Many a times, Nigerian graduates have been referred to academic illiterates especially those who studied at home. This was also brought into limelight by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) as at the time of righting this, they are on industrial action in which one of the reasons is revitalization of Universities. However, not only the universities’ facilities and lecturers have to share the blame on the standard of education in Nigeria. Another contributor and arguably the vastest one are the students. Though, this is the reality of education in the country, but this article would dwell much on a town in the southern part of Kwara State, Erin-Ile, sharing the state boundary with Osun state.
Recently, smokers of India hemp, marijuana and weeds as well as different drugs like codeine and tramadol are on the rise in Erin-Ile, one wonders where this new habit comes from and left this mind to give it a nomenclature of “civilised illiterate.” In a society, where everyone claims to be civilised on the background of different foreign hairstyles which are aliens to our normal skin cut; also crazy jeans wear, vulgar music and internet frauds, those who are on the contrary are termed uncivilised or outcast. Without doubt, this is more than we bargain for as almost all houses and compounds must have begotten a smoker now. Thus, it has set a new standard of what civilization means to the younger ones in secondary schools and the next generations to come.
It therefore makes someone bewildered as how this act was conceived in which parental and economic crisis could not be left out. Have you wondered what will come of a boy whose parents are always on marital dispute on trivial issues like the soup pot or many rounds of consummation? Also, economic and financial crisis have aggravated the level of this civilised illiterate. Mostly after secondary school, what is left for these students are craftsmanship and learning one or two trades due to poor financial background. Only some parents could afford tertiary education fees and majority of this category also would let the first child completed his/her studies before the next child will even attempt UTME exam. This makes the other siblings with no choice than to either learn a trade or follow their parents to farm or market, and most a times, stay idles.
Like the popular cliché that an idle hands is the devil’s workshop, this idleness after secondary school has taken tolls on the behaviour and future this of civilised illiterates. On this sad reality, the King of the community, Oba Abdulganeey Ajibola Olusookun (MFR) has taken great measures to curb this atrocity. One of this is a constant reminder on the effects of drugs and smoking at the palace meeting with the youth almost every month. Another one is a ban put against carnival and night parties in the community. Other agencies and Associations have also taken it as responsibilities to help in this fight. Most noticeable is the community student’s union, Erin-Ile Students’ Association, which has organized many symposium and public displays against drug abuse and smoking. But the result of these actions could be summarized by a visit to every dark corner at night.
One might think this article is lopsided to youth learning crafts and trades after secondary school, and if the tertiary institutions students as well as graduates are not involved. The answer to this is that most have also derailed from the path of moral responsibility. They are the ones to have shown differences from educated youth and those who are not privileged to see the four walls of tertiary institutions. Instead, they gave the impressions that school corrupts manners. Whereas, it is their nature and upbringing right from home, and tendencies to yield to peer pressure that also brought their hands to the table of civilised illiterates. Sadly, they are yet to know the fate of these habits on health, economic and social values, but what is more pressing is their impact on the coming generations and the reactions of the concerned agencies.
Security agencies need to gear up to the task and save the country from the menace of drugs. They should realize that locking them behind bars for weeks could not singlehandedly clean the mess in their system, and that is why partnership with NGOs and rehabilitation centres come to the focal point. Most of these civilised illiterates would be useful to themselves and the society when there is mentorship and counselling. Most importantly, awareness should start from primary schools on the effects of these acts and lastly, they should be tutored on what civilisation actually means that is devoid of hooliganism.
Yusuf Naim writes from Erin-Ile, Kwara Atate.