To fix Nigeria, educate her first.

To fix Nigeria, you have to first educate her. This is my truth, and that is why I strongly support Governor El Rufai’s decision to prosecute parents who refuse to enroll their wards in a school, despite the several measures put in place by the government to ensure the process of doing so is stress and cost free. At least, to a great degree.

Several European and East-Asian countries are worried over their declining and more significantly, ageing population. This is because they understand — and have seen — the importance of having a youthful population. The young men and women have formed the core of their work force and more importantly, been responsible for innovations that continues to give them the edge over countries in the third world.

Nigeria, fortunately, has a youthful population. According to the National Bureau of Statistics in its 2012 national youth survey report; youths of working age, in the age bracket of 15 to 35 years are nearly 70 million persons in a population of 166 million Nigerians. But instead of witnessing the growth and progress witnessed in the first world, our youths have caused us problems.

A good number of them have taken to thuggery, criminal and in extreme cases, terrorist acts.

Why is our case different from the Europeans?

The answer is integration.

Youthful population and immense advancement isn’t a given. It just doesn’t happen. For it to take place, these young men and women must be properly integrated socially, economically and politically. The agents of socialization, especially at the formative stage must be strong and their learning must be structured, as well as developmental.

This is clearly lacking in Nigeria, and most African countries. In all honesty, fixing this requires a holistic approach that must start from the very top but unfortunately, we are — and have been — cursed with unintelligent and greedy leaders.

But again, a simple probe into how these leaders often get into office leaves us with an obvious answer; ignorant voters.

An example is what I am presently enduring in Edo state. Myself and Godwin Jim have been turned into some sort of time keepers because power is rationed. Our devices are usually dead for most part of the day and we have to endure torture from heat and mosquitoes, thanks to the fact that the rationed power is still very elusive.

An election is coming up in the state and the people have a chance to try to fix things. One would have expected issues like that of power to dominate discuss, especially amongst young people, but unfortunately, reverse is the case. They publicly drum up support from candidates who offer them the most cash, and is from their ‘village’. Their understanding of elections and general intellect is laid bare. And if we are going to be frank, it isn’t impressive.

Every four years, every Nigerian (of age) is presented the chance to re-position the country with their thumb. Unfortunately, every four years, Nigerians offer their thumbs to the highest bidder and freely give it to their ‘brother’ in religion or ethnicity. That, for them, comes before actual competence and ideas.

This is why education is important and truly, the first step to take.

Fixing Nigeria requires a lot of things but having an informed population put us firmly on the right path.

We have to educate Nigeria, especially her youths and then watch them liberate their country.