Who is an educated Nigerian?
Besides, the girls who escaped couldn’t speak basic English, I mean basic English. How come people who are in final year in secondary school cannot speak basic English? There was never a kidnap.”
The foregoing was the famous statement that will be remembered for a long time to come, especially as the Chibok girls have not been found more than 500 days since their kidnap by the mindless Boko Haram insurgents.
It was a strange analysis by someone the Nigerian media love to celebrate, on radio, television and print media, despite a tainted past. Since when, we may ask, did it become fashionable to define kidnapping by the victims’ fluency in the English Language? When has it become fashionable to accept the abduction of people only when they understand basic English Language – and also when their spoken English –is not – out of kilter?
It would appear that all mobsters are rational when they engage in debauchery to something like kidnapping. Since when also, did the whiteman’s language become the benchmark for determining who an educated person is?
For somebody who asserts that the knowledge and the speaking of the English language makes one educated must raise fundamental questions of what constitutes education.
Apart from the simple definition of education, where there is lack of humaneness it must be obvious there is no education. Humaneness is a revealing inalienable essence of good education.
The absence of humaneness exposes a person as unschooled and uncooked. We were told that true education makes a people stretch their minds to solve collective problems, and that quality education reflects in positive considerations and demonstrated leadership for development.
By the way – how many countries are run excellently by an army of English speakers and bodies of clerks? And how educated is the educated Nigerian? Many years ago, while driving into Kaduna from Km 20 Kachia Road with the wife of my boss (a British), a journey which ended for me at Gobarau Road and the woman in question – in Degel One Road, all in Angwar Rimi, she asked me, “which line of work would you love to pursue later in life?” “I would love to study computer science at the Federal University of Technology, Minna,” I said.
Upon further enquiry by her, I couldn’t explain why I wanted to study computer science but I knew I wanted to be in the university at any given opportunity. “Nigerians, I have learned, love qualifications for its sake. I am a daughter of a retired British Army Colonel, and out of choice, I never went further than high school.
I enjoy the business in which I involve myself. Whatever you do is education for you,” she went on. “Motor Mechanics are educated, because they have technical expertise in areas lots of people do not have.
So also are other people with no formal education but who engage in a productive line of work, earn a living and contribute to the growth of the social order.”
It is worth stating here that that conversation changed my impression about who an educated person is. The Nigerian – respect those who are alumnae of institution of higher education and, are said to be ‘educated’ even when these so-called ‘educated,’ do not use education learned suitably – other than to pinch resources meant for the people.
I see people around me who in the public view are ‘uneducated’– with shops, eking out a living –but the ‘educated’ are goofing off waiting for the government to do ‘something.’
If only my ‘uncle’ had remembered me, “things wouldn’t have stayed this way,” “my pastor told me this year will not pass me by.” Some are waiting for something to just turn up. I once organised the logistics for the coming into Nigeria (Port Harcourt) of some Chinese technical experts – who came to repair many faulty cable decoders on behalf of their principal in China for the company I worked for at the time.
They scarcely could speak the English language and it took forever for me to pass a point to them while managing their affairs round facilities and to their hotel.
What anyone could not take away from them was the use of their hands. They knew their jobs, yet folks in Nigeria will love to have people assume that to speak the English language even when you cannot differentiate the subjunctive and objective tense makes one educated.
Even with certificates– the polytechnic and university graduates in Nigeria are entangled in wars of supremacy, in spite of the fact that both institutions were established for different purposes – as a matter of policy – because of their roles to national development.
Are the HND holders truly educated if they suffer from subservience and inferiority complex? And is aspiration to higher learning for the university graduate all about official recognition?
What ground-breaking inventions have both the HND and BSc graduates produced for the growth of the country? The late Dan Maraya Jos sang meaningful songs which have outlived him, yet some would say, indeed do say that he was not educated.
We all can see that the educated artistes of our day release music that makes no sense; they shoot videos showing dishabilles of our women. It is so hard raising children these days with the kinds of music on the air waves by the ‘educated’ all around us. Please allow me not to mention the educated in our movie industry.
Thank you for your understanding. My young friend Nelson, an electrician is a school certificate holder (SSCE). He is very good in his vocation. Not long ago he went to the home of an electrical engineer who couldn’t fix a change-over switch. Nelson repaired it in no time, and left his employer awe-struck.
I am sure in that employer’s mind eye, even though Nelson resolved his challenge, he remains an uneducated Nigerian. While the educated are immersed in the love of titles the uneducated seem to be valuable and are creating jobs for hordes of Nigerians.
Take for instance, an uneducated (so-called) transporter in Delta State who positions his transport vehicles in several Southern States of Nigeria providing jobs for very many people who would have been otherwise jobless.
But the educated have never considered it fit to give him and many others like him a national award. Such are meant for those who are aided by the states to do business and who can speak the whiteman’s language.
Talking of titles and cachet, the other day I sat down at a pleasure house to take pepper soup and ‘agidi’ prepared by an uneducated lady from Akwa Ibom whose food preparation the educated cream of the crop cannot do without – and on the occasion, someone asked for permission to sit on the empty seat by my side, I obliged him. He introduced himself as a lawyer.
We got chatting. Moments later a Mercedes Benz automobile drove past. “Oh! I love that car,” he said. “But the car you drove here is equally good,” I said. “You see, as a lawyer, you need to drive big cars to give clients and many people the confidence and impression that things are happening around you even if they aren’t,” he said.
The educated Nigerian put themselves under so much pressure in ways that the uneducated wouldn’t. The reason why the educated are deceived and defrauded by many clergy men (surely, many are not ministers of God – Almighty Creator) these days is because they want to get rich snippily and they do not read the Holy Book –what then makes them educated when they don’t read the Holy Book? They prefer to be comfortably guided by people who do nothing but study the word, HARD.
The educated must seek advice on how to get married, guidance on how to keep the home happy but not guidelines on the rituals of healthy libertinage for those in spousal unions and on how to give birth.
The last is not learned but others must be learned by the educated even when all are inborn in the human race. The uneducated woman knows how to sing her crying youngsters to sleep, she carries them on her back but it is beneath the educated ladies to do so, they push them in carriage on our bumpy streets.
The uneducated knows how to control their children with body language in public places but the educated indulge them skywards, even offer some biscuits and drinks inside religious institutions.
The uneducated grandmother walks with a stately gait and for dress chooses a wrapper but the educated is finicky, wears a short skirt at old age and paints her nails. The uneducated esteem their dead husbands highly and mourn their loss for years but the educated grieves for weeks only – without the black apparel after which most begin to consort with other men.
A body of men appoints a man to the throne – but the educated grotesquely soon after elevates the man to a divine being. The educated have relapsed to a level of ‘dog eat dog’ and are simply incapable of reasoning.
How on earth would one want to con others in order to survive? The uneducated understand – without a glitch– that in the universe there is a never-ending abundance and that one may not essentially be rich but one’s needs will always be met if there’s an understanding of how to tap into the richness of the universe.
If the universe were to work in conflict to the law of abundance, things like eggs, chicken, fish, garri, beef etc. would have vanished from the surface of the earth.
Abah wrote from Port Harcourt, Rivers State. Tel: 08023792604, 07035017922. It seems the uneducated Nigerians are more educated than the educated Nigerians, they make correct career choices, are interested in what they do, have competencies for it and it fits their personalities.