The Problem With Memorization #Nigeria

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When memorization is the core determining factor of success in a school…it ends up defining the society.

Just ask any Nigerian to give you road directions and you will be given a series of names back to back: go down this road, then turn to this corner, and then go here, and if you get lost just stop and ask for directions. The fact is that our road networks like our educational systems are built on a system of memorization; you either know the directions or you don’t. There is no logic to navigating the roads…if you get lost…ask for directions or ask jeeves Jesus.

But in the western world, if you ask for directions, you are told to head north or south and then to take exit number X or Y. Even the exits are numbered according to the number of miles between exits. It is a very logical system; if you are on I-35S (interstate 35 south) you know that you are on an interstate road heading south. If you get lost, you can figure out how to get back on track. That is not to say that logic will get you out every time and that you will never have to ask for directions. But you do not need to fully memorize a road network before you can navigate it independently. Their roads were probably built by people who sucked at cramming…

Sketch courtesy of

This entry is an excerpt from the upcoming book How Intelligence Kills: A Critical Look At Our Dangerous Addiction To Religion, Intelligence and Respect.


Ofili is an author who blogs about life, success and entrepreneurial excellence. Follow him on Twitter , Facebook or subscribe to his blog for more honest talk! To bring Ofili to your school or organization as a speaker simply go here. His third book is titled How Intelligence Kills Us and will be coming out in the second quarter of 2013 (he hopes). To read his other books for free on your android phone go to



Author: Ofili

Words by Okechukwu Ofili of
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20 comments on “The Problem With Memorization #Nigeria

  1. Very insightful. Whenever I watch Hollywood movies, I often wondered how Americans are able to use maps so well on their road trips. And I tended to brush it off as fictional, how they seem to know just the exact number of miles they’ve traveled or need to travel, when they are heading south or east. I guess somewhere at the back of my mind, I realized this was the explanation.

    Can’t wait to get my hands on your new book!
    Muyo-san latest post is My “Udeme” MomentMy Profile

  2. I kinda have the same experience with navigating the London underground, though it’s a different implementation. We definitely have a long way to go at home in Nigeria. May over-intelligence not be the death of us
    Muyo-san latest post is My “Udeme” MomentMy Profile

  3. I could remember when I was jjc in Lagos State, I was under a boss and I was alone coming from Idomota to Surulere and unfortunately there was traffic jams on the road and so I did not get to Surulere in time and because it was dark, I couldn’t locate my way home. The only option for me is to call Okada and call my street name. It was terrible.
    Hire a Webmaster latest post is Five (5) Things You Need to Know Before Hiring a Web Developer to Create a Website for you.My Profile

  4. So true….awesome article, I’m in love with your style of writing. Still grateful that you came to speak at my school (covenant university) really helped me 🙂

  5. EreOluwa on said:

    Great read Ofili, love your write-ups anytime! Always real, true and fact of life blogging.

  6. Ofili truly can’t wait for your latest book to hit the shelves, but there is one thing which really bugs me, when are you going to make these books available on the blackberry platform or Okadabooks for blackberry users? so we don’t need to break the bank to get one of those Android fones. Yeah! one more thing where can i get your sketches online?

    • Ofili
      Ofili on said:

      Bem you can you get my sketches online right here on Can you clarify your question not sure I fully understand.

  7. Hmmm…. The anticipation is building up! I just hate the fact that schools compel kids to cram, and the best kids in school are usually the best crammers! *sucks*! But we can change that. I believe!

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