Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has decried the rate at which Nigerian leaders consult marabouts and prophets in a bid to hold onto political power.
Nigerian leaders, he said, were in the habit of sacrificing animals in order to remain in power. Soyinka spoke in Port Harcourt on Monday at a two-day education summit.
He observed that the situation was encouraging students to join cultism, adding that the rot in the nation’s education system was trickling down to secondary and primary schools.
The renowned author, who chaired the occasion, noted that normal university cultures like fraternities had been misconstrued to mean cultism.
He said, “Give me the name of any head of state who has not been consulting marabouts and prophets and so on, sacrificing goats, animals in the dead of night to receive a third term in office and so on and then you start blaming students, they are imitating the same thing the infirmity society itself has become.
“So, they can no longer distinguish between a genuine fraternity and a secret cult of which society is riddled all the way from the top.“The rot in our education system is trickling all the way down to secondary schools, into some primary schools. Normal university cultures like fraternities have been misconstrued.”
On the activities of Boko Haram in the North, Soyinka explained that members of the sect were not sufficiently educated about their religion. Soyinka, who noted that Islamic fundamentalist needed to be re-educated about their history and culture, also canvassed support for the creation of almajiri schools.
He added, “Those who call themselves Boko Haram, for instance, claim to be educated; educated to mean books. But they are not sufficiently educated, even about their religion to know that some of the greatest philosophers came from that religion, some of the greatest mathematicians were the pioneers.
“So, these killers roaming around, saying that they hate western education; they are uneducated; but they think they are educated.
“They (Boko Haram members) have been taught on a monorail, one-track lane. They need to be re-educated, even about their own history, their own culture.”
Soyinka described the situation as desperate and called for a proper supervision of the content and method of teaching in almajiri schools.
Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi, decried the attitude of school heads and teachers, who collect illegal levies from their pupils and students against his administration’s free education policy.
Amaechi also ordered the issuance of employment letters to 13,000 teachers to make up for the shortage of personnel in the state’s model schools.