There is a mystery in the soul of State which hath an operation more divine than breath or pen can give expression to – Troilus & Cressida.
National Universities Commission (NUC) stated recently that only about one percent of Nigerians are graduates, thus suggesting the establishment of more universities and the expansion of spaces in existing ones. We also heard from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that more political groups numbering over one hundred are asking for registration as political parties. Can INEC take independent decision on that?
The obvious impression is that education and politics are serious affairs in Nigeria, whereby there are scrambles and hustles for active engagement and relevance. Another impression arising from these issues is that those who make policies and decisions in Nigeria perceive issues from the roof-tops and comfort zones, without taking cognizance of the situations in the bedrooms and kitchens.
The NUC should have sought to know the approximate number of graduates, including those with post graduate degrees who have no jobs since after graduation. As a commission, having a stake in the knowledge industry, it does not need to be told that a knowledge or skill not applied goes into atrophy after some years. Certificates remain.
One would have thought that high priests in education sector would see and emphasise the need for a continuing and retraining programme, such that knowledge and skills acquired can be updated regularly. Currency Training Programme (CTP) is hardly discussed or emphasized in Nigeria as a vital component of the knowledge industry. That someone graduated in a discipline six years ago, does not make that person current in that discipline, in a global system where the application of knowledge is a key factor in survival and power.
When Nigeria joined the race in the globalisation slogan, it did not occur to many of us that we were going into a rat-race where currency training programme is vital for survival. We continue to use educational curriculum, ideas, theories and methods including textbooks which other nations had done away with many years ago. The slogan of survival of the fittest demands optimal self exertion, not the pursuit of money and gains as first priority.
When we talk about politicisation of issues, it refers to a situation where immediate and myopic interests and pursuit of money and personal gains override long terms vision based on global principles. One of the global principles is Deferred Gratification which stipulates and recommends making sacrifices and investments for future interest, not sharing of loots.
Unknown to Nigerian politicians, other countries that invest in Nigeria do so with the understanding that Nigerians are lovers and consumers of pleasures and comfort. Leading persons are encouraged to invest in and create comfort zones for themselves and immediate environment.
The lures include saving and buying property abroad, taking medical treatments and training children abroad, purchase of security and safety gadgets and taking economic prescriptions from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
One is compelled to say what is being said here because of the orientation and vast exposures one has had. Unfortunately, Nigerian politics is a cash-and-carry affair, whereby local and foreign adversaries and flatterers are rarely recognized.
Consequently, public politics, both local and foreign, are often laced with and tied to booby-traps, capable of placing the nation in jeopardy at the end of the day. High priests of the global game study the psychology, orientation and weaknesses of our political leaders and then exploit the trappings. They laugh behind!
Please, politics for developing nations, especially Nigeria, is not all about money, power and fame, but more about liberation and re-orientation. There is much about the past that needs to be unbundled which is why a restructuring is necessary, if the forces of retrogression would not hijack or sabotage such project. From the seeds of retrogression planted by departing colonial masters, to the economic and mental bondage that the military had brought about, politics should be a missionary work of liberation.
Establishing more universities or expanding existing admissions quota would not be a panacea; we would end up producing millions of Ph D holders with no skills to offer than rhetorics. Registering more political parties would be like recycling reformed cultists in new fraternities whose loyalty ends in witches’ cauldron.
Let the high priests of the knowledge industry work out a currency and re-orientation programme for Nigerian politicians, before next election. Political shenanigans and intellectual learning will not help us.
Dr. Amirize is a retired lecturer, Rivers State University, Port Harcourt.