(By Marzuq Abubakar Ungogo)
“Ours is a society that kills reasoning, enquiry and probity. Being robots is what is expected from us. unfortunately we adhere to these rules and just believe. As such we maintain insipid intellectual discourse which is most times a cartel of ignorance and stupidity. We easily resort to emotion and violence; two most dangerous obstacles to discovery and tools that foreclose all possibilities of understanding and meaningful change“.
If you were born between 1980 and 2000, then I consider you as belonging to my generation. A generation that will by default take over the helms of Nigerian affairs before or around its centenary independence anniversary. With the average human life expectancy of 52.62 years in Nigeria, this generation may reach the top even earlier than 2060 but I don’t want to be too ambitious because the bad eggs don’t only elude retirement, they reluctantly die. But we all must die and the elderly die more often. So in a county where leadership is septuagenarian and octogenarian, this generation must rule around that time. That is not the problem, I’m more concerned with the type of Nigeria this generation will lead and the type of psyche it is going to lead with in the highly sophisticated and complicated world of that time.
You were either born into an elite family, an imaginary middle class or a lower class. For the first category, growing up was simple. You attended a private school and a foreign university. You haven’t even returned to Nigeria without an MSc. or PhD. Congratulations. But chances are there you don’t know much about political, social and economic realities obtainable in Nigeria and are grossly incapable of rational and reasonable adventure in its own terms. Anyway, you will have an automatic job or a business to inherit and that’s just what most others are fasting to get half of. congratulations once again!
To the other groups, either your parents struggled to enrol you in school or they didn’t at all due to ignorance or poverty or both. You might have finished halfway or completed against all the odds of writing SSCE five times and all those associated with a Nigerian tertiary institution. At this point you are unemployable, underemployed or unemployed and regrettably unable to lead an independent business life because you are what they call ‘half-baked’. Accept my sympathy, dear brother! There are many other tragedies you have encountered that I haven’t mentioned, do forgive me. I’m more interested on why most of the members of this generation are unemployed, underemployed or unemployable whether you have been to school or not. That is same reason we are not satisfactorily productive and independent. its due to a psyche which is a reflection of the educational or pedestrian bakery you have passed through as a student or dropout/street urchin respectively.
After your fourth attempt at WASSCE, you employed someone to write it for you. At this point you have believed either a Yoruba examiner or a witch in your village is responsible for your woes since your name is Audu Haladu. Its annoying but for more than a decade WAEC has a constant failure rate of 60-70% in Nigeria. The first lecturer in your first class might have mentioned something like “You can’t get A in this course”. Then you have consistently turned in thousands for a job screening where hundred vacancies existed and some lost their lives in a stampede therein. You have passed from one abuse to another and have bribed your way many times. All these are pivotal in the constitution of your present psyche.
Irrespective of all this natural filial fortunes and misfortunes, we share many things about an intellectual deficiency and a lethal psyche. Most of us don’t know the history and geography of Nigeria and have grown to believe a Hausa is archaic and uncivilized, an Igbo is a charlatan and thief while a Yoruba is hypocrite and dirty. To many of us the knowledge of second republic or the Nigerian foreign policy or even idea about our Gross Domestic Products is a rocket science. We just don’t know Nigeria. All these are at our disposal but we were not trained to find out things by ourselves and can’t spare a moment out of our “Whatsapp chat time” to read. The most annoying is that we haven’t mastered even English language, the supposed official medium of communication in the country. I fear that if not checked we will be the most superficial, tribal, ignorant and prejudicial generation. In university, even a class representative is chosen based on tribe or religion.
Ours is a society that kills reasoning, enquiry and probity. Being robots is what is expected from us. unfortunately we adhere to these rules and just believe. As such we maintain insipid intellectual discourse which is most times a cartel of ignorance and stupidity. We easily resort to emotion and violence; two most dangerous obstacles to discovery and tools that foreclose all possibilities of understanding and meaningful change.
Its also a psyche not oriented towards innovation, creativity and productivity. Hardworking we believe hardly pays because our society daily celebrates the lazy among us who are smart enough to identify the politician to endorse or honour and get paid under the umbrella of mushroom youth organisations. We are dazzled each day by our mates elsewhere who created Facebook, invented Android and earn fortunes from European Championship. We struggle to have internet data subscription and use Facebook just to meet a member of opposite sex to chat with and waste an average of ten hours a week watching Ronaldo making billions. We enjoy all the moments and our uninspired minds don’t take lessons from Mark Zuckerberg’s initiative or Messi’s hard work.
We have low standard and expectation and our gullibility can easily be cowed. Most times we don’t have even specific targets and not focused towards a certain direction. This is the reason why we can easily be distracted or lured into praising artful deception especially if it comes with the hue of a faith or tribe we belong to. To us there is always a level of irresponsibility and corruption that we can tolerate or celebrate depending on who the actors are. We have double standards; one for ‘us’ and the other for ‘them’ and the two pronouns are tribal or religious.
But the most lethal aspect of this sickled-cell psyche is our attitude towards change. Change to transform or improve ourselves using all the resources available. Change that will make us better educated and prepared for the challenges in an ever changing world. Change that will develop our perception, viewpoint and angle of reasoning. Change that is at the tip of our fingernail. Yes change that is prerequisite to changing Nigeria when we reach the top in the next 50 years long after those who spoiled it and our psyche have gone.
There are some excellent individuals from this generation who are exception to this approximated prototype but they constitute a negligible minority. Wisdom starts from the point we realise that we have a long way to go together and as a generation we share almost similar challenges. The future belongs to us and while we may not be able to dictate the type of Nigeria we inherit, we can always change our psyche into the one that prepares us for whatever mess will be handed over to us. We are incapable of spearheading reform in economic, educational and social systems that have made us the robots we are for now and even if we can, the damage has already been done on us and the reform can only benefit a generation after us. As such our duty is to transform and improve ourselves by ourselves and provide for ourselves what school couldn’t teach us and what the society failed to give us.
Our intellect and rationality can be developed via seeking of knowledge with an open enquiring mind. We may have to deconstruct noxious notions we are made to erroneously believe pending our unbiased verification. We must learn how to nurture a creative and productive mind and have to learn effective communication skills, history, political science, financial independence, resource management and quality intellectual discourse. We already have more than enough challenges and problems in this harsh atmosphere but we have to endure this too. It is indeed a tortuous journey but we shall arrive as better and improved humans who will impact on the only country we have and the world in general.
Dr. Marzuq Abubakar Ungogo
“Opinion pieces of this sort published on RISE Networks are those of the original authors and do not in anyway represent the thoughts, beliefs and ideas of RISE Networks.”