Monday, 31 October 2011 06:12

Lamentation - Nigeria, My Home Land!

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Recently, I began to glean for Nigerian news online and interestingly, I had the privilege of reading about the current social, economic, political and religious situations in Nigeria. I read about aspects of the Nigerian political, social, economic and religious dilemma; at the same time, I was able to read some intellectual discourse on the Nigerian situation by Nigerians abroad. In most of these discourses that I read from, it was so apparent that a lot of Nigerians abroad are angry, complaining and even blatantly insulting the religious and political leadership of the country.

As fascinating as these discourses may be, and as intrinsically expository as these discourses may be, something so crucial has rarely been reflected - pragmatic solution. I would hope that the millions of Nigerians abroad like myself, who is currently studying in New York, would move beyond mere criticism, complaining, and slighting the Nigerian political and religious leadership and her good people. Nigeria does not just need brave intellectual critics, who for the most part are several thousands kilometers far away spectators, rather than actors in proffering concrete solution to the Nigerian quandary.

It is so incongruous that many of us out here in some of the richest countries of the world, who are well educated and financially blessed, are not realistically contributing to better our great nation; yet, the best we seem to offer to Nigeria is nauseating criticism. I am strongly convinced, and I know that Nigeria has had an incessant deteriorating social, economic, political and religious crisis, and some of the discourses that I was able to read from made them even crystal clear. Nonetheless, it takes a people who are revolutionary thinkers, and who have attained a horizon, and a platform of unselfish drive, and who beyond their individual gains are ready to sacrifice all they can to break the cataclysmic shackles wherein our brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, grandparents, friends and relatives are held hostages by a few unscrupulous individuals.

Hostages! Yes, Nigerians are held in two of the worst hostages that there are today in the world. First, over 70% of Nigerians are held hostage under an awfully excruciating poverty baseline. Second, they are denied the right to smooth higher education - the most fundamental right of the 21st century human being due to the unending, yearly turmoil between the Government and the Nigerian Universities' Faculties. Why? Doesn't higher education matter to our development as a nation? Aren't the numerous social, political, religious, and economic ignominies we suffer as a nation due to our collective neglect of higher education? Which of these rich countries got to where they are today by neglecting national education?

If we as privileged Nigerians care, I insist that complaining, repellent criticism, and insulting our people, our political and our religious leaders is unfortunately not what we need as a nation; what we need are not far-away spectacles; what we need are courageous minds who are willing in their capacities to pragmatically make personal contribution to advance the course of Nigerian at home. Thus, to alleviate the shame of our homeland, we must as individuals approach and proffer sensible solution to our poverty and educational crisis.

My next paper would offer feasible suggestions that all privileged Nigerians abroad and at home can undertake without waiting on a government that has hitherto failed us; the paper would mainly focus on how we can change the lives of underprivileged Nigerians, who in turn would change the future of Nigeria.

The urgent need of Nigeria is not to have intellectual critics who, from far-away countries, are mere spectators rather than active participants in transforming the decadence of our mother land. Nigerians certainly don't need intellectuals who, instead of personally contributing to transforming the lives of the populace would criticize, insult our people, our political and religious leaders. We need intellectuals who are personally refined, who would offer more than just words, and who would go beyond writing discourses to personally and pragmatically proffer solution to the people of Nigeria in whatever way possible.

Nigeria as a geographic entity is not the problem; instead, it is us - Nigerians who are the problem of our enormously blessed country. Therefore, Nigeria as a geographic entity will never solve our numerous problems; rather, we as Nigerians must now uphold the urgent need to change. Only a changed Nigerian people would ensue a changed Nigeria. Thus, we must contribute to alleviate the state of our poverty, and we must proffer solution to our dilapidating educational sector. Except we salvage the future of our great home- land, our children - future generations, may look to our graves in misery and curse us.

On education, I know as well as many of you out there that the government and the Universities' faculties must come to a consensus. How that would happen, once and for all, remains what our intellectuals should advocate for. I believe that if we change the way we view education, things would change for the better. It is a shame that more than a decade now, the Nigerian educational system has remained unstable due to the continuing disagreement between the Universities' officials and the government. While, I am quite unsure of the reasons why this mess should persist, it is a shame on us that in this 21st century, we are denying our children the fundamental rights to education. Unfortunately, without a quality education, we may never attain a sustainable growth level in all aspects of our national lives.

If peradventure, our universities are able to permanently solve the problems that have destabilized the system for over a decade, I still foresee another problem with our educational system - the problem of poverty that may hinder millions from ever getting higher education. Therefore, I would like to unravel some fundamental ways that privileged Nigerians abroad and at home, can offer solutions for many underprivileged Nigerians who may encounter financial stumbling block in their pursuit of higher education.

Rather than lament over our political, social, and economic troubles, we should begin to seek for the solution to these problems in such a way that we can realistically tackled them. In other to practically approach these problems, our government, religious leaders, our intellectuals and citizenry must play important parts in dealing with these problems. My other article - "The Exigency of Educating Nigerians - Our only hope to Radically Transform the Destiny of Our Children Part I & II" has some suggestion as to how we can begin to deal with these problems; so look out for it.

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Emakoji Ayikoye

Mathematics Lecturer at the Lehman College of the City University of New York.