Monday, June 29, 2009

NIGERIA, LET'S DO IT!



This post is quite long, but it is worth reading, so please take your time. Estimated reading time is 5 minutes.

We expect the funds agreed upon to be used to effectively remedy deficiencies in programmes and facilities, to systematically upgrade programmes and facilities, to advance research, create adequate living and learning conditions for our students, and to attract brilliant graduates into the universities as teachers and researchers while keeping excellent academics in the system. - ASUU

I am sitting at my antique table, basking in R ‘n’ B, and feeling like I haven’t got any serious questions on my mind, other than this one – when exactly will I graduate? I dare say that question is common to most other undergraduates of public universities throughout Nigeria – when exactly shall we leave our ivory ‘dungeons’?

By the way, I haven’t seen a light bulb run on PHCN power since my return home and my siblings’ say I’ll most likely not get to see PHCN light throughout my stay at home. I can remember Mr. President promising to declare an emergency in the power sector; where is it? Am I mistaken, or is he promising to take Nigeria from generating less than 2000MW in June to 6000MW in December? I cannot exactly remember electing (or was it selecting) a sorcerer as president; or what kind of illusion does he plan to create?

That means I have to spend more than my daily allowance buying petrol for the generator (did you know we are the largest consumer of generators in the world?) and credit to fund my internet research. Am I mistaken, or do we really have 4 refineries? Am I misinformed, or are we one of Africa’s largest petroleum exporters? Is it not funny how we spend billions to import petrol, when we could spend far less to get our refineries in working condition, or build new ones? Needless to say, I wonder how long my resolve to surf the net for (at least) an hour a day will last – in the face of such discouragement.

In fact, I really do not have a theme for this post, so I will probably just speak my mind the way it comes to me. Let’s go!

It is November 30, 2006. I finished secondary school in July, and I am saying the matriculation oaths at Obafemi Awolowo University just 4 months after. In some other country, this might not be note or news worthy, but considering the odds (1 out of every 10 Nigerian students gain university admission per year, and way less than that percentage get the courses they wanted) today warrants quite a celebration in my family.

I go off to school on the 3rd of December, 2006, quite naive – and hoping that the next time I will see Ibadan (my home town) will be at the end of my 1st semester. The semester runs quite smooth initially, but towards the end dark clouds start to appear on the horizon. Students protesting for better welfare conditions (steady power supply, water, and other basic amenities oh), and among other things – that the federal allocation to education be increased to 26% of the annual budget - lead to school being closed down (well the protests were not entirely ‘peaceful’) just before the 1st semester exams, and then to make matters worse ASUU goes on an indefinite strike just about a month after the closure.

I get home sometimes towards the end of February, and immediately register with a library (ARFH). My aim is to read towards my 1st semester every day, because I keep hoping we will resume ‘next week’; funny how ‘next week’ does not come until about 5 months after. At the end of the ‘break + strike’, I have spent 4 months and 3 weeks at home – doing almost nothing; I am told to resume on a Sunday, and I write my 1st paper on the following Wednesday. Needless to say, the numbers of failures recorded in the 1st few papers are alarming... What a ‘splendid’ welcome to university?

Let’s cut the long story short - we resume, and then manage to run a relatively steady session for almost 2 years, and then on the 23rd of June, 2009, ASUU goes on strike again, and so we are back home. I have learnt, and so this break I have not bothered to come home with any text books – save for the ones on my computer, and I have absolutely no plans to read anything academic. If you ask why, the answer is that I have lost my naivetéI now know that ‘next week’ could be 5 months from now, and I have made plans to do a lot of other things this break – such as pay particular attention to developing myself.

My complacence went with my innocence, and I have made a commitment to saying my piece. God helping me, I will not stop saying it. It’s all part of the fight for freedom.

Can we conduct a quick survey? How many Nigerians like where Nigeria is presently (please drop your answers as comments)? I will bet my Grade Point Average that I cannot get an informed and educated Nigerian to answer a serious yes to that question.

As a country, we need to move forwardand we need to do it fast. From a study of recent world history, we understand that the fastest way to move a country forward is to liberate and empower its citizens. And what better way to liberate and empower the citizenry than to provide them with access to qualitative education? I invite you to take a look at the ‘developed’ countries around, and you will find reason to support this statement.

I have come to find that the way to the survival and eventual growth of our country lies in our ability to produce applied and theoretical knowledge in Science, Technology and the Humanities. The era of dependence on expatriates/foreigners to solve our problems for us is drawing to an end – and that is if it has not come to an end already. Look at India for example, you will note that it was Indians (albeit those educated abroad) who returned home and started IT boom possible – it took well developed indigenous labour to keep it going. OMG, look at Infosys!

Simply put, for Nigeria to move forward – we have to provide the shirtless Ibadan boy on the road, and the girl that hawks tomatoes with access to relatively ‘inexpensive’ (such that it is affordable) and qualitative education.

For some time now, I have had issues with the Nigerian political system, or is it just me? Nobody seems to remember their manifestoes once they get into office. Everybody comes out with n-point agendas, where n ranges from 0 to infinty; yet the n agendas never get achieved. As a people, we seem to have gotten used to so many failed promises that we hardly (if ever) complain when people fail to keep their word. Whatever happened to integrity? Last time I checked, integrity was/is so fundamental that it is only a ticket to the game – without it you have no business on the court. Nigeria, whatever happened to integrity?

(Continued above...)


PS

Please forgive the uneven formatting, blogger is acting up...

KOYE-LADELE Mogbekeloluwa,
+2348062543654,
koyegbeke@gmail.com

11 comments:

  1. Sure,i ain't satisfied wth where we r bt afta much talk{§ yes pple r still talkin},gues i can only pray that
    O God of creation
    direct our noble cause
    GUIDE OUR LEADERS RIGHT...
    cool post.kp d fire burnin.cheers

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  2. @ PWales. Thanks for d comment, and I sure hope that God guides our leaders right too... How are you?

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  3. Inciting piece...we've all been there but it's so good to know that you are doing something positive despite all. DON'T let anybody or any system condition your FUTURE. In Nigeria, YOU decide to make of yourself what you want, ONE lesson:NEVER WAIT on the government or anyone...only yourself and GOD!

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  4. Hello!
    I really am praying for this Nation.
    I see a CHANGE, and i see it starting with you and me and with everone reading this post

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  5. Hey koye...am proud of this...because of people like you, i KNOW that there's hope for us! let them hear!!!

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  6. igbodipe iyabosile anthonia4 July 2009 at 14:22

    koye, this article is simply great.it speaks the mind of several people who dont have this opportunity.keep up the good work, we are all moving this nation forward.

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  7. 1. This post is not that long.

    2. I fully understand your frustrations and believe me, if you think it is hard on you, it is just the same for the teachers...most of them are not paid on time; they have families to care for and are expected to produce material for your intellectual stimulation.
    It has become apparent that striking is no longer an effective measure to combat the government's inefficiencies. Children of those in power are not in institutions at home and so there is no investment for them to make sure the system works.
    Just hang in there...

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  8. Interesting take on this issue, not surprised this comes from an Ife mind. One thing I'll advise you to do is to find ways to develop yourself while you're at home. Never let a day go past without learning something new. The mind is a terrible thing to waste, do not allow this country destroy your beautiful mind. Keep searching for answers and someday you'll discover yourself and what you want to become in finding those answers.

    Cheers

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  9. When I was in university in Nigeria, we spent an 18 month stretch at home on a combination of strikes - national and internal. The fact that I graduated over ten years ago makes this inexcusable. But I will say one thing though, those 18 months did a lot in shaping the person I am today. I learnt a great deal - although I did not realize I was learning at the time - patience and humility were some of the key traits I was able to come away from this with. It is a frustrating experience but I must say that I commend you for channeling your resources towards something more productive. I wish you all the best and I hope that you come away from it all with something positive.

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  10. Went to Ife myself and had to spend 15 months to escape my 1st year, ASUU, SSANU, NASU, Ife/Modakeke, shooting stars ensured that. Education in Naija is non-existent, except you count the one obtained in the school of hard knocks variety. All hope cannot be lost however, hope by its very nature is audacious. the future of naija lies not with the bufoons in govt house who purport to pass off the reading of their job description as a reading of the manifesto. the future lies with us the people. 1 million people cannot lead 139 million people were the 139m resolutely refuse to go!!! Aluta continua, ruat coelum

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  11. When you have students that graduated with First class honors in Engineering from UNILAG,UI and OAU working in banks, you feel sorry for Nigeria. There is no hope for a country where people are scared of change. 'E no go better' until we get tired of all this nonsense. We need to replace those guys in government first and foremost. When people talk about success stories like India and China, they diminish the influence that having the right business environment does to the enterpreneural spirit of the populace. Personally, i have given up on the country. Even if we start moving in the right direction today, it will take one or two generatons to get where we want to be. Time is not even the issue, we just don't have the will. When i think about Nigeria, cowardice comes to mind. We have never been a lazy bunch but we are a nation of cowards. Yes, even you.

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