The inability of governors in the northern part of the country to pay enough premium to education and the resulting illiteracy of the region’s youths has been blamed for the prevailing insecurity in the country.
The chairman/editor-in-chief of LEADERSHIP Newspapers Group, Mr Sam Nda- Isaiah, made this assertion in a lecture he delivered in Minna yesterday.
The lecture organised by the Bida Research Group set the floor open for various discussants who posited that the nation has suffered some character and systemic failures which has affected educational in the country adversely.
Mr Nda-Isaiah stated that educated youths would not be easy recruits for thuggery for criminally-minded politicians and for the breach of security as being witnessed in the country today.
He said: “Even the modest progress made in the North today is attributed to the value Sir Ahmadu Bello, the premier of the Northern Region, placed on education. When people are educated, they are enlightened: And it is easier for educated people to be gainfully employed.
Unless they are criminally minded, educated youths would not be easy recruits for thuggery for criminally-minded politicians. And when people are gainfully engaged, they would not be easy recruits for such groups as Boko Haram. When people are educated, they also interrogate the governing process they are subjected to by their elected leaders.
“It is not illiterates that stopped Obasanjo from transmuting himself into a life president and it is not illiterates that exposed the theft of a whopping N2.6 trillion in the name of fuel subsidy payments. And it is the educated elite of this country that will ultimately insist that only free and fair elections would be acceptable.
“Security and even democracy are at their lowest ebb, especially in northern Nigeria, because enough premium has not been placed on education by the successive governors of the North. Most members of my generation and those before us enjoyed some free education, including generous scholarships to universities and polytechnics.
“But, today, the scholarships from the northern states cannot seriously take anyone through the year. The result is that many of our youths are not in universities today because they cannot afford the expenses associated with university education.
“And, that’s not all; most of the public schools have been neglected by government at all levels. That must be the reason why government officials do not send their wards to public schools.
“Nigeria cannot be secured if those who govern it do not change their mind set towards the education of its youths. I have always said that Boko Haram is the result of years of neglect of the youths and that, even if Boko Haram had not happened, something probably more virulent than Boko Haram would have emerged.
“But things are actually going to get worse if Nigeria doesn’t change direction now. If you looked at the GCE results of the past 10 years, then, you would know that we are actually sitting on a time-bomb.”
Dr Mustapha Lemu, Niger State commissioner of tertiary education, toed the same line. He attributed the security challenges facing the country to character failure and the inability of products of schools to imbibe the right attitude.
He said that because of the unregulated nature of some of the Islamic schools and lack of definite curriculum, the Islamic teachers could as well impact the knowledge that could make western education an aberration to their pupils, and the pupil who may not have early access to formal education could grow up with the idea and use it as a smokescreen to breach security.
Also, a member representing Bida I in the Niger State House of Assembly, Hon. Isah Kawu, attributed the failures to systemic failure where public funds were spent on security and the main cause of insecurity were left unattended to.
He said the security situation could not be checked by security men waving guns at innocent citizens but by addressing the fundamental problems. He said that followers should respect their leaders but ask them questions whenever the need arises.