The sad thing is that the debilitating mental poverty or impoverishment affects not only Leadership in Government and Unions. I recall now a Yoruba worship song that captures beautifully the essence of our discourse. It says in English “THERE IS THE LORD AS IN THE PAST. WE ARE THE ONES NOT WORSHIPPING GOD AS IN THE PAST. IF WE WORSHIP THE FATHER AS IN THE PAST, THERE WILL BE MANY MIRACLES AS IN THE PAST.”

It doesn’t matter whether it is ISLAMIC OR CHRISTIAN RELIGION, you will see the same display of mental poverty and impoverishment. The number of Churches and Mosques has increased in geometrical progression. So also has been the increase in the number of fellowships, revivals, crusades, Holy Mountains and Holy Beaches. So also been the phenomenal increase in religious programmes on radio, television and Social Media. Unfortunately there has been a corresponding increase in deviant, antisocial, ungodly behaviour that gives the impression that inspite of the great increase in religiosity; there has been no corresponding impact on the society.

Why? Go and check the decreasing quality of sermons and messages. For both religions, what’s on display is repetitive rubbish that bears no relevance to the essence of the great religions. It is no longer a worship of God in truth and in spirit. It is no longer how to save souls and prepare them for heaven. It is how to motivate them into prosperity. It is no longer preaching the message of God or Allah. It is motivational talk about prosperity. This result of this increasing mental poverty or impoverishment is a rise in the number of Christian and Muslim priests who are into crimes and use their religions to pervert time-honoured doctrines and teachings. Sometimes the Church or Mosque is no different from the clubs, that seem to be growing in quadruples.

Any wonder why we are so increasingly morally bankrupt. And we’re so intellectually lazy, creatively inept, innovatively barren. Our teachers really have shown that they don’t care, nor do they appreciate the expanding breadth and depth of education. They keep repeating the notes that they have used for ages, unmindful of changes in content of almost all subjects. It’s only a thoroughly bad driver that spends all the time looking backwards. He will surely crash.

Not only have they removed UNIVERSAL from UNIVERSITIES, they have fossilised knowledge so much that nothing new, creative or innovative is added . Professors and teachers using same notes that they have used for a decade are creating a huge disconnect between Nigeria and the ever changing world.

I recall that Nigerian politicians reflected the best in the society. Political recruitment was such that only the best were put in positions of leadership and authority. They represented the best in the society. They were beacons of light and knowledge. They were not repositories of wealth from known and unknown sources. They were not like today’s leaders who are definitely anti-intellectual, and craft conscious. They surrounded themselves with those who had knowledge like Awolowos think-tanks in Universities of Ife and Ibadan. They were not people who could not produce their school certificates or even clearly establish their trajectories through schools of colleges. They were not people who forged NYSC and other certificates. They were not people who do not understand the requirements and duties of the positions they occupy. They recognised their limitations and worked hard to remove them. I recall how Chief Obafemi Awolowo had to receive lessons from Professor Tunji Aboyade on Econometrics. I recall how the leaders worked selflessly on policies that will provide the optimum for the maximum focusing on the provision welfare of the people. It is so sad that our yesterday is much better qualitatively than our today

If you doubt this, check the credentials…recall the screening of Ministers recently by our SENATE. Recall would be Ministers who have only two credits in his school certificate. Recall House of Representative member from Kano State who was removed by the Tribunal for forging primary school certificate of all things

If you doubt the stifling effect of this mental poverty, you can study the lyrics of the old and contemporary music. The current music may be well packaged. They lack the meaningful, inspiring messages of the old. No intrinsic messages. No value added. No crusading for social action for the better of the society. It is sad.

You will found this menace when you look at the quality of grade A broadcast and compare with past ones. Look at the structure of the broadcasts. Look at the content. Look at the delivery. You will notice our yesterday represent us in better lights.

Something must be done to ensure that we are not crippled by this mental poverty or impoverishment. The answer is EDUCATION, EDUCATION, EDUCATION. The answer is in a determination to serve our people more creatively and with greater passion. We cannot use the formulas that destroyed our economic and political architecture, debauched our moral and societal values to seek to repair the damages. It will be sure lunacy to do that. It will be mental poverty to do that. It will show that our mental impoverishment is on the increase, and that we are on the ROAD TO NOWHERE.

I pray that may the BETTER DAYS of dwindling mental poverty and impoverishment come soon.

Yemi Farounbi