I have spent a lot of time lately defending people who happens to work and live in the village. For some reasons, some folks have completely wrong impression of who the villagers are. I am not entirely sure why that is, given that more than half of Nigeria population live in rural areas around the country and also that villages are not that far away from towns/cities.
In Southwest of Nigeria for example some villages are only 4 miles away from the next town. You know you were in a village when there were absence of electricity poles (not necessarily to facilitate constant power in towns/cities either), wells or boreholes and paved roads.
Villagers may be the ones that bear the brunt of the economic inequalities in Nigeria most but that does not mean they are always after cheap fix for their lives and certainly they are far from being stupid. Always around election time, the roads leading to my village would get rough makeovers from politicians seeking votes. The job done always received mix feelings because they cause more damages than repairs especially if the job were done just before the raining season.
One election year, my father got involved and volunteered to attend meetings. The idea was to persuade the state government that instead of doing rubbish road work in exchange for votes, to repair the primary school in the village. The primary school in my village serves about five other villages around us. My father talked about when the school was built in the 50s and how much it really helped parents in my and surrounding villages as they have no excuses for sending their kids to school – the journey was manageable. However, due to lack of maintenance, it is only half of the building standing today.
Myself and siblings have left primary school at the time but my father was not pleased seeing kids missing schools just because it was going to rain so teachers whose morale had sunk to the lowest level would instruct kids not to come to school as there is no roof in their classes.
Village people make do with very little resources they have to provide for their family. They already have enough to deal with on daily basis, I don’t think it is fair making them the butts of senseless jokes.
Now that federal election is a couple of months away, I do hope that we get ‘quick fix’ to the village schools rather than another Stomach Infrastructure aka rice for votes.