Wednesday, April 22, 2015


                                                               Image courtesy of

Recently, I was on one of Abuja’s numerous highways when my eyes caught an MTN ad on a billboard with the inscription learning is good, practice is better. I picked up a pen, wrote that down and the rest of this article is what happened next.

Some years ago, I took driving lessons from a friend. I learnt the basics and felt like I have arrived. A couple of weeks later, I would end up bashing the car against a gate when I was asked to drop some people off. I learnt the skill quite alright but never took time to practice. Each time I look back at that incident, I always think to myself learning to drive was good but practicing it would have been better. This same thing was going to repeat itself sometime in 2008 when I represented my school’s local government area in a Spelling Bee competition. I picked up the dictionary, learnt most of the words but didn’t make out time to vigorously practice them because I felt I knew them already. I lost out of the competition that could have seen me clinching the 250,000 naira prize money and becoming the governor of Lagos State for one day. Again, if only I had practiced.

The art of writing could be learned, one could get books on writing to teach oneself. You could also decide to take writing lessons from professionals in the field or even seasoned writers and then do some fine writings. It takes constant practice to either stick to or up your game, if not; all that is learned would be meaningless. Learning the art is one thing and constant practice is just the way to go as you keep tasking your brain, becoming more productive and dishing out some fine stories, write-ups or articles as the case may be. There are a lot of people who never sat in a class to take formal writing lessons but learnt the art on their own, wrote consistently and today they have the sign writer boldly written on their chest just like the Superman ‘S’sign. And just like Superman, could save the world when the need arises, these people could defend the sign on their chest when called upon or tasked with writing.

90 if not 95% of the reasons why students fail exams or don’t perform to the best of their ability is solely because of lack of practice. (The other 5 or 10% could be left for the other factors giving the Nigerian education system.) Even assignments and class works are designed to foster the act of practicing in the students so as to have or show in-depth knowledge of what they are being taught. I am yet to see a student who opens their books constantly, practice every single thing that was written in there and not at least pass their exams in a normal condition. That is, putting certain factors aside.

Ever wondered what the political arena and leadership in general would look like if a good number of those who ‘studied’ political science as a course and/or have a good knowledge of public administration or even took leadership courses are at the helm of affairs in the country’s government. (Studied was enclosed in inverted commas because every single person who finds themselves within the four walls of any higher institution in this country carries the tag ‘student’ wherever they go, the reference therein doesn’t really include every political science students.) For the purpose of this article, you’d agree that if these same people put all that have been learnt into practice, there would be an array of workable policies and progress would be recorded in some if not all sectors of the economy. But then again, politics in this country is based on ‘experience’, godfathers and all what’s not.

Learning is one thing but practice is another and of course better. It takes practice to attain that near-perfect state in whatever it is one is doing or getting oneself involved in. Indeed, just like that MTN advert said: learning is good, practice is better.


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