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Saturday, 08 December 2012 00:00
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Dancing away the future

There is no short cut to real success' is a popular saying among serious minded people.
Those who say education is light and power are not fools because nobody can successfully walk in the dark unless there is light.

Even the Holy Bible states so in Genesis 1 that it was only the spirit of God that could walk in the darkness on the surface of the earth.

God knew, and still knows the importance of light. That was why He said 'Let there be light...'

It is only when you are in light, as an individual, group, society or a country, that there can be development.

You can never achieve anything in darkness.
It is an understatement to say that a nation needs education, research, creativity and invention to grow and develop.

In the 21st Century, serious-minded countries are doing everything possible to ensure the development of their young talents – youths – because the future belongs to them.
Investment in the education of youths can never be a waste because once you have it, it can never be thrown away.

It is as crucial as an experience. My father, Archbishop I.M. Akinadewo, will always tell me that you can never buy experience in, say, Tejuosho Market. You must pass through it.
The coming of the private sector into national prominence and development in this Republic has brought with it the good, the bad and the ugly.

I remember in the 1980s when the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and a few state government-owned broadcast stations ruled the air waves, there were educative programmes almost every evening to be enjoyed by students.

I also remember that when I was in St. Ambrose's Grammar School, Ondo in the 1970s, I used to have a notebook in which I wrote the names of all African and world Presidents, Premiers, Prime Ministers, Monarchs etc.

I was not that good in Science subjects and a little bit fair in Commercial subjects but the Arts was my territory.

It was a tug of war then among a few of us in my school noted for coming first, second, third in quiz competitions.

I still remember Aderemi Akande, John Obalola, Tunji Akinrinlola, Femi Agbebaku and others.

We were not thinking of anything aside reading textbooks in Arts, Commercial and Science subjects.

I would bring some of my father's newspapers to school and we would 'devour' them.
Just like everything has changed in governance, today, everything has changed among our youths.

Nobody wants to read again. Secondary school pupils are only interested in how to ride the latest automobile or how to spend millions of naira. Nobody talks of hardwork anymore.

And that is where the private sector comes in. Of course, this sector has the right to spend its money the way it deems fit.

As an editor, I see a lot of materials sent by reporters and I know that majority of them, coming from the private sector - all in the name of entertainment - cannot take Nigeria anywhere.

Today, I don't see any television show that is educative.

May be 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire' is an exception. But others, given what they do now, I am sorry, cannot lead to the development of any nation.

In summary, the mind of the youth is being taken off academics. Mundane things have taken over our airwaves. Father, mother and children dancing, that is all we watch.

You will see many of them, who have resolved not to have anything to do with academics, singing in a reality show as if their lives depended on it. Nobody wants to pay his or her due anymore in hardwork or even learning the ropes on the chosen field. It is free money galore.

There is no television programme in which viewers will watch the teaching of Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Government, History, Christian Religious Knowledge, etc.
It is all dance, dance, dance, sing, sing, sing.

Youths are being forced to dance away their future all in the name of sponsorship and entertainment.

The malady in government has caught up with the social side of Nigerians because the only role the society has for the youth is in the area of entertainment.

Entertainment is given all the serious attention while sponsorship of educative programmes has been relegated to the background.

Majority of the shows on television have nothing to do with serious subjects or how to ensure that our youths become leaders of tomorrow. Nigerian youths have now been turned into mere entertainers and the bug has caught up with parents.

Of course, I have nothing against dancing.

I am proud to say that as a member of Cherubim and Seraphim, there are millions of members of our fold who can dance very well. In fact, the C&S has better dancers than all the other denominations.

My father is a dancer and I have siblings who can dance.
The Biblical King David used songs and dance as effective weapons to always make God happy.

But this kind of dancing I see on television, I don't know how we can beat Americans who are masters of the game. How many dancers can we export? The tragedy today in our polity is that dancing is being elevated to a nation-building endeavour, relegating education, research and invention to the background.

I have a strong feeling that there are more our youths can contribute to this nation than singing, dancing and entertaining.

Hence, I worry why we are wasting millions of naira in the process.

I have no problem with all the reality shows in the country but debasing our youths has misplaced the essence of the contribution of youths to national development.

A friend in the academic world recently told me that it is difficult to get sponsorship for any academic programme, seminar, workshop, quiz and debate from the government and corporate organisations.

He told me about the invention of a new mathematical calculation that will make youths learn Arithmetic and Mathematics fast on television.

He went, with his team, to almost all the private companies in Lagos but their doors were always shut against his proposal.

In frustration, he said: “The only thing they are interested in is the sponsorship of dancing, singing, disco, staying in one house for three months to be talking and sleeping.

Our youths are becoming docile and entertainment freaks and this cannot help this generation of Nigerians. They are only engaged in what I will refer to as intellectual laziness”.

Why can't the Ministry of Youths ensure that the private sector and some government agencies encourage and motivate youths to pursue their vocational and academic interests through the sponsorship of academic programmes on television?

Good and quality education is the foundation for growth and prosperity in any society. There is no way the society, directly or indirectly, will plant idleness in the minds of youths and expect them to be productive.

That is why the current poor quality of graduates from our universities is preventing Nigeria from becoming a greater society.

A major problem affecting Nigeria is lack of proper regulation and supervision in almost every facet of our national development.

This malady is fast creeping into education and affecting the future of our youths and national development.

Obviously, Nigeria seems out of touch with the reality of modern world.
If we allow this to stick, Nigeria is toast.

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