Youths in the country have been charged to learn from past experiences of the nation’s collapse of culture and educational systems so as to galvanize a future that will be based purely on critical thinking.
This was the view of speakers at the Univ Nigeria Western Conference 2020, with the theme, ‘Next Generation Leaders’, held recently in Lagos.
They agreed that it was necessary as experiences have shown that the nation got it wrong in so many areas.
In his remarks, the Coordinator, Univ Nigeria, Mr. Ikechukwu Onuma said it was imperative to have the private and public sectors speak to the participants.
“Organising this conference for the past 10 years gives room for answers to questions from previous participants on leadership either from public or private sector.
“The idea behind the conference is to bring together young people to discuss issues that are known to them, we feel when you bring people in the same gender together, they are free to express themselves.
“The idea is to make young people to start thinking, we believe when there is no thought, there is no action. When you look at our graduates there is no critical thinking,” he stressed.
The conference brought over 150 undergraduates across 15 universities to make presentations on key topical issues in the country.
In her remarks, the Lagos State Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Folashade Adefisayo said the current education system has failed so many Nigerian youths. This she said prompted the administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to draw up a new curriculum in partnership with some organised private sector to change the narrative in the state.
“I have been there for six months now, so most of what we have done is not what you will see now, but the product will show ultimately. In actual fact, the skills are not there, funding maybe to some extent, human capacity and technical savvy is not just there, so we need partners.
“We are working with organised private sector; for example, in drawing up the present curriculum. We worked with Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), Science Teachers Association of Nigeria (STAN) and a group of oil magnete who wanted to come together and help girls in engineering. We will make it more attractive, remembering that we are part of this nation and cannot alter the essentials of the curriculum but we can enrich it.
“We are developing a volunteer corp for anybody who wants to come and volunteer to make teaching look more exciting,” she revealed.
The Founder, Centre for Values in Leadership, Professor Pat Utomi said there is plenty to suggest what the nation has done wrong, adding that young people are smarter to learn from this.
“I am hoping they are doing that because any culture that is not a learning one, is doomed. Learning is really getting a return on experience and taking what your experience suggests is very good and doubling up on it.
“The collapse of the Nigerian dream, the possibilies of a Nigeria working best for its people is because we allowed the collapse of culture, which took morality out of the public space. People are now trying to be in power as we like to say in Nigeria with no idea of what they are supposed to do with authority beyond serving self.
“Why would a person govern a country and most people cannot eat two to three meals a day and in the name of protocol, they spend billions to keep a presidential jet parked in some foreign countries because they are president.
“They keep the National Assembly (NASS) consuming more money, a couple of hundreds of people than what is needed to transform the lives of so many. This is a failure of leadership and that is why Nigeria is like this. The fact that the leaders put themselves ahead of the people they serve is part of our tragedy and if the young people learn from that, it will bring progress to the country,” Utomi said.