A nation divided between rural and city folks

In August a friend thinks something terrible would happen if something is not done quickly with naira to US$ exchange rate getting out of hand.

My stance then was that Nigeria has been letting half of her population down for a very long time so I don’t think these people (already down folks) can be beating any further.

My friend thought I was being indifference to the plights of Nigerians who have to change their  ₦ to $ at a bad rate. Many Nigerian students abroad and holiday makers are not very happy.

I made myself clear that I feel for those that are affected but my point was that those who are affected, as terrible as the situation is for them are still very small percentage of our population compared to millions of Nigerians who have being neglected for decades.

Now, four months later Nigeria CBN for the last few weeks placed maximum amount that can be withdrawn with a Nigeria bank card to $300 and for some $100 per day while abroad.

This is obviously very tough time for Nigerians who love to spend this time of the year in Dubai, London or New York, so I do empathise profoundly with Nigerians who earned their naira legitimately and are affected by this sudden imposition of cash withdrawal limit.

The news about bank card use restrictions abroad has attracted lots of attention and media going frenzy about it – mostly about how government should reverse the decision.

This saga makes me think a little, if Nigeria can be so passionate about an issue that affects small number of our population (I doubt it is more than 2M people, this time of the year).

What will it take for Nigerians to show the same caring to millions of Nigerians in rural areas?

Let’s put water and electricity to the side now. One thing that has contributed massively to economic disparity between folks in the city and rural areas is lack of quality primary and secondary education.

Lots of people talk plentiful about importance of agriculture. ‘We must go back to resuscitate the sector’ they say.

Here farmers have families too, they have children that must be educated, lots of them possibly  may decide to do something different with their lives. Don’t they deserve decent primary and secondary education too?

During the run up to the independence in the 50s, there were number of primary and secondary schools built around our villages, the idea was to allow farmers’ children to have quality education similar to what one can find in nearby town. These schools were strategically built within walking distance of the village.

That was a brilliant idea.

In the 1970s, these schools remained where they were in the 50s, hence my siblings and I had to live miles apart from my family during the week for nothing else but for secondary school education.

I was about 12 at the time, my younger sister was 10 (still in primary), my oldest sister was 22. Looking back I had no idea how my sisters and I made it without messing up our lives. We were not alone, I had many friends in the same shoes at the time.

Talk about underage pregnancy, I knew of a few that happened and continue to happen due to this process of shouldering adult’s responsibility at very early age.

Today, my village school is still running, only one classroom for school that is meant for primary one to six. We used to have six teachers, now two shows up on Monday midday and disappear on Wednesday, still they get paid.

And I bet this school is still listed in my state. apparently, this is the case all over the country.

Those who value old age with peace of mind did exactly what my parents did – pull their children out to live in surrounding towns, hoping they will face their studies.

The schools in the 50s are still there in the shadow of the past, villagers doing what they can by clearing the surrounding overgrown weeds. I believe if the government both state and federal level are serious about pulling everyone up, then one must realise that schools of the 50s must be revived so farmers too can educate their family close to their base.

President Buhari’s interest to reform our education is a welcome one but I know this is incomplete without thinking about schools in the villages.

Nigeria wouldn’t be in this sorry state in the first place if the same amount of empathy towards middle class having trouble getting their cash during holidays is given to the other half – the villagers.