I was reading up on Forbes 30 under 30 recently and I marveled at achievements made by these young men and women so early in life. Then I started to ask myself why I was not even close to achieving what they already have. I mean, I’m proud of my growth but I feel it’s insignificant compared to the milestones I just read about.
So it got me thinking and asking questions. Are we backward in Africa or Nigeria? Was it an individual thing? Should I blame my parents or the society or myself for lack of motivation or creativity?
It’s not news that in this part of the world, your life is supposed to follow a particular sequence and anything short of that is an anomaly – at least, in most homes.
In an African home, you are expected to go to school, graduate, get a job and get married. It is only after achieving these goals set by your parents that you are considered independent. Within this period everything else you do is according to the dictates of your parents. You are rarely allowed to think for yourself.
Our culture, as much as it helps our morals, can also stifle growth. We are confined to thinking within its boundaries, and anything outside or contradictory to its teachings is considered immoral. God help you if you speak at family meetings or ask too many questions; you are considered wayward… just because you are curious.
We need to realise it’s good to be curious, and encourage our kids to be curious. If we don’t ask, we will never know. We call it “Oyinbo Behavior” but it’s the consequence of many new innovations. Someone was curious enough to ask questions and provide solutions. Here we keep recycling ideas; everybody wants to be a blogger, Makeup Artist, or a Music Artiste.
It’s the same trend in our educational system. We are practically spoon-fed and hardly given any chance to think by ourselves. The average Nigerian student in tertiary institutions goes to class, takes notes dictated by his lecturer, piles up these notes until it’s time to take exams, crams every sentence and regurgitates everything word for word in the exam hall. Of course, he’ll pass because… lazy lecturers. The end result of this is intellectual laziness which will definitely not benefit the individual or the society at large instead we slip deeper into the warm and comforta-ble category of “Developing Countries.”
This new generation and generations after it should be encouraged to think freely, play with ideas, be innovative and creative and find solutions to many problems plaguing third world countries.
I believe this is the only way we can move forward as a nation and as a continent. What do you think?