By Seun Bisuga
Sometimes I wonder, whose burden is it to educate Nigerians? Before now, I thought the problem was with the millennials who have almost dedicated their lives to social media but increasingly it is the adults that are most illiterate. So, I ask again, who will educate Nigerians?
Most of the misconception and falsehood that holds sway today actually generated from them and was handed over to the next generation. So the question, who will educate Nigerians, is a big one.
In today’s world, we have political and religious leaders who will distort history and spin our culture and tradition to a yarn that favours them. We have millienials whose smartphones are way smarter than them and to make it worse, Google Assistant and Siri are on most phones just to help but they fail to take advantage of these tools.
One issue at hand that has shown that Nigerians are largely illiterate and uneducated is that of the Xenophobic attacks on Africans and including Nigerians. Two wrongs don’t make a right but not for some Nigerians, it’s retaliation or nothing most of which has been fuelled by fake news from supposed influencers on social media.
Many of these people who think they are targeting South Africans by attacking their businesses here, have only succeeded in making sure fellow Nigerians become jobless and possibly broke. Not many of them know that MTN, DStv, Shoprite and other South African businesses lease properties in Nigeria but in their ignorance they think Shoprite owns Ikeja City Mall and The Palms.
These set of people don’t also know that MTN Nigeria has gone public; the telco is now a Public Liability Company. At the end, many Nigerians who are staff of MTN, Shoprite etc will become jobless when this heinous act is over.
But that’s not the only issue some Nigerians have demonstrated little or no knowledge of lately. Take the G7 and TICAD7 narrative for example, President Muhammadu Buhari was expected to speak at the TICAD7 in Japan but it was his non-attendance of G7 that mattered to some who claimed that he was snubbed by G7.
Many of these people don’t know that G7 is only compulsory for seven largest IMF-described advanced economies in the world: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Other countries and personalities in attendance are usually invited. When President Buhari attended G7, he was invited but because G7 rotates invitation, it cannot continue to invite President Buhari every year.
But that was not all from the G7. During and after the G7, there were pictures of African Development Bank President, Akinwunmi Adesina, with some world leaders at the G7 summit in France and immediately after there were calls for him to run for the Presidency. No doubt, Adesina is the poster boy and the sole shining light in the Goodluck Jonathan administration with his innovative ideas in agriculture when he served as minister.
But is that enough to ask him to be President? Simply because he took pictures? It’s stunning how some Nigerians reason. How does taking pictures with world leaders translate to competence or experience? Nigerians buy anything on the surface and it’s a shame.
Like every qualified Nigerian, Adesina has the right to contest for Presidency but it cannot be on the back of a few pictures, that’s completely absurd if not stupid.
Before that, some Nigerians had to deal with the twist of President Muhammadu Buhari’s speech which directed Ministers to liaise with the Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari to book appointments with him. Many Nigerians turned the narrative on its head.
What the President said was simple, “In terms of coordination, kindly ensure that all submissions for my attention or meeting requests be channeled through the Chief of Staff, while all Fed. Executive Council matters be coordinated through the SGF.”
Boom, fire on the mountain, the next thing we heard is that Abba Kyari is the real President. Some said Buhari has finally admitted that Kyari has more powers than him, others said even the Vice President will now answer to Kyari. All the permutations were heart wrenching and it showed how largely illiterate and uneducated many Nigerians are.
A simple Google search on the functions of the Chief of Staff would have saved most ignorant Nigerians from shame and embarrassment, but no, they like to revel in their lack of knowledge. They like to show off their stupidity like it’s a box of perfume on a shelf.
Eventually, the Presidency had to take pains to explain the functions of the Chief of Staff and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation. These are subject matters that should be taught in Social Studies but somehow we missed it. I think the burden is now on our schools to inculcate the organogram of the Presidency in our curriculum.
Also baffling is the (extra) powers that Nigerians place in the hands of the Vice President. If you listen to some arguments, you will almost puke. You will hear people who have worked in corporate organisations even say the Vice President should be able to overrule the President. Abeg, I laugh in Pidgin.
Can anyone point to one private or public organization in the world where the Vice President of Vice Chairman overrules the President or Chairman, please just mention one. It never happens. In all my working years, I learnt that if your boss is going right, you go right even though you know left is the right direction.
Even worse, is that the Vice President has very little powers constitutionally. Take a cue from the US, whom we like to compare with ourselves, please do you ever think that President Donald Trump will impose stiffer tariff on China and VP Mike Pence will say he did wrong? It has not happened and don’t think it will.
For greater clarification, the functions of the Vice President of Nigeria includes; participation in all cabinet meetings and by statute, membership in the National Security Council, the National Defence Council, Federal Executive Council, and the Chairman of National Economic Council. Although the vice president may take an active role in establishing policy in the Executive Branch by serving on such committees and councils, the relative power of the Nigerian vice president’s office depends upon the duties delegated by the president.
So who will educate Nigerians? We need to learn to do some background checks. We need to learn to do some basic research; we need to be able to know some of our basic rights. We should remember that that is how some Nigerians were praising Invictus Obi to high heavens, even our politicians and Captains of Industries fell for his scam.
Many Nigerians have not set foot in the United States but they can tell you your rights once you are arrested in the US. “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in court. You have the right to talk to a lawyer for advice before we ask you any questions. You have the right to have a lawyer with you during questioning. If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed for you before any questioning if you wish. If you decide to answer questions now without a lawyer present, you have the right to stop answering at any time.”
It’s called the Miranda warning, biko, how did we know this? From watching tons of US action movies, but what does our movie industry teach us? They portray us as people who are heavily reliant on spiritual powers or other forms of cynicism.
Who will educate Nigerians? The moral burden is on everyone who read this to do more. Read more, so you can pass more knowledge across, we cannot continue to be the country where non-issues become issues and our smartphones shouldn’t be smarter than us.
Seun Bisuga is a journalist, public affairs analyst and social commentator can be reached via Twitter @bisuclef