Perhaps not to be outdone, our federal lawmakers in the House of Representatives this Tuesday (September 17, 2013) re-enacted the show of shame that was staged at the Rivers State House of Assembly on July 9, 2013. The latter date was when the legislators in the state threw all caution to the wind and engaged in physical combat, turning the symbol of authority in the House, “the Mace”, to a weapon while hurling deadly punches at one another.
But the undistinguished members of our over-paid lower chamber of the National Assembly have proved that what the Rivers State law breakers can do, they can even do better. That was why in a sheer display of legislative lawlessness and poor sense of judgement, they engaged in fisticuffs during the visit of the Baraje-led faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to them during the week. At the riotous meeting, the over-pampered legislators brandished chairs as they engaged one another in a shouting match. A particular woman would be better off as a Mike Tyson than as a lawmaker.
Nigerians are still utterly embarrassed by the unbecoming conduct of their law makers. The actors in the show of shame owe us an apology and since what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, those involved in the brawl should be punished. So, when Speaker Aminu Tambuwal later mounted the rostrum and talked about budget implementation as “a sore point of governance”, he missed the point against the backdrop of what just happened under his watch. The real sore point of governance is lack of character or failure of education among the political class as demonstrated by his colleagues. It is this root that constitutes the cancer that has metastasised to other areas of our national life.
To wit, the purpose of education is the reformation of character and this is why in many institutions of learning, character and learning, which incidentally is the motto of the University of Ilorin, go hand-in-hand. Education fails in a person without character and this further explains the difference between being civil and evil. Education makes the recipient civil but education without character is evil. Evil men and women who attended schools, without being necessarily educated, prowl our society because their education is bereft of character.
Besides, a literate person is not automatically educated and the illiterate one is not essentially uneducated. The history of English literacy dates back to the advent of colonialism or less than 170 years ago but our traditional educational system, which of course did not include literacy, had ensured our survival and development for centuries before then. The perception of education as solely being literacy, especially in the language of our colonial heritage, is a misnomer.
We sometimes meet illiterate people who have robust mental capacities and excellent manners and we have all often encountered, directly or indirectly, people with a stockpile of degrees and certificates whose reasoning and attitude are pathetic. Literacy is basically the ability to read and write but education is the process of developing one’s mental capacity, regulating and improving one’s attitudes and behaviour as well as acquiring skills with which things can be done. Education thus fails wherever behaviour is anti-social and a public brawl in the open glare of the world is a manifestation of a lack: of education, of character.
Character as the quintessence of education is emphasised in our educational goals and objectives, which consist of 1) the inculcation of national consciousness and national unity; 2) the inculcation of the right type of values and attitudes for the survival of individuals and the Nigerian society; 3) the training of the mind in the understanding of the world around; and 4) the acquisition of the appropriate skills, abilities and competencies both mental and physical as equipment for the individual to live in and contribute to the development of the society. None of these points has any correlation with the lawlessness showcased this Tuesday.
The point being made is that education is not only obtained in the school system and it is not unlikely for the school to even negatively affect one’s education. This is where Mark Twain, the American humorist and writer, is right on target. Referred to as “the father of American literature” in some quarters, Mark Twain said, “I never let my schooling interfere with my education.”
Thus, when the bane of Nigeria is generically investigated, it will be found in the failure of education and there is need for national renaissance in this direction. There are many schools quite alright but there is little education going on. Education is not as simple as ability to speak a second language. How do you tell young people not to fight or shout when they see our leaders crudely fight one another on television? The unfortunate show would make one feel that the touts Governor Raji Fashola cleared from Oshodi and other parts of Lagos had suddenly found their way to the hallowed chambers of the National Assembly.
Many young people erroneously believe that the only purpose of education is to get a job and make money. At the end of formal education or schooling, the job secured does not always bring sufficient money, a development that makes many Nigerians always say they are “managing”. Lack of contentment eventually makes them take recourse to corruption. Many young people want to work in the bank for this purpose because banks keep money.
Alternatively, when there is no job at all, as millions of Nigerian youth experience, there is recourse to crime. As the recently released Mr Mike Ozekhome, SAN, further attests to with regard to kidnapping, many of the armed robbers, kidnappers, prostitutes and other criminals are “educated” in the sense that they have good degrees and diplomas. Education only fails in them because they do not appreciate an aim of education, as earlier mentioned, as “the inculcation of the right type of values and attitudes for the survival of individuals and the Nigerian society”.
It is in this respect that our education at all levels needs serious attention because the root of all lawlessness is defective education or lack of education outright. Schooling alone is not sufficient and parents should inculcate in their children the principles and ethics of what the Yoruba call “Omoluabi” or that the Fulani call “Pulaaku” for us to truly be “good people, great nation”, not lawless people, failing nation.
Are you 18 years and above? Are you a graduate of a University? Can you speak English? Are you looking for a 9:00 a.m. – 3:00p.m. job with a monthly salary of #350,000.00, a car and a weekly allowance of #30,000? There is no work during weekends and you only have to work 3 hours every Friday? If you are interested in this job, please contact me with your full details so that we can look for it together cos me sef dey look for dat kind job.