“The great Ibo race to the East of the Niger, numbering some 3 million, and their cognate tribes had not developed beyond the stage of primitive savagery” Lord Fredrick Lugard, 1914.
This is the list of secondary schools in Nigeria in order of their years of foundation as the time Lord Lugard’s statement:
1. CMS Grammar School, Bariga, Lagos, (West) 1859
2. Methodist Boys High School, Lagos, (West) 1878
3. Methodist Girls High School, Lagos (West) 1879
4. Baptist Academy, Lagos (West) 1885
5. Hope Waddell Training Institute, Calabar (South South) 1895
6. Wesley Collage Elekuro, Ibadan (West) 1905
7. Abeokuta Grammar School, Ogun (West) 1908
8. Kings College Lagos (West) 1909
9. Alhuda College, Zaria, Kaduna State (North) 1910
10. Ijebu-Ode Grammar School Ogun (West) 1913
11. Eko Boys High School, Lagos (West) 1913
12. Government Secondary School, Ilorin (North) 1914
13. Government College Katsina-Ala (North) 1914
As at 1914 when Nigeria was amalgamated, there was no secondary school in Igboland. The West had 9, the North 3, and the South South had one. So, what we know today as the South East Geopolitical Zone had no secondary school in 1914. What measure did Nigeria put in place for South East to catch up?
While it took the Igbo 25 years to catch up and spearhead Nigerian’s independence, the North is yet to catch up despite all the privileges put in place since the end of the Biafran war in 1970. It is ironic that candidates from the region that had no secondary school in 1914 are now required to score higher for admission into federal institutions than those from regions that had secondary schools.
Like the US Cuban policy that did not achieve anything for regular American or Cuban people for 50 years, quota system and federal character must go!
By Emeka Maduewesi