Ask any Nigerian what his or her dream for Nigeria is and you will get myriad of responses from good roads to good governance, improved standards of living, affordable and quality healthcare, stable electricity, incorruptible justice system,etc.
Our confidence in the system has continued to wane with no hope in sight. Nigerians over the years have dreamt of a Nigeria where everything works even though there’s little hope that our dreams will ever become reality. The Nigeria of today is one that everyone with ties to this nation is ashamed of, we rank poorly in every global index of human development, governance, healthcare, education, the respect Nigeria commanded as a Nation has gone with the wind, we have been reduced to a failed state with the likes of Afghanistan, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. But it wasn’t always like this.
After independence in 1960, the world held its breath for the new nation, Nigeria, full of human and natural resources, the hopes of Africa was pinned on Nigeria as we were expected to be at the fore of development on the continent, all these were the dreams of our founding fathers, from all indications, Nigeria was expected to be very successful but 59 years after, it’s still a dream yet to be realised.
Our founding fathers would have covered their heads in shame over the country they toiled to get her independence, little did they know that their patriotic actions would later turn around to haunt them, many would later pay the ultimate price with their lives. Never would they have imagined that Nigeria would be the Poverty Capital of the World or Nigeria would be grappling with terrorism for over a decade without any headway.
Corruption seeps through every facet of our dear nation, politicians shamelessly flaunt their ill-gotten wealth in our faces, deliberately subjecting the masses to fall to their feet over meagre peanut every election year. Our legislators are arguably the highest paid in the world earning a monthly take-home of over $36,000, in a country where over half of its population live on $2 per day, isn’t this cruelty from the pit of hell? Many sleep throughout plenary and rarely propose any till they leave office, yet they earn ten times more that the civil servants who leave home by 3a.m to evade traffic and get home by 11pm. Even if their salaries are to be reduced, it still falls to their wits to make this happen which could only be a dream.
The health sector is barely surviving, a large chunk of our doctors have left the country leading to brain drain, those left in the country have little or no equipments to work with, power outages during surgery has led to the untimely death of many innocent lives. Yet, these politicians fly out of the country to get the best medical care anytime they fall ill leaving the poor masses to the make use of the bastardised healthcare facilities left.
As a student in the Nigerian educational system, the sad reality of our education sector is what pains me the most, youths that are supposed to be the leaders of the future are subjected to the incessant industrial actions of the academic staff union. Ask any graduate of the Nigerian tetiary education about ASUU strike and you will get myriad of responses of how they were forced to stay at home for weeks or even months. The incessant strike actions of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) have in no small measure done more harm than good to the Nigerian tetiary education system with the same sets of demands from the Federal Government, most of which have had not had credible responses from the FG.
If there is anything that has been very constant in the academic calendar of Nigerian Universities since 1999, it is the successive strike actions. For two decades now, the Union and FG have been at loggerheads over several issues ranging from funding, salaries, university autonomy and academic freedom. From 1992 until 2018, ASUU has embarked on industrial actions nearly every year. The longest strike lasted from July 1 to December 17, 2013. Students have now dreaded the phrase “ASUU Strike”, the lives of many students have been adversely affected by these unfortunate reoccurrence in the academic calendar of Nigerian universities.
The industrial actions of ASUU have now become an issue of national embarrassment as students are not certain of the number of years they will spend in the university even with stipulated time frame for their various programs. The Nigerian education system has become a laughing stock even on the African continent, Nigeria’s all-time rival on the continent, South Africa, has the most number of universities of African origin in top positions on the World Universities Ranking. One now begins to wonder why their educational system have such a high international reputation.
Enduring years of extortion by lecturers, sexual harassments, assaults, and poor learning environment, students have little or no hope of a decent job after leaving the university, one would think that it is a sin to study in one’s homeland.
The incessant strike actions and lack of trust in the University system has also fuelled the growth of private universities, most of which are owned by churches, businessmen, politicians and wealthy individuals. Majority of Nigerians cannot even afford to pay the exorbitant tuition fees demanded by these institutions.
The reality is that all our hopes and dreams for our dear nation Nigeria can only be fulfilled if we do what is right and not bought by these politicians. With the best minds on the planet and the Black race, it is sad that the worst of us are leading the best of us, it is necessary that we stand up for the unborn generation because there is power in numbers, if we fail to get our mandate, we fail the future of Nigeria and the Continent of Africa.