Former Minister of Aviation, Chief Osita Chidoka, has bemoaned the failure of public schools’ system in the country.
He said he would continue to advocate for its restoration until those concerned did the needful.
In a post on his Facebook handle, facebook.com/ositadinmabchidoka, in a discussion on children, upbringing and independence, Chidoka said he moved his daughters to a Federal Government College, to prepare them for the future of struggle.
He said he was of the view that Nigerians were over parenting in the country.
“As Minister, I moved my daughters to a Federal Government College, Queens College. I wanted and still want them to be prepared for the future of struggle,” he said.
Chidoka noted that the over-parenting of middle class and elite children excludes them from the institutions that run the country. “The future Inspector General of Police is an Assistant Superintendent of Police (today), fresh from a public school and ready to climb the ladder. Our children in private schools running away from the evils of society will be happy in 25 years to be friends of the AIG, DIG, IGP, CG of Custom, Major General, Permanent Secretary etc….effectively those that will run Nigeria,” Chidoka, himself a product of a public secondary school, wrote.
Chidoka who was also a former Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Commission, disclosed that he didn’t become Corps Marshal and Minister from Harvard, saying he equally attended public school. “I went to Union Secondary School, Awkunanaw, Enugu. I went to University of Nigeria Enugu campus. I came to Youth Service in Abuja sleeping in the sitting room of my Aunty’s house in Area 1,” the former Corps Marshal recalled.
Chidoka said though his children have the advantage of educated and enlightened parents, which he described as “a huge advantage”, they should struggle for their future. “You are 16 and afraid of the society meanwhile 16 years olds are hawking on the streets and paying for their schooling.”
Chidoka warned that the society is decaying because parents are training a generation he described as “hot house plants” who are fended for without motivation to struggle.
Chidoka gave an insight into what growing up was like for him.
“My grandmother had 12 children and sold food to be able to feed the family and make money for their education as my grandfather was a civil servant. She trained lawyers, medical doctor and accountants all from selling food at Okpara Avenue (Enugu). All of them, including undergrads, participated in pounding the fufu and cooking by 4am every morning. That’s my background.”
He narrated how so far he has pushed his daughters into struggling to stand on their own feet. “Every holiday, my daughters, who are fluent in French go to a secondary school in Jabi (Abuja) as volunteers to teach (the) French (Language). My drivers don’t take them (to the school). They walk or take keke(commercial tricycle) to the school. They are not queens. They are young girls whose mates are fetching water from streams kilometers away from home. They need survival instincts in a depraved world, not artificial fences,” the former Minister said.
He observed that his background prepared him for the future.
“We struggled. We were road warriors. I paid my way to my Masters in the US and joined ExxonMobil in the US through a competitive process.” He added, “Life is a struggle. The struggle or warfare in nature is not wrong or unjust. It is the mechanism for growth, innovation and survival of the fittest while the role of government is to protect the weak and the vulnerable and create equal opportunities.”
Chidoka advised youths in the country to apply deep intellect, enterprise, and good morals in all their endeavors.
“Wherever our children find themselves, let’s inculcate the principles of uche(intellect), uchu(enterprise) na egwu Chukwu(fear of God). They are timeless and unchanging principles in a changing world. They cannot learn it from lectures and talk shows….throw them into the deep end and they will be strong swimmers”, he advised.