From Seyi Ojelade, Ibadan
Vice President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) Professor Abiodun Ogunyemi has tasked Nigerians to use their votes in 2015 to elect selfless leaders with the true African spirit.
Prof Ogunyemi said the greatest challenge facing Nigeria in this millennium was a deficit of good citizens.
He argues that Nigeria’s search for good citizens would remain elusive until and unless “we take a critical look at the architecture and process of our curriculum; this must begin with the social studies education”
Speaking on the topic “The Search for Good Citizens and The Curriculum as Compass” at the 69th Inaugural lecture of the Olabisi Onabanjo University copies of which were made available to newsmen in Ibadan, Ogunyemi said “the coduct of our honourable men and women in the National Assembly, whom we expect to moderate our values through personal examples and lifestyles equally speaks volume”.
“We are all human compasses that others read in their construction of the good citizen. Our ruling class must show the way or we force them to do so through our vote and other legitimate means. Nigerian elites should be models of change but this is only possible within a paradigm that rejects neo-liberalism and transcends westernisation. We need global knowledge but African spiri.
The professor of Social Studies and Citizenship Education noted that Nigerians must not use sentiments in voting but rather must elect good citizens who have sense of responsibility towards others, conscious about the welfare of others and wider community, tolerant of diverse views and values, posseses critical thinking, patriotism or love for Nigeria, obedience to laws and knowledge of political issues and operations of Government.
While emphasizing the need to incorporate citizenship in teaching and decolonise the curriculum, the ASUU Leader observed that only a good person in the mantle of leadership can re-engineer the nation using global compass rather than those relying solely on western compass.
“What this tells us is that Nigeria, like many other countries in Africa, may currently be grappling with the aftermath of disarticulating experience of colonialism; an experience that has been compounded by the rise of global capitalism”
Ogunyemi who said a person of good character must not be raised using western definition but indegnous epistemology adding that social studies or other strands of older school subjects constitute an integral part of Nigeria educational process which can be used in the production of ‘ideal citizens’ in Nigeria.
“Citizenship education in Nigeria today is driven with the promotion of values at primary, secondary and tertiary levels by dominant forces of neo-liberalism”