1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
At the dawn of the year 2002, Nigeria is still uncertain where it is going. In other words, her destination is still unknown. Nigerians has blamed the woes of Nigeria, and in particular that of the educational sector, to many years of military misrule. There is the common feeling that the military neglected the universities because of their opposition to military rule. But with the re-emergence of civil rule the nation’s educational institutions are still in shambles today, with university professors still not being paid on time. (Some may argue that the universities have started to claw their way back to normalcy with the reprise of civil rule – not democracy. See Bollag Feb 1, 2002). But that remains to be seen and the society is also being rocked by labor unrests prompted by nonpayment of salaries, among other factors. The latest strike action was the police, which the federal government branded ‘an act of mutiny’ (The Guardian On-line Feb 2, 2002; also see Chiahemen, Reuters Feb 2, 2002). If strictly speaking, there are no such things as democracy in Nigeria, it is because its past as well as its present history has become so interwoven into crises, which has often the common man in constant struggle for survival. But for the riches and powerful corrupt politicians, things are very rosy. The role of the ordinary person in Nigeria in the making of democracy is, generally speaking, not regarded or not known at all, after casting his or her vote. And often the positive contributions of the people who struggles, and are still struggling, for the sustenance of democracy in the society have escaped the eyes of those who managed to rig their way into political offices.This is a terrible deviation from the norm. Nigeria is suffering terrible for that, with socio-political and economic crises strewn all over the society like a straw hut in a typhoon. This project attempts to bring into public domain this state of education in Nigeria, and its effect on the polity. With facts, judgement and understanding of the issues facing the nation, the paper argues that the survival of Nigeria as a viable society will depend on the health of her education institutions, and how well the professors and support staff are treated. It portrays the state of education in Nigeria as a public health issue.