By Stanley Anamali
In Nigeria, the education sector at the moment is gradually shredding into bits. The anomalies found in the sector are traced to leadership decay. Leadership they say is imperative in human organizations. It influences, inspires, directs, encourages, and motivates others. The absence of committed and responsible leadership has been confirmed to be a sore in the flesh and an absolute bane of sustainable development among third world countries. There is no gainsaying the fact that the overall sustainable development of any nation is not far from the development of its citizenry especially through provision and availability of adequate and qualitative education.
However, in the course of any national and by extension, global analysis, if it is eventually perceived that there is an iota of deficiency in a nation’s educational system, it is presupposed to be the inability of the leaders to put things right. They are seen to have failed to motivate the led in all ramifications. This failure does not unconcern proper funding to promote human and national development.
Power belongs to the people in a true democratic system. Those who hold political positions today in one way or the other had done their best possible to convince the electorates by telling them the reasons why they are meant for such positions. The people become highly gullible, and finally becoming a prey for the political predators.
It is unequivocal that Nigerians are governed by some few privileged persons who continue to dominate the relaxed majority who have become highly apathetic in the political scenario. It’s been observed that those in government would not hesitate to apply the rule of law when it glaringly favours them. On the other hand, if it does not favour them, they slip the constitution under the carpet for the purpose of embezzlement and exploitation.
There is no doubt that a handful of the electorates may be ignorant and uniformed about past mistakes which the past political office holders may have made. The people get to hinge their trusts on certain flimsy political promises. Based on these unredeemable pacts, the people impulsively make a choice that they later have to bite their finger tips. When the offices are grabbed, the occupiers greedily unleash their personal interests at the expense of national interest.
Since we can all open our eyes to be deceived with juicy materials during electoral processes, then we should also be competent to bear the consequences for our negligence and irrationalities. Let me say at this point that the decay is not only found in the political gladiators, it is also found in us. If we do not pave way for freebies, by now we could stand up tall to condemn with vigour.
In Nigeria, politicians often make streams of promises through their unrealistic manifestos including free education for all among others. On the aspect of education, section 8 sub-sections 59(d) of the Nigeria National Policy on Education emphasized on the acquisition of both physical and intellectual skills which will enable individuals to be self-reliant and useful members of the society, but the reverse is the case in Nigerian. Leaders have neglected education sector by not adequately funding it from primary to tertiary levels. What about “low teachers’ wages”? What about teachers’ remunerations as compared to those of the civil servants found in government parastatals? It’s nothing but a pinch in the heart. Let’s not easily forget the unavailable research facilities across various levels of education among others.
Nigerian leaders are fully aware that giving qualitative education to the citizenry will go a long way to liberate everyone, as acquisition of valuable and qualitative education will in turn make every individual functional in the fight for national development. Hence, the agitation for their constitutional rights and civil liberation may not be favourable to self-centred-governing politicians. They sponsor their children and relatives on education abroad with tax payers’ fund, neglecting the children of the poor trader in Aswani Market. Now, instead of helping the ones who are not privileged to pay their educational bills, they are turned into political thugs.
Schools are not upgraded and conditions of service to teaching and none teaching staff are highly discouraging. Holders of higher degrees including PhD and professors under the umbrella of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Colleges of Education and Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) are now known for their incessant strike actions in advocating for a favourable condition of service and provision of basic infrastructure across tertiary institutions. It will be of interest to know that all the fundamental requirements for a sustainable education are being demanded for from political leaders that may not possess any degree. Some of them posses lower academic qualifications as against most secondary school and university teachers.
Convincingly, the challenges confronting education sector in Nigeria as a matter of fact, is a question of leadership qualities. Thus, when policies and strategic plans are drafted by technocrats, implementation and political willingness become the impediments to the achievements of the set goals. Nigerians should however be highly sensitive, vigilant and rational in choosing their leaders in order to reinstate the ideal education in Nigeria.