Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

2014-15

Yes, yes……2014 has just 6hrs 50mins and some secs for it to go (as at the time of filing this post). Yes, I know the journey has not been totally easy, we have had hurdles to jump during the journey and despite that, we made it to the end of it. It has not been by our individual or collective strength but by the grace of God. I am grateful to God for everything.

I will definitely be an ingrate if i refuse to appreciate you, yes you, you reading this post at this moment. I am so grateful to you all. I can assure you that you will never meet disappointment on this channel. Thanks a million.

I know by the grace of God, I will definitely catch you all again in 2015. I wish you all a prosperous, blessed and testimony filled 2015.

Stay blessed.

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The gods are not to blame

Posted: December 29, 2014 in Education, Politics, Top stories

Written by DELE MOMODU

“So in the Libyan fable it is told
That once an eagle, stricken with a dart, Said, when he saw the fashion of the shaft, ‘With our own feathers, not by others’ hands,
Are we now smitten.’ ”-Aeschylus

Fellow Nigerians, let me start by sending you compliments of this special Season. As writers, our readers don’t expect us to go on break. And so the ardent followers of my column have indicated that I must script Pendulum even as we celebrate Christmas. As your humble servant, I have obeyed your instructions without any hesitation and here we go again, as I do not ascribe my obeisance to divine calling as our political leaders are wont to want us to believe.

I decided to start this piece with one of my favourite quotes from that Greek Poet, Aeschylus, a man of monumental achievement. We read a lot of Greek Tragedies in those days at the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife) as students of Literature-in-English. I don’t know what is being taught these days but I remember with nostalgia the great works of Aeschylus, Euripides and Sophocles.

I also recollect a few adaptations of Greek plays by Wole Soyinka and Ola Rotimi, who wrote The Bacchae of Euripides and The Gods Are Not To Blame respectively. The latter title is probably one of the most popular plays ever written by a Nigerian author.

My mind flashed back to Ola Rotimi’s spectacular work as I began this weekly epistle to you. We are only days to the beginning of a
New Year. And the year 2015 promises to be a watershed in our dear country. The reason is obvious. We are likely to have one of our hottest elections ever. It is the first time that a strong opposition party will attempt to unseat a very entrenched political party as well as an incumbent President who appears to have been popularly elected in 2011.

It is not common for the people to get an opportunity or indeed have the ability to sack a sit-in President in Africa. It is even more difficult in Nigeria where the President wields the power of life and death. It would have been impossible for the ruling PDP to remain in power these past 15 years if not for the fact that politics in Nigeria is a game of sharing the booty or what is usually referred to as the ‘national cake’.

The bulk of this cake, the knife needed to slice it and the portions to be distributed are all controlled by the President. And different interest groups really don’t give a damn if majority of the people
live below poverty level as long as the President is persuaded to give them a pitiable slice of the cake.

The amount of money already budgeted and squandered on frivolous, white elephant and sometimes phantom projects since our return to Democracy should have fixed most of our terrible problems but the reverse has been the case. The more we spent the less we achieved. And the ruling party in its supposed wisdom assumed that Nigerians were foolish and too docile to think and kick against their servitude. They studiously ignored the lessons of history as well as the popular adage that whatever has a beginning must have an end. Nigerians are patient and resilient. They may also be lethargic but they are neither foolish nor docile. A t t h e appropriate time, they are forced to react decisively.

Nothing has been more frustrating than the miraculous ascension of a man from the Niger Delta as the President of Nigeria who seems to
have mismanaged the great opportunity. Dr. Goodluck Jonathan achieved what the gifted Ken Saro-Wiwas couldn’t. Many had paid the
supreme price for what he got on a platter of gold. It is so ironic that a man who was expected to understand the plight of the poor
soon became even more elitist in disposition.

I won’t join those who said our President has done nothing as that would be too uncharitable but I would like to submit that there was much more he could have done to make the countrybetter. But the biggest undoing is the unbridled profligacy attached to this government.

A country that bears our kind of heavy challenges needed a sober and frugal leader who was ready to downgrade his personal comfort in
order to rescue his people from want and deprivation. Unfortunately, our President was quickly and cleverly hijacked by those who know how to stage bloodless coups along corridors of
power.

I think the end of the beginning started on January 1, 2012, when our President on God-knows-whose advice removed the full subsidy on
petrol and all hell broke loose.Nigerians trooped out in large numbers all over the country o stage demonstrations against such a bizarrely insensitive gift on the first day of the year. The protests almost became our own Arab spring but the biggest of them was forcefully crushed in Lagos as soldiers rolled out the tanks.

The government, and its IMF/World Bank sponsored economists were so rattled that it had to eat humble pie and make promises it never
intended to keep when the people graciously agreed to some increase in the price of petrol.

All manner of committees were hurriedly packaged to assuage the feeling of the people. For example, buses were supposed to have been bought nationwide to convey commuters to different destinations at next to nothing. Till this day, I don’t know how many buses were ever bought and who boarded them.

We read about SURE-P and its activities but I don’t know how
widespread its impact was felt simply because I cannot see what it has done. The committees wrote tons upon tons of reports that are
gathering dust wherever they are right now.

The price of oil has collapsed and the real Nemesis has arrived. While government is trying to paint a picture that all is well, it is becoming increasingly clear that we have landed in big trouble. It is disheartening that the dividend of crashing international oil prices, which should have been the lot of Nigerians through reduced petroleum product prices, will not even be allowed to them.

As the Chief Economist to the Government has said, Nigerians must wait until oil prices stabilise before the benefit of these prices can be spared to them. When government will subjectively decide that such time has arrived is left for the imagination given that prices have been crashing for almost 2 months now.

Not even the normal Christmas spirit and traditional New year’s benevolence can bend the unrelenting spirit of our ‘dream’ Economic Team as this Government continues to pile economic woes on its citizenry.

The President promised to reduce his world tours to most essential trips but it actually increased in intensity as if with a vengeance. We became a laughing stock as our Presidential entourage invaded different countries on shopping sprees. In the past year alone, our President and his Pastors have been to Israel more than once. One would have expected that more attention would be devoted to nation-building than all the flights of fancy. But we continued to live like a rich nation when indeed our economy had taken a nose-dive. We were continuously lied to about the state of things. Even now that it has become certain that we are broke, we are still pretending that there is no problem.

The spate of terror attacks under this government has become rather atrocious and endless. All hope of containing it also seems to have evaporated. The standing joke is that Boko Haram has now carved out a different map of Nigeria with huge chunks of Northern Nigeria
now excised from the control of our government.

The citizens don’t believe much is being done to contain the menace especially when over 200 girls remain missing and the bombings and killings continue unabated.

Unemployment has reached an all-time high with Nigeria recording the largest army of angry youths on the African c o n t i n e n t. The government and its cronies continue to publish fictitious figures informing Nigerians that the level of unemployment is falling when more school leavers and graduates are being churned out from our broken higher and tertiary institutions and left to fend for themselves. It is little wonder that our thieves, fraudsters and armed robbers have suddenly achieved sophistication second to none.

It is also believed that President Jonathan has not encouraged the anti-corruption agencies to do a good job by the manner he protects his Ministers and other associates.

These agencies point to the fact that there have been more prosecutions of high profile politicians under these administration but whatever may be the outcome of that debate is that the Presidential pardons have severely undermined any successes
in that respect.

In the middle of these social and economic issues, the unexpected also happened on the political front. I had warned in several articles that the President was being deceived and misled into making too many political miscalculations and mistakes. One of such monumental mistakes was the attempt by the President to force his candidate on the Nigeria Governors’ Forum. It was a complete misadventure as Governor Rotimi Amaechi defeated Governor Jonah David Jang who was favoured by the President’s camp by 19 to 16 votes.

One would have expected the President to accept the verdict but he went ahead to recognise a smaller illegitimate faction of 16
Governors instead of embracing Amaechi warts and all. That was the day I believe the PDP dug its own grave by piling up corpses of political liabilities.

The non-recognition of Amaechi as the Chairman of the authentic Nigeria Governor’s Forum led eventually to the fractionalisation of their party into PDP1 and PDP2. Had the President acted like the father of all, those five Governors who eventually defected to what later metamorphosed into APC would probably have remained. When
tomorrow comes, PDP will regret the day APC came into existence.Despite the initial braggadocio that APC would fall apart as a result of clashing egos, the party seems to have held tighter than even PDP.

In 2011, it would have been unthinkable that a General Muhammadu Buhari would bounce back so powerfully. Let no one deceive Mr President that there is no cause for alarm, there is plenty ahead. The mood of the nation does not favour PDP or the President. Mood is always a key factor in politics. The mood was right for Barack Obama when he became the first Black American President. I foresee the same favourable mood playing out in 2015 for Buhari and Osinbajo.

For the first time since PDP came into power, the opposition is now so formidable that it would be able to fight for substantial votes in
every zone. The choice of Osinbajo, as his Vice Presidential candidate, by Buhari is a political masterstroke which even most of us did not see coming. It has all the hallmarks of divine intervention and the advent of the answering of the prayers of the multitude of Nigerians. The amiable Professor Osinbajo provides devoutness, erudition, compassion, simplicity and above all integrity to the ticket. Both candidates share fairness, simplicity and an anti-corruption stance in common.

All manner of smart guys are warming up to eat out of the billions of naira made available for the Presidential campaign by friends of the President and some of our supposedly broke State Governments but PDP should pray for a miracle this time. Too many costly mistakes have been made. I don’t know how easy it would be to correct those fatal errors in less than two months.

Writers are like prophets but no one listens when we say the things we know. We warned regularly about those around the President but we were called names by those who turned the Federal Government into their personal property. Those who never lifted a finger when others fought on the streets of
Abuja for Jonathan to be President suddenly became Janitors at Aso Rock blocking those who may wish to tell the truth. I hope the President knows that the die is now cast and anything can happen in the next election.

My advice is that he should work hard on leaving a legacy no matter what happens. Mr President should organise a world class election even if he won’t be the beneficiary at the end of the day. And if he wins, at least no one would accuse him of rigging. There is nothing more to gain from politics. God has been too kind to him.

He should ignore all those throwing tantrums and threatening to set Nigeria ablaze if their man is not elected for the second term. They are mostly pretenders. As we’ve seen in the past, they are always the first to jump ship.

Let no one blame the gods for our personal failings in life. We must bear our cross with courage.

MATTERS ARISING (1)

Posted: August 19, 2014 in Education, Politics, Top stories

Written by Oyeniyi Oluwaseun O.

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Flag of Nigeria

I noticed an information, which is in the form of an audio is now being passed around, especially amongst Christians and its dissemination rate seems to be increasing daily. People (Christians mainly) seem to have joined the distribution train; they also share it either orally or through electronic means (social media or Bluetooth). It is also being sold around.
When I first listened to the audio, I jettisoned the information in it (I practically didn’t believe it). I went back to the audio lately because I realized the audio seems to be fast spreading like virus amongst people (Christians mainly). It has now gotten to the level that I get notified about it almost every day, even by people who are many kilometers away from me.
Well, the only message I decrypted from the audio is that the main goal/vision of some political parties in Nigeria is to transform Nigeria to an absolute Islamic country. The speaker made the point on the basis that some parties have more Muslims in power than Christians, coupled with history.
When I analyzed the information critically, I realized it might affect the coming 2015 general elections in Nigeria. Some Christians might not vote because of the info, while at the same time, it would affect some people’s decisions during the election.
Well, I happen to be a strong believer of Jesus Christ and I’ll never desist from HIM. My conclusion about the audio (though the speaker called himself a Christian) is that it bears elements of confusion and its main aim is to bamboozle   people (Christians being the main target) to the side of a political party during the coming 2015 general elections in Nigeria. I strongly believe that the audio is a political propaganda and it is orchestrated by a political party.
As we all know, politics in Nigeria is like a script which is written by some people and it is usually being acted well by the actors/casts. I decided to write this piece because I know sooner or later, some parties (and it could one) will come to us on that stance. They will tell us to give them our votes in 2015 because they are not religion biased. They might even offer a Christian as their main candidate.
I believe it is highly illogical to say a party (or some parties) wants to convert Nigeria into an absolute Islamic country because they have more Muslims in office at the moment than Christians. Even those who tried it during the Military regime didn’t succeed; I wonder how they will do that now that democracy is what we practice.
Maybe I should draw our attention to something, I believe we all know a party in Nigeria that offers us people who pose themselves as Christians every time   and yet when they get to office, they let go of the traits of a good Christian as mandated by the Holy Bible.
When these so called Christians they offer us get to office, they engage themselves in transparent corrupt practices, they enrich themselves with the wealth of our nation, we (the masses) experience lot of work force strikes that are avoidable and the masses can be equalized to survivors of democracy terror. Even at the end of the tenure of some them in office, they get paraded by EFCC, though they usually go scot free. I should say they are practically above the law.
Like I said earlier, I am equally a Christian and I am not trying to hype the Muslims in office neither am I mobilizing for any of them here. They also have their own flaws but I don’t think I want to touch them today. I am just being factual and I am more concerned about the Christians now.
I believe Christians like the afore-mentioned ones don’t worth our votes anymore; I believe they don’t deserve a chance in our public offices. Let’s be wise in our decisions when election time comes. It wouldn’t do us any good if we become victims of people who have no good thing in plan for Nigeria other than to enrich their purses with our reservoir of wealth.
I believe we shouldn’t choose leaders based on religion fact anymore. The ones we have done in the past, how well did they pay us back? People are dying of poverty, unemployment rate is alarming, insecurity, work force strike, lack of infrastructure, corruption, to mention but a few, have all become a norm in our nation. Let’s be wise in our decisions, let’s take into office only the competent ones. Don’t sell your vote instead, guide your vote. Make RSVP your guide word.
R – Register with INEC

S – Select the right and competent candidates only

V – Vote

P – Protect your vote.

God bless Nigeria.

                                                                                         

Thousands of Nigerians admitted into United Kingdom universities appear sure to face tough health screening
as their campuses have been placed on the alert for the danger posed by the Ebola Virus Disease.
According to The Independent on Sunday , the alert by Universities UK, the umbrella body that represents
vice-chancellors, was issued because the universities are expecting new students to arrive from West
Africa.
While the three countries which have seen the largest number of Ebola cases – Liberia, Guinea and Sierra
Leone – have hardly any students enrolling at UK universities, Nigeria – which has also had confirmed cases – is the fourth largest supplier of international students to UK universities.
In 2012-13, the latest year for which figures are available, a total of 9,630 were enrolled. A spokesman for the body said, “The issue is very much on universities’ radars. We circulated to
universities the publicly available guidance on the topic.”
The guidance makes it clear that any student suspected of having Ebola should immediately be isolated in a side room away from any member of
staff or student contact.
“The side room should have dedicated en-suite facilities or at least a dedicated commode,” it says.
“The level of staff protection is dependent on the patient’s condition,” the London-based newspaper  said.
It added that “those having any dealings with the patient must take careful hand hygiene precautions,
wearing double gloves and a disposable visor.
The guidance told university workers that, “evidence from outbreaks strongly indicates that the main
routes of transmission of infection are direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membrane) and indirect contact with environments contaminated with splashes or droplets of blood or body fluids.”
It said that experts “agree that there is no circumstantial or epidemiological evidence of an aerosol transmission risk from patients.”

Contrary to the news that broke out some days back, it is my delight to inform you all that Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife (OAU) still remains the 1st in Nigeria, 19th in Africa and 1655 in the world. This is according to the latest webometric ranking.

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For more info, visit:
http://webometrics.info/en/Africa/Nigeria

Reacting to this, the VC of OAU , Professor Bamitale Omole, attributed the giant strides recorded by his
administration to the unparalleled research output, administrative acumen, technical know-how of the
academic, administrative and technical staff of the University, adding that only a focused leadership,
which is the hallmark of his management team, can produce such a spectacular feat.
Professor Bamitale Omole, then applauded the dedication to duty of all stakeholders in making sure that the ideals of the founding fathers of OAU become a reality in its entirety. He urged the Federal Government not to relent in its efforts to improve the funding of education, particularly for the universities, so that the increased penchant for travelling abroad to undergo academic programmes that could be taught better by our lecturers here in Nigeria would be a thing of the past.

Credit: PUNCH NEWSPAPER

OAU Logo

OAU Logo

The protest against the tuition hike embarked on by students of the Obafemi Awolowo University,Ile Ife, Osun State, continued on Wednesday as the undergraduates took the protest to the palace of the Ooni of Ife and market places within Ile Ife.

The students sensitised traders, drivers and artisans on the need for them to join the students to force the Federal Government to revert the fees to the old rate.

The students said the new fees would force many students to withdraw from the university and their aspirations would be dashed.

They claimed that with the increment, newly admitted students would now pay about N92, 400 and N104, 000 including acceptance fee as against N37,150 and N44, 150 previously paid.

The students said it was annoying that the Vice Chancellor of the OAU, Prof. Bamitale Omole, who was among the set of students who fought because they were not served chicken was the one spearheading the outrageous increment of fees.

The students in some pamphlets distributed called on anti-corruption agencies to probe the management of the OAU.

It read in part, “Our demands are that the university administration must publicly account for the N8bn World Bank fund last semester; proper probe into the over N300m generated from acceptance fee; proper and adequate probe into how Nigerian University Games Association fund was spent.”

The Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, promised to intervene in the crisis caused by the hike when the students took the protest to his palace.

The Ooni, who was represented by his second in command, Chief Lowa the Adimula of Ife, said he would speak with the management on the issue.

Ooni said, “We will do something and within the next 24 hours, the fees will be reversed.”

He, however, urged them to shun violence while going about their protest.

Meanwhile, the management of the university has blamed the new fees on the high inflation rate in the country and the steady dwindling subventions from the Federal Government to the institution.

The Public Relations Officer of the university, Mr. Biodun Olanrewaju, said this in a statement made available to our correspondent in Osogbo on Tuesday.

The management’s reaction followed the protests by the students of the university on Tuesday and Wenesday over the hike in tuition.

The university’s spokesperson explained that the institution could no longer cope with the old fee regime.

He urged parents and guardians to cooperate with the school and pay the new fees.

He said, “The present socio-economic situation in Nigeria has made it totally impossible for us to sustain being the best and the cheapest in Africa. Factors like the high cost of education, dwindling subvention from the Federal Government by over 50 per cent, astronomical inflation that has eaten deep into our meagre resources and electricity bills are responsible for the present adjustment of fees.

“Therefore, having carefully, critically, analytically and comparatively weighed the pros and cons of all indices that are useful for uninterrupted maintenance of our academic standard, the University Senate, at its sitting on Monday, May, 5 2014, unanimously agreed and approved that N71,150 be paid by only the new students in Humanities and Social Sciences; N78,400 by those in Sciences; N81,400 by those in Clinical Sciences and Pharmacy.”

The university urged corporate bodies and wealthy individuals to come to its aid by assisting the government in funding the institution.

Agriculture

Agriculture

These days, choosing of Agriculture as a career seems to be a taboo and there is declination in the number of students who choose Agriculture when admission season into tertiary institutions comes every year. I guess this is due to the mindset of people about agriculture in our own part of the world.
It is observed that this mindset is also being disposed towards Agric students especially on our campuses and this mindset is really inept, depressing and I can also say it is equivalent to discrimination. I guess people have forgotten the importance of Agriculture to the generation of man.
There is this sadness I feel in me each and every time I introduce myself to someone as an Agric student (especially on campus), the response I get every time has always been a scornful look and declination in vocal tone. It sends me this message- “you are worthless for being in Agric”.
It is also observed that Agric students are tagged “less intelligent beings”. I totally disagree with that. Larger percentage of Agric students never chose it too while the remaining chose it willingly. I can say some of us in Agric are well qualified for courses in other Science related faculties but as a result of random admission placement probably because we were some marks down from our number 1 course of choice, some of us are stuck in Agric. I can also put the blame on the misappropriations that happen during admission season. Misappropriation in this case means giving admission to less qualified students through what we all call “connection” and this makes some well qualified students fall into the family of random admission placement victims. I am not surprised tho, everybody knows that corruption occurs at all level in our nation.
It pains me the more whenever I see these less qualified students discriminate and equally tag Agric students “less intelligent beings”. I don’t blame them tho and I also don’t blame some people for giving Agric students that tag. Why? The characters some Agric students parade are not in any way impressive. Some are shy to tell people they are in Agric, some Agric students believe they cannot be as successful as they thought they would be if the original course they chose was given to them and for this reason, and some Agric students believe there is no certainty of good posterity for them. In some way, this thinking has been the reason for low academic performance of some Agric students. If Agric students refuse to change their mindset about the Faculty, I wonder how people will stop tagging the Faculty – “dumping ground for less intelligent people”.
Asides that, majority of Agric students don’t want to get involved in happenings on campus, some people have lost the confidence they had in themselves (majority of random admission placement victims fall into this class). Even at the Faculty level, programmes such as debate, quiz, informative talk shows and sports that can create awareness about the value of Agriculture and Agriculturists generally, are not being organized. I hope to see changes soon from the Faculty.
At first, I thought this discrimination happened only amidst students, I did not know Lecturers are also involved. I have had quite number of experiences with some lecturers (especially Non-Agric lecturers) and they all acted alike. Once I introduce myself to them as an Agric student, they give me a contemptuous response in return. Even when it comes to marking of examination scripts of Agric students, this discrimination is always being disposed too because most times, high degree of variation always exists between the examination results of Agric students when juxtaposed with that of other Science related Faculties. I believe and I know that Agric students are not as dull as what our examination results depict about us or what people think about us.
We all want to do “white-collar job” and leave Agriculture aside, why? We all believe it is meant for rural people or illiterates only. We feel it doesn’t pay off like some other professions do. I guess this is because people are not so informed about Agriculture or simply because we do not really embrace mechanized farming in Nigeria. I think I should open our eyes to this fact – “Agriculture is a major sector of our economy and it provides employment for 70% of Nigerian population”. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agriculture_in_Nigeria).
Looking into our business world, I observed that quite number of our potential businessmen are Agriculturists. For example, Dangote, Obasanjo, to mention just a few. I am sure if Dangote was purchasing all the raw materials he uses for his products, he might not be the Richest Man in Africa today. I believe he practices mechanized farming and through Agriculture, he has been able to employ thousands of people. Many of the Bank Managers we have today finished school as Agriculturists.
I also want to bring to our remembrance that Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, a great citadel of learning is one of the benefits of Agriculture in Nigeria. It was established when Parliamentary System of Government was being practiced in Nigeria. The School was established with the profit made from Cocoa and today, the School has become everyone’s pride.
Even though the government of the day seems to be exhibiting lackadaisical attitude towards Agriculture, it is still observed that some of the great developments (such as social amenities, establishment of schools, free education, et cetera) that Agriculture brought to Nigeria when it was still the major source of foreign exchange of Nigeria, are still visible today while evolution of crude oil has only promoted corruption in our Nation. Our leaders are not maximizing the profits from crude oil well.
I think it is high time we changed our view about Agriculture; I think it is high time we stopped the discrimination that is on against Agriculture and Agriculturists. Without Agriculture, so many professional fields that we have today won’t be able to function fully. Without it, we wouldn’t have any source of Energy as human beings. Agriculture means a lot to us.

Agric students are:
• A- Achievers,
• G-Great minds,
• R- Resolute,
• I- Intellectuals, and
• C-Cultured people.

STOP DISCRIMINATING AGAINST AGRICULTURE AND AGRIC STUDENTS!