Positive change need not be expensive nor drastic. How about small gradual solutions all around?
Tweaking perception the seventy percent Nigerians living in rural areas could be all it takes to effect positive change that will be felt by all.
I took the above photo a while ago during a visit to Agbopa, a village in the outskirt of Ibadan. As a fellow villager, this photo is not out-of-place, I only turned my attention to the woman when I realised she has been standing on the same spot for about two minutes chatting happily with her friend – she was on her way to ẹkù (a designated place for palm oil processing).
The woman above could have been from any of our villages in the south where daily activities revolves around farm work. Most people work day in day out but very little to show for it.
Most of the village folks especially in the south tend to have a few common aspirations educating their children is usually at the top of the list, this is after primary needs have been taken care of.
Getting insight to the state of Nigeria today need not be tedious. There are lots of document produced by lots of trusted organisations i.e UN on the state of Nigeria rural areas. Some of these documents were very thorough, highlighting lifestyle challenges of the seventy percent Nigerians in rural areas.
If we can afford to spend so much money on data collection, why aren’t we implementing recommendation, especially when it need not be expensive?
In the last few years, lots of focus groups and plenty of conferences held by several government bodies, most of which have glamorous themes – paid VIPs and speakers invited to give endless talks on how to improve our country on all fronts.
At the end of these meetings, one thing that I have noticed is preparation for yet another talk/conference when little/nothing is done with the outcome of the previous gatherings, so it feels like endless cycle of Owambe.
How to best help pull along Nigeria seventy percent?
Repair school buildings so family can stay together in one place – Not too surprising the seventy percent especially in the south understood the benefit of education and would go the extra mile so their children could have what the parents lacked.
According to the UN, Nigeria as it stands today is only using half of its estimated 71 million hectares of land suitable for growing crops – great asset left untapped.
One of the key contributing factors to the endless civil unrest in Nigeria is fight over land ownership especially farmlands. Population growth means more people depending on the same piece of land for survival given one group exercising superiority over the other – hence tension and needless loss of lives.
Why are we not opening up more new areas for people even if the government have to foot the bill for the initial clearing of the land?
Well, no single answer to solve our many problems or to help seventy percent of Nigerians living in rural areas but what I know to be true is that we need to change the way we perceive villagers and help where it’s most needed – revamp existing village schools is a very good place to start.