By Sam Akpe
Yes, it ends here. What an experience! Writers are extraordinary beings. Poets are more exceptional. In the melodious words of Percy Bysshe Shelley, “a poet is a nightingale, who sits in darkness and sings to cheer its own solitude with sweet sounds.”
Poets talk and write with inspirations from certain tangibles and intangibles—from within and without. Some read books and crack into tales. Others are animated by the serenity of nature—friendship, solitude, or silence.
Even a dream, a picture, a word, a simple phrase, an article or people, are sources of inspiration. Most often, people wake up from sleep with words that are insistent and persistent in their subconscious. Ask any writer, especially a poet.
For Uboho, it could be a song on the radio, watching a little child, feeling the grief of others, sharing in people’s joyful moments, injustice, strife, death, the sound of thunderstorm and nature’s elements.
Most times, it is a simple prayer that opens the floodgates of words for a stunning piece. Most writers learn to wait, to yield, and depend totally on the promptings of divine inspiration.
Some writers start off with blank pages before them. Yet, by divine inspiration, the pages get filled up; one after another, until they end up with surplus contents. Uboho belongs to that class.
She told me matter-of-factly: “My hope rises daily with an untamable spirit; with an uncommon resolve. This is the hope that holds me. It is my stronghold of wisdom and knowledge—my great confidence.”
She has been in a conference, writing poems while someone speaks from the podium. One day, she wrote a poem in the middle of a sermon in church, and during an evening with guests, interacting. She loves to create an oasis of solitude within her; unaffected by her surroundings.
Writing poems comes to Uboho effortlessly. She sometimes forgets herself when immersed in writing. Time ceases. The world waits. She could forget to eat. She is so committed and devoted to this passion that burns within her—a passion that consumes her energy and keeps her awake through the night.
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A mother of four, she confesses: “there has never been any conflict in my roles as a mother. Women are multitaskers. This is a simple truth of the ability nature has graciously bestowed upon the female gender.”
Was this a difficult question—defining the genre of her poetry? “I honestly have never paused to ask myself this question. I can say my knowledge is limited in this.” Her poetry follows no set of rules. She flows freely; creates patterns unknowingly.
She could hardly look at this reporter in the face beyond a few seconds; all through the period we chatted. Is she shy? “Yes” comes her shy response. I am not convinced. She explains. Naturally, she looks shy, reserved, and possibly withdrawn.
But that’s a mere façade. Behind that friendly look lurks an unthinkable strong will. Deep inside the poetic heart is a roaring strength of a determined soul; waiting to devour whoever takes her simple, innocent look for granted.
You look reserved, I asked again. “I guess most people feel that way, at least occasionally. Don’t they? I agree that I do feel self-conscious at times, partly because I’ve been told that my appearance or dressing attracts attention.
“I have been wrongly accused of smiling, of dressing to attract men, when such thoughts and intent never crossed my mind, even for a second. Whatever I wear seems to fit me.
“The seeming shy look is a means of protecting myself from unknowingly presenting a false image. But then, I realize that I cannot control people’s impression about who I am and how they choose to interpret my charm.
“The worst prison anyone can live in, is the fear of what someone thinks of them. I know that now, and I have peace. In the midst of people whose friendship I have come to trust, I simply let myself go.
“I can laugh, make and be at the receiving end of jokes, and exult in the wholeness of my identity knowing that I will not be unfairly and untruthfully judged. I guess I can be called an introvert. Authentic and uniquely me.”
Throughout our stay in the car park, I’m enchanted by her choice and command of words. Quite poetic; deep and deliberate. As I listen, I’m reminded of W. H. Auden’s word, that “a poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language.”
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Poets create words. Don’t quote me. You can quote Charles Baudelaire who once said that, “there exist only three beings worthy of respect: the priest, the soldier, the poet. To know, to kill, to create.” I asked how she developed her language power. Does it flow this way from every writer?
“When it comes to words, I feel empowered and excited by their power all at once. My reticence simply vanishes with words. I believe my prolonged years of enforced silence muzzled me. Now, I can express myself.
“I was told never to talk back or respond. I listened in silence and only acted as directed. I couldn’t air my views or express myself without the fear of disrespecting someone. This put a hesitancy in my speech, but created an avalanche once I started putting words down.
“For me, I can say that words save me. They awaken and enlighten my soul from dark despair. Words give me hope and strength. They give my name its true meaning. Words set me free!
“I believe that being able to finally speak out about my trauma, and my journey has given me the “blast” that you talk about. I have no reservations about using words to interpret the imaginations and the musings in my mind. I simply let go of the inbuilt pressure and it shoots high.”
From that simple question, she instantly composed a poem. I was stunned. I simply listened as she wrote it down for me. It is entitled: Today I Can Say
“You did not shut me up,
You built for me a pulpit.
Every time you silenced me,
New words were birthed inside.
I do not care about your motives –
Whether as a hunter or a scavenger.
Every time you caused me pain,
My destiny was reaping gain.”
Those lines simply burst forth from her without a hint. No, she was not writing about me. Inside those penetrating eyes, I could see her mind travelling back on a terrain only her imagination could reveal. I asked. She gave a hint; for my ears only.
“And I can say there is a past version of me that is so proud of how far I have come. I may not yet be where I want to be, but I am no longer the defeated person of yesterday. Defining who I am, is defining who I will never be again.”
I started this conversation by defining poets as mysterious writers. Their thoughts are hidden. They could be dangerous. They hide behind words to knock, slap and push.
The question is hanging. There is a pause. She is watching the flight path of a bird in the sky above us. The sight seems to captivate her. I’m seeing a bird. But she is seeing poetry in motion—the swerve and the tilt of its frame, the dip and the rise of its wings. It was beautiful!
The question is: are poets born or made? It is the last question. After what seems like never-ending-silence, she speaks: “Just yesterday, I had a discussion with my daughter on what I have taken for granted: the power of imagination and creativity.
“My mind’s eye is potent… I can visualize an outfit I want made, I can see the style, the colours and imagine how it drapes over my body. I can also picture how you would look in a tuxedo (smile).
“It is the same way with words. Sometimes, I see words whilst I sleep and in my subconscious state, I read them out. A glimpse of a word…can open up a floodgate of imagery in my mind. I do not know what this is called, or how I came about it.
“When my daughter asked me to look up aphantasia, I was curious. I had asked her to picture me in her mind’s eye, imagine me in a red shirt and jeans. She laughed. ‘Mummy, I can’t even see your face.’
READ ALSO: Encounter With Uboho Bassey (1)
“She continued, ‘It’s fascinating and interesting to know about your imagination and how words can unravel several images in your mind. I can’t see faces, colors, shapes.’ She concluded. And before you ask, she’s not in any way bothered about it!
“Maybe this gift is innate. Maybe I was born with it, just like the bird I saw was created with the ability to fly in the sky. Don’t we also know a lot more people with an active and colourful imagination? Imagine the artists, painters, the musicians, architects, writers like you too.
“What if I am a repository of all that I was in a previous life; my subconscious, my soul, my spirit, infused into the words I speak? I guess that would make my story authentic and original. Straight from the origin, coming right from the source.”
As I listened, I could see beyond her words. There is her daughter, fascinated by her natural flow for words and rhymes. It is easy for Uboho to portray the sensory images she sees, the unending symphony; and also invite her readers to hear, see, touch, feel and taste same.
She doesn’t have to struggle much to find expression. It is effortless, and she has no problems articulating her thoughts. She may have been a science student, with a degree in microbiology; yet, here she is, comfortable in the niche wherein she has found herself.
As I end this piece today, I believe that poetry is a talent, innate; a skill that cannot be forced or forged. Just as people are blessed with natural inclinations and interests, I believe that you either have it in you, or you don’t.
For the poet, like Uboho (meaning Liberty), her power of perception and creativity is extraordinary; limitless and boundless. She has become an embodiment of those virtues. She walks about with them without creating ripples, except when she picks her pencil and opens her writing pad.
But that does not also absolve my belief, that training, constant practice, investing time, can fine-tune every skill and lift it to the heights of excellence. But I am convinced it will be easier for someone with passion for something, to excel in it far more than someone with no interest at all.
Uboho has the passion. She has that unquenchable drive. I believe with her that whether poets are born or made, it is the role of education to bring out their unique potential and that peculiar flair for the good of humanity, and the continued prosperity of the mind through literature.
What a day this has been. What an encounter! I could write a book on it. Her latest book—yet to be published—is in the works. She has just sent me the synopsis. How do I end this piece? Let me end it here.
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Death, Drugs, And Dirges
By Toyin Falola
The chicken perches on the rope
The rope is restless,
The chicken is off-balance
Should we wear black clothes, take our lamps, and walk barefoot singing the dirges of the bereaved yet? Should we sing those dirges with the finality of nothingness? Or is there still a pulse our two fingers cannot make sense of? Should we speak of death, dying, or many things far from being alive? Not of humans but of the Nigerian educational system, whose viability and health are deplorable and, specifically, of the university system that causes students, the academia, the nation, and its citizens to dilly-dally. Should we sing dirges to the different excruciating deaths destroying education and the nation beyond repair?
READ ALSO: 20 Years Of African University College Of Communications (AUCC): Looking Back On The Achievements And Looking Forward To Innovative Upgrades
On February 14, 2022, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) declared a strike by its members, causing universities to close their gates to students for the past seven months, with no hope of resumption. The ongoing industrial action is one of the many that the university system has witnessed, crippling several processes and putting many Nigerians in confusion. ASUU has embarked on strike at least 16 times since 1999 and for more than 1500 days cumulatively; this is outside of the local and internal strike actions on local issues embarked on by individual Unions in some of the universities. The longest ASUU strike was the 270 days of total shutdown of Nigerian public universities in 2020, and the present one is about to overtake it if there is no favourable development and intervention.
Aside from the ASUU strike, the Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU), Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and other Unions under the Joint Action Committee (JAC) also consider strike actions as the only language the government listens to. After two months after the NASU and SSANU strike was called off, the Union members claimed that their salaries had not been paid since then. With the continuous and constant strike actions by the staff of the university system, large underfunding, and lack of average facilities for convenient and purposeful learning, it is understandable if one is confused as to whether to pronounce the system dead or dying. However, it appears to be far from being convincingly alive, and if there is any hope of revival, there must be a strategy to end it.
ASUU has been in constant demand for the revitalization of the University system through the injection of ₦1.1 Trillion by the Federal Government. The purpose of this, which is reasonable enough, is to raise the standard of Nigerian tertiary education and bring the various institutions close to the level of their counterparts across the globe. We can even forget that ASUU cannot monitor campus fraud, and some of this money will be stolen. Alongside this are agitations for the payment of earned academic allowances and the discharge of other commitments by the Nigerian government.
Currently, the Nigerian government spends between five and seven per cent of its total budget on education, against the recommended 27 per cent by the United Nations. In a nation like Nigeria that needs considerable investment in both human resources and factors that guarantee a favourable future for the nation, education is an investment that cannot be excused. However, education cannot fully displace other needs like the lack of power, bad roads, and insecurity, so we have to cry out for other priority needs. University professors are not the only ones suffering from the consequences of a mismanaged state; they just happen to be the most combative.
These problems and other issues faced by the Nigerian university system, including social factors that have placed the institutions under lock and key for a long time, make one doubt how to describe the state of the university system. I do not intend to address whom to blame in the feud between the academic staff and the government, but the provocation and damning damage to the nation’s state, the citizens, and students. On this issue, the system and the institutions are not the only ones affected, as the nation records more body count and an increase in social vices, as well as the systematic soaring of the number of miscreants traceable to unengaged students over a long period. For emphasis, a study by Andreu Arenas and Lucas Gortazar shows that students who are victims of school closure are more likely to experience learning loss, and according to Eric Hanushek and Ludger Woessmann, there will be a possible reduction in their future incomes. It has also been proven that students coming from prolonged school closures have a higher risk of failing future tests and examinations. This is because the heavy distractions from learning affect their psychology and their orientation towards learning.
Whereas one could hold a strong ground as to the existence of certain activities of the academia or institutional operations, it cannot be denied that the rising brain drain at the university level due to this brouhaha is causing intellectual death and sickness in the university sector. If we do not know whom to sing our dirges to, we should prepare ourselves for this increasing intellectual death.
Unfortunately, as the system dies, those within it are dying too. On July 8, 2022, the Ambrose Alli University chapter of the ASUU claimed that the university had lost ten lecturers that month, five months into the strike.
Also, on September 26, 2022, it was reported that 21 lecturers, including professors, and other non-academic staff of the University of Calabar, lost their lives. Many still alive have resorted to other ways of surviving, selling belongings and petty trading. On September 13, 2022, it was reported that a University of Maiduguri lecturer, Dr. Othman Abubakar, from the Department of English, decided to sell his library at any price. Abubakar was convinced that nothing was left in academia after the gradual “destruction of the university system” and the “insensitive” starvation of lecturers. Abubakar’s statements made me cringe, and to make it worse, some individuals have started calling for aid for lecturers like they were some castaways. It should also not be forgotten that the government implemented a “no work, no pay policy” for striking lecturers to make them give in to pressure. Starvation has become a wicked weapon to test the integrity of the intellectuals; even in war, starvation is not a noble strategy. So, I sing a dirge to the lost souls and the purpose of the Nigerian intellectuals.
I sing yet another dirge to the simultaneous effects of this strike on the university students who have become the primary victims. While intellectual death among the lecturers is overwhelming, the students also lose their lives. On March 8, 2022, it was reported that Henry Ehis, a 300-level student of the University of Jos, committed suicide due to frustration from the unending strike. Rachael Opadele, a final year student of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, took a part-time job in a hotel because of the strike, was kidnapped in the same hotel, and killed afterwards in August 2022. Many other students have been killed by unfortunate events that would have been prevented if they had been in school.
Another dirge is to the death of the minds of the Nigerian students caused by increasing drug abuse made worse by these strikes. Logically, thousands of students who have been denied access to education, which formed their primary source of engagement, would be vulnerable to acts like drug abuse. In other words, there is often a considerable risk of drug abuse among students of tertiary institutions in Nigeria, and the disengagement from academic activities exposes them to even greater risk. Governor Godwin Obaseki, the Edo State Governor, on May 13, 2022, lamented the increasing rate of drug consumption in the state after ASUU embarked on strike, noting that drug abuse has become the second problem of the Edo State government. Likewise, in June 2022, Senator Douye Diri, the Bayelsa State governor, confirmed that increased drug abuse amounted to increased criminal activities in the state.
On August 19, 2021, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) revealed that about 40 per cent of the Nigerian youth, which forms the majority of the university students, are “deeply involved in drug abuse.” Also, on February 22, 2021, the NDLEA, through its Chairman, Buba Marwa, stated that drug abuse accounts for and influences about 90 per cent of crimes in Nigeria. Since the majority of students in the university are youths, there is a tendency for drug abuse among them. The psychological and physical effects of drug abuse are dangers the nation cannot afford. It is a pronouncement of an end to the academic endeavour of individuals, either directly or indirectly.
Moreover, there is a strong and direct link between drug abuse and criminal tendencies. Given the above positions and facts, it is only logical to be concerned about the consequences of students’ disengagement and idleness due to ongoing strike actions. And though different universities in the country have developed anti-drug abuse schemes to put drug abuse in check; however, closing these schools makes the programs inefficient.
Then I sing a dirge to the death of ambition and purposes in the frustrating waits of the Nigerian students. Many students get their purposes and ambitions crippled by life-changing incidents during the schools’ shutdown. Equally, the prolonged and delayed educational period caused by unpredictable ASUU strikes reduces the employability rate and loss of certain opportunities, killing dreams and purposes, particularly because the delay causes many students to graduate above the entry age of many employment requirements.
I sing this dirge to Nigeria’s dying future, which the government is ignorantly killing. Education is the hope of a progressive future for any nation, and research is the tool it uses to chart its successes. The intellectual capacity of a nation is a projection of how far it will grow in the future and its position in global discussions. Innovations and developmental discoveries are the results of dedicated research and efforts. A war or affront against the intellectual bloc of the nation is a risk of a negative expectation for the nation’s future. Human resources development is pivotal to any nation that wishes to develop, but with the above incidences, one would doubt if Nigeria considers development important.
Where there is value, there is respect and care, and it seems the value given to education by the nation reflects in the management of the industrial crisis in academia. Where workers at factories strike, the company is forced to react, as it stands to lose products and profits within the period. In this instance, the products are of value, and for their sake, the company finds a solution to the problem within a limited time. Taking the company as Nigeria, the workers as the lecturers, and the students as the products, it seems that the nation does not value the students enough to be motivated to a quick resolution with the academia.
I sing a dirge to the death of a nation, its intellectuals, and the pillars of its future, the students.
Falola is a Nigerian historian and professor of African Studies. He is currently the Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities at the University of Texas at Austin.
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20 Years Of African University College Of Communications (AUCC): Looking Back On The Achievements And Looking Forward To Innovative Upgrades
By Toyin Falola
Some qualities are common to all visionaries: innovation, strategic planning, and giving back to society. Based on these qualities, one can rightly say that Honourable Kojo Acquah Yankah is a visionary par excellence. Honourable Yankah, who at a time served the citizens of Ghana at the Parliament, has his roots in journalism and communications right from his days as the Editor of the Daily Graphic to his role as the Director of the Ghana Institute of Journalism. These two roles are not unconnected from his eventual founding of the African University College of Communications (AUCC).
Innovation can take varied forms, either as a viable product morphed from a novel idea or an improvement on existing models or products. Thus, establishing the AUCC was a strategic and innovative move from Honourable Yankah. His was an innovation with a mission to improve how journalists and communications specialists are trained in Ghana—having overseen the affairs of the Ghana Institute of Journalism for close to a decade, who better to found an innovative school of journalism than the visionary? And so goes the story of the founding of Ghana’s first private institute of journalism and communications, the African University College of Communications.
As earlier stated, Honourable Yankah founded this school to improve on what existed, and this is better expressed in the school’s mission, which is student-focused: “The African University College of Communications aims to prepare lifelong learners to become innovative problem-solvers and ethical leaders through excellence in inter-disciplinary teaching, research, and collaboration, using a Pan-African network.” Innovation and work ethics are two qualities that every journalist must possess and hold dear. Yet, there is no gainsaying that there are several journalists who either do not know or know but have chosen not to live by and operate within the provisions of the profession’s ethics.
Such outrageous instances as journalists receiving bribes, false reports, plagiarism, failure to give due credit, and toxic workplace culture, among other issues, have built their nests on the branches of the noble journalism profession. Aside from a lack of respect or adherence to the profession’s ethics, the continent is also breeding journalists who lack an innovative and creative spirit, journalists who cannot think on the spot, improvise, or explore several perspectives on issues. This may be due in part to the limited barriers to entry into the journalism profession, such that a formal education in journalism is not a prerequisite for a journalism-based job. These issues are what the AUCC seeks to address.
Another thing that would immediately catch one’s attention, especially if one is pro-African, is how the AUCC’s mission revolves around Pan-Africanism. Honourable Yankah embodies Pan-Africanism; he is one of the most passionate Pan-Africanists of our time. This is true because he has dedicated his time, resources, and envisioned institutions to the Pan-Africanist belief, movement, and existence. One such institution is the Pan African Heritage Museum, through which he tells the African story and displays African histories the African way. In a world where everyone seems to be strategically positioning themselves for the attention, recognition, and awards that the Western world has in abundance — sometimes losing their identity and connectedness to their roots in the process — it is important to groom journalists who will key into the vision of Pan-Africanism and deploy the available tools and resources in journalism for the promotion of African cultures, heritages, and people, and the AUCC has successfully ticked these marks. The AUCC is the quintessential African-themed higher institution of learning. Everything about the College, including how students are trained, the research focus, the College’s colours and logo, vision, and values, all project Pan-Africanism.
One of the things I cultivated the habit of doing from early on in life and which has immensely shaped me as a historian is the capacity to reminisce about visualizing. Reminiscing to visualize means looking back and doing retrospection and introspection to prepare for what is to come and shape how one wants the future. As the African University College of Communications marks 20 years of existence, there will be several plans on the part of the management and administration to plan for the future as the journey of another milestone has started. However, the historian in me will look back to look forward. In the 20 years it has existed, how has the College committed to its mission and vision? The successes and achievements of the AUCC these past 20 years have been in leaps and bounds. The College has grown from an institute of journalism into a new-age university with advanced programs in journalism, communications, business administration, and business information and communication technology. Professor Abeku Blankson, the College’s President, and the university’s administration have steered the ship to wondrous sails, facilitating strategic collaborations and sending well-trained journalists, business analysts, and communication specialists to the African industries.
Aside from the strategic collaboration and networking through which the institution has earned beneficial opportunities, several centres and institutes are also set up to benefit students, Ghana as a nation, and Africa as a continent. These institutes include the Kwabena Nketia Centre for Africana Studies, the African University College of Communications Pensions Academy, the Executive Education Center, and the Ama Ata Aidoo Centre for Creative Writing. What started with 60 students as a private institute of journalism poised to improve journalism training has become a world-class and award-winning higher institution of learning that has produced thousands of students.
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In addition, the AUCC keeps a strong database of its alumni body, with a job board designed to help place its graduates in suitable roles of their choice. This innovative move is often absent in several higher institutions on the continent. Having a job board and support system for graduates means that when they find their footing and become leaders of industries, giving back to the institution that shaped them will be a priority. In adopting this move, the AUCC is like a world-class institution that prioritizes its alumni network and benefits immensely.
The past has been good for the AUCC, but the future can be so much better, and it seems this message is not lost on the institution’s founder, management, and administration. In selecting “Re-Imaging UACC: Excellence in Education within the Context of Pan-Africanism and Digitization” as the theme for the institution’s 20th anniversary, the visionary and forward-thinking nature of the founder and the administrative body comes to the fore once more. This theme demonstrates that the university recognizes how far it has come, is in alignment with its vision and mission, understands global trends and how technology is shaping the future and has made plans to strategically position itself for the coming decades while effectively training its students.
I have advocated for technology-driven courses at African universities and am particularly excited that the African University College of Communications has made digitization and Pan-Africanism the core of its focus going forward. For an institution as forward-thinking as this in its planning, it will be no surprise if the study of digital media becomes a core course for students at the AUCC. This will give every student of the institution some edge over the average student of communications and journalism in several, if not all, other African universities. Undoubtedly, our continent needs the innovative, visionary, forward-thinking, and strategic spirit of Honourable Yankah and Professor Blanson in more persons than two.
Congratulations to Honourable Yankah, the Board of Directors, the Management, staff, students, and alumni of the African University College of Communications on celebrating this historic milestone.
.Falola is a Nigerian historian and professor of African Studies. He is currently the Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities at the University of Texas at Austin.
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By Tony Afejuku
Something big and little and little and big at the same time has happened in the last couple of days in respect of ASUU, our one and only union that abominates any injustice or wrong act or wrong doing in the land, this land – your land my land, and our land where our universities are no more our universities and never will be our universities unless our so-called political leaders end their infatuation with evil. And one evil that prevails in the land is the evil of falsehood. The central regime’s dramatis personae have been fortifying it with evil, real evil of falsehood – which they have been employing to decimate the just struggle of ASUU. What an irony! What an irony employing the hyperbole of deceit drivelling blood for effect!
What transpired last week at the National Industrial Court of Nigeria certainly spoke volumes upon volumes about this land that has witnessed heinous crimes against university education; but why and why? On Wednesday, 21 September the Industrial Court ruled against ASUU. I knew it would happen as it happened. In fact, in this column on Friday, 16 September 2022 I said, inter-alia, as follows: “I have a lurking suspicion that the government and its constrictors are out and are determined to straighten out the judicial paper in the mind of the judge in their favour.” Furthermore, in the last paragraph of the column, I said that “The union shall know no retreat, no surrender and no depression in its decently patriotic and patriotically decent struggle even in all the pertinent courts of justice as well against its constrictors. I can hear the knock of judicial thunder with my inner ears. (“Reflections on ASUU and the constrictors”). Everything revealed to me shall come to pass. Meanwhile, stay in suspense as I try to address what I must address here and now. Before this is done, however, let me quote one of my ardent readers pertinently. By the way, as every reader of this column knows, I quote my ardent readers from time to time because I see myself as their faithful and strict apostle and vice versa. Now my reader’s words: “The government can only deceive itself for as long as it wants. The draconian policy of ‘no work no pay’ cannot work, will never work. If I were to advise ASUU, I will say no more negotiations until the government announces a reversal of that nonsensical policy. Why should ASUU even sit down with these locusts? The agreement is there; let the brainless government go and implement: End of story!”
This reader was reacting to my last Friday’s essay entitled “No work, no pay:” Oppressors’ law.’ Suyi Ayodele, every ‘Tuesday Flat Out’ columnist of the Nigerian Tribune, sent me the words I have just quoted. I perfectly understand his patriotic dimensions which are not entirely different from mine and those of many other compatriots. One of his primary dimensions is that ASUU should be as committed as ever to its struggle to reclaim our public universities from this central government of liars whose falsehood has caused and is still causing so much pain that is drooping us droopingly.
Personally, I hold Chris Ngige mainly responsible for what is what in the current almost eight month’s strike of ASUU. Clearly, Ngige, inter-alios, must be held responsible for the abominations which have caused and are still causing our academic casualties. His rhetoric is the rhetoric and has been the rhetoric of falsehood. His role all along has been the role of the owner and opener of the ways of tainted falsehood. The rhetoric generated therefrom, I say it again, is the rhetoric of the lying and drivelling one as his education minister colleague publicly informed us not long ago. Let me weigh you down no longer with suspense. Ngige illegally dragged ASUU to the National Industrial Court even when negotiation that was no negotiation was on between the warring parties. What did Ngige, the labour minister, say in this wise? As a minister who is akin to a government official who lives the life of spite, un-selflessness, wickedness, judgment that is no judgment, and un-forgiveness, he said openly that the government did not take ASUU to court! Who did? His lie was ironically exposed in court when the lawyers the federal government contacted and contracted to argue the government’s case owned up to be representing the Federal Government. Of course, the interlocutory injunction that Barrister Igwe, SAN and company got for Ngige and company has since been called “black market” injunction – as I foresaw (although not exactly as used in the immediately quoted words) in my first quotation of myself already tendered above. But I am now inclined to call the court order Ngige-market injunction. Some solid judicial comments on the last court proceedings that I have read certainly justify my current record of it. As a matter of fact, a brilliant review-cum-analysis of the National Industrial Court’s “injunctive relief against ASUU” by Abiola Sanni (SAN and a Professor of Commercial Law, University of Lagos) justifies my journalistic intervention as I hereby present it.
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The first casualty of Ngige’s hard deviousness is His Lordship Justice Polycarp Hamman. Allegedly, he has allowed himself to be used to procure Ngige-market injunction for the un-deserving – the un-deserving who is not in alignment with the power and vibrational vitality of justice without casualties. Whatever compelled His Lordship to do what he did will cause him cosmic consequences that are inescapable and which can never ever give him peace of mind that is peace of mind. The other casualties are the government’s lawyers whose judicial voices were bereft of the holiness of truth and justice and sanely sane morality. Indeed, the one called Senator Etang exposed himself as one whose judicial heart is as light as a feather-less feather when Seun Okunbaloye of Channels Television politely but frankly dissected him in his every day 7:00PM “Politics Today.” For tactical and strategic reasons, I must spare my readers essential details of his interview of Barrister Etang the driveller. But let me say this: Our public university students are major casualties of his and his principal’s actions. What they have done to the students, I must say, is not un-akin to the poison of King Cobra and a scorpion or tarantula bite. If and whenever their acts go the whole hog, what I am saying will be better appreciated.
So far the greatest casualties of Ngige’s rhetoric of deceit and falsehood and power of vindictiveness are ASUU members, many of whom allegedly have died. The man’s disease of falsehood and hunger poison are committing havoc which ASUU is, however, commanding. Don’t ask me how? Thoth, a deathless Divine Master and Avatar of Justice and of Healing and of Expansive Knowledge and more will not leave – and is not leaving – ASUU alone. Sooner or later Ngige and company will become their own casualties. At the appointed time they will pay dearly for every of their heinous crimes against tertiary education in the land. Only the deep can soar in the realm of the deep. O dear, dear ASUU, never forego dwelling in the struggle. The struggle is tasking and drooping you droopily but do it and carry it on with drool.
Let me anchor with the persuasive emblematic words of Franz Kafka (3 July 1883 – 3 June 1924), Czech but German-speaking novelist and short-shorty writer:
“One idiot is One Idiot.
Two Idiots Are Two Idiots.
Ten thousand Idiots
Are a Political Party.”
Interpret the quotation how you will, but its vibrational profoundness reminds me of the ancient Egyptian Thoth’s magical and vibrational profoundity whose depth I shall share with my readers in no distant time. The poison our idiots have put in the body of our public universities will soon be withdrawn with one profound word of command. Meantime, we must hum and keep on humming: Hooray! Hooray! Hooray! Thunder!!!
Afejuku can be reached via 08055213059.
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