Ndigbo: Challenges of youth empowerment
Onitsha and Aba Cabbage Industries have imitated and successfully copied Asian industries in the produce of electrical and mechanical devices for household and industrial uses.
The question is how can the Igbo elders and leaders exploit the intuitive and technical expertise of the youth for sustainable development. Because man is a psycho-physical organism and human creativity involves both mental and physical activity, the Igbo artisan needs to be methodical, reflective and critical in order for him to cognise, discover and avoid blind rules of thumb hazards that have promoted infrastructural wear and tear rapidity and lack of maintenance culture. Hence we are interested in the kind of principles of reasoning that are necessary for the locally acquired skills that constitute about 70 per cent of the Ndigbo real sector. Ndigbo artisans need the general and particular principles of logic which though can only be applied selectively in context, constitute the primordial and primitive canon of human reasoning that is Ndigbo needs a knowledge based technology predicated on ICT, prediction and logic.
Logic provides us with principles of reasoning that hold well in all fields and in all subject in determining the validity or invalidity of argument and logical truths and falsehood of statements all of which are conducive to ICT and computer literacy. Such systems like computer-education, geometry, inductive and deductive logic enhance skill acquisition and promote sustainable development. Euclidean definitions of axioms, postulates, Internet connectivity and theories would help a great deal in promoting creativity among Igbo youths.
An “auto-mechanic”, electrician, engine operator for instance, should not merely know the practice of his works but must build up theories based on his experience of previous problems on engines and electrical.
The Igbo entrepreneur’s success and universal skill acquisition requires the method of precision and predictability of the general abstract principles of logic and the subject –specific principles. He needs precisely reflection and in a creative way. Why and how the engine knocked, the light failed, the breaks failed or how and why the product is corrupted and solidity and aesthetic lost should not be settled by rulers thumb or trial and error alone but by logic and computer knowledge. Ingenuity is a by-product of rational and critical approach to problem solving. This is aided and enhanced by computer and deductive logic or mathematics. In addition to use of computer knowledge, reflection and critical methodology, the Igbo entrepreneur must search to create an Igbo scientific worldview. A scientific Igbo society should be the summation of all efforts of individuals, governments and institutions on creativity and cognition. It is, therefore, incumbent on Igbo leaders, governments and scientists to organise a curriculum of scientific and philosophical theories explaining the prevention of famine, mass death, infant mortality, erosion, civil commotion, fire out-breaks, pestilence, agriculture, rain fall and so on. Traditional theories regarding the making of fire, boats, house, architecture, sculpture and farming should be reflected upon and deciphered. Theories guiding these technologies should be re-examined, formalised and maximum utilisation of the potentials of the youths.
Computer science and critical thinking should be taught together with mathematics at both primary and secondary school levels in Igbo nation with a view to producing scientific and professional skills, Pupils, at their impressionable age, should enhance their creativity by being made to dwell on abstract computer and logical thoughts. Also, critical thinking eradicates primitive accumulation in the minds of the youth and abhors inordinate quest for material things, which deviates youths from pursuing the noble goals in the fields of science, creativity and entrepreneurship.
Finally, in Igbo nation, Igbo philosophy should be researched into to see the goldmines that may have existed therein. This makes it imperative to introduce the teaching of Igbo philosophy in the schools. If not for anything, at least, we should be proud of our culture.
The challenge of Ndigbo youth is a historical phenomenon caused by the war and continually inadvertently recreated to abide in Igbo society from better to worse by the lack of political will, commission and omission, unaccountability, selfishness and ignorance on the part of our leaders. The aim of this humble paper is to draw the attention of Igbo auto-chnotous intellectual class, the sages, leaders, governors, members of state and National Assemblies to the predicaments of the youths with view to reversing the dangerous trends of Igbo history. These predicaments or challenges as discussed above are lack of sense of history, educational backwardness, political immaturity, economic underdevelopment, entrepreneurial decay, macro and micro-fiscal and monetary indiscipline of our leaders; namely, governors and office holders at state and federal levels, poverty and unemployment. It is high time Ndigbo leaders began to see Igbo ethnic group as an Igbo nationality and begin from that consciousness to build a holistic and economically independent Igbo nation with a view to create wealth, jobs, capacities and social reforms.
• Professor Dukor of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka delivered the above speech at an International Igbo Youth Day Symposium in Umuahia, Abia State.