Nigeria Reading Culture And Her Failed Education By Seun Sobola

A fundamental and fascinating crisis in Nigeria is now at hand; JAMB RELEASES 2024 UTME RESULTS, 76% SCORES BELOW 200.

For all those who place a high value on education, this is the clear and present truth. As our own nation may seem to be coming to an end, what we are seeing is not chaos but rather a fluttering in the veil of the temple, with significant folds and even a small tearing.

This is so disconcerting for the Nigerian reading public, whose habits have now been interrupted by the dearth of a healthy reading culture. Pursuing this mysterious task, there are numerous reasons why Nigerians’ culture of healthy reading is in danger of disappearing. The obvious issue is the detrimental effects of cell phone syndrome and television culture. Naturally, in a place like Nigeria, where there is utter quiet and a rise in the addicting digital age, the scenario would turn into a monument, with the potential for a lack of important traditions as a result.

But I was a witness to this sort of adventure recently. A young lady of year-two, whose father is a registrar in Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, rebuked me for telling her to stop dancing to a controversial song ‘We Dey There’ by Oluwafemi Oladapo, better known as ‘Slimcase’. And although my role in it was not so influential as she had claimed (just for her to be responsible and face her studies l), I was met with abusive remarks. I think it is time to bring the dialogues before you, as it will seem better to do so in a distance, or, to speak, anonymously without bias.

Seun: We have expectations of you. And someone of your category shouldn’t be dancing to that kind of song. Don’t your hear the song? The tones and the undertones aren’t good. Don’t you hear what you’re saying? It doesn’t make sense.

The Young Lady: Please sir, if you view my status and you don’t like what I post, I won’t like to disrespect you, just view and pass and don’t come to my dm to be saying shit! Did you know how much I have made through dance? Did you know how many people I’ve met through dance? I should sit down one place and turn to a complete fool?…

Permit me to leave the remaining for later!

The kind of treatment I may say, that I have been shown in the conversations can be divided into graduated parts.

It will be agreed that because of the priority that I have given to emotions, I must have been intermittent ever since that this is a world with evolution. The new world shines, for a moment, dies out, and waits for another talent to come up. The talent may be anything; so far the artistes could manueover their ways to satisfying Nigerians or the world. It does not need to make sense! This was also precisely what I needed least to learn when I wrote “Bobrisky: Portable and Nigerian Are Chidren of Decorum”; for if I had not understood it by myself from the first, that the young lady has the right to be what she wants to be (and Bobrisky may choose to be a crossdresser or not), it is useless to obey it. If dancing is what her destiny chooses, it is useless to obey my emotions. Then, who cares about destiny in a hunger-driven society?

For the first time in the educational history of any nation, particularly Nigeria, along with the general and traditional organic feeling which finds its joy on an ever-ready content creations, where Portable and the likes could generate massive amounts of educated heads, a POLITICAL SCIENCE first class graduate could turn to a street rapper and Odumeje could imprison minds psychologically, so long these fluting and bowing continue, then the dedication would move to the dictates of the new WORLD. Thus it is part of the reason why the lady won a great new freedom.

Something of significance has been lost as a result. It is no surprising when I saw that 95% of year-three students cannot even use three pages of an answer-booklet to answer a single and 30-mark question in examinations. What is happening to this generation of Nigerian youths? They said it is everywhere; in UI, in OAU, in OOU; the strange mystery — and so, equally mysterious and lackluster reading and writing attitudes continue to permeate the veins of the students. In my opinion, we have been late in finding the true condition of the Nigerian reading culture and the possibility of her failed education.

Importantly, late Prof. Sophie Oluwole highlighted that education in Nigeria simply means the ability to read and write. But she asked the question: To read and write in what LANGUAGE? To be educated in English and not in Yoruba or Igbo or Hausa. To be educated these days is just to be able to read and write, where an accountant from a university is a clerk of a company. By contrast, to late Prof. Sophie Oluwole, to be educated is to acquire knowledge and wisdom and to translate the knowledge and wisdom to cope with and solve real-world problems. Our universities are not teaching students the knowledge and wisdom to cope with and solve real-world problems. I, however, believe there is hope. For this, I propose the following;

1. Each department in Nigeria universities should have different sub-departments(career paths) where students can choose (to be in one or more) what they wish to be after years in schools. These sub-departments should align with the TEMPER of the DIGITAL age. For example, in the Department of English, there should be SUB-DEPARTMENT OF CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT, SUB-DEPARTMENT OF CREATIVE WRITING, SUB-DEPARTMENT OF EDITING, SUB-DEPARTMENT OF TECHNICAL COMMUNICATION, SUB-DEPARTMENT OF GRANT AND PROPOSAL WRITING, SUB-DEPARTMENT OF WRITING AND DIGITAL MEDIA, SUB-DEPARTMENT OF WEB PROGRAMMING AND WRITING, SUB-DEPARTMENT OF RHETORICS AND COMPOSITION amongst other sub-departments in English department. This should also apply to the Department of Philosophy, Religious Studies, Political Science, Linguistics, English Education, Guidance and Counselling, Mathematics, Economics, Engineering and other disciplines.

2. Implementing this proposition requires the genuine intervention and funding by the Nigerian government where companies and parastatals that need the students’ skills work closely with those sub-departments. Preference should be given to the experts (teachers) in those fields.

3. Three years out of 4 should be dedicated to the practical learning and applications of the skills by the experts in those sub-departments. The first year should be for the learning of the theories of those disciplines.

4. If this proposition works, they should be translated to Colleges, Polytechnics amongst others.

5. People should write more literature and there should be an increased publicity of literary works. More books should be launched and reading of literature books should be made compulsory in primary schools, secondary schools, universities, colleges and polytechnics.


I am Seun Sobola. I am a first class graduate of English and I am for the Future. I can be reached @ 08101106313 on WhatsApp.

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