Educating for peace- a letter from Bishop John
In his letter, Bishop says: “We need to improve the condition of our people by educating them and striving for fairness and justice in sharing and using the resources of the country for all its citizens. But because of endemic corruption it has never been done that way and thus we find ourselves in our current situation.
Because of our failure in dealing with injustice and corruption, we don’t have the kind of leaders our country deserves. Vested interests, due to their own greed, have stood by corrupt and unjust politicians creating barriers to achieving positive results for the nation.
“In my view” continues Bishop John, “I believe that it is vital to give people is quality education. An educated population, will have the understanding to be creative, patient, and mature citizens.
After the April 16, 2011 general elections, Northern Nigeria experienced a crisis of violence and destruction this crisis of violence was the handiwork of those corrupt politicians who lost in the free, fair, and credible election that we had. They exploited people, who because of illiteracy and lack of an adequate education were easily manipulated for the politicians corrupt purposes.
By exploiting existing differences and tensions in our society, politicians turned what was essentially a political issue into a religious one, pitting Muslims against Christians and different ethnic groups against each other. In reality Christians voted for Muslim candidates and Muslims for Christian candidates. Our goal therefore is to give our young people a sound quality education teaching critical thinking skills so that they can reason well. By educating young people from all backgrounds regardless of gender, religious and ethnic background we aim to develop mature young people who have been educated together in an open and accepting environment. The result will be the development of responsible Nigerian citizens, who will have Nigeria and her progress and unity at heart. Only then can people begin to see themselves not as Christians or Muslims, Hausas, Igbos or Yorubas but as Nigerians.”
Bishop John concludes his letter by asserting:
“For this reason Graceland International School will always admit students regardless of gender, ethnicity or religious affiliation.”
Northern Nigeria, particularly the northeast region, has suffered under the terrorist violence instigated by Boko Haram. They have also attacked targets in Abuja, the capital. These attacks have resulted in many innocent lives lost, including civilians, police and military personnel. Boko Haram is an acronym for the Hausa phrase “Western Education Forbidden”. They have bombed army barracks, police headquarters, and places of worship such as mosques and churches. Their suicide bombers have brought death and destruction to public places such as markets, and social gatherings. The worst affected areas have been in Borno, Katsina, and Kaduna states, all in Northern Nigeria.
Bishop John has spoken eloquently on the best ways to counter this ideology in the long term. “Many believe that their stated aim of resisting western education is just a pretext for a much wider terrorist insurgency promoting an extreme version of Islam. This is why it is essential to use our resources in our country to educate our young people and to provide jobs so that they will not be led into such a terrorist organization. I believe that many of our corrupt politicians and those that Boko Haram uses to achieve their aims are illiterate and jobless; they are disaffected and don’t see a future for themselves. Such individuals are those that Boko Haram targets for recruitment. The present Administration wants to fight illiteracy and the many forces that have resisted growth, peaceful coexistence and development for our nation. Nigeria has the resources to develop a strong economy that will benefit all”
Africa Education Partnership is supporting Graceland International School; we are privileged to be a part of working to bring peace to this troubled region.