WHAT IS LEFT OF WHAT IS RIGHT?

war of words

I want to talk, see I have to say my mind

I wan yan wetin my eyes don dey find
Continue reading

Advertisements

DEATH SENTENCE: DEMEANING THE DIGNITY OF HUMAN LIFE?

DEATH SENTENCE: DEMEANING THE DIGNITY OF HUMAN LIFE

Delivered on the 25th day of July, 2014, in representation of T.O. Elias Clamber at the Maiden Inter-Chamber Interjectory Debate Contest, Faculty of Law, UI

Everybody desires to get to paradise; and even though we cannot get there without it, nobody wants to die. I mean even terrorists hesitate before committing suicide. Each and every one of us here is scared of death in one way or the other, either for ourselves or for others. The thought of it troubles us. The talk of it agitates us. And a glance at it greatly overwhelms us. So why does a defence of death, either by accident or by court judgment, not bother us?

Good day, legal brethren, the bench, ladies and gentlemen. Adebajo is my cognomen and I’m here at this notable event, hoisting T.O. Elias’s emblem. I’m to give my assent to the statement that death sentence demeans the dignity of human life.

Before I proceed, I’d like to tell us that death sentence, also known as capital punishment, is a judicial pronouncement that condemns a man to expiry, it plunges him into the ancestral realm without his consent … Human life, on the other hand, is that phenomenon without which none of us will be here, or there, except perhaps 6-feet-below our legs. It is a God-given gift that must never ever be intentionally tampered with.

But then, what premises underline this assertion of mine that saying the capital punishment does not demean the dignity of human life is a lie?

One, according to sub-section (1) section 33 of the 1999 Constitution, ‘no one shall be deprived intentionally of his life, save in the execution of the sentence of a court in respect of a criminal offence of which he has been found guilty’. The problem here is; how can we confidently tag someone as either guilty or not guilty?

As we all know, criminal culpability constitutes both actus reus and mens rea. Thus, even if we are able to say with certainty that a person used his hands to commit an offence, we can never be 100 percent sure that his mind is as guilty. And is it not true, the dictum of Sir William Blackstone that, ‘better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer’?

To buttress this point, I would like to allude to the case of Paul Hildwin who was dashed a death sentence. Thanks to DNA evidence, his innocence was discovered, early this month, after he had spent half of his life in detention.

In the same vein, persons have been killed for charges of rape, kidnap or murder, only for the real culprits to confess years later, or for the supposed victim to return alive.

We even have the case of Thomas and Meeks Griffin who were prosecuted for murder in 1915, because the police deemed them wealthy enough to secure an acquittal. They were summarily executed, only to be pardoned 94 years later [CNN article].

Ladies and gentlemen, even if persons who are executed are always truly guilty, we must realise that man is aga-tho-ca-co-logical, having proclivity towards both good and evil. This reality is aptly captured in the words of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, ‘there is no man so bad that he cannot be made good for something. No man should be put to death.’

A serial killer today can be a Reverend Pastor tomorrow, a prostitute today may be a nun tomorrow, and even, a ‘tsunamised’ student today may end up as a Vice Chancellor in the future. Therefore, we should not adopt a justice of vengeance; rather we should adopt that of rehabilitative deterrence.

We should all be like Dr Martin Luther King who said; ‘I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.’

Furthermore, it is no coincidence that Norway tops the United Nations Human Development Index for 2013 and she has abolished capital punishment since 1905 [according to Amnesty International i.e.]. So also, we have Germany, Netherland, Sweden, New Zealand and many others. On the other side of the list are countries that permit death penalty and are with the lowest human development index. Places like Sudan, Yemen, Somalia and Nigeria.

Lastly, the death sentence is not only contra-bono-mores and it is contra-legem, it is useless as it has not been found to discourage the commission of crimes. From the Global Crime Index of 2014, we can see that 16 out of the 30 most crime-ridden countries in the world permit death penalty. That is 53.3%, more than half!

Wife of Dr King, Coretta Scott, once said, ‘an evil deed is not redeemed by an evil deed of retaliation, justice is never advanced in the taking of a human life. Morality is never upheld by a legalised murder.’ Death sentence is nothing but legalised murder, lawful mischievousness; legitimate madness.

My adversaries may come here to argue that death sentence reduces the congestion of prisons, that it is easier and less expensive than other punitive measures; that it is backed up by some scriptures … but then these assertions, if they are raised; are absolutely not true. Even if they are, are we willing to sacrifice justice, fairness and human dignity on the altar of convenience and dogmatism?

Fellow law students, ladies and gentlemen, I only have for us – one more sentence. Let us sentence death sentence to death, to an oblivion of no return, because it not only demeans the dignity of human life, it equally derides the quality and gravity of human strife.

I – rest my case.

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!

THE NATIONAL CONFERENCE: PROGRESSION, WASTE OR WHAT?

1005208_681234441903131_1230653465_n_3

‘The gods had condemned Sisyphus to ceaselessly rolling a rock to the top of a mountain, whence the stone would fall back of its own weight. They had thought with some reason that there is no more dreadful punishment than futile and hopeless labour’.

These words of the French philosopher, Albert Camus, featuring the absurdist tale of poor Sisyphus inevitably bring to mind the pitiable story and futile circumstance of some 496 individuals, most of them advanced in years, who, on the 17th day of March, were ‘conscripted’ to partake in the on-going national conference.

President Goodluck Jonathan has said the conference is a medium where high-standing national stakeholders will ‘engage in intense introspection about the political and socio-economic challenges confronting our nation and chart the best and most acceptable way for the resolution of such challenges in the collective interest of all’. The question that crosses ones thoughts then is; what comes next after the resolutions have been charted?

It is visible to the blind and audible to the deaf that the conference is an utter waste. Reasons being: one, despite the fact that the whole venture is meant to be a service to the nation; and many of the delegates are pensioners with enough wealth to suffice their whole village and numerous progenies, the government still finds it appropriate to fund the conference with ridiculous generosity. At a time when various abandoned projects daily cry for attention, we find the government bold enough to spend as much as about 7 billion naira on a ‘talk-shop’.

If it were to end there, the situation may still be manageable as the funding, though unnecessary anyway, can be deemed a sacrifice for a worthy cause. But then, the whole process is just ‘vanity upon vanity’, waste upon waste, because the conference, from all indications, lacks any iota of efficacy. This is because the conference is not sovereign and fully autonomous. It is, at the end of the day, answerable to the President. In essence, whatever the resolutions reached, no matter how laudable, they are still subject to the whims and caprices of the government of the day which is the quintessential exemplar, if not origin, of the decay in the nation. This is a pointer to the sad fact that the national conference is nothing but a façade of seriousness and an incapacitated gathering of honest patriots. As Tony Blair aptly puts it; ‘power without principle is barren, but principle without power is futile’.

The national conference is not the panacea we seek. It was set up to find solutions in issues such as fiscal federalism, resource control, regional autonomy and security of lives and property. And even if it actualises this, it definitely cannot serve as a means of tackling political corruption, abject poverty, miscarriage of justice etc., as these are problems only sincerity on the part of the supreme authority in a country can solve. It cannot be, as the President has said, ‘a means of resolving differences and tensions that may exist in the country’, because the delegates were not popularly chosen. When it ends, it does not mean the average Ibo man will cease to hate the average Hausa man, or that the Yoruba Ijaw man will be comfortable handing his daughter in marriage to the typical Yoruba man.

Fred Allen once said that ‘a conference is a group of people who singly can do nothing, but together can decide that nothing can be done.’ How true this is. The reports of past conferences and committees, a good instance of which is the National Political Reforms Conference constituted by Former President Obasanjo in 2005, are still gathering dusts wherever it is they were dumped.

To conclude, I would say the national conference can definitely not be regarded as a form of progression. In fact, it is a means for retardation. It is not a step in the right direction; instead, it is many steps on a vain path. It is not a thing of value; rather it is a big joke, a diversionary and pointless activity; a waste, of time, money and, most saddening of all, lives. To suggest otherwise is to live in fanatical denial.

INSECURITY AND AMNESTY: A JOLLY RIDE TO LAWLESSNESS

PrtScr capture_4 (6)

ABDUL FATTAH ADEBAJO ADEKUNLE, LAW, 100 LEVEL

Winner of the 1434AH superior pen writing competition

[Published on pages 38 and 39 of Adh-Dhikr Magazine, February, 2014]

Written: several months back…

At times, I wonder how it is that we find ourselves in the current predicament. What have we done or failed to do as a nation that causes us to deserve this ‘punishment’? Are Nigerians that distinct from those in other lands, that we are bedevilled with insecurity?

It is quite demoralising that, today, the word ‘Nigeria’ is coterminous and equated with fear, insecurity and loss of lives. Nigeria is, today, a no man’s land. No tourist wishes to see our mouth-watering cultural artefacts. No company holder dares attempt to extend his investment to Nigeria. In fact, the ones already here are, so to say, running for their dear lives. That is not all; presidents and government officials now publicly announce their apprehension in paying Nigeria a visit. A quintessential instance is the recent case whereby President Obama of the United States visited African nations such as Ghana, Senegal, South Africa and deliberately put Nigeria aside.

The pivotal genesis of their lugubrious status-quo is not far-fetched. It all started with militant activities in the Niger-Delta region, which perhaps was made possible during the civil war of 1967-1970 that left myriad arms in the hands of individuals. As an offshoot, we also have innumerable cases of high-profile kidnappings; those being most rampant in the South East and South West on the other hand are infamous for harbouring petty thieves and notorious armed robbers. With the intervention of late President Umar Musa Yar’Adua’s regime, the militants in the Niger-Delta, and activities of MEND were considerably checked. This was mainly due to the introduction of amnesty, which is a process in which violent individuals are disarmed in exchange for education, employment or wealth. This recession brought untold joy unto the hearts of Nigerians, but little did we know that we are yet to get to the end of the beginnings of the burdensome quest.

In 2009, a group popularly referred to as Boko-Haram came into the limelight. Jama’atul Ahlis-Sunna lidda’awati wal-jihad (Boko-Haram) is believed to have originated from the activities of Maitatsine in the 1970s and 80s. its fame also rose when Mallam Alli was heading it around 1995. Thereafter, he passed the leadership to Muhammad Yusuf, a radical whose extra-judicial death in 2009 gave rise to the blood thirsty side of Boko-Haram and the death of more than 10,000 Nigerians – most of the innocent.

The federal government has for too long a time turned a blind eye to the activities of the sect, allegedly because some of the members have rich backgrounds with links to top government officials. However when the situation appears to be getting out control, albeit it never was in control; the government deemed it fit to offer a friendly arm to the sect; taking as precedent the Niger-Delta militants saga. This offer was, sadly and unexpectedly, harshly turned down, with the remarks that it is the government that actually needs amnesty.

Relentless, President Goodluck Jonathan shows that he is still ‘on top of the situation’ by putting to use another trick up his sleeve, a declaration of the state of emergency. This he did on May 14, 2013 in four states of the federation including Adamawa, Bornu and Yobe states. He imposed a 24-hour curfew in these states and sent thousands of military personnel, with the aim of fishing out and crushing the sect members. In addition, telecommunication and GSM were disabled to disorganise the sect. despite the strict measures, we still hear incidents of bombing (of religious institutions and market places); a very fresh case is the killing of juveniles in Yobe by setting a school ablaze. Up to 20 people were reportedly killed. Those who fled from the inferno were shotdown in cold blood. This is to point out that, truly, no real progress have been made.

All said and done, what can we say is the panacea to this precarious situation? The answer to this is very simple, but the implementation, not quite so. Indubitably, the root cause of Boko-Haram and other shapes insecurity is taking in Nigeria is simple and straightforward: poverty, unemployment and illiteracy. In the case of Nigeria, these are most obtainable in the North.

At this juncture, it would be apt to cite one of the remarks of a famous Greek philosopher, Aristotle – he said: ‘poverty is the parent of revolution and violence’. A hungry man does not think of anything but his hunger; and an idle hand, they say, is the devil’s workshop. The only rational explanation for a case in which a teenager in Lagos killed another individual with a knife for 10,000 naira is poverty.

I hereby submit that no level of military expedition or amnesty can salvage us from our predicament; Muhammad Yusuf was able to gain supporters and disciples because people were ignorant and because he strongly preached against corruption and police brutality. Thus, if we must restore sanity, safety and self-dignity in this nation we must set out to tackle corruption, fight illiteracy, and combat poverty with all available means, lest the aftermath becomes ineluctable: a jolly ride to lawlessness.

ON ‘MAMA PEACE’ AND HER ‘PEACEFUL’ BLUNDERS

0

I must confess, many times in the past, I have thought them exaggerations, all the viral posts on social media that supposedly point out the shameful grammatical blunders or hilarious outbursts of Mrs Patience Dame Jonathan, alias Mama Peace, the first lady and wife of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan of Nigeria.

However, after seeing for myself a recent video in which she literally humiliated herself on national TV, I might just believe any remark credited to her henceforth. It may not even be out of place to suggest that a separate set elections be conducted  for the office of the First Lady in subsequent elections; or that there be a constitutional provision for both a ‘first lady; kitchen’, and ‘first lady; publicity’. 🙂

Here is a transcript of her most recent outburst [or ’emotional display’ as put by Channels TV].The words in bold are her words, while others aren’t.


Do you come with two teachers?

No [comes the reply].

You were not informed too? Ehn?

Continue. No problem. God will see us. There is God. [With a raised voice], there is God in everything we are doing. Those bloods, that are sharing in Bornu, will answer … What of two teachers, WAEC, two teacher, two, ehn what of two teachers that can tell us that they conducted that exam? Do you come with any? ‘Prispal’?

Ma [says Principal].

No too?

Yes [replies Principal].

Na only you waka come, okay …[Again, raising her voice], now the first lady is calling you, come, I want to help you. Come to find your pa…, your child, your missing child. Will you keep quiet?

Nooo [All murmur in unison].

Chai! Chai! There is God o! Theeere is Good ooo! The bloods we are sharing, there is God o. [Crying now], there is God o, there is God o, there is God. Theeere is Good o, eeeee [crying loudly, clearing tears with handkerchief].

Please can you change your camera [says a male voice from the back].

 


THESE ARE SOME OF HER PAST UTTERANCES ACCORDING TO NEWSINNIGERIA.ORG

Can’t vouch for the veracity of most of them though.

1. My husband and Sambo is a good people (Imagine)

2. The President was once a child and the senators were once a children.

3. My fellow widows.

4. A good mother takes care of his children.

5. The people sitting before you were once a children.

6. Yes we are all happy for the effort, it is not easy to carry second in an international competition like this one,(addressing press men after Female Under-19 FIFA World Cup).

7. The bombers who born them? Wasn’t it not a woman? They were once a children now a adult now they are bombing women and children making some children a widow.

8. My heart feels sorry for these children who have become widows for losing their parents for one reason or another.

9. We should have love for our fellow Nigerians irrespective of their NATIONALITY

10. Thank God the Doctors and Nurses are responding to treatment.

11. I would rather kill myself instead of committing suicide.

12. Ojukwu is a great man, he died but his manhood lives on.

13. On behalf of 2million, I donate my family.

14. Why will boko haram bomb last churches on christmas day, they don’t have respect for Jesus, they are a very bad person, in fact I’m a sadder woman right now and Mr.President is more saddest.

15. We all have HIV.


‘BUT MAKE SURE YOU DON’T BLOW UP ANYBODY’

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

image

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!

SOCIAL NETWORKS AND MUSLIMS

Photo credit: Kairay Media

Photo credit: Kairay Media

A MUSLIM:

He is someone who submits willingly and absolutely to the will of Allah, the almighty. He lives consistently by the tents of Al-Islam. He considers the sayings of Allah and his messenger in whatever he sets out to do.

In this age of rocket-science, there exist quite a lot of novel inventions which could only be dreamt about in the Prophetic era. This poses a challenge to present-day Muslims, as patterning their lives with that of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon his soul) would be somewhat difficult considering the quantum jump experienced in technological, environmental, and socio-economic spheres. One of such new inventions is the internet, and more specifically, social networks.

Continue reading

NIGERIA HAS NOT FAILED!

NIGERIA HAS NOT FAILED

I was spreading my washed clothes one afternoon [23-04-2013] when ‘it’ suddenly crossed my mind…

It’s been repeated on innumerable occasions, through several means; television, radio, newspapers, social networks, bear parlours, collegiate debates, gossip joints etc. that NIGERIA is not only a failing nation, but an already failed and irredeemable one.

It is said that NIGERIA is a doomed country, a marriage grounded on duress and mistake, a company about to liquidate, a time-bomb waiting to explode. In fact, a particular politician has developed the habit of uttering the view that ‘the ship of the Nigerian state is heading towards {an avoidable} cataract, iceberg and oxbow lakes.’ And, fortunately or unfortunately, that is the view of the majority, excluding, of course, the ‘microscopic few’ who feed off the woes, hunger and misery of the masses.

However, putting sentiments aside, and focussing solely on reality; how true can we say this viewpoint is?

I’m sure it is obvious already, from the title of this write-up; that I disagree with the notion, even though I definitely am not part of the parasitic ‘microscopic few’. So what exactly is my thought respecting the issue.

I believe Nigeria is not a failure. But neither can she be labelled a success.         I believe just as we cannot call a particular course (or subject, as the case may be) a failure or success, we cannot call ‘Nigeria’ the same.

What am I trying to say? Only students fail or succeed. They fail or pass particular courses. And since Nigeria is not a student, {just a subject or ‘a mere geographical expression’ as Chief Obafemi Awolowo once put it} she has neither failed nor succeeded. Thus, the accurate proposition should not be ‘NIGERIA has FAILED’ or ‘NIGERIA is a FAILED STATE’; it ought to be; ‘NIGERIANS have FAILED NIGERIA!’

In school, we have easy courses {e.g. General studies, use of English etc.} and difficult ones {e.g. advanced mathematics, programming, physics etc.}. If we are to categorise Nigeria into one of these two broad types, she would be a very easy course to pass, easier than English language, easier than religious studies and even easier than ‘nullology’, the study of nothing, if there’s anything such thing. This is so because she has all the resources in the world to make even a dullard pass. Yet, Nigerians have failed her.

The question to ask now, I guess, is WHY? Why have we failed our fatherland despite her rich and copious mineral resources? Why have we failed our country despite her possessing a more than enough {fresh and youthful} human resources? Why have Nigerians failed Nigeria, even though she is very easy to pass? Why, oh why? Is it that we are that daft? I don’t know. But in a country where hundreds of people die daily in the most despicable ways and yet the number one figure finds it easy to engage in political crusades; a country where little children are being raped, sold, kidnapped and murdered, yet all the parliament thinks of is a raise in allocation; a country where genuine justice is incessantly slaughtered on the altar of cupidity; what else do we expect? It is not that we are too daft to succeed, just that everyone is too busy ‘surviving’ {even if it’s at others detriment}, to care about the greater good. We are too busy salivating for political appointments and governmental contracts to remember that others also deserve a good life; and even a life at all. We are too busy chasing money; fame and comfort that we fail to see the big picture, to be concerned about the verdicts of posterity.

And until that changes, we will keep failing this country. We will keep having a ‘carry-over’ of the vicious cycle of corruption and poverty and insecurity.

This article is not aimed at highlighting the many problems bedevilling this country, because we do not just already know them, we, as a matter of fact; sensually perceive them on a daily basis. Again, it is not that I have set out to postulate solutions to these problems, as an ignorance of the way-out of our predicament has never been a problem for us as well; it is the will cum the zeal to follow them through that we lack.

I have only thought it worthwhile to correct the popular, but erroneous notion that Nigeria has failed. No! She hasn’t; because she is inanimate, she is lifeless, and she makes no decisions to determine her well-being or otherwise.

It is we, Nigerians, that have failed the Nigerian subject.

It is we, Nigerians, that have failed the Almighty, our teacher.

It is we who have failed ourselves.

Nigeria has not failed; rather she is failed.