Without a doubt, Walter Cronkite was right when he said, “Whatever the cost of our libraries, the price is cheap compared to that of an ignorant nation. According to the United Nations from a survey carried out in 2015, there are about 38% of adult African illiterates, two-third of which are women. In Nigeria alone, we have 21.4% illiterate people making the percentage of literate people 78.6%. Although, the number of illiterate Nigerians has greatly reduced over the years, it remains important that we ask the big question; why exactly are people ignorant? The answer is not farfetched. One of the main reasons for illiteracy, the world over, and particularly especially in Africa; is the lack of access to proper education and the will of politicians to invest more in the area of education. In a country like Nigeria, where ignorance lays waste to the cornucopia of untapped talent that Nigeria possesses, this venture is paramount. For example, Bindawa, an L.G.A in Katsina State, has a literacy level of 8%. These kinds of demographics are hurtful to not just our image, but also our pride as a nation.
Born every day in Nigeria with the XX chromosome, the obstacles the girl child has to face each day, with family and friends’ myopic views of what a woman should be still lives until this day. A woman should not have a formal education, if she has she must not be too ambitious, she must aim to marry in the end and her success must not threaten the man. The worst type of view the girls face is that of ignorance that a woman should not be properly educated. The recent United Nations statistics state that there over 62million girls all over the world who have no access to education. The 2015 U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, Goal 4 states, “To ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning”, furthermore, Goal 5 states: “To achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. “The ignorance of our nation and those of children all over the world needs to be eradicated and the movement has begun. Ignorance stems from the smallest of things; when a mother is unaware of her child’s need, when a president is unaware of his citizens, when the younger generation pays little or no attention to the ageing in the society, and most especially when a society ignores the needs of its young ones especially the children and the young girls in the society which is what this foundation aims to eradicate.
The Mooting Society serves as one of the institution’s already existing framework, which focuses on global tactics towards problem solving, understanding the equal powers of both gender towards bringing about public awareness. We do this by training and excelling in competitions based on persuasion, healthy competitiveness, courtesy, diplomacy and nation building, which are also key aspects of the foundations goals and work towards creating a predominant platform to curb societal ignorance concerning global issue and the need to curb this. The National Model United Nations (NMUN), a simulation of the United Nations involving international students instead of professional national diplomats addressing global issues in a real world context, has made each of us realize the vast possibilities to give back to the world and resolve global issues as diplomats. The NMUN program equips the students with an array of skills and makes them conversant not only with the problems and happenings around the world but also with the adroit and ardor to solve them. A case in point is the National Model United Nations, topic for the United Nations Development Programme, which is “Ensuring Women’s and Men’s Equal Participation in Democratic Governance and Peacebuilding and Empowering Youth for Development. Also the topic for the Commission on the Status of Women, which is ‘Women’s Empowerment and the Link to Sustainable Development amongst others. After much research, these delegates are abreast with this information and come up with lasting solutions for them; they come back home and disseminate this information whilst coming up with practical solutions for them. This helps the public to not just voice out frustration in a void of noise, but also be able to highlight key areas, understand their causes, identify ways of solving them, and then begin implementation. These skills are also brought back home and put in the armory of empowering the youths back in our locality. This is just one of the myriad of ways, which we can promote the ideals of ASYARF leaving a lasting legacy. This venture goes ahead to remove ignorance from the perspective of westerners who may have erroneous views about the intellectual quality and capabilities of Africans, and the way in which we conduct ourselves. This in turn aids in spurring them to help us in a variety of the ventures we as Africans pursue to help ourselves. Not to mention the much-needed contacts with Foreign Missions and Foreign Consulates. Our Society was founded on the ideal that Nigeria in order to progress must train her youths on a global level. The mission statement of the ASYARF is to add more value to the world and revive the dying values towards a strong, united and more focused humanity and to emphasize the need for everyone to be his or her brother’s keeper for the promotion of humanity and create a healthy and secure future for all. The main focus of the Asabe Shehu Yar’adua Foundation are Climate Protection/Earth Justice, Health/Provision of clean and sustainable water in local communities, Frown at Child Abuse and Injustice, Women, Children and Youths, Poverty Reduction, Peaceful Co-existence, Humanitarian Services/Disabilities, Conflict Resolution, Good Governance, Electoral Workshop training and sensitization on voters registration exercise and Combating and Research on HIV/AIDS. All these goals are in line with the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Sadly, the attainment of these goals have not been so easy to attain especially in Nigeria as people especially our youths have been sidelined when it comes to involvement in addressing these global issues, as it is inevitable that the future of every nations depends on the empowerment and intellectual development of her youths towards understanding global issues.
The Asabe Shehu Yar’adua Foundation and the Mooting Society will benefit from a partnership with each other, as their objectives are complementary. The mooting society at this point is trying to empower and educate youths at the grass root on a global level, because Nigeria is transcending local competition and moving towards international competition. We have made social and gender equality possible by creating vast opportunities for all students to compete at the local and international levels. For the past few years, female students have led our delegations to previous conferences and have given more girls the opportunity to work as active participant in the society making it possible for all girls to stand equal with their male counterparts. We are never limited by our sex, fear of being looked down on, or discriminated against based on tribe, race or physical disability. With such knowledge, we believe any person, man or woman, can change the world. However it is sad that very few of us have this chance, many people are not as lucky as the members of the society are. For these reason we plan to gain all the knowledge and information possible in order to ensure our voices are heard when we say that ‘Ignorance must be brought to a standstill’.
The Mooting Society through the NMUN 2016, in contribution to the effort of the ASYARF in the eradication of ignorance would continue the foundation’s legacy through; Mass publicity of the foundation and its goals and achievement on its website, blog and social media accounts, and as become ambassadors of the foundation on the local and international scene. In order to join the foundation is in its effort to bring to a national understanding of addressing global issues. With our growing extensive knowledge of international and regional instruments such as; the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, The Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities, The Convention of the Rights of the Child, the Protocol to the African Charter on human and people’s rights and the rights of women and so on, we would play a major role in enlightening more people for a better society in accordance with the foundation’s goal. Also, we can effectively serve in advisory capacity to the foundation’s program especially towards the young people as a result of our proximity to them in the school environment, which makes the dissemination of information faster, especially in areas of youth development programs and activities, Seminars, community outreach, cost effective pet projects such as “READ A BOOK TODAY”. Through these, youth would encourage to read and summarize books daily with incentives to reward with our members would serve as facilitators and volunteers. This would go a long way to reducing the trail of ignorance amongst members of the public and the youths in particular.
The power of the voice of that the NMUN experience gives to the delegation is such that can become viable tools for bringing ignorance to a standstill and this cannot be undermined. It is with a knowledge and understanding of the damage of these problems and ability to see the need to solve them, that the legacy of the ASYARF is continued. Some of the topics we would be addressing at the upcoming NMUN conference include: Education for All: Strengthening Rural Education, Promoting Women in Science, The Impact of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence on Reproductive Health, Utilizing Youth Employment for Sustainable Development, Education in Post-Conflicts Situations, Agribusiness and Entrepreneurship Development for Poverty Reduction amongst others. These topics capture what the ASYARF stands for and sensitize us towards these issues. In our preparation for this, a zeal and fire is ignited within us, a zeal to help and give back, to eradicate these problems. The National Model United Nations, offers us an opportunity and experience like no other, the individuals we become afterwards, are not of benefit to ourselves alone, but to our society. We become individuals who are not held back by ignorance, whose very existence become tools for fighting ignorance and ensuring that the legacy of the ASYARF is continued. We are a body of young and passionate individuals, with access to other bodies, which makes this fire within us, one that will spread to these other bodies. The knowledge and intellectual equipment we will gain is not one that will be kept hidden, but one that will be turned into a tool for fighting ignorance. The various platforms provided to us, will be used to ensure the development of the legacy of the ASYARF and fight ignorance. We hope to add more value to the world and revive dying values in accordance with the mission statement of the foundation towards a strong united and more focused humanity.
In conclusion, the Asabe Shehu Yar’adua Foundation has set its footprints in the sand of time by creating a legacy upholding the eradication of ignorance amongst the people of Nigeria. As delegates ourselves, the topics we deliberate on in the NMUN are real world issues, thus we go there to see ways to eliminate ignorance by drawing a resolution on the likes of aforementioned topics. Indeed our participation in NMUN leaves a great mark on our personality. By promoting in depth research and study, by compiling issues and solutions on particular topics that pertain to us as Nigerians, by ensuring that the information gathered, after being processed is then disseminated to the rest of the populace for better understanding. Most importantly, we would be willing to work closely with the ASYARF towards sparking a resurgence in national thinking about these topics and issues. All these and more would go a long way in eroding the less than favourable phenomena that is “ignorance”, which lives amongst us today. Indeed, more people would be learning, ignorance would be reducing and progress would be made. We hope to blaze that trail that would create a nation of enlightened people.
“One Child, One Teacher, One Book and One Pen can change the world” Malala Yousafzai.