377 views | Sunday Onyemaechi Eze | March 1, 2021
By: Sunday Onyemaechi Eze
We have all agreed even in principle that growth and development of nations are largely anchored on the quality of education obtainable in such nations. Some Asian countries invest huge fortunes in their citizens to acquire knowledge and skills in universities abroad especially in America and the United Kingdom. They quite understood the pivotal role education plays as the catalyst for the overall development of other sectors of their economy. Nigeria has not done well in genuinely towing the examplary line of the Asian nations which were known to have started this journey to attaining greater heights together in the 60s. In the areas where oversea scholarships are offered, the pretensions as they are were not driven by any genuine national ideal. It ends in favour of relatives, friends and associates of those in charge who make the list at the expense of the most qualified. If any educational development plan was set since independence in Nigeria, it exists only on paper.
The unfortunate abduction of Kagara students apart from traumatising the wards, putting families in pain and anguish has exposed the obvious lapses in securing the lives of citizens and the hidden rot in the educational sector in Niger state. Any government which is unable to secure the lives and properties of its citizen has failed in its primary responsibility. This Kagara school incident more than ever before has passed a vote of no confidence in the state government and the one at the federal headed by President Muhammadu Buhari. One hopes that instead of pontificating in the usual verbose press statement, government will rise to the occasion.
A look at the disgusting pictures of the general school buildings, Assembly Hall, dormitory – where the students live, the rusty and weak school gate, the completely dilapidated roofs already gone viral are nothing but ugly signs of a failed system. It is not fair to give credence to evil acts or any societal malaise, but, this abduction of students seems to be a blessing in disguise. The wind – an evil one for that matter has blown in Niger state and the rump of the chicken has been exposed. With this development, the world can now see the lip service paid to education in Nigeria. The principal of that school must have reported the dilapidated state of infrastructure and sought for government’s intervention to no avail. Worse still, the school must have been an item in the state budget year in year out but funds meant for it must have as usual ended up in private pockets. However, the incident has exposed the age long hidden rot in the educational system not only in Niger State but throughout Nigeria. The government in their usual hitting-the-stick-when-the snake-had-escaped approach will set up a committee with whatever name. This will serve as a face saving measure and sign of seriousness on the part of government but in the end the school will remain in its old statusquo.
It was surprising that the dingy dormitory even in its desolate nature houses human beings called students. It takes a miracle for a student in that kind of environment to excel in his educational pursuit. Only those in government would allow a dormitory in that dilapidated state as a residence for humans and those we term as future leaders. Blood flows in the veins of humans but it seems Nigerian government officials are made of something else. They are wicked and lack empathy! That dormitory could not possibly pass off as a horse pen of an emir, for the governor or any government officials in Niger State. Still human beings – the children of the poor are left to study in such dehumanising environment only for them to be abducted. This is a case of adding salt to the injury of the already traumatised but dedicated students who ignored their environment but chose to strive hard in order to excel on the long run. The horrendous state of Kagara school is a true reflection of the status of almost all the public secondary schools in Nigeria. Should abduction of students continue to expose the abysmal nature of the educational sector? God forbid! We will not continue to live in sin for the grace to abound. The media should be commended for smartly picking that angle of the story. The media should also do more in exposing societal rots not only in trying times like this but always. The national leadership of Nigerian Union of Journalists should as a matter of urgency embark on independent tour of public and private schools in Nigeria to ascertain their suitability for studies. The Nigerian Union of Teachers which has a branch in Niger State should not only throw clinched fist in the air when salaries and arreas are not paid but should also track developments in school infrastructure. Governments at every level in Nigeria should learn to priortise education and leave their foots in the sand of time.
The Kagara school has got the attention it deserves though for a wrong reason. However, it is totally embarrassing that in this times and season such an eye sore could be called as a school. Most of the people at the helm of affairs in the states and at the federal enjoyed the best of schools with scholarships as a bonus. Students are not on a local hunting expedition. Even hunters on expedition acquire necessary tools, set out plans and strategies. School is a conducive environment meant to acquire knowledge and skills. A fertile ground for grooming talents and leaderships of the next generation. Kagara school does not fit the above description. To those saddled with the responsibility of governance especially in education sector who send their children abroad to choice universities only to leave ours schools in shambles for the poor, posterity is awaiting in the wings to pass its judgment. The mighty man in battle, we bless you for harkening to the cry of your children and for delivering them from the hands of their abductors.
Sunday Onyemaechi Eze, a Media and Communication Specialist is the publisher: thenewinsightng.blogspot.com. He writes via sunnyeze02 @yahoo.com and could be reached on 08060901201.