Lately, when people listened to the story of my life, the first question I am asked is “Why did you leave a better paying career and delve into Religious Studies or Education?” I come from northern Nigeria a region that lately was engulfed in religious crises and insurgencies. I worked with the Nigerian Air Force for the better part of my life. I was involved in both combat and administrative duties; I was deployed during internal crises in Nigeria, some West African countries, and foreign combat under the United Nations forces. The loss of my brother and other friends during one of such crisis prompted me to leave the Air Force and look for a solution to these crises. I grew up in Jos Plateau State Central Nigeria. Jos was once considered the most peaceful town in Nigeria; hence the town earned the slogan: “Home of Peace and Tourism” however, recent events have transformed this slogan to read ‘Home of Pieces and Troubles’ this can be attributed to the religious and communal clashes in the area. The cordial relationship enjoyed by the people of this area was shattered as a result of these clashes.

On a closer look I discovered that the division among the people based on religion and ethnicity is only within the lower class, the politicians and elites were not affected by this division. I also discovered that it is only the poor that fight for their religion and/or ethnic groups, whereas politicians and the elites interact freely regardless of religious and ethnic differences. The conclusion of my findings prompted me to embark on my current academic journey. The politicians use the divisions to achieve their selfish goals; the people on their part follow blindly or ignorantly. Most of the people used by the politicians and/or religious leaders to perpetrate these acts know little or nothing about their religion.

 

How then can this issue be addressed? I believe through awareness which can be achieved by educating the mothers. Mothers are the first teachers most children have. However, religion and culture has deprived a great number of them from acquiring education in northern Nigeria. I look to CIE to help me achieve the dream of educating the ‘Girl-Child’ in northern Nigeria. Why CIE? I will be learning with professors who have firsthand information about education in Africa and other developing countries not theoretical. I am confident that after my sojourn here I will be better equipped on how to create a curriculum that will be used to teach the young girls and mothers in places of worship (Mosques and Churches). I realized that achieving this task will be difficult but I am determined. It was for that reason I was involved in interfaith activities within my community to create the awareness of peaceful co-existence.

I was instrumental to the establishment of an Abrahamic Peace Center (The Center for Interfaith Dialogue and Conflict Resolution) in the Kawo area of Kaduna and in Anglo Jos Plateau State respectively.  My contributions to interfaith dialogue earned me a scholarship to study at the Hartford Seminary in Connecticut, USA through the International Peacemakers Program (IPP), where I recently graduated with a M.A. Religious Studies (Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations). I am also a teacher.  I have taught at the School of Administration (SOA) of the Nigerian Air Force in Kaduna, the Nigerian Air Force School of Intelligence (NAFSAINT) in Makurdi and the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) in Kaduna.

 

Five years after being at CIE I hope to have trained the second batch of religious teachers who will teach the girls and young mothers who were deprived the opportunity to attend school at both Mosques and Churches. I will partner with the National Teachers Institute Kaduna where I was an adjunct teacher to achieve this goal.  I intend to label this project “Teach the Mothers” I will also partner with CIE and religious organizations to achieve this.

 

Degree: 
Ed.D.
Entrance Year: 
5-year span: 
Status: 
On-Campus Student