We know that in Nigeria, there is really only one profession. Medicine. If you are not a Medical Doctor you are inferior. The only other question is how much more inferior than a doctor do you want to be. Slightly inferior =Engineer; or You are not in the same species inferior = Music. So for the uninitiated let me explain how career choice works. Secondary school is separated into Junior and senior secondary, in junior secondary school you all do the same subjects. At the start of senior secondary, that is the last three years of school, that’s when you decide whether you’re going to do a combination of science subjects that will make you a doctor or engineer or a combination destined for something less worthy. You do an exam at the end of junior secondary school, if you pass you are put in the science class, and if you barely pass you are put in the arts class and if you do just okay you are put in the middle (commercial). Everyone (and their parents) wants to get into the science classes. So we start out from this stage by ensuring that only the smartest people are scientists. How does this make sense? We do not even think about what people are best suited to study? The university admissions system further makes a mockery of the whole thing. I have made a short list of areas in which we need the best and brightest, but which we seem to think do not require mental exertion.
Economics: a social science concerned with the factors that determine the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. A country is basically a big company which must make a profit to survive. But no! We must have only doctors. Tell me how will these doctors work when the hospitals are poorly equipped?
History: the study of the past. I have written previously on how the failure to study history is an act of national self-destruction. How do we steer a ship of state if we do not know the ship’s history, where the ship has been and where it could possibly go? The state could crumble, but we must have only doctors o!
Linguistics: The scientific study of language and its structure, including the study of grammar, syntax, and phonetics. Specific branches of linguistics include sociolinguistics, dialectology, psycholinguistics, computational linguistics, comparative linguistics, and structural linguistics. Nigeria is reputed to have 521 languages. I have met very few Nigerian linguists. Linguistics has an increasingly important impact on other fields as diverse as psychology, philosophy, education, language teaching, sociology, anthropology, computer science, and artificial intelligence. We have insufficient understanding of how the use of language in schools either impedes or helps the acquisition of knowledge. If we had more linguists they may help us to get better trained doctors. Doctors able to grapple with the needs of the nation, not doctors trained only to go abroad.
Sociology: the study of the development, structure, and functioning of human society. Nigerians tend to make up facts about our society. Since we have no one to contradict those facts, or theories, we argue about them incessantly. But at least we have doctors. Not realising of course that some medical problems can be prevented by societal changes – crime, gendered violence, group violence etc
Psychology: is the study of behaviour and mind, embracing all aspects of conscious and unconscious experience as well as thought. It is an academic discipline and a social science which seeks to understand individuals and groups by establishing general principles and researching specific cases. I believe that you can never truly understand the world until you have understood yourself. We have no response to rape culture, domestic abuse, hive mind, game theory. But we have doctors. So we are all grand, right?
Others: Music, Creative Writing, Languages, Fine Art, Performance Art, Anthropology, Religion, Political Science, Accounting, International Studies… (caveat: this is not a closed list and I have not listed the subjects here or the ones above in order of importance)
The truth is, Nigeria needs more medical doctors, but we also need more of every profession. Most importantly we need the best of the best doing the best of their best. That is what makes a viable state.