Thursday, 12 July 2007
African scholarship students must return to Africa
Winning a scholarship for further studies is for the privileged few. It is obvious that, not every kofi and Adio can get money from government to help pay for their education. Securing a scholarship to study – especially abroad – is meant for exceptionally brilliant chaps. An educational organization or government in recognition of such aptitude is always ready to flame their scholastic skills, and in the hope that such chaps would pay their debts later in life – at least to better their immediate society.
These eggheads become government pikin straightaway (not that kind one o) to the jealous of their contemporaries who are not as brilliant or lucky. Even their parents instantly become the centre of all eyes. "My pikin dey go abroad dey study," the proud parents would be eager to tell anyone who cares to listen. We always hold these young and upcoming intellectuals in high esteem. They are the chosen ones to help develop their respective countries. They would go abroad, learn the white man’s magic, and then return – to make things happen. Hence the main reason every government invest on their eggheads.
Therefore, it is a tragedy if such great expectation is dashed! How could one describe it then if for instance, these students refused to go back to their different countries after their studies! It is important to remind them that, to whom much is given much is expected. Africa needs their knowledge and wealth of experience, which would be impossible to render by refusing to go back to their respective countries. They need to know that such stay-behind action has derogatory connotations, which reveals inferiority complex; and admission of something like "I am not capable upon all my education".
I am forced to ask this question: are they intellectually lazy to make it happen in their continent? Why are they shying away from taking a giant step in contributing their quotas to the development of their motherland? It’s embarrassing for instance, to hear Hungarian minister gloating over African students living in Hungary after completing their studies. "Many African students remain in Hungary with their families after their studies," said Dr. Somogyi Ference, former Hungarian foreign minister.
These students may claim their native countries do not provide a conducive environment for such return. However, an implausible excuse as this actually is where the problem lies, for as eggheads, one would have thought it’s their duties to help create or provide a darling environment. One would have thought they are capable of radical solutions for the development of their respective countries. I doubt if European or American scholarship students in Africa or somewhere else are in the habit of staying behind after their studies. It simply exceeds bounds of reason or moderation.
I understand it’s much easier to finish one’s study, get married to the citizen of host countries, and reside permanently there. But they need to take the bull by the horns. They must pay their debts to their different countries. They owe their respective countries big time. Eggheads should not behave like "hustlers" or street ones as the late Nigerian ambassador to Hungary, Gershon Guyit, reportedly described those of us who are not students.
I remember a former senior diplomat introducing a Nigerian to President Obasanjo as a successful scholarship student who has settled down in Hungary. Obasanjo’s countenance says it all: you must be a compound fool to attribute success to that. Meanwhile, it further shows that many African diplomats do not even know their right from left. I mean how on earth could a scholarship student who has refused to pay his debt described as being successful. Until these rare breeds initiate a certain programme which would alleviate the unnecessary woes that pervade their continent, let them not celebrate.
Refusing to return after their studies is characterized by that laconic chasteness which Fela Anikulapo-Kuti and Bob Marley found characteristic of low mentality or mental slavery. African scholarship students should embark on fasting. They need a very fair reflection upon the way in which they must meet the great expectation. Putative as it, Africa desperately needs its sons and daughters who read engineering, medicine, pharmacy and other equally important subjects, to bail it out.
To be fair, I am not quite sure I would be any different if I were a scholarship student. I mean returning to where? Where there’s no provision for jobs, food is scarce, and environment not conducive for human progress! But then, finding solution to these problems suppose to be a task these scholarship students must not run away from. Since they are a rare breed, a fountain head; living in Europe, America, Australia etc, after completing their studies, is a testimony to Africa’s backwardness. Let them bail us out.