May 10, 2014 – 03:30PM
Remember the ‘old’ joke of there being no difference between Blacks and Monkeys? I believe today, it has re-surfaced in many countries, but now it talks about Muslims and Terrorists.
I was in need of internet connection earlier today, whence, I went to the Faculty of Agric. and Forestry, University of Ibadan; as the Wi-Fi service is still operational. I was about having my sit in the relaxing arena when suddenly one of the security officials, popularly known as ‘Abefele’ sitting nearby beckoned on me. This is the conversation that ensued between us.
Note: I was putting on ‘jumping trousers’; a symbol of Islam which is pants that are not long enough to cover the ankles.
Note again: I will only attempt to paraphrase the expressions used in the actual dialogue, except of course the punch line in the whole story which has stuck to my mind since the incident.
Him: Hello, why are you sitting there?
Me: Good evening sir.
Him: What are you doing here?
Me: I’m only here to make use of my P.C. sir.
Him: Can I see your school ID card?
Me: I’m not with it sir.
Him: So, how do I know you are a student of this school?
Me: I’m sorry but I don’t have any document with me for proper identification sir … but.
Him: Well, you know this is a very critical time for the nation. This Boko-Haram menace, in particular. Seven countries are even here now to render assistance.
Me: Hmmm, yes, I only know of four though.
Him: They’re seven.
Me: Okay sir.
Him: May Nigeria be rid of those terrorists o.
Me: By God’s grace.
Him: So, where’s your ID card.
Me: It’s in my schoolbag sir.
Him: Go and bring it. Where’s your bag?
Me: I actually left it inside the mosque.
Him: Can you go and bring it?
Me: But sir, can you allow me to sit under the Coca-Cola shed over there, since it seems you’re uncomfortable with me sitting behind you
Him: Hmm, okay, no problem. You can sit there.
Me: Thank you sir.
Him: ‘But make sure you don’t blow up anybody o !’
Me: [leaves faking a smile, and thinking what an idiot he is]…
FIRST SESSION IN OFFICE
Ante-Ante-Scriptum: I believe the topic for this article ought to have read ‘first year in office’. However, no thanks to the Academic Staff Union of Universities, that caption has been automatically rendered inappropriate.
Ante-Scriptum: Created this document on my PC since June 28, 2013; opened it on several occasions hoping to add something to it. However it remained unchanged and substantially incomplete for many months. All thanks to God that today, May 10, 2014, almost a year later, I finally am able to be done with it.
It’s been up to a session now since I was saddled with the great responsibility; and perhaps opportunity too, of serving in the position of a class representative once again. Well once again, because I have had a taste of such honour in the past, only that now it is not as a leader of some kindergartners or captain of a class of high school lads; it is as the head of an assemblage of whiz kids, prodigies, soon-to-be jurists and exceptional scholars in Nigeria’s premier university; the University of Ibadan.
The first surprise came when I heard someone shout Kunle; after Mrs Olomola, our first Law 101 lecturer, declared the ground open for nominations into the positions of male and female class representatives. ‘It can’t be’, ‘it has got to be someone else’, ‘who could possibly know me by name’, my thoughts rolled in. But my hope turned vain when nobody else stood up, and the lecturer called for a second time; ‘who is Kunle?’ …
The second one came when after the voice vote; as if fate was bent on disappointing me, I emerged as the class representative, despite my shortcomings, both overt and covert; and despite the presence of many, better than I am in many aspects, in the same class.
I was even more surprised because I never aspired to or intended to be in such position, even though my action on the morning of that very day, which unexpectedly turned out to be the Election Day, may have triggered the outcome.
I had always wanted to be one who is not easily noticed. One who would come to class quietly, receive lectures, sign attendance registers and leave without anyone’s interference. One who would sit at the tail-end criticising whoever the class rep. was and dishing out my opinions, for the progress of the class, whenever expedient. However, with that singular turn of events, all those hopes were dashed, quashed and short-lived like the Hobbesian state of nature.
I was (and still am) not the most brilliant in the class. I was not the most experienced. I was not the most charismatic. And I certainly was not the most outspoken. How then, I wondered, could I be chosen as the one to lead a class of intellectuals, studying the noblest of professions in Nigeria’s ‘first and best’ university of learning?
The ‘modus operandi’ of what is called ‘destiny’ amazes me at times. What you think could least happen, will happen daringly and remorselessly, and vice versa. I remember that, weeks back, during our medical test [one of freshers’ many rituals] at the law clinic, I was in the gathering of some of my course-mates. One thing led to the other, and a particular lady, I’m not certain of her identity now, said in my presence that I’m ‘not the class rep. type’; and I totally agreed with her. I still think I’m ‘not the type’ though, but then, as the ‘Grand architect of human fate’ would have it, here I am.
Days turn into weeks, and weeks into month. It’s been up to a year now, and I still answer to the title: Class rep. of [now] 200 level law students class [a.k.a. LLB octal-final]. The journey from day one till this moment has been filled with the good, the bad and, of course, the ugly. I have had to do things I ordinarily would not. I have had to meet people I ordinarily wouldn’t move close. Again, I have had to forbear many things, that if I were an ordinary member of the class, I would not have.
WHAT WE HAVE DONE: My appointment into the position is not, so to speak, a political one. I did not engage in campaigning, pleading or manifesto declaration. I was not bound to ‘achieve’ anything through the office, except representing the class, connecting with lecturers and ensuring a smooth ride through our five years in the university. But then, I think it necessary to mention the few things I [and/or we] did in the past year that deviated a little from the routine practice of an average class representative. They are not exceptional, but as this is a recount of my experience in the first session, I will share them still.
- ‘The Class Directory’: This is where it all started from, I guess. The class directory is a document I prepared before resumption, containing an almost-complete list of names of members of the class along-side spaces to fill-in other details, using the admission lists released by the university. I compiled and designed it solely based on the doctrine of necessity and a spirit of generosity, with no ulterior motives in mind. But then as it turned out, the directory which I publicised on the day of the election, was, more or less, what first endeared me to my colleagues. Anyway, the document has proved useful on many occasions, to both members of the class and non-members alike, in getting the needed contacts.
- ‘Class versus Congress’: one of the most unforgettable events experienced in the class’s fresher days is the ‘clash with the congress’; the protest of some members of the class at the second (or first?) congress sitting. In short, we were denied our franchise, contrasting what is expressly provided by the LSS (Law Students’ Society) constitution. And rather than argue based on facts and law, the members of the class present that very day decided it best to ‘make them know’ we aren’t docile idiots. They allegedly stood on the chairs, and then some staged a walk-out. The congress was offended, and I eventually had to tender a formal apology before it weeks later. This satisfied them and, in a way, cooled their ego. End of story (or is it … well … not really).
- ‘Gentleman of the week’: this is another of the projects I embarked on for the class. Every week, I would choose a particular member of the class (male-female-male-female, in that order, week after week). The chosen one would fill, in a form, information such as nick, favourite food, best friend, role model, hobbies, best day on campus, message to colleagues etc. And this would then be uploaded on the Facebook group, as well as the Whatsapp group for others to see. The aim of this apparently is just to bring members of the class into one accord, by facilitating familiarity.
- ‘Public Address Item’: Aha, well, this came up close to the close of the session. I thought since most of the time, my colleagues complain of not being able to grasp my vocal announcements properly. After I have spoken, many would still ask for what it was I said. Hoping to find a lasting solution to this hitch, I decided to get a mini-public address system; a device that resembles a radio and has a mouthpiece to speak into. I didn’t think to use it several weeks after we resumed from the strike, but when I did use, it really felt awkward, plus it turned out not to be of much use too.
- ‘Unbeaten Soccer Champs’: one thing that makes me really proud of being a coordinator of the class is that, it is no ordinary class, it is one jam-packed with intelligent, yet equally talented, folks. My course mates are not only bookish, and stylish, they are ‘sportish’.Consecutively, our soccer team has won up to two soccer tournaments and one soccer match, unbeaten on the field of play. First, it was our seniors that challenged us to a match, hoping to welcome us by showing us who’s boss at the faculty. But then, their plot backfired as we turned out to be no rookie at the game. After that, proving our first victory was not a matter of luck, we went ahead to also win the CBN cup and Dean’s cup.
CHALLENGES I CONFRONTED:
- ‘The Class’: the class has, in a way, been a challenge for me in my capacity as the representative. But then, this is perfectly understandable since we are speaking of learned (or if you may, learning) scholars here; who are perfectly aware of their rights, even the most insignificant, who best know the law and again, how best to break it.
When I say the class has been a challenge, it is primarily in the aspect of cooperation and attentiveness.It is usually frustrating, standing before an audience with an important notice, and then majority of them are making one distracting noise or the other.
Another instance to buttress this challenge is in the area of attendance registers. On one or two occasions, with respect to LAW class I have had to plead with the lecturer not to input the registers. Why, because I would not be able to get back all the lists I passed, God knows why. Maybe, aliens are pilfering them in order to create a database of humans. Just maybe ;-).
- ‘Finance’: thanks to the Almighty, this hasn’t been much of a challenge. Even though I’m from a humble background, I’ve, thus far, found it bearable to expend money on things such as transport, stationeries and recharge cards (for making calls and browsing); most especially recharge cards.
- ‘Time management’: sincerely, if I were not in this position, I might have been one of the perpetual late-comers of the class. If I were not the class rep., I would not have had to attend to countless extemporaneous calls from the Faculty Officer, lecturers and students. I would not have had to sacrifice my time for many things that my position requires of me, or that I have made it to require of me. Maybe, this has made me a more responsible person, or maybe it has only succeeded in making not to succeed enough in my studies, I honestly do not know.
- ‘The Whatsapp group’: this has somewhat been an issue to me since its creation. The problem is: I created the group to serve solely (or basically) as a platform to disseminate information that concern our academic life, I added as many class members as I could to benefit from this, BUT some prefer to convert the status of the group from ‘strictly business’ to ‘fun-for-all’. The group was so anarchical eventually that many leave persistently, including me, during the mid-second semester break (ASUU strike i.e.). I created another one after resumption but the same problem, of getting hundreds and hundreds of chat messages daily, resurfaced. In the end, I came to shape my mind-set into subscribing to the Utilitarian proposition that what is most important is seeking the ‘greatest happiness for the greatest number of people’. I have come to accept that this is a democracy, and the will of the majority must be respected. When the same people that you think you are fighting for turn against you, then you are only wasting your time. Like a Greek philosopher once said; to help a man against his will (e.g. preventing a suicidal person from dying) is, in fact, same as murdering him.
THE GOOD SIDE:
- ‘Rapport with lecturers and other students’: this is one major reason why many crave to be in the position of class rep. And it is true that my being there has ignited rapport between many lecturers and me. However, I know many students who are closer to all our lecturers than I am. So, I guess it’s never about the position, it’s about the ambition and determination. I have also interacted with many other individuals [e.g. LSS officials, and excos of student organisations], not because they find my personality likable, but because they find my rank instrumental.
- ‘Public speaking practice’: my public speaking and audience facing skills have been improved, I guess, as a result of the incessant cases where I had to address a class of hundreds for one thing or the other. But I must add, that even though I’ve done it times without count, I still hesitate, most times, before taking those steps to the front of the class.
CONCLUSION: That I may not be criticised for writing something not too far from being a facsimile of ‘So long a letter’, I will promptly conclude by, first appreciating my course mates for understanding and bearing with my inadequacies all these while – all the times I failed or forgot to pass attendance sheets, all the times I could or would not check for results and time-tables on time, all the times you called and I didn’t pick, all the times my voice was not audible enough for the whole class to grasp, all the times I did not speak when I was expected to and the times I spoke when it was uncalled for, all the times it seemed I deliberately shunned some person(s) or that I was not amiable enough, all the times I have, in one way or the other, offended either an individual, a caucus, or the whole class in general, and all those other times, in which I did other things, my frail brain would not remember. I thank you all for understanding; and indeed I am sorry for all those times.
I want to use this medium to enjoin everyone reading this not to hesitate in sharing prickly, but constructive, criticisms whenever necessary, directing them to whoever is concerned, and not minding whose toe is stepped on, not caring whose ox is gored.
What I am trying to say is: censure, reproach and lash the leader whenever he does something that is, in your honest opinion, wrong; whenever his attitude is becoming unbecoming and his actions are turning untoward.
My religion has made me to understand perfectly that the position of leadership is a very crucial and consequential one. It is one which one holding it will be made to compulsorily account for, if not in this world, in the next. My job is to promote the good of the class, and to satisfy its needs. If anyone is aggrieved as a result of my actions or decisions, I cannot possibly know unless I am told. Just like mens rea is no crime and a mere cerebral or wishful acceptance is no acceptance; a mental dissatisfaction, which is not expressed or even impliedly indicated, is no dissatisfaction at all; it is useless.
Verily, the tasks before us are much greater than the ones we left behind. Let us learn from our past mistakes, especially respecting our academic concern, and apply the lessons therein to better our present with a view to inheriting a desired future.
Let us face our studies squarely, yet also remember that facing it only will merely educate us partly and not roundly.
Let us make unity our watchword; sustain the spirit of camaraderie that has kept us thus far; and do away with all fissiparous factors, whether via political affiliations, behavioural polarity or academic envy.
And with the God of Justice on our side, like He has been on our side in all those soccer tournaments, we will get to our preferred termini; and we will be glad, in the end, that we did not get there with another set of great young minds, different from the one we are with now.
Thanks for reading; LOVE YOU ALL!
HOW I WISH …
… TO ALWAYS BE SICK
Walking back home today ‘under’ the scorching heat, with no cash in hand [nor in pocket, nor in the bank], and witnessing a gradual resurrection of my supposedly buried malaria infection, I could not but become philosophical in mood.
I was sick of the level of abject poverty that walks free in my society. Old men without security, struggling to keep a life many without creed would thoughtlessly terminate. Young children who stare at their juniors going to school, and who, rather than go to school too, are forced by their guardians to hawk petty goods for long hours every single day. Fathers [and these days, mothers too] who become speechless or prevaricate whenever their kids ask why they can’t have this or that; why they eat once a day while their neighbours have all they want; why they have to wear the same dress for the same festival, five years in a row, before getting a new sub-standard one. What about the gutters? Rather than prevent flooding; they have become a massive bin system, an abode for flies, tadpoles, and in fact unwanted new-borns.
I was sick of the naivety of our youths. The guys going through any means imaginable to be [not just rich but] filthily and ostentatiously rich, wrongly assuming that’s all there is to life; and then spending all the money, not on education or business ventures, but on drugs and girls. And the girls: thinking so low of themselves and trading their priceless bodily endowment for small, insignificant ephemerons. Both parties trying endlessly to please the other, but doing no more than to ruin their own lives.
I was sick of people dying, dreams quashing and families crumbling; all because some unemployed and confused youths are paid to blow things up for whatever reason. Every year, the frustration keeps increasing. Frustrated youths, both within and without the country, are taken advantage of to frustrate the lives of others. And then, there seems to be no end in sight.
I was sick of the government responsible for all these. Not that it caused it, and neither that it didn’t, but that it failed to arrest them. Politicians who sponsor terrorism just to register fear in the people’s minds and pit them against their opponents. Office holders who steal, in a matter of seconds, what their whole kinsmen and countless progenitors may never exhaust; building mansions in faraway countries, which they may never step in; buying sporty cars as if buying their kids toy cars, and as is they could ride in ten at the same time.
I was sick, and I am still.
Hence, how it is that wish to always be sick.
How I wish my sickness would graduate to become sadness.
How I wish my sadness would graduate to become resentment.
…and that resentment would, in one way or the other, lead to an insurgence…
…be it peaceful, or otherwise… I don’t care, because no patient is patient enough to care HOW he gets treatment, all he wants is THAT he gets it.
RES JUDICATA !
First, It Was Vet. Medicine.
The Thrashing Was Really Something,
To Take Home As Subject Of Deep Thinking.
They Were Thrashed Four To Nill.
Then In The Second Round, Of Sixteen,
Pharmacy Was Next In Line,
They Proved A Little Less Benign.
But We Trounced Them All The Same.
The Druggists’ Drug For Victory Seemed Inadequate.
Two-Nill Was The Scoreline.
In No Time, We Reached The Quarter Final.
None But The Electricians Were Our Rival.
With A Spanking Of Five To One.
It Was Held In The Legal Action.
That The Rule Of Law.
Is Stronger Than All Electric Force.
The Game Was Getting Tougher.
The Ambience, A Little Bit Tenser.
Muhammad Ali Boasted About It.
But Only We Could Achieve It.
‘Medicine’ Was Truly Made Sick.
When MBBS Lost To Us In A Penalty.
The Score Line Was Five To Three.
To The Final We Finally Reached.
Pitted With A Huge Team On A Huge Pitch.
After Some Dribbling And Mingling,
Some Kicking, Hailing And Jaw-Breaking,
With A 2-1, We Outdid Agric. Engineering.
Establishing Our Relevance In The Soccer Discipline.
All Hail Ministers In The Temple Of Justice!
BEING A DEBATE PRESENTED AT THE 2ND PROFESSOR FRANCIS EGBOKHARE UCJ INTER-PRESS DEBATE.
VENUE: MELLANBY HALL SCR, UNIVERSITY OF IBADAN
DATE: JANUARY 24, 2014.
Truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it. Ignorance may deride it. But in the end, there it is – Sir Winston Churchill.
Greetings, Ladies and Gentlemen, standing before you is Adebajo Adekunle and I am representing the Mellanby Hall Press Organisation.
I am here on this occasion to address the resolution which says, ‘the recent industrial act embarked upon by ASUU, who is to blame, ASUU or FG?’
I remember it as if it were yesterday. On a Monday afternoon, while in ENG 112 class, the lecturer declared to our chagrin and dismay that the class will not be holding. Why? The Academic Staff Union Of Universities had suddenly decided to embark on a total, complete and indefinite strike action. About 1.5 million Nigerian Youths, university undergraduates, were forcefully exiled to their mothers’ homes between Monday, July 1st and Tuesday, December 17th. For 6 months, equivalent to 170 days [or if you like 244,800 minutes] we were very busy at home, doing absolutely nothing related to academics.
Graduation years were unjustly delayed. We even witnessed the adjournment of wedding dates. Scholarships worth millions of naira became a waste. and most sadly of all, some, who while trying to make ends meet, passed away. So, I ask, who are we to blame?
Seneca once said; ‘it is rash to condemn where you are ignorant.’ Meaning we cannot constructively evaluate what we do not critically appreciate. The recent ASUU strike had a genesis. In fact, It had a basis which we must all figure out before a move can be made for scrutiny and finger-pointing. Thus, I ask. What is this basis?
On the 14th of December 2006, the then Minister of education, Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili, on behalf of the federal government, inaugurated the Federal Government/ASUU re-negotiation committee with the aim of looking into the union’s clamouring for a revitalisation of the academia. It held series of meetings between the years of 2007 and 2008; and in January 2009, came up with a 51-page Memorandum of Understanding, duly signed and considered binding on the parties.
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS TO BLAME.
It might be argued that: since the federal government was not present in the meetings in which the what, where, when and how of the industrial strike were discussed, then we should not hold them accountable for a decision they had no hand in making.
However, as a student of logic, I know of the fallacious genre called ‘non causa pro causa’ (false cause), which holds that the immediate cause is not always the culpable cause, but the pristine, prototypical one. And as a student of law, I equally know that ‘metus in lege excusat’ (duress in law excuses). I may use my hands to murder another person, and yet go scot free, if I was under duress to do it or it was in self-defence. The same common-sense is applicable to the recent industrial strike, as I believe the union was under duress to embark on strike due to the lackadaisical attitude of their yearnings.
How exactly the union was directly under duress by FG to go on strike leads to my second point. Nigeria is a country where, according to all ranking systems, none of our universities is among the world’s top 1000. Even our dear University of Ibadan which prides itself as the first and the best is number 24 in Africa and 2109 in the world. Nigeria is a country where ward councillors, who may be secondary school drop-outs, earn more than diligent professors. A country where you will never find the children of your local government chairman in the same school as you. Where 10 classes may hold simultaneously in the same lecture hall. Where kerosene stoves are used by science students in lieu of Bunsen burners. Where our education system is only getting better at getting worse … and someone still has the nerve to say that the Federal Government is not blameworthy of making protest inevitable? That ASUU ought not to have gone on strike?
Think about it. Ghana, a country not as rich as Nigeria, for this fiscal year, budgeted 31% of its total revenue to the education sector, while the “Giant of Africa” struggles to budget a meagre and disconcerting 8%.
Lastly but most importantly, Common sense and natural justice demand that FG executes the 2009 pact, and not wait for a strike. The Federal Government wilfully made a pact with ASUU in 2009, refreshed it 2012, and yet inconsiderately failed to execute it several years later. This is simply ludicrous, and blatantly contravenes common standards of professional ethics. Just as it is summed up in the Latin maxim, ‘pacta sunt servanda, quamvis absurdum.’ Meaning, agreements must be kept, contracts must be honoured, though they may be absurd.
To conclude, I’d say, it is visible to the blind and audible to the deaf that the Federal Government is to blame for the regrettable and demoralising strike saga we witnessed last year. For in Marcus Tullius Cicero’s words, ‘salus populi suprema lex esto’, the welfare of the people is to be the supreme law. Hence, the federal government has the duty, primary responsibility, and in fact the capability to provide for the socio-academic necessities of the community. If they fail in this regard, someone has to speak up, as well-captured in the words of Edmund Burke: ‘All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.’ All ASUU has done is speak up. Are we going to crucify them for this?
Ladies and Gentlemen, if we are truly seeking for someone to blame, then I say it is only rational that we blame the man who had no shoes, and his cohorts.
ASUU IS TO BLAME!
First and foremost, ASUU’s demands are out rightly outrageous. Reading this memorandum, I came across some of the most ridiculous demands ever in the history of unionism. For instance, the unionists are clamouring for a plethora of unrealistic and undeserved allowances. Postgraduate–supervision allowance, teaching–practice/field–trip allowance, examiners’ honoraria, post–graduate–study grant, External–assessors’ allowance. Apart from these, they are also demanding for what they call fringe benefits. Vehicle–refurbishing loan, housing loan… research leave, sabbatical leave, annual leave, sick leave and maternity leave. I wonder if we will still have people to teach us if all these leaves are granted. How can a reasonable man down his tools, his main source of income, because of allowances. Allowance is allowance, not the main wage.
The music maestro, Stephen Osita Osadebe, in one of his hits said, ‘if one’s salary is not enough to meet his needs, is it allowance that will do?’ It is unthinkable that the payment of paltry sums is allowed to disrupt academic activities for several months. Talk about making a mountain out of a molehill.
Again, the ASUU/FG fracas should have been buried in previous strikes. One thing ASUU has failed to recognise is that incessant striking is not the solution to Nigeria’s educational drawback. In fact, it is one of the problems. Industrial acts are so frequent that non-Nigerians are forced to think it is an annual festival. And then, freshers are always sermonised that the years they are to spend in the university is ‘n + x’. ‘n’ being the years written in JAMB brochure while ‘x’ is the unknown, the added years as a result of strikes… Imagine, 5 months in 1999, 3 months in 2001, 6 months in 2003, 3 months in 2007, 4 months in 2009, 5 months, 1 week in 2010, 3 months in 2011, and the most recent 6 month strike, to mention a few. They all culminate into almost 3 years, yet what is there to show for it? Except, of course, more decay in the system.
Moreover, I believe ASUU has no moral standing whatsoever to embark on a strike with so much audacity. Before they start point fingers at the FG and accusing them of dereliction of duty, have they looked within. Or have we not seen lecturers who come for classes only twice in a semester? Once to give out scheme of work, and the second time to invigilate the examination. Have we not seen lecturers who use lecture notes compiled in the 1970s for students in 2014?
Last but not least, the union has no right whatsoever to disrupt the free flow of academic activities to the students’ detriment. Sir Oliver Wendell Holmes Jnr once said, ‘Your right to swing your arms ends where another man’s nose begins.’ And in Latin, ‘Tuus ius finibus ubi alterum incipit.’ You cannot take another man’s life because YOU are tired of living. Neither can you say because the constitution guarantees freedom of expression, you now slander another man with impunity. Thus, the Academic Staff Union Of Universities has no right to deprive students of their entitlement to be edified, no matter the circumstance.
No matter what is done, the 200 billion naira Federal Government handed over for the restructuring of the academia and 45 billion given as lecturers’ earned allowance, can never restore or equate with the thousands of long hours wasted in inactivity. It cannot restore the delayed graduation years, and weddings. And most particularly, it can never bring back the invaluable, lost souls.
I end with the sagacious words of Demosthenes, ‘res ipsa loquitur’; the facts speak for themselves… IF ONLY WE WILL LISTEN.
KINI BIG DEAL: THIS IS THE 21st CENTURY?
I was recently going through a moral discourse on Nairaland.com, when a certain ‘Iduwuogbo’ commented saying “Bleep or no bleep, cater to your man. It’s 2013 for fevk sake! Kini big deal!?!(sic.)” And Lo and behold, she got a considerable number of likes (i.e. approval) from other members of the forum. This really threw me off.
Throughout my stay in this world, I have seen many posts and read thousands of comments on the virtual network. But in all honesty, I believe, if ever, only on a few occasions have I caught sight of one as annoying as this. Have we really stooped this low in terms of moral decadence? Why must we justify our wrecked ethical values with silly and highly flawed excuses (like the one above)?
People seem to think that what is moral and what is not is determined by the conduct of the majority. As long as the majority is stealing, then I can steal too. As long as the majority are homosexuals, no one dares point a finger at me. As long as the majority is corrupt, who are you to blame me. Excuse me… a thing does not seize to be absurd no matter what name we call it. A thing does not seize to be unjust because the president endorses it. Neither does a thing seize to be wrong because the majority are doing it. What determines good or bad, right or wrong, just or unjust, ought to be our rational thought process, the holy-scriptures, our conscience. Put in words of Marcus Tullius Cicero: ‘the absolute good is not a matter of opinion but of nature.’
If we say we can do as we please, simply because we are in the 21st century, don’t we think the 20th century guys would have said so too. Same applies to those who lived in the 19th century and antecedent years, because moralistic writers have been warning of moral decadence centuries ago. At times, when you read the remarks of some scholars (or perhaps, quotations), you will think the speaker is a contemporary one, due to the fact that the society he describes is much like the one obtainable today. But then you check the author’s name, and you discover it Socrates, Cicero or other ancient sages.
Hence, if we truly want good for ourselves and wish the best for humanity, let us not blame the times for our misdeeds, let us not engage in evil under the pretext of ‘besides, this is the jet age, the age of immorality, the age of freedom’. In fact, let us not engage in it at all.
“In matters of conscience, the law of majority has no place.” ~Mahatma Gandhi.
LAND OF COMMOTION
Almost on a daily basis, my mom, a high school guidance counsellor, comes home with various stories about the various grotesque and delinquent behaviours indulged in by her students. Sometimes, she would talk of students trying to initiate others in a cult, some arrested by the police for theft and burglary or those who threaten or make successful efforts to ‘discipline’ teachers. At other times, she would make mention of cases of an older lady seducing her junior into indecent sexual behaviour while alone in a classroom, of students caught watching pornographic films, of those engaging in homosexual relationships and many who camp in the forest area in the school premise, doing all sorts of things like cooking for themselves, drinking alcohol and God knows what else. Whenever I hear such reports, I just shake my head and feel sorry for the kids, and this generation at large, for the evils that continue to hold us bondage.
However on this particular day, she narrated a story that got me giggling and which deserves to be presented on stage as a short comical play. Hence, my decision to not liberate from the tentacles of my pen (or is it, in this case, my keyboard?)
Here it goes:
There is this girl of about 17 or 18 (let’s give her an ad-hoc name, Sade). Her mother was dead worried because of her ill-health. Being a certified nurse, she conducted some medical tests for Sade, testing her for malaria, typhoid, diarrhoea etc. However, they all turned negative. She administered some drugs for the girl to take, yet the illness persisted.
Then she decided to collect some of her urine, and test her for pregnancy. Lo and behold, little Sade don carry belle. On discovering that her mom knew of her gravid condition, Sade temporarily fled her home.
Meanwhile, her mom had done some sleuthing to find out who are boyfriend (and partner in crime) was. She paid him a visit. And had both him and his brother arrested (for rape? Can’t say without knowledge of the girl’s true age).
Sade later showed up, only for her mother to commit her into the hands of the Law Enforcement Officers too. She asked her to be placed in detention to teach her a lesson (only God knows on what charge).
That is not all o.
Finally, while Sade was writing her statement at the station, she accused her mom of giving her drugs with the aim of aborting her pregnancy. And what did the Police do? They apprehended the mother too. J All of them (plaintiff, ‘accused’ and victim) are now in prison for crimes unknown.
I do not know what came over me today – 14th of August, 2013. I just felt the urge to get to know more about the history of my family name, lineage and township. And I think it was worth it.
In this write-up, I will be taking a glimpse at the meaning and history of ‘Adebajo’, my surname; ‘Adekunle’, my first name; ‘Ago-Iwoye’, my hometown; and ‘Ebumawe’, the monarchical title of the Ago-Iwoye people.
My sources of information include my dad, Mr Nelson Adetola Adebajo, the son of Arowogbaaya (Ibipe township); my mom, Mrs Fatimah Kikelomo Adebajo (Imere township) and a book by Barrister J.O. Ajibola, ‘A Brief History Of Ago-Iwoye’, being a lecture delivered to a youth club at Ago-Iwoye court hall on Friday 30th December, 1966.
Many decades ago, in the era of slave-trade (19th century), an era infamous for its perilousness and during which a caring mother would hesitate before sending her child on an errand … a man called Ṣomade (the wicked ones have taken the crown) – grandfather to my dad, was abducted by the Ẹgbas to be sold to the whites as a slave. But the people of Ibipẹ* would not sit back and allow this to happen because Somade was not an ordinary man, he was from a royal background. They sent 3 slaves to Abẹokuta that they may be bartered for Ṣomade.
His return home was considered very special that his progenitors were named after the event. Ade bo ni ati ajo, the crown [king] has returned from the journey.
In the past, I was often confused when I think about (or tell others) the surface translation of this name, which I bear. ‘Ade full for house’?
Now if you ask me what it means, I can definitely tell you something more logical. And that is: this sort of name is found in royal households, but not just any. Ones in which princes (male heirs) abound, at least two . Funny enough, in my family, there are four .
Other names that can replace it include Adedeji, Adepọju, Adedimeji, Adeṣubomi, Adeyinka, Aderogba, Adeṣupọ etc.
Before 1931, there was no place going by the name Agọ-Iwoye. The present Agọ-Iwoye, prior to this time, was simply known as Agọ (meaning camp). It was as a result of the efforts and petition of the Agọ-Iwoye Progress Union (inaugurated in 1926) that the town came to be known, both informally and officially, as Agọ-Iwoye, which means the ‘camp of healing’.
Why this name? The answer is 1831. The Gbedeke war of 1831 (or Iṣamuro war as called by the Ẹgbas), a war borne out of greed, tribalism and white egocentrism. The trend back in the days was that the whites enticed various lands to fight wars and raid one another, in order that there may be slaves available for them to buy. This war forced the people of Iwoye (not Ago-Iwoye) to flee for their dear lives, as the Egbas ruthlessly attacked and destroyed their land.
They pitched their tents in a new area known as Imọṣọsi (whose leader was Meyẹlu), finding only a few settlers there. Seven townships comprising of Ibipẹ, Iṣamuro, Idọdẹ, Odoṣinusi, Igan, Imosu, and Imere emigrated from Orile-Iwoye and settled at Ago. They rotated the central leadership between their various Baloguns (war-leaders). The first Balogun to be made leader was Balogun Meleki of Igan township.
This explains why Ago-Iwoye was once referred to as Agọ-Meleki.
However, when a British commissioner visited between 1893 and 1895, asking for the Baalẹ of the town, the then chief-Balogun, Ogunfowodu, became to be called Baalẹ and so was his successors. This went on until Oba Alaiyeluwa Akadi Adenugba was installed in 1932, as the first Ebumawe of Agọ-Iwoye.
The people of Idoko who were among the early settlers of Ondo worshipped spirits, and they hated twins whom they always put to death. At one time, Oduduwa had twin children, one a male and the other a female. Oduduwa sent both these twins and their mother away from his headquarters to the remote part of his kingdom so that they might not be killed (cf. Johnson’s History of the Yorubas, page 25), and they finally settled at Idoko.
The people of the District, knowing that they were from the Royal family, and recognising in them the essence of twin, called them ‘EBU-MARE’ and ‘EṢE-MARE’ respectively, Ebu and Eṣe both mean POTENT and MYSTERIOUS. ‘MARE’ means – HERE IS or HERE ARE. That is, these are potent and mysterious beings. These names later on became to be known as EBUMAWE and OṢEMAWE.
The female child settled at Ondo and became a ruler, while the male, Akingbade, travelled from Idoko, through Okun-Ori-Imedu, Epe, to Ijebu-Ode, and then to Wojaiye and Ibipe. The only settlers they found were the descendants of Sapoku, the Isamuro people who made him king. Hence, Akingbade became the first Ebumawe, and many others ruled after him until the Iwoye towns were destroyed by the Egba people in the Gbedeke war of 1831.
Extracted from ‘A brief history of Ago-Iwoye’ by J.O Ajibola (Page 19/20)