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Endangering 21st Century Nigeria’s Educational Institutions



BOOK REVIEW: Ayo Joan Olatoyosi's Thesis, Antithesis And Synthesis Of Life

Grace Ego Omoni

Education is the bedrock of a nation’s development. It is the process of facilitating knowledge, skills, values, beliefs and habits in the individual. In other words, it is the act of acquiring or imparting knowledge or developing the powers of reasoning and judgement and preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life. According to Ebenuah- Okoh E.E., educational institutions all over the world are established to bring about positive changes in the lives of individuals. Thus, the education sector ought to be given more attention in that it gives room for the entire development of the nation and its citizens. According to Peretomode V., the utmost concern of educationists is the creation of products that are capable of eliciting desirable behaviour emotionally, intellectually, morally and socially.

Unfortunately, the standard so desired has proved to be counter-productive due to cancerous practices that have besieged the educational system. It is an undisputable fact that only a sound functional education system can guarantee this nation’s victory over the moral decadence that has so permeated the society. However, it is most disheartening that the educational system which the nation is looking up to for this change has completely failed. It is now the seat and domain of counter-productive practices negating the goals and objectives of education as stipulated in the National Policy on Education. Some of these goals include developing individuals to understand and appreciate their environment, and the acquisition of skills that will enable them to be self-reliant and be integrated into the society.

Education is very important and as such should not be neglected since the future of the nation is dependent on it. Despite the laudable goals and objectives as outlined in the NPE(2004), our educational institutions have failed to achieve these due to corrupt practices among policymakers, implementors of the policies, the learners and other stakeholders such as parents, politicians, the government, administrators and non-governmental organisations.

This article will identify some of these cancerous or counter-productive practices with a view to proffering solutions.
Counter-productive Practices:

Poor Funding: One of the major causes of failure in our educational institutions is poor funding. The financial crises that have engulfed the nation’s economy have made it impossible for the educational institutions to record any substantial progress. Before now, the education sector used to have the highest budget allocation in the nation but this is no longer so. The percentage margin between education and other sectors is now very minimal because the government does not cherish it as a priority to the nation. This has affected the institutions in terms of facilities, physical structures like blocks of classrooms, laboratories and the equipment therein, teaching aids, adequate and qualitative staff strength, training and retraining of teachers, remuneration for staff, e-libraries, health facilities and a host of other infrastructures.

Adequate and qualitative staff ensure that knowledgeable teachers are being enlisted, developed and rewarded for realizing the goals and objectives of education. However, poor staffing results in the pitiable outcomes which we see in the teaching-learning process. Moreover, most of the money put aside for the purpose of promoting education is being vandalized and embezzled by known and unknown unscrupulous elements in the society.

You can imagine that in this 21st century, teachers in schools including higher institutions are still in the practice of using blackboard and chalk to teach whereas, many private universities use the interactive digital board. What a shame! With this modern interactive board, the teacher can access the internet for useful information in relation to the topic, thus making the teaching much more interesting to the learner and easier for the teacher to explain. Thus, poor funding is counter-productive.

.Politicization of education. This is a very serious malpractice negatively affecting education in Nigeria. The government of the day has politicized educational policies affecting our institutions in the area of curriculum development, the establishment of schools and higher institutions of learning, posting of teachers, choice of subjects by the students, and appointments and promotions . Where do I start from? In appointments and promotions, a lot of lobbying goes on and at the end of the day, square pegs are put in round holes and vice-versa. Junior teachers are promoted over seniors and the unqualified are given appointments over the qualified creating disharmony in the system. Invariably, interest in the work becomes a problem and at the end of the day, the products cannot fit into the society as well-groomed individuals.

One more thing here is the issue of choice of subjects and the availability of qualified teachers. Take for instance French Language being paired with Arabic Language. It is a well-known fact that there is a dearth of French teachers in secondary schools. Deliberately, the so-called policymakers paired it with Arabic Language and flooded the schools with Arabic teachers. Who does not know that the intention is to give precedence to Arabic Studies and no choice for the students?

Another problem is in the area of posting teachers to urban schools leaving the rural areas to be starved of teachers in the core subjects. The school’s management board connives with teachers to have them posted to schools of their choice to the detriment of the rural ones. Even with that, proper supervision is not given to ensure that there is equitable distribution. This is cancerous.

Administrative Malpractices:

The impact of poor administration by both academic and non-academic staff in educational institutions is another counter-productive factor. There have been cases of deliberate missing files and documents causing delays in executing matters of importance in the schools. Others include delay in processing applications, late coming and irregularity to work, lack of dedication, dereliction of duties, falsification of documents, bribery and corruption and several other fraudulent practices that have tarnished the image and reputation of the education industry in Nigeria and have rendered institutions incapable of adequately meeting the goals and objectives of education.

Other examples include teachers and lecturers not strictly following the scheduled school timetable because they engage in private businesses to the detriment of the students. Often, they wait till the tail end of the term or semester to rush in teaching what would have taken them 13 weeks for those in the secondary schools and 16 weeks for higher institutions in just a few days. According to Prof Okoye, many lecturers and teachers exploit the students sexually and financially. They are forced to buy textbooks written by them for scores in continuous assessment. Some others fail the students for the refusal of their sexual or monetary demands or household equipment like Plasma television, washing machine, air conditioner and clothes. The more expensive the gift, the higher the score or grade.

Examination Malpractices: These occur at both external and internal examinations in a well-coordinated manner with so many people involved. Examination malpractice is a fraudulent means of cheating by getting answers to questions while an examination is going on. There are different types of examination malpractice. It could be by a sole individual or could be corporately organized. The school or the teachers or parents, supervisors, invigilators and the police are usually accomplices especially if the examination is external. It could be by bringing relevant materials into the examination hall or by impersonation whereby a person paid comes in to write for another individual. There was a case some years back when a friend of mine went to supervise WAEC only to find her friend’s son who had already passed the school certificate examination comfortably seated to write for someone. Immediately he sighted this friend of mine, he vanished from the hall.

There was another case in which a councillor in a local government was caught in the exam hall with relevant answer materials. He quickly threw the papers into his mouth, chewed and swallowed. The invigilator no longer had evidence to present. Some write on their palms, on the desks or under the hem of their garments. There was another case involving the police and the WAEC candidates during the time of Mrs Ogbuagu, the then Commissioner of Education in Delta. After these two boys were caught, two police officers were asked to take them to the police station. On their way, they bribed the police officers who returned to the exam centre to announce that the boys jumped into the river when they got to a bridge.

Other forms of examination malpractice include the leakage of examination questions in both external and internal situations, cases of missing scores, allowing students and non-teaching staff to be invigilators and collate and compile results and arranging for students to write exams outside the official time. Mass promotion too was another form of malpractice in those days. Here, students and pupils were allowed to move to the next class whether they passed or not. A few schools still do it, especially in the private sector.

All these are counter-productive practices that have lowered the standard of education and encouraged a high level of indiscipline. So most often, the certificates being carried about are not the true representation of the carrier’s intellectual ability! It is extremely dangerous. Many have used it to get employment and are not able to perform well. Employers give reports of ugly situations involving people who have wonderful educational qualifications they are not able to defend.

Admission, Appointment and Promotion Malpractices.
Educational institutions have laid down admission, appointment and promotion policies but these are most of the time set aside because of corruption tendencies. Let us look at the admission policy for primary school children. The law says the child must be six years old before he or she should be admitted but it is not so today. Children of 4 years or less than are found in primary one, especially in the private sector. The child may at times may be given double promotion and so skips classes, get to the secondary school and even write junior school certificate in J s s two and then off to the tertiary institution. Unable to cope, he or she begins to express emotional anxiety, depression and might fall into bad peer group.

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This is all because the child was not ready emotionally, intellectually and physically. E.L.Thorndike in his educational laws of readiness said that the child must be ready intellectually, physically and emotionally. Some may drop out of school. UNICEF asserts that Nigeria has the highest number of school dropouts in the world having about 10.5 million of them out of school. Others engage in social vices such as cultism, hooliganism, indiscipline, alcohol and drug abuse, prostitution, inappropriate dressing and the use of foul language.

In tertiary institutions, we also have cases of illegal admissions. Hence you find some students being asked to withdraw after spending years due to fraudulent practice of getting admission.

Appointment and promotion fraudulent practice has caused problems in the school system leading to cases of indiscipline. Through lobbying junior teachers are promoted over the senior ones. In giving appointments, the unqualified get the job while the qualified is dropped. The result is inefficiency and deficient teaching due to limited knowledge. There was this teacher of French who taught French using English. Laughable you may say but this is one of the things endangering education in Nigeria. These have further heightened the level of illiteracy in the country.

Only sound qualitative education in a sane environment can guarantee our national development in Nigeria. The challenge, therefore, is to rebuild our educational system and free it from all forms of counter-productive practices. The government, the very educational institutions, academic and non non-academic staff, learners, parents and other stakeholders must be ready to engage in the following:

1) Funding of education should be the priority of the government at the federal, state and local levels. Schools need to be refurbished, rehabilitated, and rebuilt. Facilities such as blocks of classrooms, halls, health clinics, laboratories, science and technological equipment, e-libraries, textbooks, modern teaching aids, interactive digital boards and conducive classrooms must be made available in both the rural and urban schools.

READ ALSO: Assassination Attempt On Madagascar President Foiled

2) Training and retraining of teachers, adequate staffing and fully qualified teachers properly distributed in both rural and urban areas must be put in place. Self-development following the policies laid down such as study leave with or without pay should be implemented. Reward and remuneration for hard work should be used to encourage teachers. Teachers teaching English Language, Mathematics and other science subjects should be given responsibility allowance. Promotion of teachers as at when due should be strictly followed. Denounce all forms of lobbying during promotion and appointment exercises.

3) The government and educational bodies should desist from politicizing education in Nigeria. Every ethnic or religious group should be given fair opportunity to education. Government should stop giving preference to a particular religion by making provisions for students to have extensive subject choices.

4)Admission policies should be strictly adhered to and enforced by the Ministry of Education. Proper supervision to checkmate these admission discrepancies at the primary, secondary school and tertiary levels is necessary especially for underage individuals.

5) Workshops and seminars should be organised for teachers to intimate them on new methods of teachings and approaches to teaching-learning situations.

6)Parents and guardians should be sensitized to government policies concerning education and their children. Parenting style that would bring out the best in their children should be introduced to parents. Authoritarian and laissez-faire kind of child-rearing practices should be discouraged.

READ ALSO: Women’s Representation In Nigerian Politics: Challenges And Solutions

7) Counselling and youth centres in the primary and secondary schools, as well as higher institutions, must be established so that students will have access to counselling activities from qualified personnel. Here they are taught the values of integrity, hard work and the dignity of labour.

8) The law on examination malpractice enacted years ago should be enforced. The law states that anyone guilty of examination malpractice should be sentenced to 21 years imprisonment. Surprisingly, this law is no longer in operation since its promulgation yet stories of examination malpractice abound everywhere.

9) Individuals without teacher education qualifications should be relieved of their appointment. Such should not be allowed to teach because they lack the pedagogical competence to do so.

10)Research and development of teachers is a veritable tool for educational growth and sustenance. The government and employers of teachers should encourage and sponsor them to learn more about new methods of teaching, the use of modern teaching aids and current issues in their subject areas.

11) Worship of academic certificates should be minimized. Award of certificate to undeserved individuals should be deemphasized. Emphasis should be placed on technologically inclined subjects and skills acquisition centres are to be built where students can learn trades.

12) Moral instructions should return to schools. The government of the day should ensure that learners have access to religious knowledge. It has been observed that the so-called repentant Boko Haram men, herdsmen, bandits and terrorists are not given any Christian Religious knowledge and this is not good enough. Again with the high rate of hooliganism, cultism, indiscipline, inappropriate dressing, Yahoo syndrome, kidnapping and armed robbery cases, moral instruction has become inevitable.

13) Parents – Teacher communication is important. There is need for teachers, parents, guardians, and others to periodically hold meetings to discuss the welfare of their children in terms of a conducive enabling environment, mental health, availability of materials and physical facilities needed to promote education. Schools should periodically organise open day for parents to come to see how their children are faring academically, socially and morally. With Parents- Teachers Association meetings, attendees will have opportunities to make suggestions that will be used to improve the educational standard.

14) Administrators should live up to expectation and should desist from practices such as lateness, irregular school attendance, bribery and corruption, engaging in pranks such as hiding files, delaying applications and stealing official materials. Such culprits should be punished.

Educational or counter-productive or cancerous practices are not peculiar to our nation Nigeria. Hong Kong and the USA are involved in this negative game. It is a malignant disease plaguing and endangering the educational system. It has made national development static and retrogressive. They are actions and inactions of individuals which violate the established ethical codes and conducts of educational institutions and policies. Parents, learners, the government, policymakers, implementors of the policies, administrators, academic, non-academic and management staff are all involved in the different shades of practices that are not productive. Therefore, it is suggested that all stakeholders involved should endeavour to have a new mindset and engage in activities that will make education productive.


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Who Needs Counseling In Nigeria?



Witch Burning, Impunity And Abuses Linked to Witchcraft Beliefs In Benue State
Dr. Leo Igwe

By Leo Igwe

In January, I registered for a professional course in counseling at the Attitude Development Institute (ADI) in Lagos. After my doctoral program in religious studies, I thought I was done doing any other academic course. But I was mistaken. I recently noticed that something was missing in my academic and learning accessories. And I needed to rectify it. So I started this professional diploma program. I embarked on this course in my quest for a more competent way to assist people who contact me for help and support. Many contact me saying that they are tired of life and could not find anything meaningful to do or to earn a living. Many attribute their problems to ‘village people’, witches and wizards, generational curses, evil spirits, jinns, demonic attacks, etc. Many attribute their failures, setbacks and misfortunes to juju or harmful magic. I decided to do this diploma in counseling because I felt that something was lacking in my knowledge and understanding of human beings and human problems.

Last year, a lecturer on guidance and counseling at a college of agriculture in Ebonyi state invited me to come and talk to some of his students. Some of the students wanted to do money rituals and he was worried. This lecturer asked me to come and persuade them against engaging in this futile and criminal venture. But how could I do this professionally and effectively?

I wondered what else to tell these students apart from what I had repeatedly said in the past. That money ritual was a superstition, and the belief had no basis in reason or reality. But will that help? Will that be enough? Will the students be persuaded by that proposition? I asked. I felt that telling them that ritual money was a myth would likely be an exercise in futility. It would likely be inadequate and would not yield effective results. I felt that young people needed a more structured way to get them to change these thoughts and behavior. Anyway, I went to that college of education and met with some students and spent time talking to them, advising and persuading them not to indulge in money rituals. I urged them to try and complete their education and then seek out other evidence-based ways of making money. I do not know if my talk yielded any positive results.

Before and after this incident I encountered many who strongly believed in ritual money, and who, given the opportunity could kill, or use human body parts for rituals. Last year, someone contacted me from Kwara state. He inquired how he could do money rituals. I offered similar advice. Some people have contacted me seeking some other forms of help and support. Someone called from Imo state asking how he could stop gambling. That it was ruining his business and that his friends were pointing accusing fingers at his landlady. They said the woman was a witch and was responsible for his dwindling fortune. I offered him some words of advice. Also, in advocating against witch persecution, I have come across people who had anxiety, and mental and emotional disorders but who attribute these psychological problems and other existential challenges to witchcraft. I have been looking for competent ways to manage witchcraft believers and suspecters. I have been searching for more professional ways to support traumatized victims and survivors. I have been seeking a skillful mechanism to empower, guide and enable entertainers of witchcraft fears and sufferers of witch persecution to heal, recover and take control of their lives.

Beyond that, there are personal reasons. I am the first son in my family. I started dealing with family issues at a very young age without any knowledge of human psychology. I was socialized to help my younger brothers and lead even when I barely knew my left from my right. I was made to manage and resolve family-related issues even when I was a child with barely an understanding of how life worked. I was not self-aware or socially aware. I did not know human personalities and temperaments. I was not allowed to grow like every other child. I was pressured to behave like the first son, the deputy head of the family, and to intervene in family issues including my parents’ marital issues. Even now my father has passed away, I manage family issues and deal with members with personality disorders and untreated traumas, including my siblings who engage in micro/transferred aggressions and other negative behaviors rooted in childhood experiences. They intentionally make life miserable for me; they complicate matters to settle childhood scores, to punish or deal with me for some real or imagined privilege that they thought I had enjoyed as a first son.

In addition, I started teaching at 17 years, I taught at a local seminary and helped in nurturing children. I did not know children and educational psychology. It was like a child teaching children. It was while studying for my bachelor’s in philosophy that I did some psychology courses. I learned about Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, and Ivan Pavlov and their explanations of human behavior. But it was all theory. Then my focus was on getting good grades and passing examinations, not applying the knowledge to real life and issues. In the course of my humanist work and campaign, I have come across people suffering from religious trauma, and victims of religious oppression and persecution.

I would like to offer them effective help and support. As a humanist celebrant, I help families that are grieving, couples who are getting married, or those celebrating the arrival of a new baby. To provide effective help and services, I realized that I needed some professional training in counseling. I searched online and got some information about one Counseling Association of Nigeria. I contacted them and registered. But I realized that the focus was mainly on guidance and counseling in schools. That is important. But that was not what I wanted. My impression was that the association was mainly for teachers and lecturers. I needed some training that could qualify me as a professional counselor. I went online and saw some information about two counseling institutes in Lagos. They offer professional training.

One is in Ikeja, which is the ADI, and the other is in Victoria Island. I spoke to some counselors and one recommended ADI. After some telephone conversations and WhatsApp exchanges with the director of the Institute, I enrolled in its diploma class. The classes are held once every week. I joined the second week. After my first class, I realized that I was in the right place and that the program that they offered was what I was looking for. It was a twelve-week program, very intense. The courses included the foundations of counseling, counseling theories, and skills, children/teenage counseling, marriage/family counseling, and crisis/trauma counseling. Some of the courses focused on Christian counseling, grief counseling, sex therapy, and mental health. When I started I was worried that the lectures would be bland, another monotonous exercise in issuing handouts, but they were not. The lectures were interesting. And the lecturers were engaging and entertaining. They were very articulate and used so many examples to illustrate their points. The program occasioned some intellectual shocks and dissonance. It has helped me to correct some misconceptions about counseling and counselors. First I realized the importance of counseling and counselors. Look, human beings suffer both physical and emotional injuries. Both injuries are treatable. While medical doctors help treat physical wounds, counselors as therapists help treat emotional and psychological injuries. Again, counseling is widely understood to mean advice. We were told several times that counselors were not advisers. They do not advise their clients. A foremost counselor, Irvin Yalom whose book, Love’s Executioner, we reviewed throughout the course said the task of a counselor was to make himself or herself obsolete. Yes, it is tacitly saying that for the counselee to live, the counselor must die. He noted that the counselor’s role was to help the client take responsibility for making himself or herself better. Instead of advising, counselors support counselees to take control of their healing and living.

Again, throughout the program, the lecturers made it clear that one of the characteristics of a good counselor was listening. A counselor must be a good listener. He or she must have good listening skills. Also, counseling was not meant for some people, some psychologically troubled and maladjusted people. Instead, the lecturers made it clear that counseling was for everyone, for both the counselors and the counselees. In the course of the lectures I kept flashing back and recalling so many people that I have met in life who needed counseling. Everyone is grappling with some trauma or emotional issue at one time or the other. They encouraged the trainees to go for counseling. Each class was indirectly an exercise in group counseling and therapy because the classes provided opportunities for members to pour it out, to draw from their life, work, and family experiences in discussing the topics.

Yes, I realized that everybody needed counseling. And nothing illustrated the need better than a particular incident that happened during the program. Due to some miscommunication, one of the counselors managing the program communicated the wrong date for the class graduation to the management. When she came and informed the class, she was told that she communicated the wrong date. And this counselor became furious(meanwhile her name is also Fu…something). Discussions became quite heated and tense because she continued to insist that she communicated the correct date. The room became very noisy and rowdy because some people were trying to correct her but she refused. At some point, a member of this class set that calls itself, Ignite, raised her voice. She is in this class of women with a huge and imposing stature, looked quiet from the outside, and could be mistaken as phlegmatic. She said emphatically while pointing her five fingers at this counselor and swinging the hand up and down: “You are not listening”, “You are not listening”. At that point, the counselor tried to calm down. A senior management colleague intervened and urged the counselor to leave the room. As soon as she left, another class member said: “She needs counseling”. And some class members chuckled.

So, everybody needs counseling in Nigeria.

Igwe,PhD, is a trainee counselor at the Attitude Development Institute, Lagos.

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Professors On INEC’s Will (4)



Readers’ Showers Of Encouragement
Prof. Tony Afejuku

By Tony Afejuku

    These past three weeks have been three supreme weeks of supreme value to all of us who have been gluing ourselves to this column for the right reasons: No room for lying; no room for deceits; no room for propaganda; no room for vanity. No room, no room, no room for what should not be here. Thoughts of the streams, thoughts of the spheres, music of the streams, music of the spheres enhance the column in diverse ways. 

    Our debaters for the past three weeks have demonstrated this. Each of the professors (all of them, in fact) has demonstrated this in the geometry of their presentations, in the minds of their geo-biographies, in the arithmetic of their convictions and persuasions. They in varying degrees did not support the will of INEC in the presidential election, even though the INEC chair is one of them, a fellow professor in the sphere of the humanities. In going over the longitude and latitude of the flow of our professors, of our debating professors, in their authentic and responsible sphere of spheres the clarity and precision of the geo-biography and nature of patience moved towards me. This may not be the right way of putting it, but I found and still find each debater to be a patient debater. Goodness! How a patiently patient listener and presider over the debate Professor Olu Obafemi was/is! The rhetoric of his ears or of his eyes or of his tongue was/is the rhetoric of the sage. If I imagined this, I imagined it well. His rhetoric was/is not the creation of this recorder, but it is the rhetoric of the music of the shaping of the debate and the words of the debaters who like him are fellow writers and creators. 

    Now I present to our readers the summation of Professor Olu Obafemi who presided over the reported affairs of the literati:

“This debate has gone on very well and quite enlightening. I have learnt quite a lot from the various positions eloquently proffered here. I like to chip in this bit: (1) there will not be much ideological departure from PMB to BAT. We will still operate a neoliberal economy, fraught largely with parasitism and consumerism. It is very likely, from his experience in investment, creative commercialism/commodity consciousness and cosmopolitanism in governance, Tinubu will be a lot more distribution-prone, more productive, and more people friendly than his predecessor; (2) having operated in comprador praxis in the US, Tinubu will engage globalization with discretionary envisioning (these are loaded, unconventional concepts that may require greater elucidation in future; (3) having not operated unitarist governance strategy that we have had since Ironsi till date, and with his governance experience in Lagos, including standing up to OBJ to run a well-structured State in Lagos, BAT will be more of his own man who will surround himself with talent rather than a cabalistic instinct (I am talking here about power delegation as opposed to power relegation); (4) we have good reason to believe that Tinubu will not go for a winner-take-all, conclave-prone governance and will strive to deliver goods and services— democracy dividends more generously/humanely. May the future be better and more tolerable for our people and all of us in this country, and all our fellows and compatriots in foreign lands, that is, the diaspora.”

But the pastor-spirit as well as the track of traditional culture in him elicited from Professor Ademola Da Sylva what amounted to a kind of vote of thanks to Professor Olu Obafemi and the co-debaters in the literati.

“Many thanks, Baba O.O., for your thoughtful, clinical and lucid interventions; and IBK’s, (and others’) too! So palpable and infectious are the feelings of hope, and delight of the innocent, that you have demonstrated in your concluding postings, and my silent response was a loud A-m-e-n! Then I turned to God the Almighty, and said, “Baba-God, these genuine feelings expressed by these great minds, aggregate what is uppermost in the mind of the Nigerian people at this point of our history. Can you, please, do this one last favour for the masses of this country? I believe it is not beyond what you as the Almighty can do for an otherwise potentially great country like Nigeria! Simply protect BAT, from the powers that have constituted themselves into human principalities in the corridor of power; completely and permanently seal the mouths of those demonic lions labelled as Cabals in Aso Rock that have, thus far, truncated Nigeria’s destiny! AMEN!” Perhaps we should remind ourselves that our hope was this high when many Nigerian voters, including yours truly, trouped out to vote in Buhari as President! Now, I remember, “demonic forces” written about by Reuben Abati during the Presidency of GEJ, unfortunately, like some nameless hydra monsters they always rear their ugly heads with every new administration, these Aso Rock principalities. PMB has his good share of them in the Abakyaris, and very familiar ones, for obvious reasons, like the Ngiges, et al, never for once did they allow PMB to be! They took advantage of his visibly infirm state, to take over the reins of governance in what could be described as a “civilian coup” and ran-over the ship of the country crashing against the Aso rock! The reason we are where we are, right now! BAT like PMB, also has a visibly infirm visage/characteristic unless we pretend to not acknowledge it, a new set of cabalistic demons would join forces with the existing ones, after all, it is still the same Political Party, to take advantage of BAT’s current clinical status! BAT of 20 or 10 years ago, isn’t the same BAT today on account of age and health. Yes, unless God Almighty does something about these principalities through His human agents, they might yet soon take over the affairs of Nigeria under BAT too, to do what they know best: to steal, to kill and to destroy, and ensure that the status quo remains as it has always been, in the spirit of Ted Hughe’s very famous poem, ‘The Eagle’!”

Well, well said, O debaters. But let the columnist-terminator and terminator-columnist have the last word. The time won’t be long to ask INEC this simple question: Did INEC lavish allegedly over three hundred billion naira to register the paltry figure or number of voters for the 2023 elections? Did the very small number (below ninety or so million) match the more than very huge sum of money that INEC got for registration of voters and for other election related matters, duties and responsibilities? How much money in millions upon millions did not allegedly go under and distributed to “principalities” and “demonic forces” hovering over Aso Rock and the Presidency of the presidencynologists? Any clear or unclear answers to these questions cannot or may not but tell us that the presidential election in particular was INEC’s will. Our debating Professors will not say on oath that they did not know. Did the presidential and other elections meet the expectations, wishes and will of the people generally? INEC has the answer. And our debating professors will bluntly tell the chairman of INEC this.                                                   

    Because our professors are fellow writers, I must terminate the discourse by drawing their attention to the following poem “For the Consideration of Poets” by Haki R. Madhubuti (original name Don Luther Lee), the 81 years old African-American poet, author and publisher, and a native of Little Rock, Arkansas:

where is the poetry of resistance, 

the poetry of honorable defiance 

unafraid of lies from career 

politicians and business men, 

not respectful of journalists who write 

official speak void of educated thought 

without double search or sub surface questions 

that war talk demands? 

where is the poetry of doubt and suspicion 

not in the service of the state, bishops 

and priests, 

not in the service of beautiful people 

and late night promises, 

not in the service of influence, 

incompetence and academic 

clown talk?

The above lines speak volumes. Let them stay glued to our memories day by day. And may INEC’s chairman become the poet and historian of resistance after finding time to read this!

Terminated for now.

Afejuku can be reached via 08055213059.

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Iwuanyanwu And The ‘Political Rascals’ Rhetoric 



Nigerian Destiny: In The Hands Of The People
Dr. Promise Adiele

By Promise Adiele

Samuel Beckett’s absurdist play Waiting for Godot avails itself of multiple interpretative tools with a compelling grip on the moral imagination of the audience. As a timeless drama, it thrives on the hopelessness of the human condition dramatized by two vagabonds, Estragon and Vladimir who waited for a mysterious, titular Godot that never came. One of the features of the absurdist literary tradition portrayed in the play is the failure of language in the verbal context as a means of communication. The verbal exchange between the two vagabonds is evident of misinterpretation. One says one thing, the other interprets it differently. Thus, it calls to question the potency of language in the verbal medium as a means of communication. The preceding analogy reminds me of Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu and his purported insult to the good people of the Yoruba ethnic group. Perhaps, misinterpretation currently manifests as an inexorable content of Nigeria’s absurd credentials.

Last week, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, philanthropist, accomplished businessman, the Balogun Babaguwan of Yorubaland, Ahaejiejemba of Igboland and elder-statesman, while reacting to events that happened in Lagos during the last election when many Igbo people were bloodied and harassed, assured the world that “the Igbo and Yoruba are not at war”. On the heels of that statement came another one “they are Yoruba political rascals”. A syntactic analysis of the two sentences affirms that the Chief never meant to insult the entire Yoruba ethnic group. Rather, he was referring to rascals in Lagos who maimed, killed, and vanquished Igbos, non-Yorubas, and even some Yorubas with Igbo semblance, stopping them from exercising their voting rights during the election. He also said “we know them and we will deal with them”. Language scholars know that Chief Iwuanyanwu did not mean to insult the Yoruba. Sadly, some social nitwits, victims of acute cognitive impairment, went on a rampage to misinterpret and manipulate his statement to suit their treacherous, mischievous purposes. It is absurd. 

 Anyone who knows Chief Iwuaynanwu’s antecedent will never ascribe offensive rhetoric to him. He is soft-spoken, conciliatory and peace-loving. Like every sensible person around the world, not just the Igbo, he was aghast with lurid photos and video evidence of harm against the Igbo in Lagos during the last election. Unfortunately, people who ordinarily frolic in the whirlwind of ethnic hate have seized the opportunity to insult the Igbo ethnic group while using acerbic words on the revered Chief. These people, in their degenerate and diseased mentality, are trying to install a wall of hate between the Igbo and Yoruba. Let me state categorically that the Yorubas are wonderful people whose spirit of brotherliness, conviviality, and tolerance speaks volumes across the world. I have maintained over time that the Igbo and Yoruba share a cordial, interwoven relationship in marriage, business, friendship, association and neighbourliness. The two ethnic groups can never be involved in a conflict. Many Yoruba people have helped many Igbo people to their destinies and many Igbo people have helped many Yoruba people to their destinies too. An attempt for one ethnic group to harm the other will result in serious harm for the two. It is as implicating as that. 

Since the presidential elections, keenly contested by different candidates from different ethnic groups in Nigeria, some people have desperately sought to reduce the entire development to an ethnic affair. It is myopic and at once condescending. Does Peter Obi represent the Igbo? Does Bola Tinubu represent the Yoruba? Does Atiku Abubakar represent the Hausa/Fulani?  These candidates all have supporters across the country. Of course, they will have a preponderance of support from their ethnic base. That is the way of politics. Unfortunately, ethnic jingoists have, in the inerrancy of their bleak convictions, reduced the entire political discourse to an ethnic affair especially Yoruba vs Igbo. These people, stranded in the realm of ethnic hate and communal intolerance, have done everything within their powers to inflame ethnic tension to crucible dimensions. It is wrong for anyone to insult a whole ethnic group in whatever guise. In Chief Iwuanyanwu’s case, he has put the records straight by clarifying what he meant, insisting that he was quoted out of context. But the morbid and decadent will not hear of it. They insist that Iwuanyanwu and all Igbo should be roasted alive. As far as these simpletons are concerned, the Chief spoke the mind of all Igbos. How idiotic and harebrained can anybody be? 

Recently, some people have also indulged in ethnic slurs. Unlike Chief Iwuanyanwu that clarified himself, Bayo Onanuga offered no apology and insisted on standing by his words. Onanuga spoke for himself and couldn’t have insulted the Igbo on behalf of the Yoruba. MC Oluomo, while registering his socio-political disorientation, spoke for himself when he threatened the Igbo on an  election day and went on to make good his threat which the police shamelessly called a joke. FFK has also made inflammatory remarks which were his personal opinion and not the opinion of Yoruba. It is therefore, a function of disabled, primitive awareness for anyone to insult an ethnic group based on the comment of one person. Such insults and abuses expose the quiddity of phenomenal foolishness which, hitherto, was concealed in some people by the façade of education. No, these hate mongers belong to the stone age. Nobody should be deceived by their pretentious liberalism. 

The question is, are there political rascals in Nigeria? Definitely yes! These are the particular people Chief Iwuanyanwu referred to concerning what happened in Lagos during the last elections. Of course, all parts of the country have their share of political rascals. It is not peculiar to one ethnicity. Political rascals are those who walk the streets, snatch ballot boxes, stab people due to their ethnic origin and prevent them from exercising their civic rights. They are not educated. They are thugs, street urchins and never-do-wells employed by politicians to advance nefarious objectives. There are also some educated political rascals. They don’t walk the streets, but demonstrate humane deficiency of unimaginable proportions using social media and sundry news outlets. They spread hate, provoke enmity and fan the embers of war. They incite the uneducated, urging them to bay for the blood of ordinary citizens. Their social media handles are replete with expletives and insults. Abusive engagement allows them to flourish. Another category of political rascals populate government establishments like INEC, the Police and different security agencies. These people compromise the electoral process in exchange for financial inducement and material gains. They are unconscionable, desperate and invidious. Are these people from another planet? No, they are among us. We know them. 

The ethnic hate narrative is a device enunciated by the political class to keep the people divided, breaking their rank and file to unite and fight a common enemy. The opposition LP and PDP are convinced that the election was marred by sharp, underhand practices and therefore have gone to court. Is going to court to challenge the outcome of an election a legitimate practice? If it is, why can’t detractors of equitable process allow the law to run smoothly? The call by some decidedly frustrated fellows in search of relevance and pecuniary patronage for the arrest of the opposition presidential candidates is from the pit of purgatory. The propaganda that there is a plan to disrupt the handover ceremony is a bundle of falsehood from the depths of Hades. Although many Nigerians regard the judiciary with a pinch of salt, people of goodwill should advocate for a peaceful resolution of Nigeria’s political challenges. Ethnic rhetoric should stop immediately. People should sheath their swords. Let us all close the road to Rwanda. 

Adiele, PhD, writes from Mountain Top University.


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