I studied Chemical Engineering for my first degree at Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU). Chemical Engineering is a tough course. It was tougher than we had to imagine and internalize practical concepts like Thermodynamics, Process flow, Control systems, Design, and more without seeing anything to relate it to. Man it was a ‘mind gym’. And it was what I needed to survive in the real-world post-graduation Nigeria during the Abacha era and onwards. Life is tough. Adulthood is painful. Becoming an adult in Nigeria is tough, painful, and draining. My family upbringing and OAU prepared me for it. They both taught me resilience and sharing, charged my hunger batteries, stimulated my dreaming and imagination skills, and infected me with Hope and Belief which led me to Grace and Faith.
My gratitude to my Alma matter is therefore eternal and unending. So, when my colleagues and I turned up on the campus of OAU to commission some of the projects we were lucky enough to be given the opportunity to birth and execute by the governing council of the school on January 11th, 2022, I had to go to my department and other lecture halls where I imagined a future that has been kinder to me than I feared. Visiting the Chemical Engineering department’s process lab brought tears to my eyes. Everyone who has graduated from that department and the other departments in OAU and other schools is not only a debtor but a criminal. Including me. Unless you have given back as much or more than you have been gifted by God and country. We have committed crimes against humanity and the future. Both the lecturers who continue to teach methodologies, processes, and principles long-buried internationally to those of us who went through university paying 90 Naira for accommodation and 25 Naira for tuition. We are all criminals. Committed a crime against the beautiful ones who we want to live in their world.
I am not interested in anyone’s view of government and governance and the leadership deficit in Nigeria. I won’t keep singing the same song and expecting a different dance. I am speaking to those of us who schooled in Nigeria and are doing ok and better. Home or abroad. We are debtors to Grace and Government. We owe a debt to the past and future. Let’s shut up and pay up. I don’t care what our excuses are and how valid they are. If we had schooled abroad, the student loan alone would have equipped our schools and given the future Nigerians a chance. Everyone reading this, go to your alma matters. From Primary to University. Do your part? Pay your debt. Leave government alone. Do your part before asking questions and demanding actions. Give without expecting. Touch a life and allow that soul to dream of a better future and the possibilities of tomorrow. We will live in the future we create. Let’s stop raping that future. Let’s do our part and build our nation ourselves. Each one must do something. No matter how small and hopefully the future will be merciful.