By: Adeola Osas Jacob
For the school management, this is merely a case of a stable academic calendar versus allowing youths to exercise their civic rights and responsibilities. The importance of participating in the electoral process as youths cannot be overemphasized. We make up the highest percentage of the population and most educated in Nigeria. Therefore, we have the capacity to be the deciding factor in who emerges as the number one citizen of the country.
The school is not independent of the political affairs of a country like Nigeria. We have had to endure the last four years of a government that people have varying opinions about, but it remains our mandate to choose who rules us for the next four years. I honestly believe that there should have been a compromise that allows students of the University of Ilorin to participate in the forthcoming elections.
The purpose of education is not just to sit for examinations, pass and graduate at the appropriate time; it is to be an overall learning experience. Being in the university shouldn’t hamper other vital activities in our lives as youths, one of them is our duty as citizens of Nigeria. I remember being taught in GNS 211 about the rights of a citizen and about two chapters were dedicated to civic education as regards contributing to the affairs of the country. Why then are we being taught all these things if the university doesn’t lead by example by giving us the platform to exercise these rights?
Several other alternative solutions could have been put in place. How about a one-week break where examinations do not hold throughout that period? How about even a more extended break which would be made up for by making the 1st semester break shorter? Also, the 2nd-semester break could be shorter to make up for lost time. There should have been a better deliberation on this issue among the constituted authority in the university.
The consequences of an academic calendar having to be adjusted will only be felt for a few months, but the effects of bringing in a bad government because the most educated populace was not allowed to have a say will be felt for the next four years. Which is better?