That Nigeria is facing serious challenges is a statement that requires no proof. Every living Nigerian in Nigeria, and perhaps abroad, through the ubiquitous media, sees it, hears it and feels it. It is arguable that what sustains Nigeria today is the sheer grace of God, which the nation has in abundance but still abuses.
Apart from God’s grace, which is often taken for granted, the livewire of Nigeria or any nation at all is education. Thus, at every point in time, a nation stands between education and destruction. A nation survives and triumphs on promoting its quality education and it dies and perishes on neglecting its education. Education is life; ignorance is death.
In a 2015 article, based on a report led by Dennis Pamlin of the Global Challenge Foundation and Stuart Armstrong of the Future of Humanity Institute, Dylan Matthews documented “the 12 things most likely to destroy the world.”
These twelve things are catastrophic climate change, nuclear war, global pandemic (no one foresaw Coronavirus pandemic then), ecological catastrophe, global system collapse, major asteroid impact, supervolcano, synthetic biology, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, future bad governance and unknown unknowns.
But before the world is destroyed, nations first self-destruct. The self-destruct mechanism is activated when nations begin not to pay attention to those things that matter. Education matters. Peace matters. Security matters. And it truly requires an educated person or society to appreciate the gains of education, peace and security since without them, there is nothing left.
In essence, the best way to destroy a nation is to destroy its education. Dr Ben Carson, author of “Gifted Hands”, reports that one of the orientalists said: “If you want to destroy the civilization of a nation, there are three ways of doing so: destroy the family structure, destroy education and lower the role models.”
He explains: “In order to destroy the family, undermine the role of the Mother, so that she feels ashamed of being a house-wife. To destroy education, you should give no importance to the Teacher and lower his place in the society so that students despise him. Then, to demean the role models, you should undermine the Scholars, doubt them until no one listens to them or follows them. For when a conscious mother disappears, a dedicated teacher disappears and there is a downfall of role models, who will teach the youngsters values?”
These three requirements for bringing about national destruction are evident in Nigeria, where ladies are ashamed of being house-wives but are rather proud of being career women. At the end of the day, family values are lacking in many young ones who do not have parental orientation, home training or attend sufficiently the first schools individual attend through their parents, especially the mother.
For the primary and secondary school teachers, the society treats them with scorn. We are living at a time when not just the society despises teachers, their own students humiliate and mock them. The phenomenon of the so-called “Benefit Boys” and comedisation of ridiculing teachers is symptomatic of the general trend where abnormality becomes the norm. Students waste no time these days in demeaning their superiors and making their teachers feel worthless just because those teachers are decent enough to live on their meager salaries.
We are also living at a time when scholars are disparaged at every available opportunity and money is worshipped by the young and the old. Through a deliberate policy of starving them of salary or arbitrarily amputating their incomes, they are made vulnerable and laughable before the ignorant members of the society.
What has Nigeria benefitted from undermining the role of the mother, giving no importance to teachers and undermining the scholars? It is the rise of fraudsters, the morally bankrupt and the social misfits who fill the public space especially in the entertainment sector.
Nigeria has reached a point where role models are despicable characters with massive followership. Nigeria has reached a point where a deliberate choice has to be made between education and destruction because no nation succeeds when education, which is different from schooling, is treated with contempt.
There is a choice to make now between education and our collective destruction.