‘Good education is required for Nigeria’s democracy to thrive’
Access to good education and proper training has been advocated as a prerequisite for Nigeria’s democracy to flourish with citizenship participation.
Professor Andrew Haruna, Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University, Gashua, Yobe state argued that for Nigeria to be able to fare well in democracy and its citizens contribute meaningfully to the business of nation building, it was necessary for the citizens to have access to good education and training.
Harping on the link between education and democracy, Haruna said “Education is synonymous to knowledge is power, education is freedom. Education is permanent happiness and opportunities”
According to him, the tragedy of the Nigerian society was the high level of illiteracy particularly the North where the almajiris have taken root.
He stressed that the founding fathers did not envisage that a five-year old child would still be begging on streets almost over half a century after the country’s independence.
The Vice Chancellor who lamented the predicament, wondered how long the society would remain indifferent to what he described as the educational in the country where young men were used as political gangsters under different names of Yan-Chinko/3KT, Yan Sara-suka, ECOMOG, Yan-daba, Yan-kalere and Ba Kuskure/Action Boys.
These groups, he recalled, were used in the past for the benefit of some exploiters who having been voted to power have nothing to offer to the people, claiming that these irritant behavious were currently on the decline under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, thus making the country matching forward.
“We are in the times that no well-meaning person can sit on the fence and see the means of our children’s future destroyed. Education is the bedrock of development. If we must get our development going as fast as expected, we must give a serious thought and take necessary action to correct the wrongs against education all these years in our communities.
“The frequent political, ethnic and religious inspired conflicts in our society today are damning testimonies to the fact that both Christians and Muslims have abandoned one of the greatest commandment ‘love your neighbour as yourself’. They have unfortunately integrated aggression and intolerance characteristics which have been condemned by both the Holy Bible and Qur’an”.
Professor Haruna also decried a situation where many whom he claimed had nothing to show apart from arrogant display of stolen wealth were returning home and scrabbling to get traditional titles even from the most revered traditional institutions.
He expressed regret that in most of the big cities especially in the North, schools were being established on religious grounds such that the children have little or no chance to mix with one another to enable them appreciate each other’s faith as it was decades back.
“We must develop face to face contact, and establish mutual interchange of hospitality and good ideas; we must avoid unjustified remark based on the actions of a few zealots. It is often the case that such zealots from both sides ignite flames of pointless conflicts, which overwhelms everyone.
“We must change and redirect negative perceptions on each other’s belief. This requires commitment to see the other with goodwill, to define the suspiciousness in terms of mutual respect and to maintain attitude of collaborative and cooperative intent,” he stated.
Furthermore, he said: “We must therefore seek to discover and define incompatibilities. This can be done only through dialogue and other non-coercive means of communication. This requires commitment from both sides to act with restraint and mutual respect. It will eliminate mistrust and increase trust”.
Professor Haruna stressed the need for the country to declare a total war on illiteracy and anything that stood against the development of human resources, as the only way to remain relevant in the Nigerian dream and the International community where the socio-economic development has become knowledge driven.
“It is only then that progress will be made in the overall development and mobilization of the masses in a largely illiterate community with an almost negligible minority educated elites”, he concluded.