Perversion of Western education system in Nigeria
Sir: Distortion of Western education system in some places in Nigeria includes a situation in which teachers are recruited based on nepotism, favoritism, bribery and corruption, rather than competence. There exists also in some places absolute lack of knowledge of what Western education system is all about, concerning objectivity.
In some instances, there are deliberate attempts to uphold dogmatic teachings or scriptural positions that contradict natural/scientific realities, usually enforced by some Christian and Islamic institutions, devotees and zealots alike. A typical example is the claim that homosexual orientation is not a natural phenomenon, leading to persecution of homosexuals in some countries, such as Nigeria, as facilitated by Christian and Muslim majorities in government. Since homosexuality is a worldwide phenomenon, how can it rightly be claimed that God knows nothing about it? That is part of the problems that humanity is facing from scriptural religionists who believe that God or His angels wrote their own holy scriptures.
Also distortion of Western educational system in Nigeria is where some Christians and Muslims take up appointments as teachers of African Traditional Religion (ATR), for the money they derive from the job, only to be demonizing the religion. There is an academic theory which states that human beings “are more apt to be correct in what they affirm than in what they deny”, because “What we deny is generally something that lies outside our experience, and about which we can therefore say nothing.” It is of course better if people don’t say anything about what they don’t know than deliberate distortion of other people’s religion, just so as to promote their own religion. I am not demonising Christianity and Islam if I talk objectively about evils perpetrated by some Christians and Muslims.
Jesus encountered some non-Jews (“pagans”) whose virtues and faiths he praised. I don’t know the educational authorities approving religious studies to the exclusion of African Traditional Religion, but I can affirm that such schools are not only distorting the spirit of Western education, they are dangerous to intellectual wholeness, as well as human peace and progress.
Such schools would produce mostly religious bigots who would be creating crisis with anybody who holds a different religious opinion. They would perpetuate culture of religious intolerance, strife and war in Nigeria. Some university administrators are even refusing to employ adequate teachers for courses in African Traditional Religion.
In the larger society, I was shocked when some so-called “Yoruba leaders” were quoted as saying that Nigeria is not at war, notwithstanding what is happening between Boko Haram (BH) and Nigeria’s military forces, on land, air, and sea. Western education system is not working for Nigeria because it has been Nigerianised/bastardised in Christian and Islamic ways of human oppression, suppression, and exploitation. There is hardly sense of truth and objectivity any more, but whatever serves people’s purpose, even if killing somebody for money-making ritual, and others. They have smothered/corrupted the principles of Western education.
Prof. Oyeniran Abioje teaches at the University of Ilorin.