Yesterday, I decided to watch random videos on YouTube – and I stumbled on a vlog of videos posted by Ayo and Edun Entertainment. In one of the two videos I saw by the girls, adult Americans in America were asked to name three countries in Africa. While some of them said Africa is a country, many could not name any African country – but the few who could name at least one, mentioned Nigeria (Evidentially, Nigeria is very popular among Americans, but for all the wrong reasons!).

Once more, that video empirically prove that the average adult American does not know about the world around him/her – and it was nauseating to see many of them say Africa is a country. In contrast to the Americans, the average Nigerian, even primary school pupils, know at least 5 countries in each of Asia, America and Europe. As a 14 year old, I already knew all of the states in America – and of course I knew that America is a country in the North American continent just as countries like Brazil, Paraguah and Argentina are countries in South America. As 14 year olds, I and many of my contemporaries knew that the world has seven continents: Africa, North America, South America, Asia, Australia, Antarctica and Europe. We knew the tallest mountains and the longest rivers. We knew, and still know the world around us.

But ask yourself: what has the knowledge and education of Nigerians done for them? What has the many books and the many degrees Nigerians have read and acquired done to better their lives and that of their country – when compared to the average American who does not care to know or go to school? American comedian; Chris Rock told us that Americans “just love not to know” and told of how hiding money in a book is the safest place to do so because Americans do not like to read. The average Nigerian, both the leaders and the general masses, know so much but this knowledge is not fungible and has not translated into development and growth. Instead, this knowledge makes the educated; particularly many of those in politics and government, a thieving and greedy group who at every opportunity, primitively steal using the pen, now mightier than guns.

In all of these, I say the difference between Nigeria and America is the patriotism of its leadership class and not what the average Nigerian or American knows. I kid you not when I say Nigerian leaders know what to do to bring the country out of the gutters but they deliberately do not do these things because they want to continue to line their pockets and purses with stolen public funds. In America, and although not every public official is a saint, most of that country’s leaders are individuals who are patriotic to their country – because for them, the interest of America comes first.

In Nigeria, knowing and acquiring degrees is a promise (not an assurance) out of poverty so we all rush to know and be educated while in America, citizens “just love not to know” and even with the quality educational institutions they have, going to school is not a do-or-die for many because they live in a better country – and one with a welfare system. Nigerians are the most educated immigrants in America but to what end? Nigeria must introspect and begin to turn citizens vast knowledge and education into the power we know they can be.

© Chad Otsapa

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