Learning to survive against learning to transform: restriction of career-fulfilment in Nigeria

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learning to transform

Humans are always learning. You are either learning to survive in hell, or you are learning to transform the hell to a paradise.


About one million Nigerians graduate from university every year, both from science and arts.[1] Yet, we do not have sufficient productive evidence for the struggle to gain admission and study in Nigeria.[2] The campaign lyrics of every regime emphasize the need to reduce the dependence on importation. They criticize the situation of national dependence on the West and East for food, machinery, luxury, and even toothpick.[3] This demands an evaluation of education in Nigeria, which seemingly emphasizes learning to survive over learning to transform the environment.


Humans are unique and creative beings, who begin early to manifest signs of genius in them. Each person has peculiar qualities that dispose him for outstanding roles in specific areas of life. Advanced societies expose their children to various fields of social contribution and transformation to discover where the children’s genius lie. The exposure in learning to transform include excursions, sports, craftworks, group tasks, dramas and exhibitions.


Educators direct students, according to their qualities, to various areas of contribution or challenge in the society. These areas of contribution and challenge include housing, health, agriculture, education, communication, transportation, human relationship, etcetera. When exposed to the challenges in these areas, citizens work to transform those situations for the society’s advantage. From the moment of choosing, students begin learning to transform their environment as apprentices in workshops, laboratories and training grounds.


There are numerous areas for Nigerians to begin learning to transform their environment. There are several mineral resource deposits around Nigeria requiring transformation for production of items in the society. There are numerous talented human resources in Nigeria that require transformation for utility in the society. There are many fertile lands that require proper management for advanced and profitable agricultural productivity. All these areas require efficient and AFFORDABLE TOOLS, possibly LOCALLY-MADE TOOLS, for their transformation and utility in the human society.


Unfortunately, the government-military restriction of access to the mineral resources frustrates any hope of tool-production in Nigeria. The Nigerian Mineral and Mining Act restricts citizens’ access to mineral resources in Nigeria in favour of foreign companies.


“… all lands in which minerals have been found in Nigeria and any area covered by its territorial waters or constituency and the Exclusive Economic Zone shall, from the commencement of this Act be acquired by the Government of the Federation…”[4]No person shall search for or exploit mineral resources in Nigeria or divert or impound any water for the purpose of mining except as provided in this Act.[5]The property in mineral resources shall pass from the Government to the person by whom the mineral resources are lawfully won, upon their recovery in accordance with this Act.”[6]


Without access to mineral resources, local researchers in manufacturing sectors cannot conduct true researches nor verify the applicability of their adopted theories. Hence, the tool-cum-machinery-manufacturing sectors are almost irrelevant, due to starvation of research funds and access to resources. While Nigerians import all virtual and material items to be used in Nigeria.


Today, Nigerian parents and career counsellors no longer consider children’s peculiar qualities for special roles in social transformation. Excusably, they now consider available jobs for any career to be chosen by their children. Now, students do not consider education as a process of learning to transform some part of the society. They are forced by political circumstances to only consider education as a meal ticket for survival. It is not what can I do with this knowledge, it is now what job can I get with this certificate. Education in Nigeria has turned from learning to transform ones’ environment to learning to survive in the society.


Without access to adequate research funds and mineral resources, Nigerians will continue to depend on importation for survival. They will continue learning to survive, instead of learning to transform their societies for progress. Nigerians deserve access to study from working according to their passions, instead of waiting to work from their certificates.


[1] Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, 1.8 million Nigerians enter job market yearly, published in Premium times on April 1, 2014. http://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/157886-1-8-million-nigerians-enter-job-market-yearly-says-okonjo-iweala.html

[2] Cf. Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) reports, 70% of Nigeria’s mining firms dead – published one 27-2-2012. http://sweetcrudereports.com/2012/12/27/70-of-nigerias-mining-firms-dead-neiti/

[3] Alan Cowell, NIGERIA, RICH WITH OIL, IS DEPENDENT ON U.S. AND OTHER NATIONS FOR FOOD, published in New York Times, 15th August, 1981. http://www.nytimes.com/1981/08/15/world/nigeria-rich-with-oil-is-dependent-on-us-and-other-nations-for-food.html

[4] Nigerian minerals and mining act 2007 act no. 20, chapter 1, Part 1, Section 1, paragraph 2

[5] Nigerian minerals and mining act 2007 act no. 20, chapter 1, Part 1, Section 2, paragraph 1

[6] Nigerian minerals and mining act 2007 act no. 20, chapter 1, Part 1, Section 1, paragraph 3