Setting Our Priorities Right

At this moment in time, there’s no need overlaboring the obvious fact that the coronavirus pandemic has done more harm than good in its global tour. We also need no soothsayer to tell us the very fact that the virus has no plans of coming to an end any time soon, thus the only viable solution now is to learn how to manage the virus and live with it till it eventually goes.
This is why other countries like Germany, Norway already reopened their schools and USA is also planning on reopening theirs. The question now is, why is Nigeria not thinking towards this direction? On June 8, 2020, the minister of education, Adamu Adamu, after the virtual Federal Executive council meeting, announced that none of the schools under the control of his ministry will resume until schools are considered safe enough.
He equally urged state governments that have earlier announced the resumption of schools to reconsider their stand since it is not safe for the students to resume yet. He equally debunked the earlier statement by minister of state for education, Emeka Nwajiuba, who announced on Monday 6th July during a briefing at the presidential taskforce on Covid-19 in Abuja that Nigeria would participate in the West African Senior School Examination Certificate scheduled to hold on August 4 and September 5, 2020. According to Adamu, the minister of state for Education must have been misquoted. He ended up saying that the annual WAEC examination would not hold for Nigerian students. According to him WAEC will not determine what Nigeria will do as he will rather have the country lose a school year than exposing the students to danger.
As concerned and well meaning as the above statements may sound, one cannot help but ask certain salient questions. Why is it that opening of schools have raised so much uproar whereas markets have not yet been closed down with the consistent flagrant disregard of the safety precautions that goes on there? Does Nigeria’s cancellation of WAEC this year in anyway prove that they are more concerned about the welfare and safety of her students than her sister African countries? When exactly will the government consider safe enough to reopen schools since the pandemic have continued to soar throughout the globe unmitigated? If we are talking about safety, why is it that the independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has refused to shift the date for the gubernatorial election in Edo and Ondo state, on the basis that doing so was an invitation to constitutional crisis, given the ruffles and shuffles that comes with such election in Nigeria? And why is it that their resolve to ensure strict observance of the Covid-19 guidelines and protocols where there would be no voting without facemasks by the voters enough to allow the elections to hold?
The above clearly points out, the scale of preference of the Nigerian state. We are more concerned about inviting constitutional crisis that not holding gubernatorial elections will cause than the future of the youths, our children, who are supposedly the leaders of tomorrow, whose future is being jeopardized by the refusal to open schools and most importantly of not writing WAEC.
The government did not deem it fit to consider the negative and culminating effects of her actions in seeking to withdraw Nigerian students from the examination, how devastating it will be on our educational system and economy at large. It is indeed terrible.
It is a good thing that the members of the House of Representatives have foreseen the danger of decision and they are making efforts to see that the President rescinds on the previous announcement. The contradictory statements of top federal government officials within a short space of time are quite disturbing.
Nigeria’s non-participation in this year’s examination portends serious psychological, socio-economic and health effects on the students as well as already overburdened parents. So there is indeed a need to set our priorities right, if elections could hold in the spike of the pandemic, reopening of schools and taking of final exams would not be a problem with strict observance of Covid-19 protocols put in place.

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