STUDENTS’ RIGHTS: MYTH OR REALITY?

DELIVERED IN REPRESENTATION OF THE FACULTY OF LAW AT THE 1ST SCOLA INTER-FACULTY ORATORY CONTEST ON APRIL 1,2016.

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To be or not to be. That was the question that bothered the mind of Young Hamlet in the day of Shakespeare. It is a question which has lingered in our hearts for centuries without an answer. But it is not our problem today. Today the question is – has it been or has it not. Students’ rights: a myth or a reality?

Ladies and gentlemen, speaking is Adebajo Adekunle Adefisayo, a representative of the faculty of law here to dance with my lips to the melodious question – student rights: a myth or a reality. Do students really have freedoms? And if they do, do they have them merely by a stretch of imagination or in the actual recognition of our dear nation?

You may ask – what do we speak of here. What even are students’ right? Well, students’ right is our right to attend classes and not have to leave home extra-early because the hall is not big enough. Students’ right is our right to peacefully express our grievance and not get served a hot meal of SDC letters. Students’ right is our right to an environment that is conducive for learning, where there is ventilation, whether from ACs or fans. And I do not mean hand fans. Ladies and gentlemen, it is our right to pay tuition and not have to struggle to pay attention while getting doses of education.

Kay Granger once said, ‘human rights are not a privilege granted by the few, they are a liberty entitled to all.’ And so, students have rights just like everyone else. But the point is; are we getting them like everyone else? For it is one thing to have a first class pedigree and it’s another to have a first class degree. It’s one thing to be eligible for bed space according to the porter and another to be eligible according to UI portal.

Fellow students, today’s topic calls to mind some agonising ironies in our world.

Do we have rights in reality? Yes we do. In the reality of section 295 of the Criminal Code which provides in clear terms that everyone above the age of sixteen may not be corrected by a blow or other force; and that excessive force shall not be used in any case. However, in the reality of NASU members, students are never too old to get a taste of the cane. In the reality of Professor O.M. Ndimele of the University of Port Harcourt, there is no wrong in tattooing the skin of students with parallel lines.

Do we have rights in reality? Yes, ladies and gentlemen. Yes we do. In the reality of section 36 of the constitution which guarantees for every person the right to fair hearing. But then in the reality of Almighty Student Disciplinary Committee, a student case is nothing but a case of two foxes and a sheep voting on what to have for breakfast. In the reality of our lecturers, you are not innocent until proven guilty. Rather you are guilty with no chance to prove your innocence.

Do we have rights in reality? Yes, we do. We do in the reality of the case of Garba & Ors v University of Maiduguri where the Supreme Court held that the expelled students were not granted justice by the university. But what we find in the reality of the school? We find numerous miscarriages of justice and somersaults of fairness as we found again two days ago in the case of MOTE & Ors v. the SDC. One wonders if the Disciplinary Committee itself has discipline. One wonders if it is even a committee or a martial court.

Friends, the rights of students sometimes is like a dancing mirage which dances energetically in the pages of our laws and on the tongue of our leaders; but which never gives an harvest of laughter. When it comes to our rights, our politicians and professors have a high blood pressure of vocal expression but an anaemia of profitable actions. Our rights are the cars which ferry Student Union leaders to their coveted offices during elections. But after elections? After elections, we will hear that there is hike in fuel price and so this car can no longer move. We hear that the bank of justice has been robbed and is bankrupt. We hear that the buttery of impartiality and welfarism has caught fire. Ladies and gentlemen, we hear all kinds of things.

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When I saw the topic, what came to my mind was – how can we reduce something as fundamental as fundamental human rights to the fabulous tales of Ijapa tiroko oko yanibo? How can we reduce it to the fantastic legends of the seeker? Why should we have to doubt and debate whether or not we have rights? Why do we even need SCOLA to advocate vehemently for our rights? Why? Well, I’ll tell you why. We need them not because our rights are a myth or a reality. We need them because our rights are a myth in reality.

Malcolm X once said; nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you’re a man, you take it. And so, ladies and gentlemen, greatest Nigerian students, if you want to see your rights in 3D and not just on paper. If you want freedom, you must take it. If you want victory, you must struggle – why because as we all know; aluta continua victoria ascerta.

DOES AFRICA ALONE HAVE THE CAPACITY TO FIGHT TERRORISM?

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Photo Credit: Defence Web

PRESENTED AT JAW WAR 2015 QUARTER-FINAL ON THE 7TH OF OCTOBER, 2015.

GEORGE C. Kimble said; the darkest thing about Africa is not its black people, its black magic or even its shocking history of slavery and colonialism. The darkest thing about Africa has always been our ignorance of Africa. Many persons cannot fathom what Africa truly is, the great qualities she possesses and the magnificent things she is capable of. And so when it is asked that: can Africa fight terrorism, as a matter of reflex and inferiority complex; we tend to forget the facts and even flex the index – all in a bid to say no.

JUDGES, fellow warriors in this tournament, ladies and gentlemen: Good evening to you all. Here stands an African, Adebajo Adekunle Adefisayo, from the faculty of law proudly saying yes to the question – DOES AFRICA ALONE HAVE THE CAPACITY TO FIGHT TERRORISM?

FOR the sake of clarity, the United Nations General Assembly in 1994 described terrorism as criminal acts intended or calculated to provoke a state of terror in the general public, a group of persons or particular persons for political purposes…

OUR Yoruba elders often tell us that a society without laws is a society without sins and flaws – ilu ti o ba ti sofin, ko le si ese. You see, though social scientists may not wear suits on a normal day, they do so by all means today because it is then law, the way of public speaking. Premised on this, I can confidently say that Africa’s legal weaponry is a perfect start in the fight against terrorism. This is evidenced by Article 23, Section 2, Paragraph (b) of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights which categorically provides that for the purpose of strengthening peace, solidarity and friendly relations, state parties to the present Charter shall ensure that their territories shall not be used as bases for subversive or terrorist activities.

MOVING ON, the existence and re-emergence of the Central Multi-National Force against Boko-Haram between Nigeria, Chad, Niger, Cameroon and Benin shows that Africa has the unity and solidarity necessary to fight the monsters in our territory.

MOREOVER, what could be more convincing of our capacity to fight terrorists if not the 2014 Global Terrorism Index which places as many as 10 African countries in the list of top 32 countries with least cases of terrorism.

ALSO, it is as clear as the Zik River that the social values in Africa are a nightmare for terrorism. It is these values of justice and equity that propelled the formation of the Civilian Joint Task Force which has been doing a wonderful job in North-Eastern Nigeria fighting and ousting the menace of Boko Haram.

FURTHERMORE, the great Marcus Cicero once remarked – to know nothing of what happened before you were born is to forever remain a child. Thus, the question begging to be asked is: has Africa ever fought or won any fight against terrorists? Besides, how better to judge Africa’s capacity other than through the caps in Africa’s reality? Africa has indeed won several battles against terrorism. And a good instance is the 1985 total obliteration of the Yan Tatsine. We also have the Lord’s Resistance Militancy of Uganda, the Revolutionary United Front of Sierra Leone and the Die Boermag of South Africa ALL of which are heard of no more today. And ah, not to forget our dear Niger Delta Militants who by the way promised us a Civil War should Uncle Jonathan lose the election. Six months later, it is apparent they only had the jaw but not the means to start the war.

IF my friends from the Social Sciences claim that Africa lacks military might to fight the blight of terrorism, please tell them that according to the 2015 Global FirePower list which ranks countries by military strength, India has the fourth best military in the world. However, this does not stop the same India from being ranked number six of the most terrorised nations of the world by the Global Terrorism Index.

FINALLY ladies and gentlemen, before I leave the stage, I must warn us. I fear that my opponents will soon come here to dish out a perfectly prepared delicacy full of the red herring fallacy. I fear that they will present an irrelevant item in order to divert attention from the original problem. And so, let us remember that the topic of today’s debate is not do individual African countries have the capacity. It is – does Africa, the continental land of milk and honey, have the capacity to fight terrorism. Therefore, my answer remains yes, yes and yes! If we combine the acuity of South Africans, the practicality of Egyptians, the numerical capacity of Nigerians, the martial vitality of Kenyans and the positive peculiarities of the 50 other Africa nations, we will not only fight the terrible terrorists terrifying our terra firma, we will in fact win that fight.

NIGERIA’S EDUCATION: A THEORISED KNOWLEDGE?

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Photo Credit: Getty Images

A speech delivered on November 4, 2015 and which got me the “King of the Podium” appellation (2015/2016) as far as Kenneth Mellanby Hall is concerned.

It is said that when the head is too big, it cannot dodge blows… The head of today’s event, Nigeria’s education, is bigger than its body and thus must endure being constantly discussed.

Good day fellow Mellanbites, kingmakers, fellow speakers and the audience. Before you is Adebajo Adekunle Adefisayo, an aspirant for the crown of the podium. And I am here to take the floor on the question – Nigeria’s education: a theorised knowledge?

Ladies and gentlemen, Terence once said nothing is said which has not been said before. It has, before now, been argued that our education system is not laden with theorised knowledge because we have various practical sessions like industrial training, teaching practice and chamber attachments. It has also been argued that the presence of quality private schools has greatly reduced focus on theory. It may even be argued that our knowledge is not theorised because we not only have theory questions in our examination, we also have German and objective ones. But we all know that these arguments may not hold air let alone water.

Finding an irrefutable assertion is like finding a popular YouTube video with no dislike. There are always two sides to a coin and two ends to a rope. And so it behoves me to examine the other side to this argument which in fact appears to be heavier. To compare it with the former is to compare Mellanby hall to a boys quarters.

The reality today is that our education system is crude and lacks exposure. It not only focuses on theory but off-base, out-of-date triviality. Our lecturers for instance find nothing wrong in using pre-colonial lesson notes 55 years after independence. We have engineers who do not move near engines, doctors who know no better than conductors and Professors of Mechanical Engineering who still take their engines to the mechanics for engineering. Our students can define the internet but cannot use it, they can define a laboratory and in fact list 10 apparatuses it contains but have never entered one, they can describe a wind turbine but have never seen one; they can talk all day about how the tractor works but we have not for once driven one.

In 2012, investigations carried out by Vanguard Nigeria revealed that many schools in Nigeria lack up to date computer technology and the few that have lack access to electricity. For instance, out of a class of about 60, only one claimed to have once worked on a computer – his uncle’s laptop.

Just last month, the cerebral Dr Olisa Godson Muojama of the History department was on air at Splash FM and he declared that Nigeria is operating mercantile, commercial capitalism and not true industrial capitalism. Meaning we import virtually everything but we do not ourselves create or construct anything. Even the things we manage to create, we still import the raw materials from overseas. Does this then mean Nigerians are too dull or lazy? No, of course not! It is only because our education system does not encourage creative thinking. It only reinforces routine robotic reasoning. The problem is not intelligence but lack of experience. And this cannot help us. It will only cast us in a state of motion without movement, activity without productivity.

You see, when Nigerians go abroad to learn, their genius often becomes manifest because of the change in environment. Almost a 100% of Nigerians who ever invented anything worthy of international recognition benefitted substantially from foreign education – from Saheed Adepoju who invented the Inye tablet to Seyi Oyesola who invented the ‘hospital in a box’, from Jelani Aliyu who made General Motors leading auto-brand to Cyprian Emeka who holds more than 160 patents worldwide. Last May, we also heard about Mr Ufot Ekong who made a speedy electric car while studying in Japan. He definitely would not have achieved that had he studied in University of Ibadan.

Fellow Mellanbites, what I am trying to say in essence is that we have the perfect intellectual pool, but our schools lack the perfect intellectual tools. School is not just about pen and paper; it is about ken and actual encounters. School is not only about learning and character; it is about knowing and being a master. School is not about la cram la pour la pass la forget; it is about la grasp la tour la surpass la recollect.

Gentlemen, I shall close by quoting from Benjamin Franklin, a foremost American statesman.  He said tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn. And so if our education sector is truly interested in the impartation of knowledge, then it must provide not just updated theory but engaging practicality and actual intellectual activity.

Post scriptum: Paragraphs 3, 4, 8 and the last sentence weren’t part of the final delivery due to temporal inadequacy.

SIGN TO BRING BACK “THE DEBATERS REALITY SHOW”!

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🔔    🔔    🔔    🔔    🔔

CLICK HERE TO SIGN NOW!

‘Hello Everyone, we know you cannot wait for the next season, thank you for your messages and support. Please stay tuned to this page as something really exciting is coming your way soon. Oratory … the power to change [Posted on Facebook on the 5th of July, 2011]’.

And that was the last we heard of The Debaters, a reality TV show which once kept thousands upon thousands of Nigerians glued to their Television sets while its two seasons lasted. This captivating and educative programme was a first of its kind as it gathered some of the country’s best youthful brains, trained them in the almost-lost-art of polemics and enlightened a broad audience sitting in the confines of their home while so-doing. It was a unique programme which rewarded intellectual growth and showed the world that Nigerians aren’t just fantastic on the football pitch or in amphitheatres.

Sadly and to everyone’s dismay, after the completion of the second season, the third never came. For four long years, we’ve waited but it still is not here. That lovely programme vanished into thin air without a word of explanation. But of course, it can easily be assumed that someone got tired of sponsoring it perhaps because it brought no financial gains.

However, this gloomy disappearance and intellectual homicide ensued in the same era where Big Brother Africa has been held for nine years consecutively and with the winner getting a whopping sum of US$300,000 last year. This tragedy is occurring in the same era Nigerian Idol, another Reality show, has been held for five years running. It is happening in the same time where MTN Project Fame has been annually held 7 times in the past and 18 contestants are presently battling it out in the 8th edition. We also have the Glo Naija Sings, Guilder Ultimate Search, Maltina Dance All amongst many others.

The importance of these entertainment shows is not in any way being undermined. But then the non-existence (and premature death) of equally top-class intellectually flavoured programmes (such as ‘The Debaters’ and Zain Africa’s Challenge) depicts the lopsided nature of our priorities.

In the year 2009 when ‘The Debaters’ made its debut, Lola Odedina (Group Head, Communications and External Affairs, GTB) said that GTB’s support for the programme was predicated on the fact that the development of the mind and the intellect is a tool for sustainable development. She also added that if the country would reproduce the like of Anthony Enahoro and Wole Soyinka who had through their oratorical skills been agents of positive change at one time or the other, there is the need for a well-structured system that would breed such agents.

To conclude therefore, I am humbly using this medium to call on Nigeria’s rank and file to strongly demand for the resuscitation of ‘The Debaters Reality Show’ and other programmes like it. Similarly, the bigwigs and large corporations in our society should also support intellectual activities as much as they do for recreational ones.

Particularly, the National Orientation Agency, the Ministries of Education and Youth Development and finally, Inspire Africa (which initiated it ab intio), should all strive to revive ‘The Debaters’ soon and in earnest. It will cost virtually nothing, yet the intellectual drive that we stand to benefit is simply enormous.

Bring Back The Debaters! Bring it back. Make it bigger and better.

God bless Nigeria! ✊

https://www.change.org/p/nigerian-ministry-of-education-nigerian-ministry-of-youth-development-national-orientation-agency-bring-back-the-debaters-reality-show?just_created=true

CLICK TO SIGN NOW, and don’t forget to also SHARE!

Please, equally share these hash tags to promote the movement:

#BringBackTheDebaters #IntellectualNigeria

This movement is not just about THE DEBATERS , it is to correct the general insouciant attitude of government and society to intellectual activities.

Cheers! ❤👋

CYBER SPACE USAGE: CENSORSHIP OR FREEDOM?

24-11-2014; UCJ FRANCIS EGBOKHARE INTER-PRESS DEBATE; SEMI-FINAL


Robert Anton Wilson once said; ‘Intelligence is the capacity to receive, decode and transmit information efficiently. Stupidity is blockage of this process at any point …’

Good evening judges, fellow pressmen, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Adebajo Adekunle Adefisayo, an ambassador of the Mellanby Hall Press Organisation. And I stand here today to advocate the motion that cyber space usage should be based not on censorship but on freedom.

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JOURNALISM IN NIGERIA HAS DONE MORE HARM THAN GOOD TO NATIONAL SECURITY

13-12-14, UCJ INTER-PRESS DEBATE, FINAL ROUND


In the year 2009, 23rd of January to be exact; we heard a shocking and quite embarrassing news caption – ‘Police parade goat as robbery suspect in Kwara for attempting to snatch a Mazda car’. This headline incidentally came at a time when the nation started her head-to-head with insecurity; a time when terrorists had carved out headquarters in our territory. It only makes us wonder; whether our journalists are in the business of exposure, or that of mere humour.

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DEMOCRACY IS THE BEST SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT

ower to the people

BEING A DEBATE TOPIC PRESENTED ON THE 27TH OF JUNE, 2014; AT AN LnD MEETING, FACULTY OF LAW, U.I.


As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master; that expresses my idea of democracy

~ Abraham Lincoln.

…..………… [GREETINGS] ………………

Today, we have countless systems of government in the world which we can choose from, while some are just on paper, others operate in the corners of true power. We have hyper-anarchy [government by no one], barbarocracy [government by barbarians], foolocracy [government by fools], chrysoaristocracy [government by the wealthy], diabolocracy [government by the devil], kleptocracy [government by thieves]; and as put by our own political analyst and verbal contortionist, Patrick Obahiagbon, we also have kakistomoboplutocracy [government by the worst of mobs who are rich]. But then, ladies and gentlemen, I stand here today to tell us that the best of all these governmental systems, which has been tested and trusted for centuries, is nothing but Democracy [rule by the people]. Just as Ronald Reagan said; ‘it is the most deeply honourable form of government ever devised by man.’

Before I proceed to stating the premises on which I base this assertion, I would like to define the term democracy. We may say it is a form of government in which all eligible citizens participate equally – either directly or indirectly through elected representatives. It is, according to Aristotle, when the indigent and not the men of property are the rulers. When we say ‘power to the people’; when we say ‘putting people over politics’; that is democracy. And by saying, democracy is the best system of government; it does not mean it is perfect, just that it is better than all others. There is no better substitute for it.

Democracy is the best form of government because:

  1. It respects and promotes human rights, and even gender and animal rights. The self-evident and God-given rights of man are easily secured in a democratic system. These rights are even entrenched in a written code, just as we have in Chapter IV of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
  2. All are equal before the law. This is because democracy incorporates elements of nomocracy [the rule of law] and pantisocracy [the rule of everyone equally]. It is undoubtedly only in a true democratic system that we can find a fisherman suing a multi-national oil company, or a lowly citizen suing his president.
  3. Equal representation of both majority and minority interests. Unlike in some political dispensations where only a certain gender or household can be in found in government, where people like me and you may be crucified for dreaming to become head of state; democracy gives all and sundry including the minority a voice. If not for democracy, someone like President Goodluck Jonathan couldn’t have become a Deputy Governor, let alone considering running for a second term as President. Democracy is a system of equality, not a system of only-he-is-quality, it is a system of justice, not that of just-us.
  4. In a democracy, people get what they deserve, they get what they desire. If there is corruption and insecurity, it is because the people are working towards them. It is as a result of their overall decision, and not because some persons forced it down their throat. Thus, the people not only get to decide who is authority, they also get to decide what is their destiny.
  5. Finally, democracy paves way for man to have fundamental freedoms. The freedom of movement, the freedom to vote, the freedom to school, the freedom to use Facebook, twitter and so on. And above all, it also guarantees the freedom of speech because if not for democracy, we will not be here today, debating about democracy.

 

Ladies and gentlemen, it is no coincidence that Norway tops the Global Democracy ranking in 2013 and again tops the UN Human Development Index of the same year. In fact, the top 10 countries in the former ranking except one are among the first 21 in the second.

Tomas Garrigue once said: ‘Democracy has its faults because people have their faults; like owner like store’ – in Czech, ‘jaky pan, takovy kram’. So whatever fault we find to malign democracy is not because of the system, but those running it. Thus, the efficacy of democracy may be got only from the sincerity of humanity.

To conclude, I hope, just as Abraham Lincoln hoped on November 19, 1863; that the ‘government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.’

Thank you!

FREE AND FAIR ELECTION IN 2015: HOW FEASIBLE?

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FREE AND FAIR ELECTION IN 2015: HOW FEASIBLE?

THE WINNING SPEECH DELIVERED AT THE FINAL ROUND, IN-HOUSE SPEAKING CHAMPIONSHIP, ORGANISED BY THE LITERARY AND DEBATING SOCIETY, FACULTY OF LAW, UI.

Duration: 5 minutes.

Date: 14th Day Of March, 2014.


It is indeed a historic day. A day that has been anticipated for four long years. A day that has generated much dispute and quarrels. A day, the only day, that sovereignty truly belongs to the people. On this day, we see people: male and female, juvenile and senile, children and their parents, the leaders and the led; everybody marching to the same location, harbouring the same intention, to engage in the same action. The day is the 14th day of February, a Saturday, the Election Day. And coincidentally, Valentine’s Day.

Good afternoon friends, brethren, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Adebajo Adekunle Adefisayo, and I am here at this event to share my thought on the question: FREE AND FAIR ELECTION IN 2015, HOW FEASIBLE?

Let us cast our minds back in history. On June 12, 1993, millions of Nigerians voted in an election that is widely acknowledged as the best in the history of the nation. The elections were properly planned and conducted. There were pre-election debates, making it easy to know the candidate who is truly brilliant and the one who only has a charming smile. People voted and when it was obvious that MKO Abiola would be declared winner, his rival, Bashir Tofa was said to have sent him a congratulatory message, showing a spirit of comradeship. Records have it that has the results were being declared, prices of goods and services were dropping. Some businessmen even refused to be paid because they were glad that hope has finally come to the people. Unfortunately, this memorable election was annulled by the then Military ruler, Ibrahim Babangida.

Fast-forward to 20 years later, elections in Nigeria are nothing to write home about. It is in Nigeria that politicians tear one another’s posters all because of power. It is in Nigeria that you will see a presidential aspirant being invited for a debate by the people and rather than grace the invitation, he decides to be grooving with a popular musician. Yet, he still wins. It is in Nigeria that you find party loyalists at polling booths offering ₦500 and cups of Garri to voters to ‘buy’ their mandate. It is in Nigeria that thuggery during the electioneering process is a normal thing. When thugs do show up at a polling unit, the voters gladly welcome them asking why they came late. In short, 20 years later, elections in Nigeria are increasingly decreasing in credibility. They are only getting better at getting worse.

Now, 2015 is in the corner. We are still seeing a lot of abnormalities in the system. The recent activities of INEC have brought little or no hope, most especially the November 16, 2013 gubernatorial election in Anambra state which left many in a state of utter confusion. Nigerians have lost confidence in the commission, so much so that we invented a new expression, Jega, meaning ‘the act of stupidly wasting the time of a lot of people whilst keeping them under the sun.’

But then, Professor Attahiru Jega has (has contained in an article of the Sun newspaper published Tuesday, March 11) promised us that new machineries are in place to prevent rigging in the coming elections. It will not be business as usual. Permanent voters’ cards will be distributed without which a person cannot vote. On getting to the polling unit, a machine will be present to verify the voter’s passport and fingerprint, making it impossible for politicians to buy voters’ cards.

That said, I believe that very soon, the story will change. I believe that the 2015 election will not only be free, it will not only be fair; it will be first class. In fact, better than what we saw in 1993. If only we are willing to sacrifice. If only our leaders will do away with thirst for power; if they will be concerned about the welfare of the people and not the well-being of their pockets. If they will be true statesmen and not politricksters, because as James C Freeman aptly said; ‘a politician thinks of the next election. A statesman, of the next generation.’

In conclusion, I would say: Let us be positive thinkers. A positive thinker sees the invisible, hears the inaudible, feels the intangible and achieves the impossible. Let us be positive thinkers, and in essence great achievers, by seeing that freedom and fairness in the 2015 election is much feasible.

God bless Nigeria! God bless you!

Thank you!

NIGERIA: A FAILED STATE?

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NIGERIA: A FAILED STATE?

Presented As A Debate For The Purpose Of The “In-House Speaking Championship”, The Semi-Final.

Courtesy: Faculty Of Law, UI, Literary And Debating Society.

Date: 28th February, 2014.

MAIN SPEECH

I almost wept when I saw a picture of a newspaper headline that says ‘NEPA: No more black-out!’ I was sad, not because I’m seeing such promise for the first time or because I do not want the power supply in Nigeria to be stable. I was sad because the article was published as far back as 1988.

And we all know the condition of the power sector till this very date.

Nigeria: A failed state?

Good evening ladies and gentlemen, Adebajo Adekunle Adefisayo is my name, and I am here on this occasion to propose the bitter but factual submission that Nigeria is a failed state.

Before I delve deep into speechmaking, I think just as it is pertinent that we know what leadership truly is before we publicly declare Mobutu Sese Seko the Mandela of D.R. Congo, we also need to know what ‘a failed state’ means before we can wear its cloak for Nigeria.

A failed state, according to the Fund for Peace, means ‘a state perceived as having failed at some of the basic conditions and responsibilities of a sovereign government … [1] the central government is so weak or ineffective that it has little practical control over much of its territory [2] non-provision of public services [3] widespread corruption and criminality and [4] sharp economic decline.’ Now, let’s take a look at these one after the other.

One, the central government is so weak that it has little control over much of its territory. The validation for this is simple. Let me ask us, if the federal government asks us to resume school for the next session on June 1st, and again, Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko haram says nobody must go to school, whose order will we comply with? The answer to this goes to show that that the state has not only lost control over its territory, it has lost control over its citizenry too.

Two is the non-provision of public services. It is well known that Nigeria is such a country where the people are the government. Not in the sense that they decide how the affairs of the state are administrated, but that they provide virtually everything for themselves. It is the duty of the government to provide electricity, but we find people struggling to buy generators, struggling to ‘better pass their neighbours’. It is the duty of government to provide tap-water. Yet we find boreholes here and there dug buy private individuals. It is the duty of the state to give us good roads, but we still find people building bridges themselves and collecting tolls, we see people filling potholes with little stones.

Thirdly, we have widespread corruption and criminality. Nothing can be truer than this. The country is so corrupt that on typing ‘Nigeria’ on the Google search engine, it quickly suggests ‘a corrupt country?’ A country where the President can afford to spend 1 billion naira on food per annum, even though he vowed to be eating Cassava bread and majority of populace is starving to death. A country where 20 billion dollars can vanish into thin air and no one will raise an eyebrow. A country where armed robbery, kidnapping and bombing are the orders of the day. If such country has not failed, then perhaps I need to go back to my dictionary and check the meaning of failure.

I wish to sum up my points with the result of a recent survey conducted by the United States think-tank, an independent research organisation; the Fund for Peace and the Foreign Policy magazine. Nigeria was ranked as the 15th most failed nation in the world out of 177 countries. Even, she has moved upward 3 places from the 18th position in 2008. Meaning Nigeria is not just a failed state, she is gradually on her way to overthrow Somalia and hence become the king of failed states in the world.

This survey goes to show that the fact that Nigeria is a failed state is not only a well-grounded opinion of Nigerians; it is a universally acclaimed, globally established, self-evident truth.

In conclusion, I wish to seek validation in the sagacious diction of Demosthenes: Res ipsa loquitur, the facts speak for themselves, if only we will pay attention.

REBUTTAL

The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it’ – Flannery O’Connor.

My contending debater has said that Nigeria can be said not to be a failed state because we have remain united. But let me ask. If I manufacture a vehicular contraption, a jalopy so to speak, that cannot move an inch. It does not work. Can we say it is a successful invention just because of the fact that the spare parts hold on together?

Again, he said Nigeria has produced numerous elites and scholars renowned world-wide. But I must say that this is in no way a function of our being successful, it is solely a function of our large population.

Ladies and Gentlemen, with all these facts, I am forced to propose that it will not be out of place if we rechristen the state from the ‘Federal Republic of Nigeria’ to the ‘Failed Republic of Disaster’.

Confucius said ‘do not use a canon to kill a mosquito’. Thus, I will rest my case here believing we are convinced beyond any inkling of doubt that indeed Nigeria is a failed state.

GLOBALISATION: THE CRUX OF WORLD VIOLENCE

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THIS IS A PRESENTATION MADE AT THE 2014 DR. YOMI FINNIH ANNUAL INTER-ORGANISATION DEBATE.

VENUE: MAIN HALL, CONFERENCE CENTRE, U.I HOTELS, UNIVERSITY OF IBADAN.

DATE: FEBRUARY 13, 2014.

DURATION: 3 MINUTES.

TOPIC: GLOBALISATION: THE CRUX OF WORLD VIOLENCE

Between July 28, 1914 and June 28, 1919, the world witnessed a ‘Great War’ – the First World War between all major world powers. It had has casualties over 37 million persons.

Again, between 1939 and 1945, another massive bloodbath ensued in the form of the Second World War. In this war, over 2.5% of the world population was killed: 60 million persons. That is like double the population of Canada.

Ladies and gentlemen, I wish to put it to us that the 97 million casualties of these two great wars would have lived longer to enjoy the company of their family, go to school, get a degree, play with friends, marry and maybe nurture grandchildren, if it were not for global compression and international integration; if these nations had not inter-related and unified so much as to give room for bullying, bloodshed and unnecessary battles.

Greetings. My name is Adebajo Adekunle, and I am here in the ambassadorial capacity of the Quiz club. I will be speaking in defence of the submission that globalisation is the crux of world violence. So, what are my reasons for making this assertion?

Globalisation breeds violence, as it produces inequality, poverty, environmental degradation and unprecedented concentration of economic power in the hands of a few. And in a situation where poverty is king, violence is inevitable. Just as is well summarised in the words of one of the foremost proponents of non-violence in the world, Mahatma Gandhi; ‘poverty is the worst for of violence.’

Another point I would like to raise is the fact the expansion and evolution of globalisation has led to a facilitation of the exportation of aggression. In a situation whereby countries like US, Russia and Germany produce 63% of all the weapons in the world, whereby the arms-industry makes a whopping $411.1bn annually; what else do we expect except violence?

Even if the human race is finally united and peace is reinforced, as long as we have persons who benefit from war, persons who benefit from bloodshed, persons who find pleasure in exporting weapons, violence is sadly inevitable.

In conclusion, I wish to seek validation in the dictum of Lord Robertson. He said ‘globalisation will make our societies more creative and prosperous, but also more vulnerable.’ ‘Vulnerable to what?’ you may want to ask. I say vulnerable to vast, vile, veritable, vicious, venomous and very vexatious violence.

Thank you!