Smoking Weed & Sipping Hennessy: ‘THE SKY IS WIDE ENOUGH’.

Human beings, generally, but particularly Nigerians, have a very high tendency to be selfish and overly acquisitive. Beyond that however, they also tend to be quite vindictive, often playing the role of the “dog-in-a-manger”, blocking others from having what is no use to them. I remember the sad case of a former police chief in Nigeria, who stole the police force blind, and had billions of naira and foreign currency stashed away at different locations, yet beat to stupor, and even jailed an underling who helped himself to just N1m of the booty, Indeed, people can be desperately selfish. Consider this: if, with all his stealing, he was taking good care of his workers, they are not likely to steal from him. Anyway, the person who he treated so harshly turned out to be his albatross, because he blew the whistle against him.

Now, I was thinking about the sorry state of Nigerian public schools, especially tertiary institutions, and it occurred to me that perhaps, just perhaps, this degradation is a deliberate and systematic effort, to allow private institutions to thrive. Several past Nigerian leaders own universities, secondary schools, etc. Even those who were not in government, but have walked the corridors of government and received government patronage have private universities. So, how will those ones want public schools to be good? However, what they have failed to take into due cognizance is the fact that even if each of them owns two universities (like some pastors I know), it is still not anywhere near what is needed to cater for the education needs of Nigeria’s teeming youth population. Consider this: Nigeria’s population is a very young one, and about 23% (48million) are in the schooling age bracket of 15-34yrs. If 60% of this mass (28million) are to go into tertiary institutions, how many of them can be absorbed by all the private universities? Can the private university cope with 1million students each? So, obviously, we need the public schools as much as we need the private schools. The question then is this: Why kill public schools, to make private institutions thrive? In Yoruba, they say: “the sky is wide enough for birds to fly without colliding”. Oju orun to eiye fo lai fi arak an ara won.

The situation is the same across several other sectors of the Nigerian polity. You can be assured that several individuals and government officials are deliberately sabotaging the refineries, so that they can keep making money by importing fuel, but, since they have marketing/retailing networks, would they still not make money, if they were distributing locally refined products?. The same way they killed the railways, so that their trailers and tankers can thrive. The same way the power sector was rendered moribund, so that they can keep importing generators.

Honestly, we are just a special breed of people. I still cannot fathom why we will go to the extent of clearing the skies just because we want to fly, when in the real sense, and as the Yorubas say: the sky is wide enough for birds to fly, without colliding. These people had better learn from history. Sadly, this terrible attitudinal disposition is not limited to the leaders alone. Even among the followership, the situation is the same. I have had a situation where a workman deliberately disparages another, just so as to ensure he doesn’t get my patronage. Yet, he cannot do what I expect the other person to do, or, can a bricklayer do the work of a carpenter? Or a panel beater the work of a mechanic? Yet, this is the sad reality we live with in Nigeria. No wonder we are not moving forward as a nation. It even seems that world leaders are learning from Nigeria and Africa now, or else, how do we explain the refusal of a world leader to concede an election he has very obviously lost? Hmmm!

Nobody, and nothing, can stop the triumph of good over evil, and the longer the lie flees from the truth, the more bitter will be its end, when it is eventually caught, afterall, like the Yorubas also say: Bi iro ba fi ogun odun sa, ojo kan ni otito a ba. If the lie flees for 20 years, the truth will catch up with it, one day. Remember, everywhere you go, and whatever you do: Oju orun to eiye fo lai fi ara kan ara won. The sky is wide enough for birds to fly without colliding.

Peace and love!

Thank you Adeolu Ojo.

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