From Right to Privilege: The Story of Education in Nigeria – Ogunjimi James Taiwo @hullerj
“The foundation of every state is the education of its youth.” – Diogenes Laertius
“Education is a human right with immense power to transform. On its foundation rest the cornerstones of freedom, democracy and sustainable human development.” – Kofi Annan
The story of education in Nigeria is a story that when told to the
youths of today, makes the heart bleed. We hear stories of our fathers
and mothers being paid to go to school. We are told stories of them
getting the best of treatments in their schools and being treated with
the highest level of respect in the society. We listen to these
stories in a state of utter disbelief, because, compared to what we
have today, our educational system has fallen far below expectations.
The same generation of people that enjoyed free education has decided
that the generation of youths after them must be made to pay heavily
for what they got free of charge. It is no longer news that Oronsaye’s
recommendation to the Federal government is that tuition fees be
re-introduced in Federal universities, Polytechnics, and colleges of
education. He recommended that each student should be made to pay
between N450, 000 and N550, 000 naira per session. This is what can be
called insensitivity on the part of the people who are saddled with
the responsibility of grooming today’s youths.
Unfortunately, the elected student leaders at the level of NANS have
refused to voice out against this injustice and to stop this evil
policy from being implemented. The silence of NANS thus far is
deafening. Apart from organizations like ERC, CDHR, SYL,CLAPS e.t.c
that have spoken out, others have kept quiet.
The increment in the tuition fees being paid by UNIJOS students may be
a sign of things to come. The announcement was met with a protest by
UNIJOS students. All those who care about Nigeria’s educational system
must raise their voices against yet another anti-masses policy of this
This must be seen as yet another attack on the masses by the ruling
class. If Oronsaye’s recommendation is accepted, our universities will
witness a large number of drop outs and the streets will be flooded
with uneducated youths. And in an age where Ph.D holders now drive
trucks, i wonder what kind of job an uneducated youth will be forced
All students must come together and use the UNIJOS protest as a point
of contact to demand that:
i) The Oronsaye recommendation be thrown out.
ii) Education should remain free.
In the event that the FG fails to listen to the voice of the students,
student leaders across the country must come together and strategize
on ways to ensure the government respects the right of everyone to
quality and affordable education.
Ogunjimi James Taiwo
Follow me on Twitter: @hullerj