I have lost too, many times

We humans have a habit of idolising people we see who appear to be doing well for themselves. We not only mentally apply make-up to our limited, lopsided view of them, we also add very nice filters. But the closer we get to these people, the frailer they become, the more human they seem. It doesn’t mean we will admire them any less; we just understand them better. And so while fans see gods and immaculate icons, friends see souls that gravitate towards good and evil, minds that remember and forget, persons with virtues and flaws just as any other.

While from afar, admirers see the glories and success stories reported by the dailies, others who are closer witness not only the labours behind them but the many times the labours were in vain. And, indeed, there is never a perfect story of triumph. Life is not configured to be a yes man to our wishes. It is its own boss — sometimes it nods in approval, sometimes it gestures in disapproval, sometimes for a good reason, and other times for none at all.

I have seen a good number of people who think I never lose when it comes to writing competitions. For them, it is one win after the other — an unending, uninterrupted chain. When there is a call for submissions and I am asked if I intend to participate, an affirmative response often triggers defeatist utterances like “oh, you will definitely win,” “there is no point in me participating again,” “please leave it to us to the upcoming ones” and so on.

I have also witnessed moments of disbelief where someone who is aware I threw my hats in for a contest finds it difficult to accept I did not win. They either think I lie or rationalise the loss on my behalf. Having this in mind, I was glad when recently a friend suggested I confirm my win/loss ratio, after he asked and I didn’t know. “What if they ask during an interview?” he asked.

It is a good thing I have a folder on my personal computer containing all the articles I have ever worked on from 2012. All I need do was open, go through my entries one by one and record whether they ended up as victories or otherwise. And so, out of curiosity, I conducted this census, expecting nothing in particular.

For the sake of accuracy, I used three classifications: “won”, “lost” and “unsure.” The first includes competitions I had won since I became an undergraduate. It does not include those I participated in as a high schooler. It also includes victories from extemporaneous competitions — ones where candidates are gathered in a hall and there and then are given a topic to write on. The second category includes competitions whose organisers announced the names of winners and mine was not part. And the final category is for competitions which I suspect never reached the stage of announcement of winners, let alone conferment of awards. In other words, I do not know for certain how they turned out or how they could have.

In all, I have sent out entries for forty (40) writing competitions; and I still await the results of four (4). Of the other thirty-six (36), I have won fourteen (14), I have lost fourteen (14) and the ones unsure are eight (8) in number. Of my fourteen victories, eight were grand prizes. And interestingly, of the fourteen losses, five are from this year alone, some happening in so close a succession that I was pushed into taking a sip or two from the wineglass of philosophy.

[infogram id=”5505585b-a1aa-4a6f-bf2b-bf650c8c409a” prefix=”DSA” format=”interactive” title=”My Performance at Writing Contests”]

I suppose it is, relatively, a feat to be proud of. Nonetheless, there are also lessons to learn. For every essay competition that I won, there was an equal — or even greater — proportion of loss. This only means even the best of us aren’t as perfect as they are thought to be. It doesn’t matter how far they have come. It is never as rosy as it seems, even for a rose. If you look more carefully, you will find the formidable army of thorns sitting comfortably around just as prefects in a secondary school or cultists on a university campus. It is how things are meant to be. And if not, at least it is how they are.

If I may reproduce here a statement I once posted on Facebook, vitamins of wins and proteins of pain combine to make life’s balanced diet. As a believer in stoic philosophy, I think I take losses quite well. When my friend asked about it, I told him I simply move on after each one. But sometimes you move on as an energetic cheetah; other times you move on, limping, as a wounded dog. I know those days will come; but they occasionally come when you least expect or desire — you badly need the money, the surge of excitement or the scope is so restricted that you reckon you may not be so good, but you also can’t be that bad.

Sometimes I handle losses from writing competitions by writing even more — about them, my thoughts, hurt and fears. I have realised it has a sublime therapeutic effect. Victories are good, no doubt. But losses have a way of not only preparing us for life but of humbling us. They deflate our shoulder pads and remind us of our humanness. However, it is not really about the losses, but how we react to them. Do we reject them outright and prefer to blame the judges for their short-sightedness or discrimination? Or do we listen to what they have to say, embracing them as hurdles screwed permanently atop the running track of life?

So, ladies and gentlemen, I have lost too, many times. But, no, I haven’t lost too many times. No amount of loss is ever enough to stop us in our tracks, to blind us from the sunny horizon of hope, to deprive us of the one thing that keeps us going — a burning desire for fulfilment.


Springing up merely as a revolutionary idea in the year 1962, what is today known as the internet could not have been adequately conceived by someone a century ago. No one could have imagined a time when communication would be so straight-forward, a time when speaking to someone several seas away would be as easier than shouting out to your next-door neighbour, a time when time becomes more and stress becomes less – journeys that usually took weeks to complete now can be done with in split-seconds, thanks to internet technology.

The internet has been succinctly defined by ‘Webopedia’ as a global network connecting millions of computers. It allows for the swift exchange of information, whether written, audio or pictorial, between its users. The internet no doubt remains one of the most fascinating and highly influential inventions of the 20th century, with well over 2 billion beneficiaries world-wide. This truth is aptly captured in these words of Bill gates; ‘the internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow’. And this matter even becomes more interesting on realising the fact that it is something that is virtually free and which is under no monopoly. It is open to everyone, old and young, rich or poor.

Indeed, the internet has evolved significantly since its inception. No doubt, it has come with a lot of advantages, for all classes of people. For students, it has made research a lot simpler. I can only imagine how solving take-home questions and essaying must have been in the pre-internet years; herculean no doubt. Intelligence and visits to the library were then inseparable friends, but today, you can get as much information as you need to become a genius on a subject and to write a perfect thesis on a given topic, simply by paying Google a visit, anytime of the day. Websites such as Wikipedia, Gradesavers, Google Scholar and NOUN open courseware contain readily available free academic contents for willing readers.

Furthermore, the internet has also proven to be an indispensable tool to entrepreneurs. Why, because it provides the perfect platform to publicise any merchandise, no matter how odd. Some companies, in fact, depend primarily on the net for survival; companies such as Amazon, eBay, Konga, OLX and Jumia. These are establishments which allow persons to window-shop on the net and then order for any product at their convenience. With the internet, any Tom, Dick and Harry can make a living simply by harnessing the on-hand market inherent therein.

The internet is now part of our reality; anyone who attempts to do without it only does so at his own peril. It can both make and mar an individual; be him a politician, journalist, or even a fraudster.

It cannot be gainsaid that the internet has been a veritable social, academic, economic and political tool. It can be used for a plethora of things including seeking knowledge, fostering unity, tackling irregularities and creating awareness. However, it would be very deceitful to suggest that the use of the internet has been a jolly-good ride thus far, as that is far from the truth. The internet also has its downsides. Just like Jimmy Wales said on Al-Jazeera’s ‘Head-to-Head’, ‘the internet is a tool, it is not automatically a tool for good.’

One of the challenges posed by the use of internet is that of massive time wastage. This is because many pages and networks on the net are very addictive. After all, there is a good reason Blackberry used to be called ‘Crackberry’, alluding to crack cocaine. You want to keep liking, sharing, tweeting, commenting, uploading, fighting for ‘front-page’ or ‘first-to-comment’; and there’s really no end to it. Take a look at Nairaland, which has a feature of displaying the number of hours, days or months each member has spent on the forum, perhaps to serve as a yardstick of seniority. We find some who have spent as much as 6, 7 months, and they are still active. Any serious-minded business-oriented person will know how much can be monetarily achieved over this span of time.

People, most especially the youths, are ceaselessly glued to their browsing gadgets, just to know if anything new has come up. And sure enough, there is always something new. People even go as far as pinging in toilets, while crossing the street or even during interviews. That’s how bad the situation is.

What’s more, pornography and exposure to nudity is another key problem constituted by the internet. There are already tons of websites committed to misleading millions of people by exploiting their carnal weakness. It has been statistically proven that 12 percent of all sites are porn-oriented and 35 percent of all downloads.

The internet equally allows a fast spread of hate speech, propaganda and all sorts of fallacious information. A bored faceless individual sitting in his bedroom can just decide to cook up a story about Boko-Haram infecting beans and sending them to the South, a planned attack on the University of Ibadan, a suspected gay caught around town etc., and before you say Jack, the story goes viral and is believed by tons of people.

To conclude, I wish to re-assert that the internet is nothing but a tool, and like a knife, can either be used for good or evil. We must all be careful how we go about using the things the virtual world has got to offer, so that we may avoid hurting others, and at the same time, avoid getting hurt by others. Noam Chomsky once remarked that the internet could be a very positive step towards education, organisation and participation in a meaningful society. But then all that depends on us; for the internet can only go as far as we allow it.



‘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.


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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.




Entry for the 100-word TGIC Centenary essay contest.

Imagine a tall Iroko tree, cut away from its roots. It, inevitably, shall collapse, wither and die. Imagine the Nile without its source, the Kagera River. It loses its glory. Now imagine a man isolated in thought from his place of birth. What a pitiable spectacle, he is.
Nationality is but an eleven-letter word if it does not entail appreciation of one’s environment, acknowledgment of one’s birthplace and a familiarity with essential traits of our home.

Chief Obafemi Awolowo said that no matter how tall a tree is it cannot forget its roots. What excuse do I, still struggling on the ladder of life, now have to forsake my dear nation? None, I believe.




Written For The Diamond Bank 100-word Limit Centenary Essay Contest…

What makes a Christian a true one? Nothing but the mere fact that he believes in the Gospel of Christ and practises it to the letter. What makes a philosopher a true one other than the fact that he believes in the significance of truth, rational thinking and he acts in accordance with his deductions? So what makes a Nigerian a true one? The answer is simple: belief and practice.

I am a true Nigerian! Why? Because I belief in the unity, I belief in the struggle, I belief in the great future of this land. I am equally working tirelessly to make sure that my dream for Nigeria comes to light. So help me God.




More than 14 hundred years ago, the Prophet of Islam (PBUH) foretold of a time when there will be widespread corruption, men will mate with men and women with women, wars and homicides will be on the high[1], female singers and musical instruments will become popular, nations will be ruled by the worst of their citizens[2]. A time when adultery will be committed openly and with impunity[3]. A time of chaos, when normality will become abnormal, when good deeds will be frowned at and evils rewarded. A time, of ‘immoralities and degrading tendencies.’ Sad to say that that time is here. It is staring us in the face, poking its filth into our lives and it has, in fact, managed to gain our acquiescence.

These days, a lot of upsetting spectacles meet my eyes that I fear they will sink in, in shame and disgust. No day passes without one being greeted with depressing news reports. If it is not of a man getting married to a dog[4] or of a union of prostitutes fighting for their right to operate openly[5], it will be of ‘men’ of God and school principals defiling children young enough to pass as their grandkids[6]. The situation, no doubt, is not just getting out of hand; it has already got out of hand. However, is it so bad to have gone beyond redemption? To this, I reply again with the words of Prophet Muhammad: ‘there is no disease that Allah has created, except that He also has created its treatment.’ [7] Thus, for every problem, no matter how seemingly gigantic, there is a solution. So what is the solution to this pressing problem? How may we curb the immoralities that have enveloped our society?

Allah says in the Qur’an; ‘surely Allah does not change a people’s lot unless they change what is in their hearts[8]. This verse is similar to the age-old saying that ‘heaven helps those who help themselves’, and it goes to show the importance of self-evaluation and individual development to societal reformation. And like a Greek philosopher [9] once said; ‘the city is what it is because our citizens are what they are.’ In other words, the change has to start from every individual, if we are ever going to get anywhere. We all need to collectively resolve to know what is evil, shun it and return to the will of our Lord.

In addition to this, the family also has a key role to play in this movement. It is widely acknowledged among scholars that the first agent of socialisation is the family. Whether a child will grow up to be an ‘Abu Bakr’ or an ‘Abu Lahab’ is primarily a function of his/her background. Today, the family system has become a shadow of its former self. We are in a world where fathers are busy 24 hours with sustaining the family. And mothers, whose duty it is to look after the home, are even busier than the family head. We are in a world where the closest companion of the young ones is not the chest of their mothers but that of teddy bears. We are in a world where majority of what children learn is got from social networks. In such a world, how can immorality not skyrocket beyond our control? Hence, we will achieve nothing unless we restore the efficacy of the family.

Finally, it is the case that all other establishments can merely recommend what is appropriate; only the government of the day that can enforce it. It only, can legitimately penalise what is wrong and harmonise legality with morality. If after all is said and done and we still have persons who contravene the common ethical code of the society, then the corrective hand of the law is needed to restore balance, effect justice and eradicate corruption from the land.

I wish to conclude by citing the flawless words of Allah (SWT) in the Holy Qur’an where He says: ‘Ye are the best of peoples, evolved for mankind, enjoining what is right, forbidding what  is wrong, and believing in Allah[10].’ Therefore, each and every one of us must take it as our responsibility to do good, enjoin good and forbid evil. We must all strive to put an end to the immoralities and degrading tendencies in our society, lest they be the one to put an end to us.

1. Sahih Muslim, Book 41, Number 6903.
2. Narrated by ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, in At-Tirmidhi.
3. Ibn Hibban and Al-Bazzar.
4. California Allows First Ever state Recognised Human-Animal Marriage: http://nationalreport.net/california-allows-first-ever-state-recognized-human-animal-marriage/ and Woman Marries Dog In Romantic Wedding Ceremony: http://mirror.co.uk/news/wierd-news/woman-marries-dog-romantic-wedding-3225948
5. Nigerian Prostitutes Demand Recognition: NEWS EXPRESS and Nigerian Prostitutes Strike: “We Demand Our Rights”: Pulse Nigeria, http://pulse.ng/gist/we-demand-our-rights-id2713674.html
6. ‘Pastor Raped Me Countless Times’ – Victim Tells Court: Nigerian Eye, published March 4, 2014 and Pastor Rapes 9-Year Old Girl: P.M. NEWS Nigeria, published July 29, 2010.
7.Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 71, Number 582.
8. Qur’an, Surah Ar-Rad, 13:11. Translated by Yusuf Ali.
9. Dialogues of Plato.
10 .Qur’an, Surah Al-Imran, 3:110. Translated by Yusuf Ali.




An entry for Roulette III, 2014.

It all seemed like a dream when my ENG 112 lecturer announced on the afternoon of July 1st that the class will not be holding. This unanticipated development was not because he was having another commitment or because the day had, without warning, turned out to be a public holiday. It was due to nothing save that the ‘almighty’ Academic Staff Union of Universities had decreed that activities be discontinued in about 70 federal and state universities all over Nigeria, affecting nothing less than 1.5 million Nigerian scholars.

For 4080 hours, between the days of Monday, July 1st and Tuesday, December 17th, students of most Nigerian universities were forcefully exiled to their mothers’ homes, all because of what has now been termed an ‘annual festival’.

In the words of William Arthur Ward, ‘change, like sunshine, can be a friend or a foe, a blessing or a curse, a dawn or a dusk.’ Thus, a change, a digression from normalcy, as far-reaching as the recent 6-month ASUU strike must have fallen under one of the said categories. So which is it?
I hold the view of the enlightened majority, the view that appears to look beyond the newspaper headlines and government propaganda. I believe, and strongly so, that the regretful saga, in the form of the recent ASUU strike, is more a curse than a blessing. In fact, it seems more and more, from occurrences over the years, to be a generational scourge, which we may never free ourselves from if the necessary sacrifice is not made.

While the strike lasted, it is generally known that most students were academically inactive. I myself, and many others, found it difficult to study or even engage in other lucrative ventures. This was so because of the incertitude that surrounded the whole event. Many thought, ‘what if I subscribed to a driving/computer school today, and the strike is suspended the next day?’ Or ‘what if I study myself to death now and the strike’s end is not even close?’ In essence, while our counterparts in private universities and foreign institutions were busy making good use of their time, increasing in erudition and adding great feats to their records daily; we were very busy in our fathers’ homes, watching one season film or the other.

Also, I am aware of the fact that, solely because of the strike action, several students lost the opportunity to further their studies abroad with all expenses catered for. This loss ran into millions and millions of naira. Opportunities they say come but once. I wonder if after getting their demands attended to, the union plans to undo this colossal damage by sponsoring the affected students.

Aside from this, we also have cases of students, finalists in particular, adding a year to their academic calendar all because of the insensitivity of our ‘parents’ in government and those in the zenith of the ivory tower.

Instances abound of law students who, after spending a whopping 5 years (or more) in school, hoping to start fending for themselves soon, were disallowed from going to law school at the right time.

In addendum to these is that the accursed strike also saw the death of many giants, prominent of whom is Professor Festus Iyayi, a past president of ASUU, who died while making efforts to see that the strike ends favourably. Also, I personally know of students who passed away while trying to make ends meet during the course of the strike, most being in their final year. It is simply unimaginable, the agony their parents must have passed through on hearing the news of their children’s demise.

After all these shortcomings, akin to applying salt to injury, the much awaited positive upshots of the strike are yet to be seen. Our lecture theatres still lack adequate ventilation; our halls of residence are still, in a way, overcrowded; our lecturers still use lecture notes composed in the 70s to teach us; we are still mandated to pay exorbitant amounts as school levies; and to top it all, our universities are yet to start experiencing an infrastructural turnaround.

No doubt, the federal government is blameworthy for not putting their all-in-all into the nation’s education system, and ASUU is justified by speaking against this injustice. However, the manner in which their dissatisfaction is exhibited goes a million mile in determining whether they get compensation or crucifixion, whether the students will be contented or frustrated and whether the whole exercise is a blessing or the opposite. Quite unfortunately, the union was so autocratic, the government, so unyielding, and the strike so unconscionable, rendering the whole event a huge let-down.

After all is said and done, the incontrovertible truth and irrefutable fact is that the 200 billion naira claimed to have been handed over for the development of universities can never equate with the long hours wasted in inactivity, it will never be utilised to mitigate the damage caused from lost scholarship awards, and most important of all, it can never restore the many lives that have been lost consequent to the strike action. It is therefore visible to the blind, audible to the deaf, and in fact, smelly to the anosmic that the recent ASUU strike is nothing but a downright misfortune.



What is it that has made man what he is? Led him to where he is today? What is it that has made him soar high above other animals? What is it that gives his short existence a purpose? The answer to these questions lies not only in his matchless nature and profound intellect, but in his pattern of behaviour, values, arts, morals, customs and beliefs; his way of adapting to nature; his culture.

Culture is said to be the oil that keeps the society running, the force that keeps humanity afloat. This explains why it has remained the focal point of studies relating to man and society. No doubt, culture functions to establish the identity of a people, distinguishing the white from the black, the Greeks from the Barbarians, the Americans from the red Indians. It helps in facilitating social integration, by giving a people a common goal and prescribing common means to attain such. Its understanding equally prevents prejudice and discrimination between persons of varying races. However, the crux of this write-up lies in how the good utilisation of culture has the tendency ‘to create a better future’. Not just a future-state of stability and equilibrium, but that of excellence and near-perfection.
The Yorubas and numerous other cultures, have a logically appealing moral-code and ways of peacefully resolving disputes. This system has been preserved mostly through ‘owe’ (proverbs), ‘alọ-apagbe’ (folktales), ‘ewọ’ (taboos) and ‘oriki’ (panegyrics). They fervently encourage hardwork, honesty and chastity. Their values are not cycled around luxury, but rather contentment and moderation. This is very germane because a state that gives room for materialism must inevitably welcome exploitation and wide-spread poverty.

Aside from diligence, Yorubas also value decency and the use of dignifying wears. This aspect of culture is observable from time immemorial. The Yorubas’ buba and agbada, Indian Sari, Japanese geisha and kimono, and even the western suit, all lend credence to this. Consequences inherent in the deviance from decency include an increase in crime rates, most especially sexual harassments, thereby creating an atmosphere of unrest not fit for development. It is also noteworthy that to combat crime and foster unity, the traditional communal spirit is invaluably expedient. Gone are the days when elders were duly revered, when goods can be sold without the seller around, when lives were sacred and properties safe. Those days can return if only we give room for culture.

Men travel from their native lands to others simply because of the unique language, scenery and culture existing there. Hence, if the culture of a place has been devoured by another, of what use is it to tourists and sightseers? Travel and tourism is, today, the largest services industry. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, tourism, across the globe, supports 255 million jobs and generates 9 percent of world GDP. In fact, in Dubai, one of the most widely visited countries world-wide, tourism contributes up to 31% of her total GDP (emirates247.com). Also, in Nigeria, it’s been established that in 2012 alone, some 897,500 jobs were generated in the industry (businessdayonline.com). We can deduce from these figures that the propagation of a people’s culture can and actually does improve the standard of living of such people.

What’s more, social maladies of pollution and lack of drinkable water can be solved if cultural values are highly esteemed. This is because most cultures persuade against or even forbid the desecration of water bodies and other life-supporting resources deemed sacred. This in a way has promoted the actualisation of the 7th millennium development goal which is to “ensure environmental sustainability.”

Finally, I wish to assert that the culture of any and every society possesses the power to create a better and brighter future for all. As a matter of fact, this power is not acquired nor is it bestowed – it is inherent. Sadly however, this power has been hijacked by the forces of imperialism, immorality and materialism. And as it is self-evident that there can be no culture without man and neither can there be mankind without the concept of culture, the future remains gloomy unless man resolves to restore sanity, restore the ideals of humanity and restore the power of culture.