Education: A Powerful Tool For Rural Development
Many inhabitants of Ijora Badia community in Lagos, Nigeria, live in sheds that are mostly built with stilts and iron sheets.
Those who can afford decent accommodation live in single rooms while many others who have been displaced as a result of demolition exercises by the Lagos State Government sleep in churches around the community. There are a number of street urchins who smoke, drink, and wander around.
For 26-year-old Adigun Abdulahi Arogundade, curbing the lack of development in Ijora Badia community demands individual and collective efforts.Adigun is a fresh graduate of Graphic Art from Yaba College of Technology and co-founder of Eleven22 Media, the publishers of the Unveil Mania Magazine, which has served as a mouthpiece for the community since 2011.
“The birth of Unveil Mania Magazine came up in 2011. We discovered that there should be something representing the community, something that will make the people of Ijora Badia know how they are being governed,” Adigun said.
The young Graphic Artist believes that the pen is mightier than the sword. Thus, he seeks to use his magazine as an advocacy tool to expose bad practices and policies of Government leaders.”People do not know the facts”, he said.“Politicians come to talk to our old women. Despite the fact that they are not trying (doing enough), the old women still believe in their lies. So we came up with the idea of unveiling the ineffectiveness of Government policies in the community.”
During the 2011 general election, Adigun and his team interviewed people contesting for leadership positions and published them in one of the editions of Unveil Mania. “Unveil Mania has conquered Apapa, Ajeromi, Ifelodun, and Amuwo Odofin Local Governments,” said Adigun. Inhabitants have been relying on the magazine as a source of information and education in the community.
In addition to publishing, Adigun has championed some other initiatives, including “Face of Badia”. He said his goal was to bring what he has learnt in school back to the community.
“The idea behind Face of Badia and beyond is to bring what we’ve learnt in school back to our community, and try to get involved in meaningful activities instead of joining people who smoke”. Along with other young people in the community, they organized training opportunities. “We had a four month training on Tie and Dye, Bead-Making, and Computer Training, free of charge. And there was no sponsor. We did it because we wanted to make impact in Badia,” he said.
“I am acting based on my experiences. I was not the bad or the good, but the ugly.I never knew right from wrong because no one was there to advise me. So I want to make sure I give my service to others who need it in this community,” he said.
With many years of community service, Adigun spoke about some of the challenges he had faced. “Education is expensive in Nigeria. But according to the wise saying, ‘if you think education is expensive try ignorance’”My parents expected me to start working after years of learning Art as an apprentice but I told them I wanted to go to school.” His parents did not have the money to send him to a higher institution of learning. However, they gave Adigun the permission to send himself to school. Adigun was admitted into Yaba College of Technology after he passed the entrance examination. “I faced a lot of problems before I could pay my school fees,” he said.
Today, Adigun is a self-made social entrepreneur andyouth leader who has proven that one major key for growth in the rural area is for those who had the opportunity to be educated to give back education to their communities.