The Oasis Reporters
November 14, 2020
Interesting comments I got about childreny, upbringing and independence.
My general response: I am of the view that we are over parenting in Nigeria.
The future Inspector General of Police is an Assistant Superintendent of Police, fresh from a public school and ready to climb the ladder. Our children in private schools running away from the evils of society will be happy in 25 years to be friends of the AIG, DIG, IGP, CG of Custom, Major General, Permanent Secretary etc….effectively those that will run Nigeria.
Those that will run Nigeria are on the streets. All the children of big men when we were growing up can’t maintain their father’s houses, some have even sold them. The house of a certain late big man in my hometown, is now a rental accommodation for young tenants while his children are sad reminders of a glorious past.
As Minister, I moved my daughters to a federal government college, Queens College. I wanted and still want them to be prepared for the future of struggle. I didn’t become Corps Marshal and Minister from Harvard. I went to Union Secondary School, Awkunanaw in Enugu.
I went to University of Nigeria, Enugu campus. I came to Youth Service in Abuja sleeping in the Sitting room of my Aunty’s House in Area 1.
Are my children better than me?
They have the advantage of educated and enlightened parents (a huge advantage) but should struggle for their future. You are 16 and afraid of the society meanwhile 16 year olds are hawking on the streets and paying their way through school.
My grandmother had 12 children and sold food to be able to feed the family and make money for their education as my Grandfather was a civil servant. She trained lawyers, Medical Doctors and Accountants all from selling food at Okpara Avenue. All of them including undergraduates participated in pounding the fufu and cooking by 4.00 am every morning.
That’s basically my background.
We struggled, we were road warriors, I paid my way to my Masters in the US and joined ExxonMobil in the US through, a competitive process. Our society is decaying because we are training a generation of hot house plants, fended for without motivation to struggle.
Life is a struggle. The struggle or warfare in nature is not wrong or unjust, it is the mechanism for growth, innovation and survival of the fittest. The role of government is to protect the weak and the vulnerable and create equal opportunities.
Every holiday, my daughters, who are fluent in French go to a secondary school in Jabi as volunteers to teach French. My drivers don’t take them, they walk or take Keke to the school. They are not Queens, they are young girls whose mates are fetching water from streams kilometers away from home. They need survival instincts in a depraved world, not artificial fences.
Wherever our children find themselves let’s inculcate the principles of Uche, ‘Uchu na Egwuchukwu’. It is timeless and unchanging principles in a changing world. They cannot learn it from lectures and talk shops….throw them into the deep end and they will be strong swimmers.
My apologies if I sound preachy or intolerant, this is a topic that evokes passion from me. I am angry at the failure of our public school system and will continue to canvass for its restoration.