It's another resumption period for almost all the universities in our dear country and I thank God that the almighty strike has been called off finally. It was a great relief for most parents because this is a country where such strikes can last for one year or even more without anyone doing anything about it. Nigeria is a country where a delicate sector like 'Health' has gone on strike on numerous occasions without the government being perturbed even though the lives of her citizens are involved. Nigeria! What a country!!!
This article isn't about our hospitals and their strikes or the lackadaisical attitude of our leaders. No. It's not about the strike that goes on in the education sector and the negative impact it has made on our children. It's also not about the deaths that have occurred in the health sector as a result of these crazy strikes nor the nonchalance of the doctors themselves who resultantly use the opportunity of these strikes to open their own clinics and make money for themselves in order to feed their families. It's not in any way about innocent Nigerians who bear the brunt of all these craziness as always. These are topics for another day.
However as you and I know, these aforementioned scenarios all point to one factor which is Recession. The major reason for most of these anomalies is the biting recession in our dear country, Nigeria and the sad thing is that the grandfather of this national scar in the heart of Nigerians is BAD GOVERNANCE! I came back from work tired yesterday and met a crowd in my street at Awada-Obosi talking excitedly. As I parked my car outside my compound because of the Block Rosary children occupying space where I was supposed to park, a young man who has been my neighbor for years walked up to me and told me to lock my car properly before going upstairs because 'fa ka nokwa nso', I was confused as to what he meant or which people he referred to. I enquired and he told me that a group of young boys just succeeded in robbing people in my street of all their valuables where they were drinking in some stretch of shops that sold drinks and the popular 'point and kill'. They were bold and daring and kept on shooting into the air to ward people off from trying to stop them. According to him, they came in a group with their 'Kinko' motorcycles and collected phones and money from both the shop owners and their customers. I was too exhausted to stand more than I already had to listen to more, so I just quietly took my laptop bag from the car, locked up and went upstairs. As I ascended the staircase, memories of the day these 'Kinko' boys attacked my daughter and I at gun point flooded my mind and filled me with a kind of fear that is indescribable. Fear for the safety of Anambrarians especially with the election around the corner. Fear of the high level of crime in Onitsha as a whole. Fear of the fact that this government was more concerned about their re-election bid than the need to tackle the crime wave in the Onitsha metropolis. As far as I am concerned, Awka is safe. That's a fact. Awka is very calm and safe unlike Onitsha where people are shot in broad day light by these charlatans and walk away without any hitches. Just a few days ago, a circulation representative of The Sun Newspaper was shot down in broad day light and till now, no trace has been made of the robbers. I can't even count the number of times policemen were gunned down in this town in 2017 alone. It's presently 2.10am as I write and I just heard sounds of motorcycles driving round my street area and the fear that has enveloped me right now is better felt than imagined. Just put a call through to the head of Vigilante service in our layout and he said they were the ones on patrol and that I shouldn't worry. I asked him if he heard about the theft in my street and he told me that the same boys went to a place called FEZEL in Awada soon after they finished stealing from my area. They were caught in FEZEL during their operation and their leader was actually shot dead while the others escaped. A lot of phones, money and laptops were recovered and I wondered why I didn't get that lucky on the day that I was robbed.
You see, in my own analysis, all these still point to Recession. I agree that these Obosi boys are not interested in getting educated or learning a trade or any form of hand craft which is why they thrive more in theft, but you know that the idle mind is the devil's workshop. Even some girls are a part of some of their operations. That brings me to the real reason why I took on the topic about the resumption of our universities. Nigeria is a failed state. It is a failed project and that is not in contention since it is provable even to a ten year old. I keep pointing to Recession as a major factor in all this madness and I stand to be corrected.
Parents, please can you take the appeal I'm about to make seriously? Our children are faced with a lot of challenges everyday of their lives in the universities and other tertiary institutions you send them to. I was in a program recently and had the opportunity to interact with a lot of youths. I am still shocked at the findings I made. These young boys and girls are undergraduates from different universities here in the east and I delivered a paper at a function they organized. After the presentation, I fielded questions from them and it was very revealing, all that I got to hear from them. At the end of the program, some of them, especially the girls, insisted on talking to me privately. That was when I made the discoveries that got me weak in the knees. Please, do you know that some of your daughters go out to prostitute when there is no pocket money for them to feed with and take care of themselves? They call you on the phone to ask for money for handouts, textbooks, feeding money and their general welfare and you tell them to 'keep managing'. Keep managing with what? One of them told me that she got tired of borrowing money that she couldn't pay back and resorted to sleeping with married men who took care of her needs. She was in tears and told me that her parents were Knights in the church and very religious but that her mother was no longer working as she was affected during the melt down when most companies retrenched their staff. Her dad is a businessman and his business no longer boomed like before, so each time she called home to ask for money, all she would hear remained, 'keep managing'. Today, she has moved into the lodge, buys her textbooks comfortably, pays for her handouts, feeds well, and still takes care of her personal needs. I asked her if her parents asked her where she got her textbooks from and she said that she lied to them that she borrowed from her friends. As for her lodge, she claimed that her friend asked her to move in with her since it was big enough to accommodate both of them. Her parents believed her. I asked her if she knew the kind of risk she was taking by sleeping with these men. I told her about venereal diseases and the risk of being embarrassed by the men's family members if they found out that she was messing around with him and she said she used protection and was very careful. She said the important thing was that her textbooks and handouts were being paid for and that she no longer lacked pocket money. I was sad. I was pained. My heart went out to her parents and I also thought about my own daughters in their different schools. I asked God for the grace to strengthen parents in this recession so that their inability to cater for their children will not lead them astray.
The second girl I talked to had three sugar daddies in Lagos. In her own case, because her sister lives in Lagos, she would lie to her parents about visiting her sister and then go and meet with these old men. She said she always returned with not less than two hundred thousand naira. This was how she trained herself in school. I asked her if she wasn't scared of AIDS and she said she used protection except for one of them who insisted to have intercourse with her without protection. I know what it took me to counsel her but deep down, I knew she would still go on with her dealings with those men when the chips are down.
I could go on and on and on but I just want to plead with parents to take this plea of mine seriously. Our children are not supposed to manage with nothing! If you send a young girl to school and don't provide her basic needs, how do you want her to survive? Please, you are sending her into the world where peer influence plays a major role which is why no matter how well you think you raised your child, at some point, they begin to discuss with their friends in school who will definitely influence them into doing things they might ordinarily not do. Please think about it. It is better to stop your child from schooling until you can raise the money to do so than to make her become saddled with the dreaded AIDS disease or a worthless kind of life. Think about all these when next you tell them to keep managing when you know you didn't give her money with which to manage. A word is enough for the wise!