Education as a tool to empower citizens

On the train minding my business, sitting opposite me was a man in his late 70s. After staring at his tribal marks on his cheeks for a while, the silence was broken. I greeted Mr Ajala in Yoruba and so it all began.

Two Nigerians meeting for the first time bonding, talking with serious look on their faces, regardless of their age, tribe or religion, they were undoubtedly talking about the state of Nigeria. Usually, we tend to agree that the system has failed us and we yawn for change in all ways, however, after the talk, the shout, the anger, we’d retrieve back to our shells accepting that we could not effect any change and we will once again call on to God to help us as if God has not done enough by given us abundant natural resources, huge man power and brains to help us manage them well.

Of course God is not crazy and he has no time to waste with the likes of people who refused to learn and help themselves.

For the next one hour,  Mr Ajala and I chatted away, I learned lessons about Nigeria history that I have never heard before from the horse’s mouth. Mr Ajala was one of the beneficiaries of generous scholarship in the 1960s. He said at the time there were only few secondary schools in Lagos State. In his final year at secondary school, his parents received a letter to say their son has been selected to study at University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

At the time Chief Obafemi Awolowo believed strongly that education is the key to a sustainable society. He pushed hard to get as many people to study outside the country in Yoruba at least so they could come back and teach the rest of us how to live and work together as a civilised society.

He had a big dream, he knew, innovation, productivity, efficiency could never be achieved without proper education. Mr Ajala said part of the deal at the time was that they must return to the country at the end of their courses, the deal he said all of them were glad to abide by as there were jobs waiting at home.

We have the power to make changes, let’s keep talking amongst ourselves and find a way to get our points across.

Below is Fela Kuti lyrics – Sorrow tears and blood as gentle reminder.

Further reading on Chief Obafemi Awolowo on his love for well educated nation. Here

This ted talk by Saki Mafundikwa of Zimbabawe is worth listening to. A much needed reminder that Africa has the ability to make things happen only if we look within. More personally, for Nigeria and her government  – food for thoughts.

Categories: Education, Nigeria

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

9 replies

  1. I consider myself (Igbo, though strictly speaking only 50%), and at one time was guilty of lazy thinking. The Igbos are meant to dislike Awolowo because of his policies towards Biafra.
    I read some articles and listened to some broadcasts by some famous Nigerians, one was Yoruba the other I’m not sure (maybe Bini or something like that), and found out that Awolowo was very progressive. I was impressed by his policy of taxation to fund education for all children in the Western region (regardless of ethnicity). He travelled abroad, got his education and returned, he didn’t amass millions/billions abroad, he came back to serve.
    He is distinguished from all other Nigerian leaders, the Northern leaders only thought of the Hausa-Fulani ruling class, to the detriment of everyone else, Azikiwe bent whichever way the breeze was blowing.
    At that time the Northern leaders, kept Western education for the elite, to have a gullible underclass to be manipulated easily (not much has changed).
    Igbo leaders, I’m sad to say (with the exception of Prof. Pat Utomi) are completely selfish, which unsurprisingly can’t work in a heterogeneous state like Nigeria.
    Awolowo like Nkrumah was way ahead of the game, and the Yorubas are lucky to have had him as a leader. Fortunately, they had the good sense to recognise his qualities.
    Education is really the key, look at what South Korea and Singapore have achieved with education and discipline, not to mention the other Asian economies. The only thing we ever hear of Nigerian governments and now the masses saying is exporting oil and other non-renewable resources (this is a very lazy & unsustainable approach). Oil or any other resource to the exclusion of everything else, is not a panacea.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you jco. I suppose you can tell that the mentality of ‘I better pass my neighbour’ is really to get different ethnic groups focusing on their little differences when the same group of incompetence lead us on.

      The selfless ones in all regions are working only they are too small in number!

      See the north educating the elites ones is so true, I see this with my korokoro eyes in 2005 when I visited the Emir of Kano Palace, my eyes widened and not in any bit surprised with how easy it was to recruit for BH. I am hopeful though that the new Emir Lamido will slowly change this.

      Talking about education and oil – See our looters have no shame, their favourite destination now is Dubai so I laugh when they rave about their trip because irony is lost totally!


  2. Inspirational piece…. all round. Thanks for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

  3. …well done…keep it up…reblogged as would be indicated to you by WordPress,



  1. Nigeria study abroad scholarship madness | Ori Yeye nii Mogun

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