Ten killed at a tens of thousand stampede; petitions calling for the sack of the Comptroller General of Nigerian Immigration Services, others tweet on the exploitation of desperate Nigerian youths.
I sit and ponder, fully aware of the power of vulnerability and with a well formed habit of empathy, I share the pain and suffering of those who have lost their children, brothers, sisters, parents and friends yesterday.
Life has taught me the basic concept of standing in someone else’s shoes and looking at life through their eyes. I understand why, in Abuja alone, over 80,000 youths turned out in application for only 3000 nation- wide vacant positions into the Nigerian Immigration Service. I understand because I, like most people who tasted poverty, have that fear and fragility that still lurk inside, call it the ghosts of times past. I understand their hunger!!! I understand their need!!!
Some of us read the news, shake our heads in pity and moments later carrying along our paused daily routine. A few would sit in their quiet – thinking – which way Nigeria? Where do we start healing from?
I have thought and share thus:
Our educational system is one which breeds employees and not employers of labour. A system where graduates, like robots, in thousands are ushered into the ill prepared labour market becoming temporary inhabitants of a passionless world. One they barely understand but dwell in “just to make ends meet” while occasionally being restored to the mediocrity of their everyday lives.
If this makes any sense to you, then its time we require a fundamental rethinking of a strategic educational system. We must ask – How can we encourage entrepreneurial abilities of students through education? How can a perfect synergy of creative education stir up individuality and freedom in learning through the application of contemporary technologies, usher innovations and birth entrepreneurship development? When answered, we would have youths looking less up to the government for survival but rather, utilise their found level of individual independence and the freedom of exploring original thoughts to do more for themselves bringing glory to their country – Nigeria.
Furthermore, I implore that we all awaken our spirit of social consciousness because it is that which joins men together. When we begin to recognise ourselves in each other, we begin to feel our neighbours’ pains, hunger, helplessness… Those who died could have been me years back!!!
I call onto our beloved philanthropists whose hearts are filled with love of humanity to take upon individual and organisational transformational philanthropic initiatives in order to build a more sustainable, just and compassionate future. To be more daring and holistic in their framework. To aim to provide mentorship support and connections for people pursuing genuine and pioneering visions and actions. To consider buying into viable inventions as stakeholders as against being donors thereby securing financial returns for reinvestment.
As Norman Cousins said ” All things are possible once enough human beings realize that everything is at stake”, I adapt it to say, that we owe it to ourselves, to our children and their children; to those who died, to those who wished they died so their pains could linger not one moment more – to let hope once more ignite fate and courage so we could have and work towards a large vision, one that will create a new paradigm – a paradigm shift that would exponentially reduce all our suffering. God bless us all.
Ms. Natasha Akpoti, an Abuja-based entrepreneur, is chief executive at the LegendArk Group