My dear friend, it may not go down well with you, but sometimes, I need to tell you the truth, no matter how unpleasant it may seem. I know this is something nobody likes to hear; I do not like to discuss it either. When I’m done with what I have to explain, you may see me tomorrow and choose not to greet me, or you may see me tomorrow and sincerely thank me for disclosing to you what others hate to admit. Whatever your decision is, I would have played my part. Because of how critical this matter is, I will make this piece of writing very simple. I want to carry everyone along. And to make it somewhat enjoyable, I plead to sound a bit colloquial.
Look, you may end up as a servant. Hian! Yes, I said so. Honestly, I am almost as sure as death about this, but because I want to give room for some uncertainties, I have opted to use the word “may”, which is milder. Otherwise, I would have written: “You will end up as a servant”. Now, you may wonder what has come over me all of a sudden. Before it crosses your mind, let me quickly inform you that I haven’t taken palm wine today. So, it is not what you are thinking. Lol.
I am willing to bet my left arm on the fact that a good percentage of people reading this are Nigerians under the age of 35. That makes my work easier. The Yorubas wisely maintain that when someone tells you fire is burning on top of water, you should simply ask them to go and bring the ashes as a proof. Therefore, I would like to state clearly that my standpoint in this article is not spurious or speculative, as I have my facts to back up whatever assertions I make.
In recent years, Nigerians seem to be embracing education more excitedly than ever. Majority of Nigerian youths might be presently studying in tertiary institutions, or might have even graduated, or might still be seeking admissions, or might still be in secondary school. As at 2013, Nigeria had 430 tertiary institutions, of which 128 were universities. For a couple of years now, over 1.5 million youths keep applying for UTME annually, even though barely 30% of them get admitted. According to a research made by National Bureau of Statistics recently, it was reported that about 1.8 million people in the country enter the job market yearly. I would like to also inform you that on April 1, 2014, during a meeting with delegates of the Arewa Youth Forum, the Minister for Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, admitted that a pool of 5.3 million unemployed graduates have accumulated over the years in Nigeria.
I have taken pains to highlight the above statistics in order to make you realise that Nigerians are seriously going for education. All over the world, education is placed in high esteem. It is a major tool of civilisation and transformation, as well as an effective weapon against ignorance. My dear, education is a thing to be desired, a thing every man must get. Matter-of-factly, education is still one of the most valuable assets of mankind, even though along the line, something went wrong. Man began to choose subjects to educate himself on and subjects he would rather neglect. Subsequently, in all institutions of learning, certain subjects began to get emphasized and dwelt upon, while others were ignored. This became the undoing of man.
However, some men were quick enough to pinpoint these loopholes in the system. They figured out that if they wanted to enjoy an optimum life, they needed to explore these aspects. So they did, and that has made all the difference between them and every other man. Now, most of them keep these secrets to their hearts and would not divulge them to anybody else. Whenever they are asked what has made them so distinct from the others, they simply beat around the bush and evade the question. But the truth is education is never enough! As a youth in Nigeria (or any country in the world), if you think all you need is education, then you will end up as a servant, even if you are more intelligent than Albert Einstein.
Okay, let me give you a true life illustration. A very intelligent student in Nigeria, “all things being equal”, is likely to graduate from university with a first class honours. If he does, he may be retained as a lecturer in the university, while he pursues his master’s degree. At that tempo, he may finally become a professor after many years of study and teaching, whose salary may be running into million(s) of naira. However, if the intelligent student does not have interest in teaching, he may seek and gain employment to an oil and gas or telecommunication company, where he would earn a 6-digit salary for a start and maybe millions when he later gets to the peak of that career. Now, let me shock you. Of the two stated above, whichever way the intelligent student chooses to go, he is a servant. It doesn’t matter whether he earns millions or not. A servant is a servant, whether millionaire or not. And that’s not good enough, especially when there is something better.
Perhaps you are also examining yourself presently, frank enough to admit that you are not so intelligent to graduate with a first class. Your own concern is just to get an average result and get employed by the Federal Government. Well, there is no much debate about that. You have a post already: “civil servant”! Lol. It is so straightforward. A servant is still a servant, whether “civil” or not. In fact, let’s get this thing right. Whoever is employed by another and receives “regular” income from them is a servant (to them). Take it or leave it.
So do you see why I maintain you may end up as a servant? Most people end up being servants because that’s what the society thinks to be ideal, and because it’s what the universities train them to be. Like I said, that’s not good enough, especially when there is something better. Why can’t you be in a position to employ others too? The very moment you determine you do not want to be a servant, you must understand education will never be enough to achieve that feat. For a start, you may be riding on the horseback of your certificate(s) to gain your foot and save some money. As soon as you’ve saved enough, you should resign and invest your money. Become your own master; cease being a servant. This is one of the secrets those successes of life would never disclose to you, lest you should become like them.
Now when I say invest, don’t be narrow-minded. One can invest in a lot of things, including oneself. If you’ve got talent, great! Invest in your talent. If you love business, go for it! There are awful lots of lucrative businesses. Find whichever suits you and become the best in it. If you studied/are studying a professional course in school, begin to think and work towards setting up your private establishment soon. Develop your crafts and improve your skills. In the long run, with diligence, discipline, passion and perseverance, you may end up even employing first class graduates. This is one of the loopholes in education. Will you explore it? Or are you willing to become/continue as a servant?
Happy new month!
~~~Omoya Yinka Simult
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