Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Trading Textbooks for Posters

I am glad the whole exaggeration of our 50 year independence anniversary is over since we have crossed into 2011. I got so tired of the whole noise before October 1st 2010, not because I do not think we have reasons to celebrate, I actually do think we have enough reasons to be thankful as a nation but my problem was the jamboree that the anniversary became for the greedy politicians with their preference for useless carnivals and parting with glorified prostitutes when youths were all over the country offering them beautiful ideas and concepts for developmental projects truly worthy of commemorating the anniversary of a supposedly great nation.

The saddest part is that most genuine projects that will truly change people’s lives are usually not the big billions but why would they approve such projects if it is not putting extra box into their pockets? The most irritating yet inveterate occurrence of last year was when every tom, dick and harry claimed all their activities either deliberately or mistakenly was to “commemorate” the “Nigeria at 50” thing, including funerals, dogs giving birth, some hard-to-get girl deciding to say “yes”! Even the lady whose menstrual cycle started on October 1st suddenly started feeling significant! Most Nigerians just allowed themselves to be kept busy with the Nigeria @50 hype such that it took being broke at Christmas for many to realize that their lives did not improve from what it was in 2009.

The funfair is over, 2011 rolls in and I hear our primary and secondary schools will remain closed and our children will be at home until the end of January because the schools will be used as centers for voters’ registration! In simple terms, our education is on hold for politics to thrive, the future of our children traded for the business of our politicians, sad. While I discussed this at the weekend, it was with naked bitterness as I claimed that a true Nigerian parent would rather have the children at home than have them exposed to danger since we all saw 2003 and 2007 but then, who suffers the repercussion? Apparently not the kids in the international British, American, Turkish schools but the children that attend the Nigerian public and private schools.

Why would education matter to them when some of them lack it? Why would they value it when some of them are carrying certificates bought with your money? Why would they bother to train you when they can easily hire an expatriate to “get the job done”? Why will our doctors’ strike threat be taken serious when they can sort themselves out with “better” medical services in India and Saudi Arabia? In 2010, the alibi was the 50th anniversary and our ailing former president, this year, the registration, election, re-election, tribunal or maybe even annulments will be the focus of everyone such that we will only realize nothing has been done throughout the year by December 2011.

Forget about technology and its effect on almost every area of our lives that makes us think we have grown, it is all a mirage! The truth is that we have access to all these things simply because the rest of the world couldn’t have left us behind for the sake of the business of it! We are 200 million people with our own peculiar wannabe attitude, so we are obviously a good market for the exotic cars, electronic gadgets, ipad, iphone, Blackberry and other technological inventions. Left to our leadership and style of governance over the years, we will still be posing with black and white TVs, climbing roofs and trees to turn the antenna.

As I write this I am listening to that great gospel album of the 80s titled “Amona tete mabo”. The singer sang about the situation in Nigeria back then and cried that the almighty might come down and rescue his people, but it is sad that almost three decades after the release of this album, the lyrics still sound like a brand new release, more like a fresh pain of that Lagos State University student who has been in school since 7 years and is yet to graduate. It is unbelievable but just like the music of the legendary Fela Kuti, we can relate with these lyrics on the current situation of our land and what that means is that we have not grown up after 50 years!

I can deal with the greed and the lies and the other regulars in Nigerian politics (besides violence of course) but I just cannot deal with our education system going down the drain everyday with no sign of sensitivity from our government! I ask, are there no other places for us to carry out the voters registration? Have we not done registration before in this country? Is closing down the schools truly our last option? A country that fails to educate his people will only raise more jobless, economically handicapped and intellectually impaired citizens who will believe any twisted teaching and will accept any stipend to fight, kill, burn houses and plant bombs under the guise of spiritual liberation. Nigerians pray because we need God now more than ever.

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