From all that has been said, Nigeria on the contrary will never do well unless we restructure.
We pretend to have a Federal system but we are actually operating a unique form of unitary government, and it is weighing the polity down. Can you imagine a country where the school curriculum is regulated by a national central body and states have no powers to vary or amend their curriculum? So, if the rest of the developed world is light years ahead in what they teach their children from primary schools, and our Minister of Education has absolutely no clue, the States must be burdened with antiquated school curriculum until such a time (if we are lucky, before rapture perhaps!!) that we have an Education Minister who would realise how far behind we are and bring the curriculum up to date. Just take a look at the science curriculum for grade students in advanced countries and you would cry for Nigeria.
I recently read of a high school in Japan which has amended its curriculum to include robotics and drones technology. IN HIGH SCHOOL!! But our Professors here don’t have a hang on Robotics even! Students are still taught the very prehistoric rudiments of Physics and Chemistry in our schools. And this is even in the few schools that teachers and students still meet in the classrooms! For the few public schools that are lucky to have labs, all you see are miserable nameless creatures trapped in formalin, to which nobody ever pays attention.
These creatures suffer a double jeopardy having suffered the first misfortune of being caught and preserved in formalin in Nigeria, and then thereafter completely ignored, even in death! And because the control of our curriculum is central there is nothing States can do about this.
You would think this is not a problem until you understand that Nigerians spend over ONE TRILLION NAIRA every year to study abroad. You see, the reason why you have Cambridge, Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Oxford, etc is not only for academic excellence of the citizens of the countries which have these schools. No. They invest in their institutions so that they can earn revenue from foreign students from countries like Nigeria which has destroyed its educational system.
Abroad, schools are so important to society that the economy, business and lifestyle of whole cities and even States completely depend on or revolve around schools. What would the city of Cambridge be without Cambridge University. Or Cambridge, Massachusetts without Harvard University. These cities depend on these universities to survive. And imagine that Nigeria had invested in its universities and was earning $1billion dollars a year from foreign students seeking to study here, who would be fighting over oil in the Niger Delta? How many car manufacturing companies would we have in Owerri near FUTO where students are constantly doing and selling their research products to burgeoning engineering and manufacturing companies?
Recently, three students in Sweden conducted research and came up with a product that could improve wear and tear on tyres. The product became so successful that Volvo had to partner with these students to patent the product. Now when this product hit world stage, can you imagine how much revenue Sweden would earn from these product? Do your research, most of the world-class products we buy today off the shelf, at great cost, were invented by university students. As you are reading this, do not forget that without Harvard University, there would not have been facebook, and this our interface would have been impossible.
But our students In Nigeria are not entirely without inventions. We invented the Pyrates Confraternity, the Black Axe, the Eiye, the Vikings and what not!! Students resume school with guns and bullets, rather than books and scholastic ideas, as though academic institutions were a war college.
Lecturers fly colors as do students. And when the turf war begins, people die in droves. But States can do nothing about this because some of these institutions are controlled by the Federal Government. Even for the ones controlled by States, you still can’t do much because the security apparatus is controlled by the Federal Government. The Federal Government will provide or withdraw security from the State depending on whether it is happy with the sitting Governor. So every year, all sorts of characters are vomited from Nigerian Universities to take their place in Nigerian society.
So you have Judges, Lawyers, Engineers, Doctors and so forth whose first and primary allegiance is to their cult group, before the Country. The multiplier effect of this, is a treatise for another day. But suffice to say that as long as this problem persist, let’s forget about Silicon Valley in Nigeria, because there will never be a Stanford University here to provide an infinite supply of ideas and prodigies to feed the invention value-chain!
Nigeria cannot wake up from its slumber today because it cannot lift its head. The entire weight of its existence is concentrated in its head. From the viewpoint of government, the weight is In Abuja. From the viewpoint of revenue source, the weight is in the Niger-Delta. We need to urgently restructure and evenly distribute this pressure points and weights to diffuse tension in Nigeria.
We need to revisit the exclusive legislative list in the constitution and systematically reduce the responsibilities of the Federal Government vis-a-vis the States. Resources have to be handed back to the States that generated them but place an obligation on each States to contribute an agreed percentage to the common federal purse to service obligations of the Federal Government.
There is no reason Education, Policing, Prisons (only people convicted of federal offenses should go to federal prisons!!), Ports, Inland waterways, natural minerals, even marriage (yes, english form of marriage!!) and so many other items should be the concern of the Federal Government. We will never develop with such weight that weigh us down at the center. Nigeria can never raise its head in the comity of nations because of the sheer weight of the head.
There is more to say, but scarcely any time. But to emphasis the point i’ve been laboring to make, shall i say again that there is absolutely no reason or need to fight for oil in the Niger-Delta. There are so many things that can bring more revenue to States in Nigeria than oil. South Africa has no oil, but it has Gold, and is richer than Nigeria. Singapore and Japan has no oil, gold, etc, but their economic success are driven by their Human Resources.
Let us fight for a system that will promote both equality and equity. Let us restructure Nigeria. Let each federating Unit be free to chart their developmental course and not weighed down…. Let there be healthy competition amongst federating units.
*Professor Sir Kolapo IGE is the Provost West Coast University International California and the President Kolagafrimerican Institute of Scientific Research Education…California, USA.*

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