By Timileyin Okunuga and Janet Ifidon
Worried by the poor standard of education in Nigeria, Pax Africana, an Ofure (Pax) Integral Research and Development initiative (ARCID) is to establish a three-arm institution called Communiversity in the country.
The Communiversity, which comprises of primary, secondary and tertiary institutions, is aimed at transmitting indigenous traditional knowledge to the society at large, and at the same time, promoting the nation’s economy.
It was against this background that scholars at a recent forum organized by the Africa Center for Integral Research and Development examined the challenges of development in Africa, and came up with the conclusion that the educational system has failed due to lack of adequate knowledge.
There are suggestions that the workshop themed: “Indigenous Knowledge in Integral Global Knowledge System: Revisiting African Ontology and Epistemology in the 21st Century”, could not have come at a better time than now, when Africans’ ability to speak in their own language is fading away due to negligence.
At the event, some of the speakers admitted that Africa need to evolve its own research methods suited towards African knowledge. Rev. Fr. Anslem Adodo, Founder and Director of Nigeria’s foremost herbal research Institute, the Pax Herbal Clinic and Research Laboratories, popularly called Paxherbals, and chairman of steering committee of OFIRDI, said in his welcome address that the aim of the workshop was to connect Africans together.
“The context of this workshop is to bring everybody together. It is to help our government to connect with people they govern.” The Catholic Priest was of the view that Africans need to redefine who they are. “We need to wake up and tell our stories by ourselves. As Africans we need to study what are existing, how they exist. It is important that we also review the economy of Africa,” he said.
Similarly, Dr. Chris Osahon Eigbike, the workshop convener noted that Africans need to know the simple way to change how they feel about themselves. “It is just about using Africa knowledge system, using our principles to solve problems. We need to look through the lines. We need to re-address our economic system. An economy that is too dependent on foreign product cannot grow.”
Jimoh Amzat, a professor at Usman Dan Fodio University, Sokoto reiterated that Africa need to move beyond wishful thinking. “We need to do something practical in order to solve the challenges we face in Africa. We need to move closer to decision makers, politicians in order to sell our ideas. Let’s stop doing the same thing over and over again.”
Lanre Olutayo, a professor at the University of Ibadan who spoke on “Decolonizing the African University” corroborated affirmed that the values that are being taught in the universities differs from what is happening around us. He noted that academics are not what they are in terms of understanding the society. He emphasized that African values have been hijack by foreigners. “The more education you obtain in Africa, the more unemployed you become because most knowledge obtained are not relevant in the society. This keeps unemployment rate rising.”