Why pass away the past that passed you?

School children

School children

Nigerian politicians, every time we young, inquisitive minds stumble upon literature on your past, we only imagine if at all you are mindful of posterity. Of course many of you or many of those who sponsored you were products of FREE EDUCATION. It is of no use reminding you of your different backgrounds and miles many of you had to trek to free schools. Those free schools today are dilapidated; those schools are today abandoned with no teachers, no books.

Commenting on Awolowo’s free education scheme in 1955, the then governor of Western Region, His Excellency, Sir John Rankine, had this to say:

The provision of free universal primary education is an important milestone in the social advancement of any nation. In many countries of the world today, this stage has not been reached; it is not even in sight.

The free education programme entailed more classrooms, teaching equipment, as well as increased expenditure on recruiting and training more teachers and this made the Western Region government spend more on education in 1955. However, the stage one man reached for his region in 1955 cannot be consolidated by the country 61 years later. A renowned Professor of English Education at the University of Ibadan, Professor Kolawole Clement once recounted in his inaugural lecture how he was at the verge of going to learn a trade before the introduction of free education. But for that chance, it would have been one more loss to the Nigerian intellectual today.

I cry because this open letter may not even get to you, Nigerian politicians! And you may even have no time or thought for it! But I end this public letter by saying !God bless Chief Obafemi Awolowo and I ask you to think of what will be said about you, Nigerian politicians, fifty years from this time.

GOD BLESS NIGERIA!

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