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Open Letter To Students. by Jochebed (f): 10:44pm on November 10
Sunday jochebed abidemi
, Nigeria.

The Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir Ahmad el-Rufa’i, at a forum, spoke about his political activism as an undergraduate student of Quantity Surveying at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria in the mid 1970s. As the largest university in sub-Saharan Africa, el-Rufa’i said the size of students’ population was one of the greatest sources of pride for those involved in political activism.

Rating ABU higher in scholarship, el-Rufa’i said ABU, then, was the only university in the whole world that offered honours in Quantity Surveying.

The closest competitors, according to him, were two polytechnics in the United Kingdom. The University of Reading joined the league much later.

The quality of scholarship was highly rated; researchers and students from all over the world jostled for places. Only those who could not secure places in Nigeria went abroad for studies.

Today, a ranking of the top 8,000 universities in the world, which was done last year, showed only five Nigerian universities in the first 100 in Africa.

Our top universities are: University of Ilorin (55th in Africa, 5,846th in global ranking), Obafemi Awolowo University (61st in Africa, 6,265th in global ranking), University of Ibadan (63rd in Africa, 6,396th in global ranking), University of Jos (74th in Africa, 7,000th in global ranking) and University of Lagos (79th in Africa, 7,246th in global ranking).
There are over 60 quality universities in the State of Massachusetts only.

The United States (with roughly twice Nigeria’s population) has a total of 5,758 tertiary education institutions, an average of 115 per state.

One private university, Harvard University, has an annual budget that exceeds the 2011 investment in education by Nigerian government, and Harvard’s endowment funds were worth $37 billion in 2008.

Our recycled politicians who enjoyed better education in the 60s went on to destroy the education bequeathed to them by the generation that came before theirs. How many political office holders enroll their children in tertiary institutions in Nigeria? So why would anyone want to campaign for recycled politicians and recycled political parties?
Over the years, we have had politicians come to gain power; then after wielding the power, they forget the masses and leave our education to go worse than they met it.

We are trained in schools with outdated curricula, while our peers in the world over are already miles away into the future. Everything we’ve got is still a knowledge in antiquity.
Finland has the best education in the world and that does not mean that they are better humans than us.

But, when visionary leaders are at the helms of affairs, all other things work. Moreover, for any country to grow, its education must be structured to reflect the modern realities.

Sometimes, I feel the 1960s and 1970s were the future, especially when multinational companies always come begging to employ students in Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH). Getting scholarship was at their fingers tips.

What then has gone wrong with our education is a question that cannot be answered unless the present crop of students collectively begin to take our future in our hands and take it out of the hands politicians who appear not to have meaningful plans for the country.

They only remember us when it is time for election. I guess we have been the fooled! They come months to election, share rice, money and others items in exchange for our future, and then we continue to chant Aluta .

Aluta has never helped anybody; union leaders are only fighting for their pockets and selfish reasons. We should also know that the crumbs these politicians give us are just short terms benefit; why not we look at the long-term benefit. They give voters N2,000 and embezzle N2 billion meant for the development of education.

If we continue to collect money for vote, we have no right to question politicians because we have taken our share of the national cake.

What should be done is to ask them what they have done in the last four years. If you want to save our nation, take them to your colleges and show them the sorry state of the facilities there. Students should know that our future is not guarantee in this country.

But, politicians choose us as the best option to mobilise young people for their (re)election. We must wake up from this.

As student, Joshua Wong led a revolution when he was 17 years in Hong Kong, created a political party at 21.

He was 18 when Fortune Magazine listed him as one of the greatest leaders in the world.

Nigerian students, we should never be fooled by the little crumbs from politicians, don’t let them short change us. Don’t allow any union leader to come cajole us to join thugs for election; they are only after their interest. If anyone loses his life, he lost everything and his family loses too.

They get power steal our money and use the stolen wealth to send their children to private schools that cannot be afford by the poor. If you help the wrong person to gain power, it would be another four years of pain.

Students, let there be a paradigms shift in 2019. We can make difference in governance; we have the power. Now is the time for all of us to collectively join hands together and build a new Nigeria.

God bless Federal Republic of Nigeria.


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