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Archive for January 11th, 2010

We’ve all –the Government and people alike- cried foul aloud about the designation of Nigeria by the US as a terrorist breeding ground. Our Senate has threatened a diplomatic imbroglio. We’ve marshaled our arguments which sound quite logical and fair enough. We have shouted our throat sore with the same logic; Faruk Abdul- Mutallab did not live most of his life in the country and that he had received most of his education outside the shores of the country, so we can’t be held responsible for his actions.

We wail for the extra trouble we would face to secure US Visa’s as if it was not difficult enough already. We wail for the embarrassment that is sure to triple at the sight of our green passport in foreign airports. We are piqued that some oyibo kid in front of a computer screen would have the pleasure of viewing our complete anatomy the next time we wish to take that holiday trip. We wail for the things that matter least, for our selfish interests.

In reality who does this new situation affect? Is it the little girl hawking pure water under the heat of the scorching sun, who sees an airplane only when one glides across the sky periodically? Is it the teenager who has dropped out of school and now earns a living as a d bus conductor? Does he even know the road to the US embassy? Or is it the woman whose only ambition as she toils the whole day is to be able to place something that could pass as food before her children at dinner?

None of us, not in the least our leaders has taken time to wail for the real reason why we are where we are. The real reason why Faruk Abdul-Mutallab got a chance to do what he did in the first place. The real reason why they send their spoilt kids abroad at ages they can hardly tell their right from left. The real reason behind their crocodile tears and empty threats.

This real reason, the real culprit of our current woe is the fact that Education is in shambles in this country and for that we should wail. It is in the search of superior education, one which they have denied the rest of the citizens by their abominable leadership and neglect that they, our leaders and their rich cronies, send their children abroad.

In the case of Abdul-Mutallab, there wasn’t any college within Nigeria that was worthy to have him learn within their walls. He was parceled off to Benin and then to the UK. Somewhere along the line, he began to get more than just a superior education. With no parent watching. With money available at the snap of his finger, a favourable ground for growing a future terrorist was established.

Make no mistakes about it, there are many other Faruk Abdul-Mutallabs. NO, I point not at their many children and secret love children hidden safely outside the country, away from our bad roads, laughable schools and our long fuel queues. Let them carry their full body scan cross and belly the embarrassments the collective failure of their fathers has earned them. I point instead to all the other kids back home here who we deny a good education today. They are million of bombs waiting to explode and one day they would.

For them instead, we should wail. We should wail for the classrooms without desks. We should wail for the library without books. We should wail for the pauper teachers. We should wail for the endless strikes. We must wail for a government and the criminally rich class that has ensured our schools doesn’t work.

These are the real threats to our country, not the extra rigours less than five percent of the citizenry would have to face when travelling to the US. Since they don’t wail with us when our children stay at home for months, the rest of us shouldn’t bother making their wails louder now that the pleasures of their petty trips abroad is being threatened. It’s high time we stopped rubbing ointment on our sores. The times provide us an opportunity to swallow the pill, no matter how bitter.

Sylva Ifedigbo

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