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ASUU And Our Patriotic Patriots



Readers’ Showers Of Encouragement

By Tony Afejuku
When I thought of writing today’s column, the initial title that entered the unblemished cavity of what I may hereby call my unaccountably enchanting suavity was this: Of un-patriotic and patriotic quacks. Of course, I was going to situate what I was going to say within the context of what Professor Emmanuel Osedeke, ASUU president, recently said in an interview he granted Arise Television’s “The Morning Show” anchors. In the said interview he, as an aside, referred to some (I think four or so) named State Universities as “quacks” for not being part of the current strike embarked upon for more than seven months now by this country’s most significantly stand-out Union – and the very, very most patriotic one, to boot. Since the ASUU’s national president uttered what he uttered rightly in, my view contextually, he has been subjected to all kinds of abuses emanating from some unpatriotic personages and boon-dogglers of some boon-docks universities. But the new gem of ASUU, who bears the stamps of the old masters and the claw-marks of the old tigers and lions, of his redoubtable Union, was not ready, again, rightly in my view, to listen to any sanctimonious fraud dressed in the dresses of patriots who are not patriots. I am keeping the subject in abeyance. In a buoyant time I shall join the ASUU president to look with pain, anger, resentment, disillusionment and disappointment at the activities of Professor Osodeke’s unpatriotic quacks whose quackeries should not be erased from the patriotic consciousness of ASUU and of those who patriotically allow themselves to be amazed with ASUU’s astounding courage and feats – despite the wrong knocks the Union is receiving from the dark forces within and without our central government.

Now the patriotic patriots of my title today are some of my cherished readers, patriots who are patriots, who value my opinion and whose opinion I equally patriotically value very valuably. All my essays here in regard to the ASUU strike have been accepted by them without infatuation and in a manner that is straightforward and very straight-forward. The messages are messages of truth. Politics, interestingly patriotically plays less part in them. Read, re-read and enjoy and re-enjoy them.

Dr. Babtunde Adeleke (Uniben): I am not surprised by Professor IBK’s reaction to Uncle TA’s essay especially the ones on ASUU and its patriotic struggles. I have read (well!!!?) essays written on ASUU and the FG, and the ones written by our wondrous columnist Uncle Tony are simply the best for me. I know because I’ve read some of the ones he wrote three or four times over. I enjoy every bit of the essays, although I’m startled, sometimes, by his use of words. OK. One example: In the essay (of last Friday) under reference (that is, “IBK on ASUU betrayer Adamu Adamu”), a certain junior minister in the Ministry of Education who was running his mouth, after sensing danger, Afejuku wrote, “fled and flew.” An action Soyinka would tag as engaging in a “rapid dialogue with his legs.” So why “fled and flew”? I guess the former junior minister was running but he discovered his legs were becoming weak and his enemies were going to catch up with him, so he borrowed wings from Horus and flew away! (By the way, where is that chap now? Not flown back yet?). This is just an example of the many “startling’s” I’m trying to compile (if hunger go let me do am!) to show why TA’s essays are the best for me. More grease, Sir.

READ ALSO: IBK And ASUU Betrayer Adamu Adamu

Professor Ademola Da Sylva (University of Ibadan): TA, our TA! You have again proved your mettle, a great chef that you are by demonstrating your mastery of verbal smithy and culinary skill. A cocktail of tantalizing ingredients from the indefatigable IBK and your journalistic colleague, to make the plate you served this morning (last Friday’s)…. It is engagingly appetizing and mentally mouthful as usual. Keep up the great work!

Professor Igho Natufe (Eastern Europe): Good afternoon, my dear Brother. Prof. Ibrahim Bello-Kano’s analysis is a very brilliant piece of literary criticism. He constructively exposed the intents of Adamu Adamu. Congratulations for using this your lovely and widely read column to propagate the virtues of ASUU by consistently educating the public on the bankruptcy of the central government’s policies.

Professor Mabel Evwierhoma (Uniabuja): You held the minister by his jugular veins. I pray that this opinion essay touches him and the FGN.

Engineer Kingsley Amadi (Lagos): Wow! I did not know that ASUU helped to project the Federal Minister of Education to his present position. I will enjoin ASUU to look for areas of alignment/compromise to move the sector forward. It is possible that with the benefit of his office, he now can see farther…. My way of giving him a little more slack.

Mustafa Yusuf-Adesola (Canada): Sir, something came to my mind after reading your column on the Education Minister; and especially while I was writing about the japa phenomenon: It was the “Ali Must Go” strike and the effect of student unionism on government’s decisions. I just imagine what they were fighting for regarding students’ welfare. And now, we’ve come to this state where politicians have become Union leaders. Do you think the killing of that spirit has affected even the ASUU strike? I am of the opinion that the youths have the power and hunger when young to fight for justice. Once that flame is killed, it’s the next generation that will suffer for what they did not.

READ ALSO: Adamu Adamu’s Choleric Reticence

Dan Ejodame (Benin City): I read your articles on Adamu Adamu again and again without getting tired. The articles are coated with the words of elders. Thank you, Sir.

Dr. Dan Chima Amadi (Poet and Dramatist): The real Tony Afejuku. Well scripted, profoundly insightful and the right hammer for the idiot. It shall be well by His Grace.

An Anonymous Reader: Hello Sir, Google featured the article on Adamu Adamu the betrayer on its news front page and it is currently trending in the education sector. Looking at the column, I want to pinpoint this truth. “The irony of it all is that Adamu Adamu and his cohorts will be gone while ASUU will be here for a long, long time.” Sadly, such people don’t think about building enduring legacies. Your essays always make Google leading pages. Congrats, Sir. We shall meet some day.

St. Louis (Independent Researcher): Thank you so much for your articles. Each one is a must read for me; intellectually stimulating and analytical. Allow me to buttress your series on ASUU’s current strike with the following quote that sums up Professor Jonathan Hadit of New York University after his lecture at University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS) on the ‘telos’ or “purpose of universities: To discover truth….. Truth – that’s the purpose of higher education.”

READ ALSO: How Nigerian Govt Plotted Arrest Of Terrorists’ Negotiator

Now all the listed readers are patriotic patriots of your country my country our country. Their concern for the state of our universities glows patriotically. But our governments, federal and state, are not at all ready for the truth ASUU is espousing. Indeed, ASUU wants Nigeria’s today’s universities to achieve the purpose for which they were established through proper and adequate funding and buoyant remuneration and condition of service and comfortable welfare as well as an intellectually stimulating atmosphere for lecturers and professors and students in the quest of “telos.” In the absence of these, Nigerian Universities will collectively become a “great knife” that ironically cannot cut anything.” ASUU will patriotically not allow this to happen no matter the blackmail, dark misinformation, rotten propaganda and the deprivation University lecturers and professors currently are subjected to by their victimizers in and outside government. Because the “telos of a knife is to cut,” all patriotic patriots of the land that our cited readers (and others not cited) as well as ASUU members exemplify, ASUU must hold its patriotically patriotic ground absolutely patriotically. ASUU is not a weak and fragile Union. It is iron that slices iron. That’s why the members should stick together. That way they will overcome whether the victimizers and their propagandists and megaphones like it or not. Then ASUU can and will tell them to ”take it or leave it.” Evil never shines forever. Hurrah for Thunder!!!

Afejuku can be reached via 08055213059.

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The Black Tax: Family Charges And Mandatory Payment 



Dele Jegede In Conversation With Prince Yemisi Shyllon
Prof. Toyin Falola

By Toyin Falola

    You cannot be one rich man among your poor siblings and relations and not become poor. After all, you stole the destiny of six others to add to yours. Having made them poor, you must cater for them. Ogunde, my friend, built a house for his father and mum. You did well. On the day of house-warming Mama Ogunde called my friend to her room for a private discussion, advising him to buy a plot of land for his junior brother. The first tax has been paid, then the imposition of the second. Three months later, his sister called him to announce her wedding ceremony. Ogunde had to pay the third tax. Each time he calls me, Ogunde is lamenting the never-ending tax. Those payments, the mandated gift, and the exchanges are now what we call the “black tax”: it is the price you pay for knowing someone. Kinship was invented in an agricultural age for collective bonding and survival. Today, it is for purposes of tax collection with delivering public services. As you read this, you are either paying the tax or collecting it. Confess!

The African social system is unarguably built on the premises and strength of family and responsibilities. Society is built on collective responsibilities that spread even to every member of the society at large as a unit. This is why persons from the same village, like Umuahia, would always refer to their kinsmen as brothers or sisters merely because they have come from the same village or area. It is the sense of responsibility that bonds the African society that has been spelt out so eminently. But the question in this piece is not about the collective nature of the African communities but the responsibilities that follow from the family relationships, either for those within the same blood or the “village family.” The issue is of “black” tax; black here is not a racialized category.

    Black tax is a phenomenon that has been brought to bear in the African society of today; the modern exposure has allowed questions raised on whether the cultures are of necessity or mere subjections that have resulted in the slow pace of individual developments or castigated some Africans’ invisible slavery. African men and women give, and they take care of theirs. But then there is just one successful person in an extended family: the act of giving moves from mere social responsibilities to social burdens.

    Mikel Obi, a Nigerian footballer and a legend in the English Premier, recently lamented the plight of an average African. When you reach out to success and strive hard, you probably might face limited help from some of your family members. In fact, everyone is supposed to have his or her problems, and the contemporary conditions of African countries would actually justify their excuses. However, you could strive and become something without anything, but when that success comes, you have not achieved it for yourself or your immediate family; you have done so for almost everyone who carries the same last name as you, related by any measure of distance and acquaintances. The black tax must be paid.

    The concept of the black tax probably originated from South Africa; it was seen as the returns black workers, in the past, sent to their families and relatives for upkeep. It should be understood that the apartheid South Africans were such that Africans and blacks were discriminated against and had only a few opportunities to contend with. Hence, the few of them who had the opportunity to work were seen, to some extent, to have been in such a position for their families that they could not have similar opportunities. I have been in the company of people from Lesotho in South Africa, returning home with the Black tax. Many people from Zimbabwe living in South Africa pay it. In my heavy luggage to Lagos, only the contents of the carry-on belong to me; the rest is black tax. I pay it routinely. Recipients even now include chefs, drivers, and Malam the Gateman.

    Like the Brown Tax in the Latino communities, the Black Tax spread across Africa as a general description of family relations for every black. It is seen as an obligation, and the person who sends it must do something as a necessity. Those who are the beneficiaries sometimes develop a sense of belonging and claim over the income of the individual.

    Let’s address the culture. African cultures are beautiful, and the idea of taking responsibility for one’s immediate family, at least, is born out of the many philosophies that formed the foundations of the African society, from Ubuntu to Omoluabi to the collectivism orientations that have cut across the African societies; one would understand why the contemporary society should not quickly run into the mistake of casting the habit as a forbidden practice. 

We must understand that new cultures and the contemporarily subscribed behaviours born out of overbearing cultural diffusions gotten from excessive universalism have been gradually killing the bonds that the African societies have for each other. It has increased selfishness and made the act of philanthropism, which was initially a social necessity, become out of the ordinary.

    At what point should one say that the black tax is bad, and to what extent would the African circumstances create the limit? Are African parents truly entitled to the success of their children? Often than not, an average African parent assigns a primary purpose of nurturing and sacrificing their lives for their children. It is an African thing for parents to forego what they need the most in order to allow their kids a needed opportunity or resources that would put them in the right positions. In the pre-European interference era in Africa, what was paramount was to ensure that a child had the right skill as well as the right behaviour, but the parents were always on the watch to ensure that akosejaye, the written destiny, of a child is fulfilled to the fullest and they were ready to make any type of sacrifices. This mentality was carried on when the new order of definition of what success meant arose across Africa. Education and other resources must be attained, and the mothers would not mind selling their biggest clothes or properties to ensure that these voids were filled. The culture prevailed over time and is still predominant in the African society of today. Children in every African household became an ambition and duty that nothing would negotiate the commitments to them. Many African parents have continued working in toxic environments; many have lost their health or become disabled from the wares they sell in traffic jams and the hustles and bustles of places like Oyingbo Market.

    Basically, to an African parent, a child is an investment and future insurance for old age and moments where one’s effort would not be enough to feed or meet necessary needs. The African family institutions are different from many other parts of the world. One would then ask whether the “wokeness” conceptions would justify taking such future expectations wrong. For anyone a parent has sacrificed for, there is a level of expectation from them, and I do not think contemporariness should be reason enough to remove that responsibility. This goes down to immediate family like siblings who have followed the rough paths with one.

    My point is not that one must give without control or that every ‘ask’ should never be met with a ‘no’; otherwise, one would never move to the point of self-actualization. However, the first condition to be put to black tax is the measure of sacrifice the potential beneficiary had made. This separates responsibility from mere philanthropy. It is a measure to keep one’s circle small and reduce unnecessary ‘billings.’ Young Africans who are growing must understand that what comes first is themselves, the means to secure their future, and after all personal or immediate needs have been covered, those that we owe come in, but it should never be at the expense of one’s development. One must know that the greatest responsibility owed is that that guarantees growth.

    The above is also not to say that we should kill the African culture of giving. There are many individuals to be lifted out of poverty. The continent today is positioning itself as a proper headquarters of poverty and as such, it cannot afford to stop all the help it could get. However, one must ensure that giving should be out of abundance. Abundance is indeed the remainder from excesses and should never affect fundamentals, secondary, and even tertiaries. It is an act out of comfort. So, the black tax may not be an unnecessary social responsibility, but instead, some level of necessity and discharge of appreciation to those who have made tangible sacrifices in our lives. Evaluate your black tax; instead of complaining to me as Ogunde does every other day, he should review the list and delete the names of several recipients. As I told him yesterday, why not use part of the tax to take me out?

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Obama, Clooney, And Gates Should Include Witch Persecution InTheir Campaign



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

By Leo Igwe

The Advocacy for Alleged Witches (AfAW) welcomes the collaboration between the foundations of Michelle Obama, Amal Clooney, and Melinda French Gates to end child marriage in Africa. These foundations have committed to ending this practice within a generation. This initiative, announced during their recent visit to Malawi and South Africa, demonstrates the urgency that such a harmful traditional and cultural practice demands. Child marriage is a sore on the conscience of humanity. It violates the health, rights, and well-being of women and girls. Culture, tradition, or religion should not be used to excuse or justify practices that undermine the humanity of women and girls. So it was a great relief to know that these influential women would be working together to combat this menace.

At the same time, AfAW wants to draw the attention of Obama, Clooney, and Gates to another practice that is undermining the rights of women in Africa: witch persecution. Witchcraft accusation is pervasive in Malawi and other parts of the region. Witchcraft accusation is a gendered phenomenon that predominantly targets women and girls. Those accused of witchcraft are tortured, banished, or murdered in cold blood. In Malawi and other parts of the region, accused women are raped, stoned to death, or lynched. Many accused women are banished and forced to live in make-shift shelters called witch camps in Ghana’s Northern region. In Malawi and the Central African Republic, the accused are imprisoned, or flee to live in prisons to avoid being killed. Rooted in traditional and cultural beliefs, witch hunting is another vicious phenomenon which they said would not be eradicated.

This misperception should be rejected and discarded. This mistaken assumption has prevented international organizations including the UN from treating the problem of witch persecution with the urgency that it deserves. This misrepresentation has made the world ignore and look away while women and sometimes girls are accused, abused, abandoned, or savagely killed in the name of witchcraft. As in the case of child marriage, the Advocacy for Alleged Witches believes that witch persecution can end within a generation. The problem can be solved or resolved in a matter of years. AfAW is working and campaigning to rally national and international political will against witch hunting. That was why the organization announced in 2020 a decade of activism against witch persecution in Africa.

AfAW urges Obama, Clooney, and Gates to join efforts in stopping witch persecution of women and girls. They should know that the girls they are trying to save from being married away as children could end up being stoned to death or buried alive for witchcraft. Obama, Clooney, and Gates should include witch-hunting in their campaign because the practice is rooted in gender injustice and misogyny. The foundations should know that women are likely to suffer child marriages when they are young and witch persecution when they are growing old. So they should not focus on one and ignore the other. To effectively protect and defend the rights of women and girls, they should tackle both child marriage and witch-hunting . The foundations should commit to ending practices that violate the rights of women, whether they are young or old, children or adults.

Dr Igwe directs the Advocacy for Alleged Witches, which campaigns to end witch persecution in Africa by 2030.

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Powering Prosperity: Unlocking Nigeria’s Potential Through U.S. Partnership



Greene is Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. United States Embassy Abuja.

By David Greene

Nigeria is on track to be the world’s fourth-most populous country by 2050. It already has the largest economy in Africa and, with 60 percent of its population under the age of 25, it stands on the threshold of a demographic dividend that can dramatically transform its economy for the better. Nigeria’s strategic partnerships are essential in harnessing this potential, and the United States is playing a leading role. As we near the six-month mark of President Tinubu’s administration, our relationship has emerged as a key for success. One year ago, at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, DC, President Biden renewed our commitment to deepening engagement across the continent. Here is how we are doing that in Nigeria – working in areas that matter most to everyday citizens, such as growing the economy, strengthening democracy, improving health outcomes, ensuring security, and addressing the climate crisis.

Nigeria’s economic potential is vast, and with the right macroeconomic framework, a sound fiscal strategy, and a strong commitment to rooting out corruption, it can become a preferred destination for foreign direct investment. American investors and companies are eager to engage with Nigeria, and the United States government is doing its utmost to build our bilateral trade and investment ties.
Consider these examples: We have joined forces to accelerate Nigeria’s digital transformation, with investments from U.S. tech giants such as Microsoft, Cisco, Meta, Google, and Starlink. This partnership has built a platform to train unemployed and underemployed women and youth. Moreover, it has been a catalyst for quality investment, accounting for more than a quarter of all venture capital flowing into Africa.
Collaborative efforts in agriculture further underscore our commitment. For example, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently dedicated $22 million to strengthen Nigeria’s cocoa value chain, supporting more than 60,000 cocoa farmers, processors, marketers, and other agribusiness service providers in what is Nigeria’s #2 foreign exchange-earning export. From tech to agriculture, these steps go beyond statistics. They translate into tangible outcomes: good jobs, seed money for new ventures, and higher-value agricultural exports.

The United States is also a steadfast partner in strengthening Nigeria’s health sector. With World AIDS Day – December 1 – approaching, it is worth recalling that over the past two decades, PEPFAR, the leading U.S. initiative to address HIV/AIDS, has invested nearly $8 billion in Nigeria, providing more than 1.6 million individuals with life-saving HIV treatment. In response to COVID-19, the United States donated more than 44 million vaccine doses, helping the Nigerian government approach its target vaccination rate of 70 percent of the eligible population. Partnerships like the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative, with an annual budget of more than $71 million, have reduced child death rates and strengthened health systems.
Those investments are just part of our overall development assistance to Nigeria. In fiscal year 2022 alone, the U.S. government allocated over $1.2 billion dollars in such support. These funds provide humanitarian assistance, and improve health, economic development, education, social services, democracy, human rights and governance, and peace and security.
In the latter two areas – democracy and security – we aim to support an inclusive future where Nigerian citizens’ votes count and translate into responsive governance, and where they can live in peace. We are a steadfast partner in seeking to strengthen election processes that will enhance accountability to meet citizens’ expectations, and pursuing innovative projects to help communities resolve differences without violence. Through cooperation with and training of Nigeria’s military and police, we are building more capable forces. Collaborating with civil society, law enforcement, and the judiciary, we are confronting the security challenges that stand in the way of economic growth while upholding a shared commitment to human rights. Initiatives include building Nigeria’s counter-terrorism capacity, bringing technology to courtrooms and case-management systems to help in the administration of justice and reduce pre-trial detention, and supporting efforts to enhance accountability and transparency in police forces.

Our partnership to address the climate crisis reflects our mutual recognition of this challenge, and our respect for Nigeria’s role as both an energy producer and a country profoundly impacted by the effects of climate change. In the leadup to COP28 – the 28th Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention for Climate Change, which begins this week – the United States and Nigeria are aggressively seeking solutions. For example, U.S. support for Nigeria’s leadership as a Global Methane Pledge champion has led to action that is reducing greenhouse gas emissions for the benefit of all.
These programs and cooperative efforts advance a joint agenda that is built and driven by the highest levels of our leadership. President Biden met with President Tinubu in September, and numerous senior U.S. officials have come to Nigeria in recent months to confer on meeting Nigeria’s energy needs, driving U.S. trade and investment in Nigeria, and strengthening our law enforcement cooperation. These engagements strengthen our ties, address Nigeria’s pressing needs, and tackle shared challenges.

Ultimately, realizing Nigeria’s potential hinges upon enhancing its fiscal and economic health – and capitalizing on its strategic partnerships to build on that foundation. The opportunity has never been greater. Nigeria, with its youth, energy, and entrepreneurial spirit, is poised to seize this moment. We commend the government for its bold actions thus far to try to move the economy to a more solid footing. The United States is your partner in that effort – through investment, better security, a stronger workforce, and resilient institutions – that benefits all Nigerians and expands prosperity for both our peoples. Our journey ahead has its obstacles, of course. But together we will find a path toward a shared prosperity.

. Greene is Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. United States Embassy Abuja.

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