Saraki Assures On Sustainable Economic Policies

Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki has said that the 8th Senate will collaborate with the Executive to ensure that the policies and programmes of the present administration aimed at reviving the economy are sustained on a  long term basis.
Saraki according to a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Sanni Onogu, in Abuja, stated this  when he received the national executive of the Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society (NMGS) led by its President, Professor Olugbenga Okunola.
He said the Senate is on a mission to ensure that the country harnesses her non-oil resources and achieve full diversification of the economy.
Saraki said: “For us in the 8th Senate we have said it that our focus is to continue to give support to those sectors of our economy that will provide employment, increase the earnings of government and the growth of the economy in general.
“And if you are talking about the growth of the economy, you have to give  particular consideration to the mining sector. And what do we need to do to get that done? I want to assure you that the message I will like you to take away is that the 8th Senate is ready to give all the support in ensuring that we truly begin to harness the hitherto the unexplored and neglected potentials that we have. 
“We have been talking about these potentials for a long time. It is time to talk about realising the potentials and translating them to economic power. how to bring. That is our own vision and mission. 
“We have all seen the downside of being a mono-product economy. We are all suffering from it now. When you see what is happening to our revenues, our foreign exchange inflows and particularly what is happening to even the foreign exchange rate due to our over dependence on crude oil.
“The projections that it is going to be down for a couple of years means that any serious minded country needs to look at the options available. And some of the things we are seeing now is because there is a lot of speculation out there.
“A lot of the speculators believe that we don’t have the political will to see through some of the policies and programmes aimed at diversifying the economy and that is why you see a lot of them are betting against the Naira. That is why you see all of a sudden, the Naira is rebounding because they are beginning to see that it appears that this government is committed on its policy.
“I want to assure you that we are committed. The political will is there. We are very determined to see that we diversify. All these things you are talking about are well known to a lot of us. The frustration has een that we have not been able to see it through. I want to assure you that this Senate is committed to ensure that we support the executive in sustaining these long term polices. This is important and that is where we must start from,” he said.
Earlier, Professor Gbenga Okunola, said the Society visited the Senate President to among others appreciate what the 8th Senate has been doing. 
He said: “We have been talking about diversification of the nation’s economy over the years….I think as a society, as professionals, this is what we have been clamouring for over the years that we are sitting on buried riches and that the government is now saying that they want to take this serious gladdens us. 
“That is why we are here to appreciate this government for what they are doing and we are ready to offer our professional help – we are not talking in terms of financial reward – but this is one thing we want to offer our country,” he said.
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Fayemi, Byron, Others Charge CSOs on Sustainable National Development

Lagos-Nigeria, November 3, 2015

Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, in Nigeria have been charged to acquire and adapt best global practices to their operations in order to foster deeper and sustainable national development.

This charge was delivered by speakers at the 15th annual conference of the Nigeria Network of Non-governmental Organisations, NNNGO, held in Lagos, today, with the theme ‘Global Good Practices in NGO Regulations’.

The annual NNNGO conference is the only major civil society gathering in Nigeria, offering participants drawn from government, civil society, donors and multilateral organisations amongst others, the platform to deliberate on critical issues affecting Nigeria’s non-profit sector and the country at large.

Delivering the keynote on the role of NGOs in the society, Erelu Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi, Former First Lady Ekiti State and Co-Founder African Women’s Development Fund, stated that operating per excellence in the non-profit sector requires passion, self-regulation, partnerships and consistency in line with best global practices.

‘The most important currency in the non-profit sector is passion’.

‘Self-regulation, partnerships, consistency and passion are essential in ensuring success within the non-profit sector. NGOs must take responsibility and credit for their works’.

She challenged non-governmental organisations to enhance their operational frameworks and capacities as well as explore wider scopes of generating funds for social causes.

‘Institutional integrity issues can be fixed through rectangular alignment of passion, mission, values and integrity. NGOs need to get off life support and all the humiliation that comes with running after donors’.

Speaking on the need to expand and enhance development agenda in the country, Dr Sina Fagbenro-Byron, Former Regional Coordinator, Department for International Development, noted that due to globalization, the challenges of human and social development are assuming an all-time high status.

He said ‘the society stands on a tripod; private sector, public sector and non-profit sector, hence, for inclusive development to exist, all sectors must be actively engaged by one another’.

During the conference issues bordering on NGO regulation, financing, social protection along the newly formulated sustainable development goals, as well as media and communications strategies for development practitioners were highlighted.

The conference also featured the launch and presentation of the Yemisi Ransome-Kuti, (YRK) Leadership Award, which saw Ms. Ndifreke Andrew-Essien winning the award with the prize money of #50,000.

The YRK Leadership Award is established to honour outstanding Nigerians working in the not-for-profit sector who exemplify the leadership ideals of Ms. Yemisi Ransome-Kuti, a civil society activist and founding Executive Director of the Nigeria Network of NGOs (NNNGO).

According to the Executive Director, NNNGO, Oyebisi Babatunde Oluseyi, “the 15th Annual Conference is critical in the history of our work as the National Assembly seeks to regulate how Nigerian NGOs receive and utilize funds including how to coordinate and monitor NGOs. Beyond the bills, there has been an increased call for NGO transparency and accountability by various stakeholders. The conversations and resolutions have been valuable and will certainly be advanced in subsequent editions.”

The 15th Annual NNNGO Conference is organised by the Nigeria Network of Non-Governmental Organisation, NNNGO, and is supported by Development Diaries, LAPO Microfinance, Innercity Mission, Smile, ICNL, CAC and EFCC.

 

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Sustainable Development Goals and the Integration of Anti-Corruption Goal in Nigeria By Abbas Inuwa Jnr

This year world leaders including President Buhari committed to 17 Global Goals at the 70th United Nations General Assembly to be achieved in the year 2030 marking the official end of Millennium Development Goals and the beginning of the Sustainable Development Goals. Generally, the goals are set to end poverty, fight inequality and fix climate change. Of the 17 global goals, goal 16 is meant to achieve “peace, justice and strong institutions” by promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, providing access to justice for all and building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. That is the goal that seeks to address both national and transnational corruption. Nigeria has been consistently rated as one of the most corrupt country in the world; in Transparency International Corruption Perception Index 2014 Nigeria scored 27 on a scale of 100 and ranked 136th highly corrupt country out of the 175 countries surveyed.

The latest global corruption barometer further uncovered the pervasiveness of corruption in the country; the survey reported that 72% of Nigerians believed that corruption has increased in the country a lot, a sobering fact that manifested in the recent trials and arrests of past public officials entangled in abuse of office to enrich themselves. The barograph also revealed that 78% of Nigerians agreed corruption is a serious problem in the public sector affecting service delivery and rule of law. Accordingly, these criminal acts of corruption are to a large extent perpetrated by few individuals in the position of power holding back national growth and development. The most disturbing part of the report is the citizens’ perception towards government in the fight against corruption, it appears that government is not doing enough or is more engaged in rhetoric rather than action. The report further exposed Nigerian political parties, Nigeria Police and the Parliament as the three most corruption institutions in the country, this is evident in the just concluded 2015 general elections. Nigeria is also rated low for transparency and open data in the 2015 Open Budget Survey, scoring 24 for providing ‘insufficient’ budget information to the citizens. There are so many reports and surveys by world reputable organizations like the World Bank, UN, etc on how Nigeria is faring in the areas of rule of law, accountability and press freedom which are a source of concern to the country. Therefore, adopting global goal 16 is integral to achieving other goals in the country; the President has repeatedly affirmed that “if we don’t kill corruption, corruption will kill Nigeria”.

The components of the goal aims to significantly reduce all forms of violence and death rates, promote rule of law, reduce illicit financial and arms flows, strengthen the recovery and return of stolen assets, combat all forms of organised crimes, substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all their forms, develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels, ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms, in accordance with national legislation and international agreements.

Nigeria has implemented different conventional and unconventional anti-corruption wars, but the menace still spread effortlessly to all sectors. The most recent legislations to combat corruption are ‘The Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000’ and ‘The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act 2004’. The two legislations established the agencies that today fight corruption in the country. However, despite these legislations and policies from both national and international conventions Nigeria is still lagging behind in its effort to fight corruption. Therefore, unless strong actions and commitment are balanced with the statements of 16th goal of the Sustainable Development Goals a repeat of the past would not be avoided. Thus, the government must wholly accept its commitment to this goal by developing a roadmap to achieve the goal, a yardstick to measure performance and strong partnership to combat transborder crimes.

Although public officials freely mud stomp in their swamp reigning on public funds unimpeded by ethical concerns and enforcers because the monies can be easily laundered or they can flee arrest, the global goal 17 which seeks to revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development has substantially addressed these challenges; the arrest of a former Nigerian minister in London is a classical example of mutual partnership to combat crimes. Of course, “no country develops in isolation”. Therefore, Nigeria must strengthen its concerted efforts in anti-corruption war by integrating the 16th goal of the global goals with practically achievable actions and coordinated partnerships with international governments and organizations. This will help to strengthen international policing, curb illicit financial flows and money laundering, recovery of stolen funds and significantly reduce spatial dimensions of corruption.

More so, the government should thoroughly review and consolidate legislative frameworks of anti-corruption bodies; provide protection for whistle blowers and witnesses; prohibit corrupt individuals from holding public office; encourage the reduction of rents by means of economic liberalisation, deregulation, tax simplification, de-monopolisation and macroeconomic stability; reduce discretion through administrative and civil service reforms including remuneration, meritocratic recruitment and decentralisation; embark on legal and political reforms like electronic voting to curb political corruption especially election rigging and case management in the judiciary to reduce delay and thwarting of justice; increase transparency and accountability by strengthening  audit institutions and by encouraging public oversight through freedom of information, openness and vibrant civil society.

In addition, the political leadership should urgently and impartially prosecute perpetrators of corruption to gain public confidence and trust, root out corruption in the public service including security agencies – like the police and military, join Open Government Partnership and implement open data system for transparency, audit government agencies to account for missing revenues and build public ownership of the content and process of the anti-corruption war through citizen engagement.

If Nigeria can effectively and meticulously implement these components of goal 16th of the global goals other components of the goal can also be achieved and to a large extent the Sustainable Development Goals because corruption has been the cause for poverty, poor healthcare, unemployment, injustice, inequality, infrastructural decay, insecurity, poor education and lack of potable water.

 

Abbas Inuwa Jnr writes from Kaduna; read more of his write-ups on

www.abinjnr.wordpress.com or follow him on twitter – @abinjnr

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Environmental Protection: Pathway To Sustainable Development By Alabede Surajdeen

No nation will attain the pinnacle of her social, economic and political dream without taking cognisance of the environment her citizens live in. The environment is the habitat that sustains man and other living organisms from time immemorial, but, it’s quite unfortunate that the environment has suffered a great deterioration over the years owing to man’s activities that have led to the depletion of natural resources  such as air, water and soil.

Perhaps, people have failed to realise that we have a right and responsbility to protect the environment because it’s all we’ve got. Our survival on earth is greatly threatened by the increasing global warming which is caused by man’s attitude to his environment.  Indeed, the late Human rights activist and environmentalist, Ken Saro Wiwa once asserted that, “Environment is human’s first right. Without a safe environment, no one can exist to claim other rights be they social, economic or political.”

What prompted my curiosity of putting a pen to pad is the way Nigerian government turned deaf ears and blind eyes to environmental  istration led by President Muhammadu Buhari for his recent intervention on the Ogoni Bill of Rights of 1990. On Wednesday, August 5, 2015, Buhari ordered the fast-tracking of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) recommendations   in Ogoni Land, this progress many have described as one of the most significant decisions taken so far by the president since his inauguration into office on May 29, 2015. The oil-instigated ecological disaster experienced in this region did not only affect the well-being of the people, but also destroy their farmland, drinking water and aquatic animals.

The spirits of the late Saro Wiwa and the other Ogoni activitists who were killed on 10, November 1995 during the military government of Gen. Sani Abacha would be pleased with President Buhari for his directive on the cleaning up of the Ogoni land, which had long been abandoned by past administrations including that of Goodluck Jonathan, who is from the S/south region of the country. Be that as it may, we will not rest, shiver nor quiver in agitating for the right of the environment because there are still one thousand and one environmental challenges that the government is yet to attend to.

It is pertinent to note that for every tree being pulled down or burnt without replacement, man is directly exposed to ultra-violet rays of the sun and add to the green house effect of the atmosphere due to the release of carbon dioxide (Co2) which causes global warming. Little do we know that for every bush burning action, millions and thousands of species of plant and animal go extinct. There is every tendency that generations unborn will not live to see some animals. As if that is not enough, the exhaust gas such as methane (CH4), chlorofluorocarbons (CFCS), carbon dioxide (Co2) from our industries exacerbate humans’ health. No wonder Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU) in its recent research carried out on livelihood ranked Lagos state 4th worst city to live in the world.

More so, for each chemical discharge in water bodies by our industrialists, millions and thousands of aquatic animals are left to face the destiny of an untimely death. But, for how long will this continue? Human beings out of their ignorance have forgotten that the environment is a feedback system, in the sense that every negative interaction with the environment will give birth to negative effect on man’s health and vice versa. For the purpose of education, it is very important to cite that NEMA made it known that the 2012 flooding exercise witnessed in Nigeria cost federal government N2.6trn. Money that supposed to be channelled into other sector if necessary measures and precautions had been put in place  are now used to cater for flood victims in the  affected regions.

We should all know that it is not over until it is over, there is always light at the end of the tunnel. If the Nigeria government can take responsibility of working on environmental legislation, ethics and education as a tool towards achieving maximum environmental protection, then  our environment will be better for it and the coming generations will be pleased with us. As a matter of urgency, we must also take tree planting as important, because it has been identified as one of the easiest and cheapest ways to curb climate change.

The government should revisit all environmental laws as stipulated in the 1999 constitution, the National Environmental Standards and Regulation Enforcement Agency (NESREA) Act (2007), Federal Solid and Hazardous Waste Management Regulations (1991), Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Act. Cap E12, LFN 2004 and many more. Through this laws environmental protection, planning, pollution, prevention and control would be achieved. Also, symposium, seminars and conferences should be organised for community people so as to change their perception, behaviour and attitude towards the environment.

The United Nations (UN) recognised the importance of environment protection when it included “Protecting the Planet” as part of the 17 goals of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It wouldn’t be a bad idea for Nigeria’s policy makers to include environmental courses as part of our curriculum at both secondary and tertiary levels of institutions. I strongly believe if all this can be achieved, we will have a hazard-free environment, well informed citizen that will use available resources in meeting their present needs without jeopardising the future of the unborn and less amount of money will be used to mitigate future environmental challenges.

I will love to end this piece with the words of the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki Moon, who charged Nigerian and Africa youth to always advocate for climate justice by playing their part in preserving the climate. “Youth should say this is our world, this is where we live and we should preserve it.  The sooner we engage in sustainable path, the better for our world.”

ALABEDE Surajdeen is a political commentator, environmentalist and a serving corps member in Delta State.

Twitter handle: @BabsSuraj         Gmail: alabedekayode@gmail.com

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Reshaping Africa’s Economic Destiny In A Sustainable Development Era By Olawale Rotimi

The era of Millennium Development Goals is fast ending and the Sustainable Development Goals have been set, accompanied by strong advocacy and campaigns by the United Nations and its agencies in order to gear the globe towards this emerging directions. Articulately stated on the United Nations Sustainable Development Knowledge platform, “the Rio+20 outcome document, The future we want, inter alia, set out a mandate to establish an Open Working Group to develop a set of sustainable development goals for consideration and appropriate action by the General Assembly at its 68th session. It also provided the basis for their conceptualization. The Rio outcome gave the mandate that the SDGs should be coherent with and integrated into the UN development agenda beyond 2015.” Having been set, these goals mirrors the MDGs in a broader and sustainable manner, showing more commitment to growth through monitoring with data accessibility.

The sustainable development goals as the millennium development goals have more ground in Africa and Asia where poverty, food security, gender equality, education among others remain major challenges. In the case of Africa, despite major challenges faced by various African nations, where governance is characterized by instability, poor leadership and corruption, in a sustaining manner, some institutions have consistently played key roles in resolving problems of unemployment, epidemic, free trade barrier, gender inequality, poverty eradication, access to portable water among others. Africa is not left out global conversations and progression, currently, the Continent may not level up with other continents in the globe, but the motivating fact is that, Africa is making significant progress in development; we are not there yet, but we are not where we used to be.

It is inspiring to know that Africa, formerly regarded as Continent of despair has changed to a Continent of hope; this milestone is not disconnected from the noticeable economic growth and potentials recorded in Africa, particularly in the last decade. The emerging sustainable development goals present thematic issues on broad platform for playmakers in Africa to contribute to development in Africa in the areas of poverty eradication, educational development m, youth empowerment, agricultural development, gender equality, job creation, climate change, quality health to mention a few.

The issue of economic growth is critical to Africa and it inter middles with various sectors in causes and solutions. Eradicating poverty, ensuring food security, job creation among others are impossible in a poor economic atmosphere. Not limited to these, however, four critical sectors must be considered in enabling economic growth towards establishment of the Sustainable Development Goals: Education, Agriculture, Health, and Energy.

First, the level of a nation/continent’s education will determine its level of growth; no nation can grow beyond its level of education because education is the bedrock of progress. Standard of education must be improved through updated curriculum, infrastructures, girl child education, good rewards for teachers and security for students and the learning environment as a whole. Secondly, agriculture has always been with man, it provides the wealth a nation can call its own, agriculture has never failed humanity. It has the capacity to generate more employment. The goal to end poverty and ensure food security will remain impossible without agricultural development. Thirdly, a healthy nation is a wealthy nation. Assessing the resulting effects of an epidemic like Ebola on the economies of affected countries, foreign investors withdrew in droves from worst-hit countries in West Africa, ArcelorMittal, the world’s leading steelmaker, moved its expatriate staff out of Liberia. London Mining, a British company, also removed staff from Sierra Leone. Without iron ore, Sierra Leone’s growth output, which was 20% in 2013, will fall to 5.5%, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), stressing how critical the iron ore sector is to the country’s economy. Fearing for staff safety, a number of international non-governmental organizations in Liberia have also closed their operations according to a United Nations report. Fourthly, energy! It is quite apparent that economic growth is inextricably linked to energy. As energy is tied to our economy, our future is dependent upon equitable access to energy.

That improvement in manufacturing power will create more jobs and boost Africa’s economy has appeared to be a major inference that will boost the continent’s economy towards sustainable development goals. Africa is endowed with fertile soil, mineral resources, passionate and energetic people, and raw materials, yet the continent is unable to solve major challenges, particularly its economy. For example, the total production capacity of Africa is only compared to that of a country in Europe despite human power and resources. Africa has a population of 1 billion, with 40 percent in the city, the main problem remains unemployment, originating from poor economy and leading to other issues such as hunger, lack of portable water among others. Unfortunately, governments of many African nations have been unable to proffer a solution to meet the demand of the growing population. In the area of unemployment, It has been projected that 17 million jobs must be created in the Continent annually to fight unemployment. Apparently, to meet this target in the sustainable development era, Africa’s economy must be boosted through manufacturing to meet SDGs. Economic and social successes of China, Japan among other places is tied to priority placed on manufacturing as means of creating wealth for continental growth. Africa consumes more than it produces, and we need to realize that our dependence on foreign products could cripple our economy because supply constraints or disruption to importation of those products could derail economic activity. It should be an imperative for Africa to intensify manufacturing in order to improve its economy.

With rapid growth in production in different sectors, there will reduced dependence on foreign financial support and more wealth will be created to cater for Africa’s challenges. By 2050, Africa’s population is projected to be at 2billion, this is only less than four decades away. More focus must be channelled towards increasing wealth because none of the SDGs goals can be done without wealth. Increasing the manufacturing power of Africa isn’t something that will be delivered to Africans; Africans have to work tenaciously to intensify processing of its raw materials into finished products for export. Some of the key areas of focus include agriculture, information technology, engineering, media and entertainment. The fascinating development is that, many young Africans are responding to this challenge. More young entrepreneurs and manufacturers are emerging in Africa; this explains why government and financial institutions should work together in infrastructural development and financial packages for young manufacturers in across Africa.

Following this frame work, not to miss out in the SDGs emerging trends and cater for the growing African population, there is a need for a continental initiative that will motivate, inspire, project and create wealth for Africa through manufacturing in various sectors across the Continent. By fetching manufacturers in institutions and local communities and promoting their products, Africa’s manufacturing strength will be driven. We cannot remain a continent depends on foreign grants to and expect the continent to develop.

Olawale Rotimi
T: @RotimiLawale

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Drug Abuse And Half-baked Graduates Syndromes: Some Hot Tips For Sustainable Learning By Mubarak ibrahim

It is indeed a gripping story of a tragic valour and desperation. It all happened, like a nightmare, in our neighbourhood when a sudden blood-curdling scream jolted me out of my morning doze. Trembling with fear, I darted out to satisfy my curiosity. The biting cold in the piercing wind buffeted me as I crossed a smelly ditch, with dozens of flies ushering me into the entrance of a neighbouring house. When I espied a figure in death throes, my pulse rate told my instincts to shout for help in the first place, but I delayed the action irresistibly when I saw a man coming out from the inner doorway who, like me, dashed out to see what was going on. There before us, lied Nagodi unconscious talking gibberish, foaming at the mouth and looking at the heaven above. A certain alarmed boy standing behind him, who almost cried his heart out to announce this tragedy, suddenly broke the silence with another yell. “Yaya! What happened? Goggo! Yaya is dead!” The man, who happened to be Nagodi’s father, silenced the boy with a manly commanding voice and then helped me carry Nagodi into the house. I haven’t said a word yet when, in a total frustration and confusion, Nagodi’s mother, a stout woman, strangled me from behind wailing: “shege you are the culprit! You infected him with this evil! Curse you! I will kill you today!” There, when I got smothered, feeling stuffy, I struggled inadvertently and violently to free my self from her firm grip. I tried my hardest but to no avail. Realising that she might suffocate me to death, Nagodi’s father came to my rescue. We had to fight her a little before she let go off my neck. She was punching and scratching and cursing when the rescuer dragged her into her room and asked me to go out.

 

Nagodi was a stubbornly adamant friend of mine who had been a drop-out for almost a decade. Being neighbours and within the same age bracket, he and I went the same primary school, secondary school and thereafter, went our separate ways. I finished my Degree last year when he just awakened to the importance of learning and regretted the years he spent doing inanities. It was indeed tragic to know that he became a changed person and took after his study seriously only to have got into the habit of taking herbally concocted tea (Gadagi) like “hadin Kyankyaso brand”, “ba zama brand”, “aji garau brand” and, sometimes, drugs to burn the midnight oil. Consequently, he became insomniac, grew thin, pale and worried that he could hardly read. This worried his conservative mother more and, in utter dejection, came to hate boko and all Nagodi’s friends that spurred and encouraged him. That windy and freezing morning, when his ailment reached a climactic point, his mental wiring got a certain natural disconnection that rendered him unconscious. The boy let out a piercing shriek when he saw Nagodi, before going into the deep coma, shaking violently in a supra-epileptic seizure outside his room in the corridor to the inner house. It was indisputably a horrific sight! Although all the neighbours within earshot were alarmed by the scream, I was quick to respond because of the intimacy between us.

 

Now, looking at Nagodi’s condition, one can bring to mind some nights and days when or before examination commences in colleges and universities. We fill all libraries, occupy shades and silent zones, gather around certain bright colleagues, parasitically sponging off their brain, taking coffee and kola nut to stay awake, and sometimes, pestering some teachers for “area of concentration”. Why do we do so? Why can’t we be serious and committed in our studies from the beginning? Are we at school just for certain worldly and capitalistic gains after, or for the purpose of learning about acceptable ways of life, and to get rid of our illiteracy, our uncivilised attitude, our barbaric nature and hostility towards ‘modern’ or new ideas? Arguably, this kind of brief learning doesn’t amass real, dependable and extensive knowledge. We rather end up with “a little or no learning” at all. And, in the words of Alexandre Pope, ” a little learning is a dangerous thing” which is, probably, the reason why we are “half-baked” graduates, only bragging to friends. Pope explains further that such a thing (little learning) intoxicates learners, sounding like empty barrels, but drinking enough from the fountain of knowledge, “sobers us again”. “So by false learning is good sense defaced”, added Pope.

 

Like Nagodi, Yautai and Jalo get hospitalised at the end of every semester. They always spend sleepless nights, under the influence of “Kyankyaso” herbal tea, cramming hard for the exam. But, the learning forced into brain in the closing days of semester is not always registered by long-term memory as it is only examination-oriented. It is quickly forgotten and therefore becomes a failure. In other words, a last-ditch attempt to prevent “failure”, is already a failure. A failure indeed that translatably pre-exists the attempt. Although very ironical, the claim, if carefully examined, shows the futility and absurdity of such a pointless scholarship. Learning should not be temporary, fake and forced as such, rather it should be an interesting, intended and purposeful endeavour. Unless learning is viewed this way, we can not obtain pragmatic, workable and “real knowledge”, which is the best mechanism for social transformation.

 

For Socrates, knowledge is virtue and therefore, all men by nature desire knowledge. He also broadly distinguishes between two sorts of knowledge. One is moral knowledge which comprises of knowing what is good and bad or knowing about virtues and vices. The other is what could be called expert knowledge or knowing about specialised skills, craftsmanship. He categorically emphasizes the former showing that, people having the knowledge of what is good and bad would inevitably be doing the right thing. Similarly, I want to give prominence to this moral knowledge. If we learn to gain this kind of knowledge, we can be mentally free and intellectually ready to reform our sorry situation.

 

Nowadays, elders and teachers have started giving up on students or youths as the leaders for tomorrow because, we (the students) myopically seem to be busy building castles in the air or, busy with utopian visions of our future after school. In other words, we think, detrimentally, of our individual not communal betterment only and, ironically, this worsens our situation. Were we to keep up learning and become morally knowledgeable, we would bring a change or reformation to our country. This is because, knowledge is a powerful factor which helps man to attain success, enables him to find the difference between right and wrong, good and bad. It helps him overcome his weakness and faults and face dangers and difficulties with courage and confidence. It gives him mental, moral and spiritual advancement. Besides this, it is through knowledge that man has gained mastery over nature. Advancement of civilization and culture would be impossible without knowledge. Knowledge plays an important role in the progress of art, literature, science, philosophy and religion. It extends the frontiers of human consciousness. So knowledge is power. Mighty minds with power of knowledge rule millions.

 

My dear friend, why then do you regard studying as a tough, frustrating chore? Why do you prefer watching movies or football matches, gossiping, facebooking, whatsapping and twittering to reading your books? I would like to remind you that constant studying or learning is wonderful and rewarding. It gives more confidence, broader interests, greater knowledge and understanding, and more purpose in life. It also strengthens our capabilities all round. We automatically pick up practical know-how from day-to-day study experience. Therefore, if we persistently study, we become true humans with purpose and vision.

 

Furthermore, some handy tips can be supportive. Hence, I recommend that you, my dear colleague, use your intelligence strategically and systematically to understand how you learn. You need to get yourself organised so that you manage your time effectively. Understanding the nature of learning at University level is also important. Comparatively, what we learn and how we learn in secondary schools are already planned, strategised and decided for us. But, at higher levels or universities, we decide our own priorities, set our own targets and work our own strategies for achieving them. So, you can start here by asking; what do I want to achieve from my studies? This way, you can understand what it is you are trying to achieve. You also need to know how to keep your spirits up. There’s nothing more damaging to your studies than low morale. You start with an enthusiastic spirit but insidiously, a pervasive apathy seizes you. So, learn to manage your morale.

 

Finally, I urge you my friend to gather your wits and be shrewd in your academic endeavour. I also implore you to develop a scholarship mind so that you secure “sweetness and light”.

 

MUBARAK IBRAHIM

abusfyy@gmail.com

KANO STATE COLLEGE OF ARTS, SCIENCE AND REMEDIAL STUDIES (CAS)  

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