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Published On: Wed, Mar 21st, 2018

The danger of illiteracy in our society

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Wednesday Column by Israel A. Ebije

ebijeo5@gmail.com | @ebijeisrael.com

Education is a veritable part of human social existence. Level of education reflects on the level a people have attained in consciousness and that is why its deficiency casts more than gloomy shadow in the horizon. The level of “educated” illiterates has greatly undermined Nigeria’s progress especially in the social front. Absence of either western, moral or religious education has adversely affected the socio-political existence of the country. Those claiming awareness in all three are indeed most deficient in all. Many Nigerians are largely limited to western education, hence absence of others limits moral and religious approach to personal or national issues.
The few educated elite in the teaming population of uneducated Nigerians represent the vision for the deficient to draw sight, which mostly leads towards satisfying those manipulating it. We therefore need not to look further why Nigeria cascades from one ethno-religious miasma to the other. We need not to express surprise as to why ethno-religious supremacy has continued to dominate national discourse with high octane hate, tearing our unity asunder. The bane of Nigeria’s social, political existence has been nonchalance towards addressing level of illiteracy among the uneducated and the educated.
The absence of education has forced many Nigerians to the brinks. The prevalence of criminal activities in Nigeria recently outmatches those in the past. Youths are now willing tools in the hands of few ruling elite who have the money to pay them into doing their bidding. Once the few with resources tell them to jump, they ask how high. The height of ignorance in the country is alarming. This has opened a new crime “opportunity” in Nigeria which is terrorism. Less than ten years ago, no Nigerian will ever conceive the imagination that a citizen can ever take to suicide bombing. The trend has now changed to itinerant slaughter of Nigerians by people represented rightly or wrongly as herdsmen. Controversy rages whether they are to be called Fulani herdsmen, or they should be called terrorists or criminals.
Paucity of education has caused untold hardship for many families who cannot feed themselves. Their children will turn up in their twenties uneducated, leading to a vicious circle of illiterate paupers. The troops of uneducated Nigerians will become thugs, kidnappers, militants, and terrorists. Others will become politicians by string of luck when favored to operate as stooges or proxies by educated-illitrate elites. Another group of educated illitrates will support all the divides, defending even the criminals who have not solicited their support. Already, all the divides are actively in the works producing insanity, which has further reduced hope of our continued federation.
The context of education here as mentioned earlier covers western, moral and religious. It is not good enough to have just one. Those with good western education who are lacking in the remaining two have no morality to speak the truth and no fear of God to stay away from profanities. This class includes individuals who will write crafty articles on social media in support of bad government. They write articles to defend criminals in government. On the streets, they make excuses for rampaging groups unleashing terror across the country.
For those who are uneducated morally, everything goes. They support their next meal tickets. You find them on the political or social divide that feeds their stomachs and stack their bank accounts. These class of people have no shame or lines to which they draw their recklessness. They simply sail along with the next boat carrying their next food.
The religious uneducated are the very core evil trying to mess the entity called Nigeria. This class of individuals have devotees who are conditioned to operate within the whimsical dictates of their half witted masters. In this twenty-first century Nigeria, a preacher is instructing his followers, “Mr. President” to make sure that Nigerians never vote in an “unbeliever” except a Muslim. Followers could be heard vetoing his position. We are not sure the president has anything to do with the preacher, sadly, many religiously bling Nigerians are hooting after him already. Sadly, there are so many religious blind leading the blind in the country. It is also very unfortunate, the woods they are putting into the fire will do no one any good when it blazes out of control.
It is pertinent for Nigerian government to inject deliberate energy into building free, vibrant, encompassing education to go beyond western into moral and religious studies. Unfortunately, the salaries and allowances of members of the National Assembly, the executive arm at the center and state levels can substantially take care of education for at least three west African countries including Nigeria. Sadly, only lip-service is offered our education system. The ongoing school feeding program is simply a waste of time and resources. Most of the monies allocated has vamoosed into private pockets. A handful of indomie, quarter of an egg is fed to the hapless children, while they receive classes under a tree, leaking roof or broken down building. Their demotivated teachers who barely understand what they teach dish out drivels at dazzled pupils, as the system continues to produce educated illitrates.
We must reflect soberly at where we are as a country. We have been ruled by educated illiterates for too long. A lot of Nigerian youths will grow up to become educated illiterates. The circle will continue until action is taken to declare emergency on the tripod of western, moral and religious education. The consequence of having educated illiterates is weighing heavily on the ship of nation. We must bail out all unnecessary luggage like the alarming wages of executive and legislative arms of government to sail out of the murky waters Nigeria presently finds itself by providing free and qualitative education.

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