ARE THE S'EAST GOVERNORS EDUCATED?
In one of the sterile statements of a philosophical cum political fundi-Aristotle, 'The educated differ from the uneducated as much as the living from the dead'. The praxis in Aristotle's philosophy when it comes to the issues of education made him to further infer that 'The roots of education are bitter but the fruit is sweet'. For Plato, 'Knowledge is the food of the soul'. While Socrates is of the view that, 'Man by nature desires to know'.
It is my contention that behind every argument is someone's ignorance. Nothing is as embarrassing as watching someone who claims to be educated doing something that you said couldn't be done. In the words of late Pope John Paul II, 'Our political productivity had always been epileptic, most probably because our administrative machinery had been exceeding faulty'. In justice, we do our work; out of justice we demand our rights.
This is why the South East Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) hitherto on strike cannot be faulted. In justice the lecturers do their job, now out of justice they are demanding for their rights. My soul bleeds so much when I see how our South East governors with impunity deny our labourers their wages. It is very obvious today that the fate of any country depends upon the education of the people. Kuan Chang subscribes to the above thus, 'If you plan for a year, plant a seed. If for ten years, plant a tree. If for a hundred years, teach the people. When you sow a seed once, you will reap a single harvest. When you teach the people, you will reap a hundred harvests'.
From the foregoing quotations, do you sincerely think that our South East governors are making serious investment in education-such that will last for a hundred years? Oh! What a colossal failure and mental deficiency exercised so far! Horace Mann writing on the importance of education observes 'Education, then, beyond all other devices of human origin, is the great equalizer of the conditions of men, the balance wheel of the social machinery'. Like politics, education is a reality that touches almost all aspects of human existence. It pervades much of human life: family life, social, religious, economic and cultural life to mention but a few. Our governors have abandoned our Universities the very way many of them abandoned many of their projects.
The recent ultimatum issued to the proprietors of South East Universities by Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) to reopen these Universities or face sanctions which one of it is outright de-approval of the Universities, did not make any sense to our governors. In the words of Soren Kierkegaard 'We know life backward; but must live it forward'. In living a forward life we must therefore learn from experience. Few days ago the northern governors frowned at the attitude of the South East governors concerning the strike and wondered why their fellow governors should not implement what they had already implemented in their own various states. In Delta state for instance, the governor implemented his beyond the bench-mark. What South East ASUU is asking for is the implementation of the minimum wages agreed with the Federal government.
Sincerely speaking, I was fraught when I discovered that in Imo state (IMSU) now Evan Enwerem University, the Post UME candidate for first choice are 15,000 in number, while those for second choice are 25,000 candidates. The University carrying capacity is 3,400. How many private Universities do we have in Imo state that will accommodate the rest? Why do our South East governors want to destroy education? Is it because they do not read authentic books? In the words of late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, 'If people are denied of books, especially the right type, they suffer academic malnutrition, stagnation and atrophy'. What is wrong with the Igbo governors? It is a pity that those we thought we are already ahead of are now asking us in sympathy to walk faster. Ndi Igbo, why are we destroying our future? How many private Universities are in the West? Oh how are the mighty fallen!
Why should we destroy our education? In every aspect of research; you find the Igbo people very relevant. Is it not amazing that the great historian late Professor Adiele Afigbo shows in his record that the Igbo originated in a period described in their oral tradition as an 'Eternal Day'. Afigbo calls it 'the Age of Innocence', and describes it as a period of non-time; spent in a realm of light and Eternal Glory, where the Igbo were sustained by God-substance and maintained unbroken communication with God their father. No doubt that the Igbo was a great group of people, the great Igbo Chronicler Olaudah Equiano in his poem tells us that the Igbo were a happy people as I summarize his poem thus, 'A land of truth loving and religious people; a land of strong well proportioned people; a land of free men and empowered women; a land without unemployment; a land without prostitution, a land without drunkards; a land without beggars; a land of clean, happy Igbo!'.
It is on record in the history today that by 1965 the Eastern Nigeria was the fastest growing economy in the world. Today, if Olaudah Equiano visited, erosion-ravaged, desecrated and nearly-deserted Igbo land, he would re-write his poem to suite situation on ground. He will find: A Land of lie-telling and irreligious people; a land stricken by ASUU strike, a land full of unemployment, a land full of beggars, a land full of governors that have no interest in education; a land full of kidnappers etc. who would like to stay in a land that would not afford him education when he hungers for it? Our old parent can talk of the good old days, but how many of our youths can boast of the good old days in the future? It is not possible because our governors are busy destroying the future of our leaders of tomorrow. Do our governors think tomorrow will not come? Wisdom don't consist in knowing more that is new, but in knowing less that is false.
A people with no guiding ideology are but like any other food-chasing animals; liable to frequent accidents and death, including slaughter. A people without leadership are not a people properly called, the Igbo, since the end of the Nigerian-Biafra war have found themselves mostly leader-less. They found themselves in a situation, where food-chasers, those who have what the Igbo call their food-thing, 'ihe nri', claim to be Igbo leaders. All they need do is to get to Abuja, and let someone who has stolen Eastern Nigerian Cow, give them a basin of pepper-soup. They come singing home, to announced their warrant to Igbo leadership; ihe nri. This is why the ASUU strike has lasted this long. In the words of Roosevelt, 'When you educate a man only in mind and not in morals you educate a menace to the society'. Educationists are always in an organized search for the arrest of ignorance. Our South East governors are educated in mind and not in morals otherwise how can you justify their nonchalant attitude towards ASUU strike.
To the best of my knowledge, the South East governor's children are not in any of these universities. Therefore, why must they be in a hurry to end the strike? A situation that made Socrates to ask, 'Whom, then, do I call educated? First, those who control circumstances instead of being mastered by them; those who meet all occasions manfully and act in accordance with intelligent thinking; those who are honourable in all dealings, who treat good naturedly persons and things that are disagreeable, and furthermore, those who hold their pleasure under control and are not overcome or spoiled by success'. In the light of the above, are the South East governors educated? After all the chairman of the South East Governors Forum Peter Obi demonstrated how highly educated he is on Sunday October 17 during the over-trumpeted meeting of the governors in connection with the strike when he turned the whole thing into ethnicity.
We have noticed how active NUC has been these days. Some Universities have lost accreditation in recent times; the NUC has also used its authority to send Prof Chiedu (a senior staff of the commission) to Ladoke Akintola University as the Acting Vice-chancellor. Ondo state's approval for University of Technology Okitipupa was withdrawn by NUC. University of Jos is not admitting into the 2010/2011 session for all disciplines. Now that the hammer is swinging east, let us make haste while sun shines otherwise it will be late searching for a dark skin goat in the night. Never you fall into the temptation of trying to under-rate a wounded soldier. The youths are watching!