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The Dwindling Fortunes Of Education In Nigeria

June 27, 2010

Anytime I intend writing on education, the saying of Late Malcolm X always comes to my Mind. According to him, ‘‘Education is the Passport to the future' and tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today'.... Across the Nigerian nation, the level of illiteracy is high and yet majority of the people that suppose to address the rot in the sector are carried away by other trivial issues.

Anytime I intend writing on education, the saying of Late Malcolm X always comes to my Mind. According to him, ‘‘Education is the Passport to the future' and tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today'.... Across the Nigerian nation, the level of illiteracy is high and yet majority of the people that suppose to address the rot in the sector are carried away by other trivial issues.
Federal Government, the President, Governors, Members of National assembly, etc, are neither concern nor doing anything to address the situation. Today, the situation is that over 85 per cent of the children of politicians occupying elective positions and other top Government functionaries are studying abroad. These officials acknowledge our poor educational system as such they cannot risk the future of their family members, hence, they must be taken abroad to get quality education.

The federal and State Governments must realise that finding solution to the problems bedevilling the nation must start with tackling the rot in the education sector.

Yes, education is the only saviour to the national problems; education and enlightment I believe are the key to human development and the only solutions to Nigeria. Once you give people education you don't have to tell them what to do, when where and how.

Enlightenment on the other hand is the key to electoral revolution and by implication the key to good governance

However, since government has failed, I expect the wealthy people to show some commitment. The likes of Dangote, Adenuga, Dantata, Ifeanyi Uba, Mangal, etc should contribute at least 5% of their annual profits to our existing Universities. If they can do these, the impact would amaze every Nigerian.

Our former leaders should organise a voluntary taskforce that can bring the wealthy people together to donate certain percentage of their annual profits to the educational sector. May God bless TY Danjuma for his donation to charity; I pray our leaders learn from this gentleman.

Recently, I met a federal lawmaker who was full of envy that despite the difficulties, Nigerian youths are becoming more educated. I had to remind the lawmaker that even Harvard University was actually conceived by a lawmaker like him, John Harvard, a Briton.

He was in America during the colonial era in 1631 but contributed half his money and his private library for the take off of the new school which metamorphosed into a university.

I concluded my analysis all around the world, Only in Nigeria you can find a citizen sabotaging an effort to build his nation, only here you can get a leader who can deliberately refuse to do what suppose to be done, or rather ignore what is good for reason at times best known to them.

Sometimes I use to wonder our troubles are result of poor educational background; in some cases I ask myself whether our leaders lack reasonable advisers; and sometimes I use to conclude that out predicaments are prompted by lack of will and desire to do the right.

It is only in Nigeria that things can happen the way they are happening.

It is on record that in the 1960s and 70s, University of Ibadan and ABU Zaria were among the best ten research Universities across the world, and the then governments were serious on education. Not only Nigerians but even foreigners from neighbouring countries are here to study.
Researches of high profile value were carried out in ABU Zaria, Ibadan, Nsukka and Ile Ife.

General Yakubu Gowon after he was overthrew out of power returned to University of Jos and Continue with his Studies, but that was then because the educational system was good and had a proper funding

I want to suggest that the billions of naira being spent on foreign scholarship should be reduced and the money be directed towards Increasing more funding for our universities.

My fear for Nigeria is monumental national collapse when oil walls went dry or price of crude oil falls even as the citizenry remained in poverty illiteracy and diseases.

It would be good if the federal government can copy from the United States and make our Universities financially autonomous, this can be achieved through a form of 'endowment' whereby huge amount of money will be invested for a particular university.

Profit accrued annually from the investment should cover the re-current expenditures of the given university, as the investment multiply and profit increases the universities shall become fully independent financially.

This will guarantee conducive learning environment, stable academic calendars and produce graduates that can meet the challenges of good governance at all levels of authority. Alternatively, the excess crude money should be directed towards achieving this dream.

Education needs urgent attention in Northern Nigeria. Our leaders must wake up to realities and face the challenges with all honesty and Sincerity, what the education sector lacks is not only funding but also 'collective seriousness' from leaders.

I want to propose that state governments should take over the Almajiri schools and make them formal and incorporate western education in their curriculum. English language and mathematics should be made compulsory.

Majority of youths in the North are too redundant and takes things for granted, they kept telling me they couldn't attend University because they cannot afford to finance their education, although as adults they should be absolutely responsible for their future and prepare well for it. Most of our Parents as well doesn't know the value of education and refused to either sponsor, support or encourage the youth to look for education.

In my village, whenever I visited my friends, I encourage them to return to school, but to my surprise they are only interested in getting married without jobs, discussing about local politics or being hired by politicians to secure elections or re-elections.

I always hate seeing children’s begging in the name of Islamic education, this is very common especially in places like Kano, Zaria, Sokoto, Borno and other northern states of the federation. In 21st century we don't have to be reminded in such issues. It is a public knowledge that a Saudi child doesn’t beg, same in Cairo and even Iraq and Afghanistan, why should the North and by extension Nigeria be different? Unless this is done and many other problems tackled, northerners are slowly becoming 'Nigerian future slaves'.


I hope the leaders realise this before it will be too late, God bless Late Chief Obafemi Awolowo for his free education policy at the early years of Nigeria, I think so far he has been able to educate close to 50 million people.

Between 2002-2005 I was a complete Hustler in the Streets of Lagos, looking for money to finance my undergraduate studies, which I did successfully and yes at a private university, I may be wrong but I see no reason why others cannot do what I have done.

Nura Manu Soro
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