INSECURITY AND AMNESTY: A JOLLY RIDE TO LAWLESSNESS

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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.

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‘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

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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!

RES JUDICATA!

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RES JUDICATA !

First, It Was Vet. Medicine.

The Thrashing Was Really Something,

To Take Home As Subject Of Deep Thinking.

They Were Thrashed Four To Nill.

Then In The Second Round, Of Sixteen,

Pharmacy Was Next In Line,

They Proved A Little Less Benign.

But We Trounced Them All The Same.

The Druggists’ Drug For Victory Seemed Inadequate.

Two-Nill Was The Scoreline.

In No Time, We Reached The Quarter Final.

None But The Electricians Were Our Rival.

With A Spanking Of Five To One.

It Was Held In The Legal Action.

That The Rule Of Law.

Is Stronger Than All Electric Force.

The Game Was Getting Tougher.

The Ambience, A Little Bit Tenser.

Muhammad Ali Boasted About It.

But Only We Could Achieve It.

‘Medicine’ Was Truly Made Sick.

When MBBS Lost To Us In A Penalty.

The Score Line Was Five To Three.

To The Final We Finally Reached.

Pitted With A Huge Team On A Huge Pitch.

After Some Dribbling And Mingling,

Some Kicking, Hailing And Jaw-Breaking,

With A 2-1, We Outdid Agric. Engineering.

Establishing Our Relevance In The Soccer Discipline.

All Hail Ministers In The Temple Of Justice!

MULTIPLE PARTY SYSTEM IS BETTER THAN BI-PARTY SYSTEM FOR THE NIGERIAN POLITICAL ARENA

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THIS IS A DEBATE PRESENTED AT UCJ’S 2ND FRANCIS EGBOKHARE INTER-PRESS DEBATE COMPETITION

TOPIC: 

MULTIPLE PARTY SYSTEM IS BETTER THAN BI-PARTY SYSTEM FOR THE NIGERIAN POLITICAL ARENA

 DURATION: 3 MINUTES.

DATE: 31ST OF JANUARY, 2014.

VENUE: GAMALIEL ONOSODE’S SEMINAR  ROOM, MELLANBY HALL, UI.

Joseph Joubert said, ‘it is better to debate a question without settling it, than to settle a question without debating it.’

Greetings, Ladies and Gentlemen. Adebajo Adekunle is my name. And I am here, on this august occasion, as an ambassador of the Mellanby Hall Press Organisation.

I will be speaking in defence of the submission: Multiple Party System Is Better Than Bi-Party System For The Nigerian Political Arena.

So what is my justification for holding this conviction.

First and foremost, the multiple party system does not limit the voters’ choice. Voters are given a wide range of candidates to choose from in line with the ideals of democracy, liberty and justice. As aptly summarised in the words of Thomas Sowell, ‘the most basic function of government is to provide a framework of law and order, within which the people are free to choose.’ Ladies and Gentlemen, do we call it freedom when you are asked to choose between Starcomms and MTN? Do we call it freedom when you are offered admission only at Igbinedon university and University of Maiduguri? Do we call it freedom when you are given scholarship to study either in Syria or Somalia? Do we call it freedom when you can only choose between two political parties? When you are compelled to pick ‘the lesser’ out of two evils? When we can actually choose the best out of many ‘goods’. No we do not call it freedom! Why? Because Pars libertatis est non liberum, partial freedom is no freedom at all.

Secondly and in addendum, the two party system and Autocracy, dictatorship and totalitarianism are sons of the same mother. This assertion has anchorage and is substantially validated in a scenario that played out in the first republic of Ghana, when the late President Kwame Nkrumah used the Preventive Detention Act to arrest and detain members of the Opposition United Party, leading to the gradual dismantling of the opposition, and virtually turning Ghana into a one-party state.

Finally, the multiple party system is natural, legal and recognised by the constitution of this country, which states in Section 40 that: ‘every person shall be entitled to assemble freely and associate with other persons, and in particular, he may form or belong to any political party, trade union or any other association for the protection of his interests.

To conclude, all I am saying, my elite addressees, is that to have just two political parties in a political entity such as this will only, as a matter of certainty and inevitability, cast the political arena of the country into a governmental instability, administrative despondency and electoral melancholy. Nigeria is a multi-lingual, multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-tribal, multi-dimensional, multi-directional, multi-faceted, multi-racial, multi-purpose, multi-vocal, and multitudinous nation. Tell me, what better party system will suit our political arena, if not the multi-party system?

I rest my case!

THE RECENT INDUSTRIAL ACT EMBARKED UPON BY ASUU: WHO IS TO BLAME, ASUU OR FG?

BEING A DEBATE PRESENTED AT THE 2ND PROFESSOR FRANCIS EGBOKHARE UCJ INTER-PRESS DEBATE.

VENUE: MELLANBY HALL SCR, UNIVERSITY OF IBADAN

DATE: JANUARY 24, 2014.

 

 

PREAMBLE.

Truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it. Ignorance may deride it. But in the end, there it is – Sir Winston Churchill.

Greetings, Ladies and Gentlemen, standing before you is Adebajo Adekunle and I am representing the Mellanby Hall Press Organisation.

I am here on this occasion to address the resolution which says, ‘the recent industrial act embarked upon by ASUU, who is to blame, ASUU or FG?’

I remember it as if it were yesterday. On a Monday afternoon, while in ENG 112 class, the lecturer declared to our chagrin and dismay that the class will not be holding. Why? The Academic Staff Union Of Universities had suddenly decided to embark on a total, complete and indefinite strike action. About 1.5 million Nigerian Youths, university undergraduates, were forcefully exiled to their mothers’ homes between Monday, July 1st and Tuesday, December 17th. For 6 months, equivalent to 170 days [or if you like 244,800 minutes] we were very busy at home, doing absolutely nothing related to academics.

Graduation years were unjustly delayed. We even witnessed the adjournment of wedding dates. Scholarships worth millions of naira became a waste. and most sadly of all, some, who while trying to make ends meet, passed away. So, I ask, who are we to blame?

Seneca once said; it is rash to condemn where you are ignorant. Meaning we cannot constructively evaluate what we do not critically appreciate. The recent ASUU strike had a genesis. In fact, It had a basis which we must all figure out before a move can be made for scrutiny and finger-pointing. Thus, I ask. What is this basis?

On the 14th of December 2006, the then Minister of education, Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili, on behalf of the federal government, inaugurated the Federal Government/ASUU re-negotiation committee with the aim of looking into the union’s  clamouring for a revitalisation of the academia. It held series of meetings between the years of 2007 and 2008; and in January 2009, came up with a 51-page Memorandum of Understanding, duly signed and considered binding on the parties.

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS TO BLAME.

It might be argued that: since the federal government was not present in the meetings in which the what, where, when and how of the industrial strike were discussed, then we should not hold them accountable for a decision they had no hand in making.

However, as a student of logic, I know of the fallacious genre called ‘non causa pro causa’ (false cause), which holds that the immediate cause is not always the culpable cause, but the pristine, prototypical one. And as a student of law, I equally know that ‘metus in lege excusat’ (duress in law excuses). I may use my hands to murder another person, and yet go scot free, if I was under duress to do it or it was in self-defence. The same common-sense is applicable to the recent industrial strike, as I believe the union was under duress to embark on strike due to the lackadaisical attitude of their yearnings.

How exactly the union was directly under duress by FG to go on strike leads to my second point. Nigeria is a country where, according to all ranking systems, none of our universities is among the world’s top 1000. Even our dear University of Ibadan which prides itself as the first and the best is number 24 in Africa and 2109 in the world. Nigeria is a country where ward councillors, who may be secondary school drop-outs, earn more than diligent professors. A country where you will never find the children of your local government chairman in the same school as you. Where 10 classes may hold simultaneously in the same lecture hall. Where kerosene stoves are used by science students in lieu of Bunsen burners. Where our education system is only getting better at getting worse … and someone still has the nerve to say that the Federal Government is not blameworthy of making protest inevitable?  That ASUU ought not to have gone on strike?

Think about it. Ghana, a country not as rich as Nigeria, for this fiscal year, budgeted 31% of its total revenue to the education sector, while the “Giant of Africa” struggles to budget a meagre and disconcerting 8%.

Lastly but most importantly, Common sense and natural justice demand that FG executes the 2009 pact, and not wait for a strike. The Federal Government wilfully made a pact with ASUU in 2009, refreshed it 2012, and yet inconsiderately failed to execute it several years later. This is simply ludicrous, and blatantly contravenes common standards of professional ethics. Just as it is summed up in the Latin maxim, ‘pacta sunt servanda, quamvis absurdum.’ Meaning, agreements must be kept, contracts must be honoured, though they may be absurd.

To conclude, I’d say, it is visible to the blind and audible to the deaf that the Federal Government is to blame for the regrettable and demoralising strike saga we witnessed last year. For in Marcus Tullius Cicero’s words, ‘salus populi suprema lex esto’, the welfare of the people is to be the supreme law. Hence, the federal government has the duty, primary responsibility, and in fact the capability to provide for the socio-academic necessities of the community. If they fail in this regard, someone has to speak up, as well-captured in the words of Edmund Burke: ‘All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.All ASUU has done is speak up. Are we going to crucify them for this?

Ladies and Gentlemen, if we are truly seeking for someone to blame, then I say it is only rational that we blame the man who had no shoes, and his cohorts.

Thank you!

 

 

ASUU IS TO BLAME!

First and foremost, ASUU’s demands are out rightly outrageous. Reading this memorandum, I came across some of the most ridiculous demands ever in the history of unionism. For instance, the unionists are clamouring for a plethora of unrealistic and undeserved allowances. Postgraduatesupervision allowance, teachingpractice/fieldtrip allowance, examiners’ honoraria, postgraduatestudy grant, Externalassessors’ allowance. Apart from these, they are also demanding for what they call fringe benefits. Vehiclerefurbishing loan, housing loan… research leave, sabbatical leave, annual leave, sick leave and maternity leave. I wonder if we will still have people to teach us if all these leaves are granted. How can a reasonable man down his tools, his main source of income, because of allowances. Allowance is allowance, not the main wage.

The music maestro, Stephen Osita Osadebe, in one of his hits said, ‘if one’s salary is not enough to meet his needs, is it allowance that will do?’ It is unthinkable that the payment of paltry sums is allowed to disrupt academic activities for several months. Talk about making a mountain out of a molehill.

Again, the ASUU/FG fracas should have been buried in previous strikes. One thing ASUU has failed to recognise is that incessant striking is not the solution to Nigeria’s educational drawback. In fact, it is one of the problems. Industrial acts are so frequent that non-Nigerians are forced to think it is an annual festival. And then, freshers are always sermonised that the years they are to spend in the university is ‘n + x’. ‘n’ being the years written in JAMB brochure while ‘x’ is the unknown, the added years as a result of strikes… Imagine, 5 months in 1999, 3 months in 2001, 6 months in 2003, 3 months in 2007, 4 months in 2009, 5 months, 1 week in 2010, 3 months in 2011, and the most recent 6 month strike, to mention a few. They all culminate into almost 3 years, yet what is there to show for it? Except, of course, more decay in the system.

Moreover, I believe ASUU has no moral standing whatsoever to embark on a strike with so much audacity. Before they start point fingers at the FG and accusing them of dereliction of duty, have they looked within. Or have we not seen lecturers who come for classes only twice in a semester? Once to give out scheme of work, and the second time to invigilate the examination. Have we not seen lecturers who use lecture notes compiled in the 1970s for students in 2014?

Last but not least, the union has no right whatsoever to disrupt the free flow of academic activities to the students’ detriment. Sir Oliver Wendell Holmes Jnr once said, ‘Your right to swing your arms ends where another man’s nose begins.’ And in Latin, ‘Tuus ius finibus ubi alterum incipit.’ You cannot take another man’s life because YOU are tired of living. Neither can you say because the constitution guarantees freedom of expression, you now slander another man with impunity. Thus, the Academic Staff Union Of Universities has no right to deprive students of their entitlement to be edified, no matter the circumstance.

No matter what is done, the 200 billion naira Federal Government handed over for the restructuring of the academia and 45 billion given as lecturers’ earned allowance, can never restore or equate with the thousands of long hours wasted in inactivity. It cannot restore the delayed graduation years, and weddings. And most particularly, it can never bring back the invaluable, lost souls.

I end with the sagacious words of Demosthenes, ‘res ipsa loquitur’; the facts speak for themselves… IF ONLY WE WILL LISTEN.

Thank you!

 

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THE LAST DOSE?

STRIKE NO MORE.

 1…7…0, 1…7…0, what is it again?

I try and try, but all ends in vain

1…7…0, 1…7…0, I can’t seem to remember

Those six little figures… my poor matric number!

 

I am the unfortunate Nigerian student

Hardworking, ambitious, always compliant

I am the bone-eating son of a butcher

Who none cares for a second to look after

 

While busy sipping from the Pierian Spring

The fountain went dry, an event unforeseen

The unions cut short our bid to know

Even ‘IFA’ oracle insisted we must go

Confused and dejected, we packed our bags

Thinking that the next day, we’ll be back

But days turned to weeks, weeks to months

We waited and waited, all came to naught

 

At first, to the union, we showed sympathy

But then, the issue became just too lengthy

No more were some on the fence

To all, the strikers were now in defence

 

Some learnt teaching, bricklaying and carpentry

The rich ones, out of fear, swiftly left the country

Some hurriedly settled down to marry

Some could not endure, that they got heavy

 

Alas! At this time, many were buried

Here and there, you hear a student’s obituary

But no! We did not suffer alone

The great union also lost one of its own

 

Our market women cried enough is enough

A Lagos lawyer said we can’t take it no more

Igbo youths were paid to pressure the union

Vanity upon vanity, we were left in confusion

 

The government issues threats of no pay

When union protests, they chase them away

Go back to work, we have no money

So says the vile and chubby Harvard lady

 

 Promise after promise, offer after offer

Yet the union’s stance stands, it does not falter

Then came Goodluck, like a Deus ex machina

Union got thrilled, and forgot the grounds for fracas

 

Or so we thought…

Sadly, the royal meeting yielded no result

After 13 hours of nocturnal discourse

The season-film just never halts, not even a pause

 

The media mediated,

Sending us neither here nor there

Even a silly fella under @ASUU_Nigeria

Misled much through his twitter gear

 

The game is no longer interesting

The movie, no longer amusing

The union has lost its radiance

The students are no longer concerned

 

The government again issues threats

We will sack you all, they declare

Pro-Chancellors too did speak

Resume in a week or forever have your break

 

When all hope seemed buried and lost

The authorities agreed to pay somewhat

The union knew it the best they can muster

And to all’s joy, re-opened the Ivory Tower

 

When two mighty whales brawl

It is the planktons that really hurt

The strikers have gone on another repose

But I ask, is it a stop? Have we had the last dose?

KINDLY DROP A COMMENT BELOW!

YET ANOTHER SIGN !

allah
YET ANOTHER SIGN !

As if to say, ‘for the sake of the doubting thomases among you, I will show you yet another sign’. It was on a Wednesday afternoon {27-03-13}, that my very good friend, Jimoh Mujib, called me and said a brother of his just told him of a miraculous tree near his abode in Ibadan. This tree has inscriptions of ‘Allah’, ‘Allahu Akbar’ and ‘Muhammad’ {PBUH} on it. It is worth mentioning that this is barely four weeks after the extraordinary meat was discovered by a sister in the University of Ibadan.
Much excited to hear the news, I decided that we should waste no time and go to the spot to see the tree for ourselves immediately after our last class for the day. After all, seeing, they say, is believing. At around 05:30pm, we set out for Moniya, the town where the miracle is said to have surfaced. During the journey, my friend took time to tell me about Moniya, its environs and its peculiarities.
First he told me of a masjid which we passed by. The construction of this masjid was completed about three months ago. However, the shocking thing is that, it actually kicked off, even before his Dad was born, that is perhaps more than 50 years back. He then told me of the inhabitants of the neighbourhood. Cautioning me to keep my cell phone in my pocket, he said acts of immorality and incidents of theft are rampant there, despite the fact its population constitutes majorly ‘Muslims’. Moniya is much unindustrialised, judging from the state of its road, the condition of its people and the looks of its houses. This is notwithstanding the fact that it is located precisely opposite the Akinyele local government council.
Eventually, we got close to where we were headed for. The news of the tree seems to have gone viral, as everybody we asked about it knew of it. Someone even told us we would not be able to see it as it is often surrounded by scores of people. Truly, on getting there we met a lot of people there, but not too much as to deter us from seeing the tree. The tree had already been fenced, it also had someone stationed in front of it to regulate the movement and actions of people near it. Some photographers, about three, were also there selling pictures of the tree, some with lettering, at the rate of a 100 naira.
With not too much stress we entered the fenced arena where the tree is and we saw for ourselves the vivid Arabic inscriptions of the names of God and His final messenger. But this is not the only scene that struck us. We saw two elderly women kneeling down and supplicating towards the tree, and a man scooping out sand from around the tree into an empty pure water sachet. No need saying that all these are innovations {bid’a} and acts of idolatry{shirk}, judging from the Islamic perspective.
After feeding my eyes as well as my phone, we proceeded to the house of one of the notable scholars in that environment, Alhajj Wasi’, so that we may inform him of our discoveries. On getting there, he told us that the religious scholars have gone to a great length to ensure that people desist from committing acts of shirk, in relation to the tree. He also said notable people and media houses from far and wide have come to see it. People came from Enugu, Cotonou, Sarki and even Lagos. And the stations that came included BCOS, MiTV, AIT, radio Nigeria: Amuludun and Eko Aditu. He also said that the crowd that filled the place on Monday was enormous, numbering up to 10,000.
From the Alhajj’s house, we went back there, with the intention that my friend would admonish the people, to tell them that the tree is only a sign from Allah, and it should not be worshipped in leau of the person that created it. During his speech, we showed those standing the picture of the miraculous chunk of meat discovered in UI, to tell them that it is not the signs that deserve our dedication and supplications but the being Whose name is written on them.
During the course of our stay there, I went up to the gentleman manning the tree, and threw some questions at him. He identified himself as Sharafadeen Oye. Concerning the population of people at the spot some days, he said they were very many, ‘afi bi omi’ i.e. just like water. People slept there, and in fact the place was jam-packed with food vendors. He also said some of the letterings on the tree are just coming up, and the other ones are not as clear due to excessive rubbing of hands on them. People did all sorts of things with the tree. Some bowed to it, prayed beside it for children, exhumed sand to take home, hugged it, broke its branches and so on. They even went to the extent of breaking the fence in order to get to it; so that another one had to be erected and barbed.
The signs were first seen on Sunday, but it got much attention on Monday and Tuesday. The attention it got was such that both students and teachers failed to go to school, in order to see it. We eventually left the scene for Mujib’s house at around 07:10pm. And then, we got back to school at almost 9 O’ clock.
What I can say I learnt within that 4 hours journey is that the Muslim ummah is no more what it used to be. We have derailed from the pristine path of Islam, and from the example of the Holy prophet Muhammad {PBUH}. Allah is showing us all these hints, not for any other thing but for us, as mankind in general to have a rethink on our ideal purpose of being in this world. Without an iota of doubt, we have gone astray. And until we trace back our roots, mankind will forever be turmoil because, take it or leave it, true Islam is the only solution to both our worldly and spiritual problems.

HERE WE GO AGAIN !

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HERE WE GO AGAIN!

‘’Adewole … Ole! Adewole … Ole! Adewole … Ole! ’’
This is the chant that permeated the cool breeze of the serene Thursday night atmosphere on the 14th of March, in the various halls of residence in the University of Ibadan, especially in Zik, Indy and Mellanby hall where I reside. As the saying goes; ‘boys are not smiling’.

It is uncommon to see greatest UItes come out in the open to vent their grievances and resentment. However, on this day, it was absolutely warranted. They were pushed to the wall, and had to fight back. The remote cause of the protest is one that has been confronted in recent past, and which has led to a total cessation of academic activities. It is the issue of sporadic power supply.

I find it awfully lugubrious that the premier university, ‘the first and the best’ is, unlike many other residential universities in Nigeria, unable to boast of constant power supply. Residents of Teddar hall {the VC’s hall} and Mellanby hall {the premier hall} had to succumb to two whole weeks of darkness and near inactivity, while their counterparts in other halls enjoy the little electricity supplied them.

Despite the efforts of the hall excos, writing letters and attending meetings, the school authority still maintains that the students’ plight is none of its concern. The installed inverters that the VC always brags of as an epic achievement were rendered redundant as there was no power to charge them. The kitchenettes were deserted. The reading rooms too had suddenly gone untenanted. Only the high-spirited ones went there with their dimmed torches and reading lamps. The scenario is even worse in the various borehole sites; with long queues of buckets in the few places where water is rushing. Students move from one hall to another just to get water; and cases in which early-morning classes are missed is not uncommon.

Students from the affected halls of residence also have to visit neighbouring halls to press their clothes. The various lecture theatres are always filled with long strings of extension cables brought by desperate students who had run out of better alternatives. Aside from this, UItes became more cautious in the unnecessary usage of devices that depend on light, particularly mobile phones. Intellectual scholars have now forcefully metamorphosed into savages, as they now roar jubilantly to celebrate the slightest indication of power.

It is worthy of note that rumours abound that the reason for the power outage is that the school authority plans to save money by using less than the 1 megawatt allocated to the university. It is of course added that this is just to give room for embezzlement.

Without further ado, the authorities vindicated the popular saying that ‘the only language government seems to understand is protest and strike’, by supplying the much-anticipated power just a few minutes after the peaceful but potent protest started. However, this is not to suggest that the predicament UItes are facing in terms of power supply is, in any way, over.

A few days later, on the 18th of February, we experienced a déjà vu. A similar procession is held by students from Mellanby and Teddar, and again, the light was brought almost immediately to calm the nerves of the infuriated students, but the students have refused to be deceived. As a matter of fact, as I write this in my room {09:10pm}, scores of mellanbites are outside shouting; ‘We must go! We must go! We must go!’ and ‘no bobo!’

The questions that cross my mind now are: Is this supposed to be seen in the acclaimed premier university of Nigeria? For how long will we continue like this? For how long will power supply in the University of Ibadan be appalling, sickening and utterly nothing to write home about?