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A Most Important Message To Nigerian Students...

March 15, 2011

Fellow Student: What you are about to read may break your heart, and it may leave you thinking "how dare he", but I urge you to read it. Nonetheless.

Fellow Student: What you are about to read may break your heart, and it may leave you thinking "how dare he", but I urge you to read it. Nonetheless.

And make of it, what you will. So let's go.

In clear terms, if you are enrolled in any Nigerian university you are in all probability wasting your time. And I have just told you a half-truth. You are indeed wasting your time! 

The usefulness of what you are being taught - if you are being taught at all, to you, your society, or in fact to the world at large is tending towards zero. Again, another half truth but I leave you, this time to restate it yourself.

The earlier you recognise this reality, the higher your chances of taking individual and immediate steps to correct the unfortunate anomaly. In that sense, I urge you, when you are done reading this message, to pass it on to your friends and schoolmates As with all things you give out, remmember to tell them as I have told you, to to make of it what they will. 

Mohammad Qaddam Sidq Isa's piece which inspires this message says it all and I quote: 
If you happen to be a student for instance, you should only regard your formal academic pursuits as means to acquire appropriate formal certificates not necessarily knowledge and skills. In the meantime, you should focus on acquiring the actual relevant knowledge and skills through extra curriculum studies be it private lessons or self-educating efforts. Provided that you pursue it dedicatedly with passion, you are most likely to have the appropriate knowledge and skills substantial and sound enough to justify your formal certificates. This would give you the necessary positive attitude and indeed inspire you to widen your vision and eventually get your rightful position even outside the country, where skills count and are appropriately recognized.

Actually, you should read Mohammad's piece in its entirety on Reasoning Platform. He asks an important question: Would You Ever See a Better Nigeria? If you have never asked yourself that question, and it is worth repeating, Would You Ever See a Better Nigeria?, then I need no further proof that you have been wasting your time at university.  Or, to be a little less harsh, you have been letting Nigeria waste you. The most important tool you would need as you confront the sad reality, that I am so sorry to bring to you, but I bring to you nevertheless may already be in your hands. In all likelihood, you are reading this from it. I speak of that packed little device that is now very incorrectly tagged your mobile phone. You see, the original purpose of a university is to create an environment where you learn all sorts, and every lots of information, coming to you from all directions with the sole objective that you can interact with the larger world creating a system that ensures that everyday and every human problems are logically and intellectually assessed with the view of finding lasting solutions. But you also have to see, in Nigeria, because the country has gone to the dogs, the information that are supplied to you, in that over-abused caricature that is your university, is the equivalent of making you eat from a pack of Gala, yes Gala, the snack you usually get to buy in Lagos traffic, which was manufactured ten years ago. Or so.  You wouldn't eat from a batch of Gala made ten year ago, I am sure. Neither will I. In case you  are immediately tempted to dislike me because I referred to your country as dog-food, well I urge you to take heart. Remember, your dog may find it harder than you, to eat a ten year old Gala, even if it were made of bones. So, without wasting too much of your time - and there are too many ways that Nigeria is designed and sustained by those people you see, time and time again on the NTA 9'o clocks news to waste your time without your knowledge or agreement. You do not need me to tell you, that if you let anyone or anything waste your time, you are effectively wasting your life. And it is a terrible to do. To name just a few: endless hours in traffic, light-lessness, impossible roads, expensive food and expensive mobile phone rates, and now madam 'bomber' Patience Goodluck Jonathan. I will give you a trick that's packed behind that phone. In all honesty, it is one trick, but for the sake of clarity, I will split it down for you. First of all, learn how to use a lot of Google. It is a search engine and it will take you to some-place with the information you need to grasp regarding a  concept, or a facet  of the course you are supposed to be learning at university. Use google to search and find them. Read them all like you are about to die. Then search for more. There is an art and method to this, and the more efficient and competent you become at both the art and science, the better your chances of becoming truly educated. You may begin by following this 'yarn-ings' as we used to say: Two, visit and do a search for your course. Or a topic. Or one of your modules. Just an idea that fascinates you. You are bound to see relevant books and materials that you have not heard about. There is no chance you will find any of the recent books you can find on in any library in Nigeria. Read the user reviews below the books, and more strategically, find a way to buy yourself the important & relevant texts. If you are really in need of a way to buy the texts of your interest, contact me and there is always a way.  Again, begin to read them like it will save you from the devil. You will see illumination in the end. Three. Stay away from Facebook. Facebook is a time sink, and it is only of value to those who do not value their time. Four, attend less and less of church or mosque and repeat one, two and three above more. If you are willing to hear me out in full, my point here is that,  you must, with immediate effect, stay away from all religious gatherings. And that includes all those suicide missions you and I know as confraternities. You are bound to be invited to either or all of these in your school. I was. I stayed away. And you can. You merely need try. It will not make you no less a christian, or a muslim or a cultist. You just will not be wasting your time... Five, the less time you spend watching DSTV football, or pretending to support Manchester United, or calling yourselves a gooner, or plotting to buy yourself a Chelsea FC authentic shirt etc., the more time you would have for one, two and three above.  It is not my intention to be a hypocrite in this letter and I hope you can tell by the extent to which I have struggled not to deceive you, so I am not able to tell you to stop watching foreign football and/or sports. You see, I do too, but I plan my entire week or month so my calendar can accommodate at least 90 minutes for which I relax watching any football match at any time, and when I can, Serena Williams play. If I could, I would prefer to watch those street football we play here and there in Nigeria - we called it "set"; Believe me, they are more entertaining but until we find a way to bring them to DSTV, I entertain myself with a football match on the TV every now and then, not caring one bit whoever wins. I usually like not to miss Manchester United's games, but that is because there is a winning mentality that is worth understanding about the football club. I am not a supporter. I am not Enlish. I be omo Naija. Should you still be a Manchester United supporter, like I once was, ask yourselves how much the value of your shares in the club is worth and I will swear to an oath, at one of those now-officially-corrupt Courts in Nigeria that your surname is Glazer. Also, strive to remind yourself every now and then, that  the distance between you and the closest international airport to your beloved Premier League club is at least six thousand miles. You don't matter to them. Your money matter, though to DSTV. Six, read a lot of Actually start and finish your day with a visit to SaharaReporters. You will know just how bad Nigeria is and maybe you would start to perceive the terrible smell of dogfood. The most important things to learn, in Nigeria, about Nigeria these days will  in all likelihood show up first on SaharaReporters. Be prepared though, most of the things you will learn there ought to make you angry. Very very angry. If they don't make you angry, then you need to repeat one to five above, even more. Seven, the grandest enemy of Nigeria is the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP).You see, the PDP is supposed to be a political party, but in reality, it contains all the men and women, the labourers and experts, and fraudsters and killers, - they like to delude themselves they are leaders, who connived, over the last fifty years, to turn Nigeria, the Galla into dogfood. In one word, the PDP is the very encapsulation of stinking filth. I should remind you that Nigeria's grandest idiot, of an ex-president is the PDP's Olusegun Obasanjo; I called him an idiot, not because at his age, he is not deserving of my respect, but because he actually likes to be called "the father of modern Nigeria". Delusions are dangerous, there is nothing modern about Nigeria. Unless of course, you are what Professor Wole Soyinka will assess as constituting idiocy. That tells you all you need to know about the character of the PDP. It is not my business to tell you who to vote in Nigeria's upcoming elections but in the spirit of this letter, I owe, to tell you who you must NOT vote. Everyone around you who votes for the PDP gets to keep the dogfood kitchen supply line loaded. In short, tell your people to go vote as a must, but only vote PDP, especially President Goodluck Jonathan and the rest of his PDP family, if he or she likes dogfood and will like to actually keep eating it. Of course, while eating inside dogfood too. It is particularly more crucial that you do your utmost to educate those family members who have not made it to the university like you. They will never get to read this message anyway. Nine, quit playing computerised noise to your ears in the form of Lady Gaga and all those foreign noisemakers DSTV would make you believe are musicians, or artists. If you do not own or never listened to the Fela Anikulapo Kuti's musical collection, find them here or On Youtube at the least; Listen and learn. And dance. Do not believe what your pastors, or Imaam or mum told your or tell you about Fela himself. Find out for yourself. Remember, you are an adult, so you can and should be able to do this now. If you must do hip hop, buy Da Grin's entire collection. It is as good as Tupac's. And Tupac is easily accepted as the greatest lyrical rapper in recent times as far as the history of the genre goes.  Never believe an iota of the nonsense that is being circulated about Da Grin's death, with regards to witches and wizards. Da Grin died from injuries he sustained from the sad car crash that had to happen because of the incompetence of every single politician in Nigeria. That some people are willing to tell you a witch can kill unchallenged is another proof that Nigeria has gone to the dogs. There are no witches and wizards. If you do not believe, show me one. When you are bored of listening to those two, only then, should skip your iPhone or that other expensive iApple kit to your usual favourties: Chris Brown, Rihanna and bla bla bla. If I was you, I won't bother with those though. Beautiful Nubia, Tony Allen, and Ali Farka Toure usually helps better. I guarantee you, they contain more enlightenment.  And lastly, make sure you sleep a lot. Yes, I know how hard that is in Nigeria - Its hot and the power generators won't stop screaming.  But all of these things are hard, you just have to find a way to do it.  If you are still reading, the whole essence of my message is captured best in these immortal words from Thomas Carlyle. 
"What we become depends on what we read after all of the professors have finished with us. The greatest university of all is a collection of books."

Except that, I am brave and audacious enough to let you know, in your case, darling, your professors have not even started with you at all. It is not completely  their fault but what does it matter ? You have a long way to travel. I hope you started already. You are on your own. You live in Nigeria, you should know that by now.

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See you at the Gala party, sometime soon.

Yes, yes! fresh Galas only is what we have for item seven.

[email protected]

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