he calls for restructuring have turned into a national conversation, with prominent analysts, columnists, and academics all adding their thoughts to the conversation. To my understanding, restructuring is all about making adjustments that will lead to long-term growth.
Before now, Dr. Ali Ibrahim Abbas’s article published in Covenant University Journal of Politics & International Affairs on June 1, 2018; Mr. Simon Kolawole’s column published on This Day Newspaper on June 27, 2021; and, Professor Attahiru Jega’s lecture at Nasarawa State University, Keffi, on the August 4, 2021, among others, I believe, have done justice to the discourse. However, there is one item lacking from all of the contributions I have read, which, in my opinion, should be given more importance and attention.
Restructuring is a difficult undertaking to do, particularly in a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country like ours. Nonetheless, restructuring is critical and important, and I believe it can only be accomplished with perseverance, devotion, and commitment to a worthy purpose. Without further ado, I would want to go right to the point of the restructuring debate’s missing piece.
Education, in my opinion, should be the main focus of agitators pushing for restructuring because it is the bedrock of every nation and the motor of any long-term progress.
Our educational system is in danger of collapsing. Some believe it has already collapsed. So, even if all those agitations for restructuring were to succeed, without a tangible and genuine educational reform, I am confident we would still be where we are now, if not worse.
Without standardizing its educational system, particularly in the sciences and technology, no country can achieve significant growth. Our country is endowed with a wealth of people and natural resources, which, if effectively utilized, will result in meaningful and long-term progress.
Our stakeholders, on the other hand, are unprepared for a development that will free the masses from the mental and political servitude to which they have been subjected since independence. That is why politicians do everything they can to ruin public education by depriving it of resources and talented teachers.
To clarify, all developed Western nations, as well as developing Asian and Latin American nations, were developed based on human resources that strived and bloomed on the foundation of education, hence accelerating progress and development.
According to Aristotle, “education is of prime importance in a democracy since it fosters the evolution of the constitution by favorably molding the citizens’ character and perspective.” As a result, he believes that education should be governed by laws (standard). He goes on to say that children should be carefully protected against harmful associations during their early years. And the state should be in charge of their first two stages (that is, from 7 years to puberty and from puberty to 21 years).
Well aware that education (especially science and technology) is one of the most essential channels for growth, the late Alhaji Shehu Shagari, President of Nigeria during the Second Republic, established various Federal institutions devoted to science and technology. The institutions includes: FUTA (Federal University of Technology, Akure), FUT (Federal University of Technology, Minna), FUTO (Federal University of Technology, Owerri), ATBU Abubakar (Tafawa Balewa University Bauchi), and MAUTECH (Modibbo Adamawa University of Technology, Yola), to mention but few. The purpose of these schools was to train students entirely in the field of science and technology, with the goal of ensuring that graduates be employable at Ajaokuta Steel Company and other related fields in the industry.
In 1979, the Nigerian iron mill firm was established with the goal of exploiting the country’s natural resources (iron) and diversifying the economy. However, it has been dormant and lying fallow since its inception since those institutions’ aims and visions have been destroyed, and there has been a lack of political will for the corporation to take off.
The negligence of the educational system, as well as academic rape by some players, is the cause of our current situation. Other countries, such as the United States, count their illiterates (since it is the easiest chore for them), whereas we count our graduates (because counting the number of illiterates is as good as census). It is a whole shambles!
Education should be made compulsory and, if possible, free to all, as well as standardized with current curricula and qualified teachers.
The late Abubakar Mahmoud Gumi once recommended for the government to educate the Fulani and improve their way of living (by giving basic amenities such as schools, hospitals, roads, and portable drinking water) since they are a ticking time bomb that will blow one day if they are not enlightened. Now, the explosion is currently taking place.
The ignorant Fulani are not the only ones who engage in violence and crimes in our country today. This criminality includes illiterates of different ethnicities. Even if their masterminds are educated, illiterates make up a major portion of people who commit horrible crimes such as kidnapping, terrorism, banditry, and robbery.
As a result, one of the objectives (key themes) of restructuring, in my opinion, should be education.
The breakdown of the educational system will result in the breakdown of a nation.
That is why, at the University of South Africa’s entrance, it is openly written:
“To destroy a nation you do not need any Missiles or Atomic bombs, all you need to do is to destroy its education”
Self-centered politicians in Nigeria, by extension, Africa, will never want education to be affordable to the masses’ children because they want to keep their family, friends, and loyalists in power while continuing to subjugate the poor to mental, political, and economic enslavement.
If the agitators for restructuring are sincerely concerned about national development, I hope they will consider this and seek to comprehend the role of education in the growth of a nation.
I pray and hope that the Federal and State Governments would prioritize education and make it accessible to everybody. For education will be one of the long-term answers to issues such as persistent insecurity, underdevelopment, and a monocultural economy, to name a few.