Essay from Chimezie Ihekuna

Chimezie Ihekuna (Mr. Ben) Young Black man in a collared shirt and jeans resting his head on his hand. He's standing outside a building under an overhang.
Chimezie Ihekuna

As a kid in nursery and primary schools, I learnt the song: 

Parents, listen to your children
Parents, listen to your children
We are the leaders of tomorrow
Try to pay our school fees
And give us sound education 
(Song repeats as many times as possible)

This song would be heralded by all pupils present at the assembly ground, after general announcement as made by the head teacher. We will take our matching orders as we sing the song to our respective classes. 

I remember as well  another song I was familiar with,  back in primary school.  It was a match-to-your-class. The song is titled
For Learning Is Better Than Silver And Gold
It reads:
We're going to our classes
with clean handsome faces
to pay attention to what we are told
for Learning is better than silver and (2ce)
For Learning.....
Is better......
Than. Silver.....
And gold

(The song repeats for as many times as possible till the pupils all match to their respective classes)

My formative years were characterized by attending the best of schools at the time. My parents, being comfortable, were able to send me to the best of private schools: nursery and primary.  They ensured I was like my peers whose parents were also comfortable and richer. I had what could be termed education. My primary three teacher would tell us before the commencement of his class : "If education was expensive, you would have to try ignorance". My formative years was all about education. 

That psyche accompanied my to my secondary school days. I was all about my academic pursuit. I was about familiarizing with my type. If we perceived you weren't in our level of intellectual demands, you wouldn't get the chance of mingling with us. I was picky about my association of friends, facial condition. We actually frowned at those who didn't have the privilege that we did. Some parents in my neighbourhood couldn't afford the children and wards to private secondary schools. They settled for public schools while the rest subjected their children to vocational schools to become artisans. We were groomed to accept that "Education is key to success.'
Years after school, I was in the university continuing the pursuit of my academics while those who did vocational learning 'graduated' to own their businesses. Meanwhile, I was struggling to pay my school fees as my parents fell short of their purchasing power due to unforeseen circumstances.

By the incidence of financial difficulty I encountered and the need to define what my purpose was, I took a U-turn from my agriculture-led mechanical engineering course to just being a writer. That was a burning desire right from my childhood. My colleagues were still in the euphoria I'd graduating from school and becoming job seekers while those of our peers we frowned at, years ago, were successful entrepreneurs, getting married and birthing children. It was done on me what Oscar Wilde once said: 'Education is a wonderful thing but bear in mind from time to time, anything worth learning can never be taught.'

It was in the labor world I realized those childhood songs I was inculcated to sing were for entertainment purposes. Growing up, I watched the leaders on television discharging their duties to the nation. Years later, I still see the same old leaders on TV doing the same old things they did when I was a kid. All my peers are all grown (some are gainfully employed, others are still searching while the rest have been retrenched from their places of work) watching the same leaders we knew when were children deciding the future of we, children-turned-grown-adults! Our contemporaries who learnt being artisans are on the same boat but this time, comfortably watching those leaders recycle themselves over the years.

This leaves me with the question: "Are Nigerian children really going to become leaders of Nigeria's tomorrow?'

Word Count: 800 (Approx)