Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Last Days of Pompeii

Nigeria is still a deeply rural country. I recently travelled South West Nigeria and came across kilometers upon kilometers of green land. For a supposedly developed South West, one can only imagine the scenery in the North. As I travelled, I saw unmaintained, dilapidated and decrepit government institutions-  post offices, hospitals,schools, narrow, very narrow but tarred roads. It was picture been caught in a period. Stagnancy with no plans for the future. 
For people who live in these areas, issues like development, the future, growth and "well-being, takes on a new meaning. That some 219 girls are missing does not ring a bell or connote any significance to them.  What is important  is getting by- putting food on the table, how the children will have some form of education and leave for the city, making sure  phone lines work and they are not shafted my phone networks and resolve mundane family issues and slights. It's a little wonder stomach infrastructure is thriving. People are consumed by the present that cannot envision beyond today.
This raises the question of how a government can efficiently work on  providing infrastructure, sound educational system and standard health care facilities whilst maintaining the pastoral and agrarian nature of the people, leaving them in their countrified agrarian bliss.  Will creating that balance in any way  reduce rural-urban migration and stem the the overcrowding of cities?  Nigeria's estimated population in 15 years is 250 million  and by 2050 she will be the 4th most populous country in the world with an estimated population of 440 million. With the current state of infrastructure and institutions especially in education and health, are we ready for the future?
16-20 years ago, as I prepared for high school, we used to sing "education for all by the year 2000"- that was the mantra.  Year 2000 was the magical year where everything would fall into place- education for all, health for all... 
15 years from year 2000, I did not imagine that rather than improve, the state of education, health and infrastructure would degenerate.How do we get those who should care about setting innovative and futuristic policies to do so? What are we going to do about the North that lagged behind in education before the security crisis - especially in the area of type of education and access to education? Is a situation where a graduate cannot add two and two or understand basic logic acceptable for Nigeria?
An estimated 10.5 million kids are out of primary  school (2010 figures) can that continue? Can we afford to let those who rule us (at legislative and executive levels) get away with the waste and current grab-all-you-can attitude with developing the country? Can we afford our rulers to continue to loot our commonwealth?
Food for thought.

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