Are Nigerian Secondary Schools Responsible For The Worship Of Our Leaders?

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In Nigeria we are primed to fear from an early age.

Fear our leaders, fear our teachers, fear our pastors and then fear our seniors in secondary school. We are taught to fear so much that it becomes a subconscious almost comical part of our life. We see the driver that literarily bows almost prostrates on the ground to greet his oga or the secretary that jumps to carry their bosses bag as soon as they enter the office or that supposed senior employee that is still buying food and fetching water for her other senior senior colleagues.

Okotie-Eboh1To us it looks silly, almost comical like the picture of Festus Okotie-Eboh walking down the streets of Lagos with his flowing cape tied to the neck of a child … until we realize that this is exactly what happens in most of our secondary schools especially boarding houses. Juniors carrying books for Seniors, Juniors fetching water for Seniors, Juniors running to greet their Seniors and getting in trouble if they don’t do it fast enough or well enough. Majority of us have been part of that system, either as a junior doing the serving or a senior receiving the service.

And in a way what we did in Secondary school has evolved to become a part of our politics, corporate lives and now … a way of life.

So while we laugh at the way some of our leaders are worshiped and while we compare pictures of them to their more humble counterparts in the West let us remember that you and me where part of a similar system. If we want to stop leaders from being worshiped we might (emphasis on might before the voltrons start forming) have to start by stopping the worship of Seniors in Secondary school.

twitterWritten By Okechukwu Ofili of
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Author: Ofili

Words by Okechukwu Ofili of
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20 comments on “Are Nigerian Secondary Schools Responsible For The Worship Of Our Leaders?

  1. Yeah…true. The problem is that people mistake respect for fear. If we all(especially parents and people in positions of authority) acknowledge and keep it in mind that respect is not equal to fear or totally worshiping someone, it will get better. Thank God for the Secondary School I attended. The ‘seniority thing’ wasn’t there and it was an offense for a senior student to bully a junior in any form
    Anu latest post is In search of beautyMy Profile

  2. Godson on said:

    Like seriously…are you a psychic or something…? Exactly what I was thinking about this evening…complaining about politicians,bosses…while it all started back in secondary school days,it’s been a vicious circle…that’s where leadership training should start…class captain,school prefects,seniors…#GBU Ofili.

  3. As much as I agree with u,I beg to differ.I won’t be surprised if you have younger ones.Those of us who grew up in homes where we were the youngest would want to show seniority anywhere it demands and it starts with secondary school.One would definitely have Juniors …
    Diddie latest post is The First Pay ChequeMy Profile

    • NiyiKanmbi on said:

      Ofili! you will just spoil every kind of tradition sha. Why do i think you won’t prostrate or drink palm wine on your wedding day?

      anyway, like always you really make sense. I can only think like you for now…will to write isnt there.

      • Ofili
        Ofili on said:

        lol…I will prostrate and shack palm wine if it is what stands between me and the love of my life.

  4. Hehehe. A junior girl! As an adult now, I wonder how powerful the jazz was to make us cower as much as we did in fear…okay, it wasn’t jazz. It was brutality, pomp and plain. Things seem to be improving rather quickly now sha. At least, they are in Eastern Feddy schools.

    • Ofili
      Ofili on said:

      I hope so Oma. Because some of the stories I hear make me cringe. I thought we had it bad in my school, until I heard that some seniors had JSS1 students as slaves I mean house girls and boys. I shudder.

  5. Tony O on said:

    Ofili I’m not sure that is the case today. During my time in Command Lagos, it was pretty bad. Now I have 10 nieces and 7 nephews all in boarding schools. and whenever i talk about wicked seniors they look at me like I am crazy. They tell me students get expelled now for trying all that seniority bullying

    • Bros Tony he go shock you. It is still happening. I thank God that I went to a day secondary school where such isn’t allowed. My younger sister’s friends told her their experiences and it isn’t that such isn’t around again but rather that it is so much around. My roommate narrated her ordeal to me and after just js1 she wrote a letter listing 20 reasons why she didn’t want to go back to that school again to her mother. The sad part is that some students can’t wait to become seniors and dish out the same and even more of those treatments to their counterparts. Those actions were justified on the basis that it teaches and builds up the students but I say bullshit because that means learning isn’t done in other schools that don’t engage in such. Lai lai my children can’t go to such schools.

    • Man, I went to both day and boarding schools. It wasn’t any different. A senior is a senior regardless of the system. What my experiences with seniors did for me was to show me how not to act when I became one.

      I have great respect for culture, but I am hoping that the younger generation will intelligently engage culture in such a way that the good is emphasized over the bad.
      Monale Alemika latest post is UnderCover Boss: valuable LessonsMy Profile

      • Thanks Monale, I also had a taste of both worlds, but my experience with the boarding school was much worse. You are right, culture is dynamic and what probably worked eons ago could do the exact opposite in today’s world.

  6. Pingback: Deadly Culture of Respect in Africa | Healed By Inspiration

  7. Benotafraid on said:

    This reminds of my first job and the MD addressing all the new recruits’ “we all go by first name basis here, no sa! or ma!”
    Immediately he steps out the HR managers turns to us and says “none of you are allowed to call me by my first name. I’ll be Madam O… to you all!”

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