Culture, Education and Politics: A Nigerian Perspective – Towards Driving Political Literacy
PROGRAMME REPORT
BRIEF OVERVIEW

The African Leadership Center in Covenant University launched the maiden edition of its Programme called Lunchtime Conversations (LTC). The goal of the LTC is to drive intentionality in stirring up knowledge solutions to the Leadership gap in Africa and our nation Nigeria. It is a platform that has been rolled out, where individuals are invited to have conversations over lunch concerning key leadership issues in Nigeria and in Africa.

The maiden edition held on Thursday, March 15th, 2018. The discussants at the Lunchtime Conversations were:

  • Professor Aize Obayan (Moderator, Director ALDC)
  • Professor Sheriff Folarin (Faculty Member, Department of Political Science and International Relations)
  • Dr. Tunde Iruonagbe (Faculty Member, Department of Sociology)
  • Dr. Ajibade Jegede (Faculty Member, Department of Sociology)
  • Mr. Sean Rajman (PhD Researcher, African Studies, Vice Chancellor’s Intern)
  • Miss Synka Jyte Davis (Final year Student, Department of Political Science and International Relations)

Main Event

The event began with welcome remarks from the Director of the African Leadership Development Center (ALDC), Professor Aize Obayan and the opening was done by the Programme Officer (External), Miss Iruka Obi.

Discussants gave their expectations for the session which all centered on learning and contributing to the conversations of the challenges of Nigeria within the areas of Culture, Education and Politics.

The discussion commenced with definitions of political literacy situated within the context of the Nigerian culture and education, highlighting the effect of the communal mindset of typical Nigerians on the quality of leaders and the political climate of the Nation.

Professor Folarin’s contributions focused on the perpetuation of the Nigerian Dream as a power house from our history. He emphasized among others, the importance of civilians being mindful of and owning the Nigerian dream and having a National creed which is essential towards driving political literacy and by ripple effect, National development.

Dr. Jegede emphasized in his contributions the key role of education in ensuring a smooth transition of the Nigerian community to an effective democratic society while holding on to our value-base as a nation, and the need to create a centre force, using the communal mindset to pull together our national values to move the country forward, which would entail molding the unity and ownership of national culture from primary education to tertiary education through civic education.

Miss Jyte Davis highlighted the importance of the established National Youth Service platform as an opportunity to propagate our National ideals and culture towards promoting National Unity. She also emphasized the need for a solution-based approach to learning which would combat political passiveness and ensure that the national values taught are also imbibed and engaged by the youth.

Mr. Rajman highlighted the importance of leaders being conscious of the fact that their power as a leader comes from the people and that if leaders would be more conscious of the fact, then they would learn that their measure of success as a leader is in the measure of service to those they lead. He also emphasized that if this were to happen, the youth will begin to see themselves as leaders, it would affect individual and national trajectories which will enhance the quality of the pool of leaders accessible within a nation.

Dr Tunde Iruonagbe emphasized in his contributions the need for Nigerian leaders to be visionary, altruistic and strategically utilize advocacy in shaping the National consciousness. He also emphasized the key role of Nigerian Universities in sensitizing the civilian populace about the democratic process and raising prepared leaders for Nigeria.

Professor Obayan’s contributions highlighted the importance of the balance of the individualistic and collectivist mindsets as a central force in developing a holistic approach to political leadership and National development. She also emphasized that Covenant University, in a similar way to Harvard University, is being adequately situated to be a production ground for national leaders in the context of African development. She further emphasized that strategic steps must be taken to build a politically literate and intellectually sound class of people in politics in Nigeria

NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PATHWAYS

  • Create an innovative approach to teaching and learning to ensure that national values are taught at all levels of education and are also imbibed by the Nigerian Youth.
  • Advocacy on a national level towards the promotion of exemplary and servant leadership.
  • Enlightening the management of Nigerian Universities on their key roles in raising Nigeria’s future leaders.
  • Teaching every young Nigerian from the basic primary level and above the art and act of leadership.
  • Combating political passiveness by requesting Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to have registration and voting centers in Nigerian Universities.
  • Preserving our national history, culture and values in stories, literature and structured learning programs.
  • Creation and propagation of the Nigerian Dream.
  • Driving political literacy through innovative teaching methods across all levels of education.
  • Covenant University to continually maximize her strategic influence in vital nation building circles to change the political landscape of the country through her revolutionary practices. This would involve integrating national development consciousness and national vision building practices into student activities.
  • Expanding the Lunchtime Conversations as an advocacy platform for driving conversations that would spark change on a national level.
  • Creating and putting special programmes together tailored around unique national celebrations towards driving patriotism.