Nnamdi Azikiwe

Zik on Education

This is an excerpt from a speech delivered by Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe at the Methodist Boys’ High School, Lagos in November, 1934.

“The African should go beyond the veneer of knowledge. Ability to quote Shakespeare or Byron or Chaucer does not indicate original scholarship. The capacity to know what the periphrastic conjunction is, or to solve the Pythagorean problem, or understand the principle of heat, light and sound, or to translate Aramaic, or to know the important dates of British history, does not indicate true academic scholarship. These are the superficialities of a decadent educational system. These do not make for a dynamic social order. They are by-products of the imitation complex which Gabriel Tarde expounds excellently in one of his books.

Originality is the essence of true scholarship. Creativity is the soul of true scholar. Initiative, emulation and the urge to be intellectually honest are the earmarks of research and academic freedom. Heirs and heiresses of the New Africa must now consecrate themselves for scholarly research into all aspects of world society in general and Africa in particular.” – Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe

How much has changed in 82 years?

More than ever before, the government ought to build an educational system to equip Nigerians to solve our problems. The raw material we require for this venture is freely available. We have available templates from the West and Asians we can adopt and adapt to suit our needs.

While the ideal situation is for the government to do something, you and I cannot continue to wait. We must take charge of our own learning and education and forge our own way to a life of meaning and impact. What will you do today?

You can find the rest of the speech here.

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