A unique workshop took science, technology and ethics to a teen audience in Nigeria. Timi Olagunju, 29, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Lagos in Nigeria, was one of the presenters in the program promoting education and leadership.
In the words of Thomas Jefferson, “the price of liberty is eternal vigilance”, and education is the ability to learn, unlearn, and re-learn.
On Saturday, May 30, 2015, exactly 24 hours after the swearing-in of President Mohammed Buhari, the Centre for Values in Education (CVE), founded by John Odinibe, organized an educational workshop to promote science and technology as well as good leadership and the ethics of good governance among teenagers in Lagos, Nigeria. The participants were aged 10 to 18 years, and 70 per cent were girls. This was in a bid to ensure a bottom-top approach to the idea of promoting leadership as well as science and technology in Nigeria.
As a development lawyer, ‘accountapreneur’, and Presidential Precinct Mandela Washington Fellow, I had the opportunity to be a key speaker.
“Obstacles are not to be feared, but turned to spectacles,” I told participants, illustrating the point by emphasizing the chain of connection between problems, solution, value, and wealth as it affects the well-being of the immediate community of the solution provider. I emphasized this with the story of two shoe salesmen from England in the 1980s, Smith and Brian. Smith was sent by his company to do a survey in Africa on whether there was a market for shoes. On getting to Africa, he noticed nobody wore shoes and said “It is an absolute waste of time selling shoes here”. Ten years later, Brian was sent and also noticed what Smith noticed: no shoes in Africa. So he replied, “There are no shoes here. Please send in a consignment of shoes. If we succeed at making this people understand the importance of shoes, then we can create a monopoly in the supply of shoes here”. Brain saw the problem but embraced the solution. I emphasized the need for more African youths like Brain.
Another speaker, Ahmed Ashade, who is undergoing his Masters in Micro-biology with distinction at the prestigious University of Lagos, Nigeria, and is an ambassador for girl child education in the Centre for Values in Education (CVE), also geared up the teenagers towards embracing the beauty in the sciences, especially as Africans. His particular emphasis was for the girl child in Nigeria – and Africa – to embrace science and technology for the progress of the African continent.
Christie Uzoma, the Centre’s Gender Advisor and former Programme’s Coordinator, took the teenagers through a practical session on how to simplify complex scientific concepts, which made the teenagers allay their fears of the sciences. The teenagers enjoyed the session, making commitments towards hard work, values, and a drive for solving socio-political problems in Nigeria through science and technology.
The Centre’s founder, John Odinibe, encouraged the students’ understanding that the centre is always open to teenagers. He underscored the need to embrace education, especially in the areas of science and technology, and also to promote participatory governance. He stated that the Centre is a hybrid organization run as a social enterprise providing a subsidized learning environment for teenagers ages 10 to 18.
“Currently, our Centre has provided scholarships to over 15 indigent Nigerian students in science and technology, 70 per cent of which are girls,” John Odinibe said. “One fundamental thing in life is funding a mental thing.”
The Centre for Values in Education (CVE) has planned to take its programme to the thirty-six states of Nigeria in the next six years, especially to under-served areas of Nigeria.
About me: I give leverage to your voice in the Courts of Law and in the Courts of Public Opinion. I do this as a Legal Practitioner, Public Policy analyst and as an author, majoring in human rights, public policy and information technology law.
I am a graduate of the University of and the Nigerian Law School. An avid public policy analyst and advocate of change, I speak and write about legal and socio-economic topics, entrepreneurship and IT law. LinkedIn: Timi Olagunju e: firstname.lastname@example.org t: @timithelaw #TACTS
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/
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