suggestions on how you can effect real change in this country. You politicians know what to do, but your denial of the truth feeds your “change”, hence it would be a waste of my precious time sharing thoughts of development with the lot of you. There are a few suggestions here though. blog.9jeducation.org
For my part, I am not looking forward to 2015. Like the average Nigerian youth, I am trying to make ends meet. To continue to dwell on the woes of this country is to die before I am even 30. I have made a decision not to vote until I see a marked improvement in educational development in this country. My singular revolt might not count, but I would rather be seated at home reading a good book than standing under the sun or rain living with the illusion that my “vote” has even the minutest impact on the outcome of any election from here on.