BusinessDay

Nigeria, We Have A Problem

A Nigerian child that thinks the favourite sport of Nigerians is karate. And one that doesn’t know the current president of Nigeria, not to talk of the governor of Lagos State.

Watching children of middle-class parents play 9ijakids Nigerian Citizenship Game made it glaring that there is a major gap in some of our children’s education.

The same game played by children from less privileged backgrounds revealed a different result. For those that could read, they fared significantly better in the game. They knew how many states there are in Nigeria and the capital of Nigeria. Also, these kids displayed a strong level of resilience. They did not give up easily when they encountered difficult questions and were eager to keep trying the game till they got it right and high scores. Thomas Edison who invented the light bulb said “the most certain way to succeed is to just try one more time.”

Change in history, always depends on the Youth
– Sheikh Anwar Al Awlaki

As parents, we need to ask ourselves some difficult questions. Are we providing the right foundation for our children to be leaders of Nigeria of the future? Are we doing a bit too much for them thereby crippling important character traits such as drive, determination, perseverance and can-do attitude? Are we imbibing the notion that anything Nigeria is not worth learning about or bothering about?

Read also: Nigerian hospitality still gasps for breath at 60

Today, my kids go to a school with a mix of British and Nigerian curriculum. Sometimes, I question the Nigerian part though, because they are barely touching the surface of creating a deep wealth of knowledge and pride in being Nigerian. Despite living in Nigeria, our kids are becoming coconuts – black on the outside but completely white on the inside.
Our kids would most likely name more states in America than they can in Nigeria. They know all major landmarks in London, America, Paris and South Africa but have never been to Olumo Rock or heard of Yankari Games Reserve. They know all the Presidents of America but maybe only 1 or 2 past Nigerian Presidents. They learn about King Henry VIII but never heard of Queen Amina of Zaria or King Jaja of Opobo.

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world
– Nelson Mandela

We cannot undo the mistakes of the past but we should start now to entrench our children in our culture and a sense of pride in being Nigerian. Our children are the future leaders of tomorrow. How can they lead a country they are ashamed of or have been taught to despise or taught little or nothing of? As a parent, what do you say and do to make your children proud to be Nigerians? Do you tell only the bad narrative about our great country? Do you make it seem like nothing good can come out of Nigeria? Do you throw away the baby with the bath water?

“Your pride for your country should not come after your country becomes great. Your country becomes great because of your pride in it.” – Idowu Koyenikan
Let’s change our narrative with the future generation. Let’s start to imbibe the knowledge and values that would promote good citizenship.

“Patriotism means more than holding your hand over your heart during the national anthem. It means more than walking into a voting booth every four years and pulling a lever. Patriotism is a love and a duty, a love of country expressed in good citizenship” – John McCain.

Let start to build love of country in the next generation that they in turn may build a great nation.

Happy Independence Day Nigeria

Titi Adewusi is Co-Founder, 9ijakidsS; an EdTech company – a fun learning company. that has developed over 250 educational fun interactive games to help children ages 3-13 years understand and retain knowledge as well as excel in school. She is mother to two boys 9 and 12 years and is always looking for fun places to take her children. She believes children learn best through play.
Email: titi@9ijakids.com Instagram: @titilopeadewusi LinkedIn: titilopeadewusi

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