#SaveNOUN: Open Letter to President Buhari On Crisis At National Open University of Nigeria

By Saka Momodu
Dear President Buhari,

The National Open University of Nigeria was established in 2002 with the vision of catering to a section of the populace desirous of tertiary education outside of the confines of the regular university system. Since its establishment, NOUN has served tens of thousands of students in different locations, contributing in no small measure to the human capacity development of the country. That vision and continuity of NOUN’s contribution to national development is now under serious threat, constituted by the man you have entrusted the leadership of this prestigious institution.

Mr President, before you appointed Professor Adamu as the Vice Chancellor of NOUN, the institution in furtherance of its mandate as the  flagship tertiary institution for Open and Distance Learning in Nigeria utilized a harmonized Learning Management Portal called iLEARN that allows for online instructional delivery through the combination of audio, video and text mediums.

Since its adoption, the iLEARN technology has proved to be a mainframe ICT component in the operations of NOUN, facilitating seamless connections between the teaching staff and students. The iLEARN Project for example catered to the prison in-mates particularly the Kiri-Kiri Maximum prison in-mates ensuring that they locally have access to study materials, audio-visual resources, and past questions, and updating same, monthly as updated on the iLEARN portal. This intervention no longer exists as the VC has pulled the plugged on this portal, throwing the institution in a digital darkness.

Graduating students of NOUN had always enjoyed the benefits of carrying out their clearance virtually through a customized platform developed for the school by iLearn to aid the clearance process. As it is, graduants of the just concluded convocation had to travel from their respective destinations to the headquarters of the University in Abuja. This task has not only become tedious and time consuming, some of the graduating students have not been cleared even though they presented themselves for clearance. This is due to their inability to download their receipts from the previous portal and the institution has not made it any easier by providing alternatives. Hence, the students have graduated but cannot collect their certificates.

In the same vein, the institution now have no access to any accurate data, only rough estimates are available as at today. The institution is unable to determine the number of enrollment per semester nor determine the accurate number of active students or registered students in the institution. This makes it impossible to determine the institution’s revenue.

Exams and Exam registration could not be conducted in most part of the country due to the lack of portal, while the institution has recorded a failed attempt to use the manual registration and Paper exam to replace the e-exam.

Amidst these trending issues raising an eyebrow from both staff and students of the institution, it was gathered that the school academic calendar has been disrupted owing to student’s inability to utilize the non-functioning portals that were used to replace the existing optimally functioning ones. Based on this development, students have been deprived from the seamless mode of doing their; registration, TMAS and Assessing Results owing to the changes made by the school administration.

Payment of tuition fees has not gotten better as majority of students expressed dissatisfaction over the challenges they are encountering in making payment which is still yet to be fixed as at the time of compiling this report. Among issues gathered is the unavailability of internet services at the school study centres prompting staff to incur data expense from their pockets for official assignments.

While making an inquiry into issues surmounting the institution, facilitators also bemoaned the school administration for relocating them to a work station that is not well equipped even while different construction works were still ongoing at the different offices, thus stalling their official activities for a length of time when relocation was made. It was also flagged that there is a poor communication flow between students and the school leadership as they are left out of the picture when carrying out certain changes in the institution thereby leaving students in the dark in respect to issues that directly involves them.

Since the VC’s assumption in office, there have also been several controversies with the mode of administration in terms of recruitment. It was gathered that there are different unpublicized recruitment going on in the institution to absorb the “who knows who” set of staff while jeopardizing merit. In a related concern, certain officers were also demoted to satisfy the preference of the VC in the move to empower his allies. The issue of tribalism is also taking a firm stance in the institution as there are more Hausa appointees coming on board in the institution.

Another major issue that cannot be easily frayed is the breach of contract with facilitators promised to be paid for instructional video recording and eventual non-payment of such allowances following the transition. The Administration of the VC did not only stop the payment of such allowances but also infringe on certain fringe benefits that are meant for facilitators as they no longer receive their annual rent allowance and these does not go well with the school staff as their welfare is affected.

Students of the institution have also taken to different social media channels to vent their anger on the different means by which they have been exploited by the institution. It was revealed that they pay for course materials which they don’t get regularly and which they are yet to get an explanation for.

Mr President, these and more are issues that require your urgent attention and intervention. We implore you to through the office of the Honourable Minister of Education wade into this crisis to save NOUN from the brink of collapse.

Saka Mahmood is an Abuja based social commentator, he tweets via @sakamahmood

Democracy And Nigeria By Habib Rabbiu

Oh Nigeria, indeed you are a great nation, indeed you should be the Giant of the whole Africa, Oh Democracy, we know you to be the most desirable bride among Political systems, you suitors many countries around the globe but in Nigeria, we have been after you but you are yet to consent to our proposal, despite the fact that we are emphatically trying to charm you, with great honors and by putting your name next to ours, to allure you to sanctify our biased politics thus The oligarchs, The despots,The tyrants, The dictators, The nepotists, The totalitarians and many more, we have declared ourselves your fervent admirers, your ardent devotee to you and to your eternal principles By wrapping ourselves in your golden enclave and calling ourselves your beloved one in a jester intonation but you are unyieldingly adamant to us for you knew that in Nigeria no one has succeeded to measure up to the ideals your wise father, the great Solon has set and to the glorious values with which he nurtured you, those superb principles: Of virtue, Of justice, Of ethics, Of freedom,Of equality Of autonomy, Of self-knowledge, Of responsibility,Of lack of self interest And Of the paramount devotion to The common good and the happiness of the people you serve as the name implies.

It is for that reason, our dear Democracy, scarcely have shown any favoritism to Nigeria your dear suitor, for all fell short of your lofty aspirations that in Nigeria you are so unfortunate for a very lengthy periods of time mistreated, neglected, subjugated and exploited by our pretenders:The immoral, The unjust, The dishonorable, The Ignorant,The power thirsty, The war mongers,The money seekers, who chose to ignore all that you stood for and disregard the common good and the happiness of the people they supposed to serve but all to promote their own interest and those of their cronies thus ruining the chances of any true democratic presence in Nigeria, oh Democracy, I deeply understand why you are still a spinster in Nigeria, you have chosen to remain so because: power is not yet to the people, we are yet to see leadership as sacrifice, we are yet to loose ourselves to the service of our people, we are earnestly in love with nepotism and yet to fight corruption institutionally.

Happy Democracy day Nigeria. Happy people, great nation. We shall get it positive one day

Dear MACOSITES, Let’s Look At This Five Points By Fodio Ahmed

If I were asked to rate Mass Communication as a career, this would be my response; Mass Communication has tremendously witnessed, and indeed is still witnessing a BOOMING ADVANCEMENT on the radar of per-second-billing. This means that if you are in the arena of the career, you need to, Infact you must be flexible and fast in adopting what is obtainable based on global practices which requires commitment, dedication, sacrifice and risks.

So, Dear aspiring Media moguls and Students-Media practitioners (Undergraduates), my greetings to you all anywhere you are, I promise to be very brief. Mass Communication is diverse beyond the walls of any CAMPUS, but the CAMPUS is the most appropriate and suitable environment for those who are so passionate to engage themselves in the MEDIA WORLD.  Let me also use this opportunity to share with you what I myself am still learning. I am a novice myself, however,  I feel I have nothing to lose if I shared the little theoretical and practical knowledge I have on the subject matter, even if briefly.

1. For Secondary school leavers who have applied or have the intention to apply, It is important you know that being beautiful or handsome, or having “swaggs”, or being an aspiring model, does not in any way guarantee that Mass Communication would agree to go on a 4 year stress-free COURTSHIP with you.

2. Those who are already in, the best and favourable time to identify your strength and weakness and stick to a BRANCH in MASS COMMUNICATION is immediately after your 100 Level. 100 Levels everywhere are JJCs, though you can see some in 100 Level who are not JJCs, they are either there for a Second Degree or are there to get the THEORETICAL KNOWLEDGE of the Career and get the CERTIFICATE, they are rare anyway.

3. Mass Communication is not limited to Journalism alone either print or broadcast. Journalism is a career in Mass Communication, you have lots and lots of other careers to go for depending on your passion, interest and propensity. Examples include but are not limited to  ;  Publishing, Public Relation, Film Making and Production,  Photography, Scriptwriting and Editing, Radio Jockey, Video Jockey, Acting,  Directing, Art Director, Event Management. So, better knock-out the assertion of, BUT I CAN’T WRITE OR I AM SHY OF THE CAMERA, Uncle and Aunty,  who tell you say na only WRITING AND TV BROADCAST de for Mass Communication Pocket.

4. And to my Brothers especially,  and few Sisters, you cannot become an over-night MILLONIER especially if you are in the field of Journalism, don’t go and be calculating like this ; ok, after 4years, 1 year NYSC,  shikenan,  MTN or GLO or Dangote Group or DJ Khaleed or Don Jazzy or NNPC or Nigerian President will employ me or Samsung or Iphone or Tecno or Obasanjo or Abacha Pikin or IBB Son or Saraki or Dino Melaye or Dr. Dre or Wizkid will hire me and be paying me 500,000 thousand or 1 million monthly, Brother and Sister,  there is no Money in Journalism as quick as you want ooooo, don’t say #1PenKawai didn’t advice you.

Journalism requires, I repeat, requires and re-requires an ocean deal of HARDWORK, make i write am in capital letters, IT REQUIRES AN OCEAN DEAL OF HARDWORK,  HARDWORK,  PATIENCE,  PATIENCE, it takes time to even get identified professionally, before even making a dime and eventually making it to the top, don’t forget CREATIVITY and GOOD COMMUNICATION SKILLS to enable you translate complex issues for the layman to UNDERSTAND. No Quick Money ooo, except if you engage in YELLOW JOURNALISM and BLACKMAILING, even with that,  you still need to work hard and be creative even in BLACKMAILING, and if YOUR ANCESTORS are angry with you,  your first BLACKMAIL will be your LAST before you rot in KIRIKIRI OR KUJE OR MINNA PRISON.

5. Like every career, Mass Communication also has its POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE Face. If you do not have deep passion and depth desire for the Job, Journalism especially,  the day you will get embarrassed,  I tell you, you go resign. Have you ever been slapped by a Security Officer to a public figure for simply trying to get a few words from the public officer’s mouth regarding some very important issue.? Well, I have lost counts of how many times between 2014 and early 2015 before the General Elections i have received slaps back to back on my big head, as shocking as it may sound, I do not waste my time to see who dashed me the free-slap cause my interest is,  just to get the few words from the horse’s mouth.

Let me share with you my personal experience. Towards the end of Former Governor Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu’s tenure, I was reporting for Polar Magazine, a Minna based privately owned Monthly Magazine, the Chief Servant was to commission projects at College of Education, Minna and I was to cover the event both as a reporter as well as a photographer.

After his speech, and addresses by stakeholders of the institution,  Chief Servant began with commissioning the games arena,  he was to move down to other structures as well, it was sunny,  and I had to make sure I get to the structure before the Governor,  because immediately the Governor gets there, it’s Zero for you cause you will not be allowed by the Securities, in the process of running, the sole of my shoe removed completely, I had to abandon the pair of shoes and its sole and kept running with 1 pair of shoe, the sun kukuma no look my face self, it was after the entire commissioning that took hours, that I came back to the spot and picked my shoe,  hanged my camera and took keke napep quitely but then, I didn’t feel ashamed running up and down with a pair of shoe, despite the packaging, Infact, I was wearing a PAOLO BERTOLUCCI SHIRT of 12,000 thousand naira, a gift from my cousin schooling in Ghana Muktar Abubakar Manzo. And yet,  working in a sunny day wearing a pair of shoe and holding the other with my hand. The point is, if you don’t have that passion,  you won’t continue.

Another very recent one happened to my very good friend, 1 out of the 2 correspondents of News Agency of Nigeria covering Niger, we were both on Governor Sani Bello’s mid-term assessment tour of the 25 Local Government Areas of the State, my friend was in the squad of Government House Press Crew while I was to capture everything Health related for the Ministry of Health.

After all in all, Governor Sani Bello was to respond on the needs of Agaie Local Government Area shortlisted by  Hon. Mahmud Muhammad on behalf of the LGA after which, the Governor will grant a 120 seconds narrow Interview to Journalists, let me put this in capital letters ; GAN GAN, GAN GAN GAN GAN LIKE IN INDIAN MOVIE where ACTOR AMITABH BACHCHAN is coming to rescue his KIDNAPPED WIFE OR SISTER by BOSS MOGAMBO

Shit.  NEPA DON TAKE LIGHT;  The Story Continues when NEPA BRING LIGHT ?????????

To be continued.  #1PenKawai. ………………..#ItDon’tStop. ………..#AiSadaPen…READ, LAUGH AND SHARE.

For more kindly like my Facebook page ;  www.facebook.com/Fodio1PenKawai
@Fodio1penkawai on Instagram
Onepenkawai@gmail.com
08062658281 (Whatapps)

Nigeria: A Country With People Who See Blindly By Tijani Sheriffdeen

Nigeria hasn’t seized to be a country of one day one new story, days counting like seconds, and many Nigerians just want to sleep and wake. To say the least, things have not being very easy, to be specific, for average Nigerians. Everybody just wants to survive. That the present administration is trying everything in its capacity to make her people smile cannot be overemphasized, but when a father keeps begging his family for time to see to their welfare and his efforts are unyielding, his household concludes he his failing in his capacity.

Progressive minded Nigerians have it that things would change, if only we can just be patient. What would patience without productive efforts birth? The acting President, Prof.YemiOsinbajo said prayer and fasting wouldn’t help our condition except the right things are put in place.

And that’s not far from the truth. Developed nations around the world do enough to help their nation blossom that prayer and fasting only help things get better. Its however unfortunate some Nigerians want to fast unendinglyto see their country in the ranks of developed nations. There are enough things we should be concerned about, rather than we look into ideas that can make things turn around for good in our country, we settle to discuss irrelevant issues; Nigerians want to know how much their President is spending on his health outside the country, when they should be bothered by the deteriorating state of our health sector!

In Nigeria, the small and medium enterprises sub sector has been expanding, especially since the mid-1980s. This sector accounts for about 70.0 percent of industrial employment. But what do we have of this sub sector today? Enough people are out there trying to come up with small scale businesses, but the society they owe their struggles to isn’t supportive, what’s for these people? Would things ever find feet in a country where people wake up to think of what to eat? And of course, many of this people can work or have businesses the society is only helping by strangling.

As an undergraduate student, I can’t pretend not to see the brilliant efforts of students in coming up with ideas which are capable of metamorphosing into businesses. But enough people pretend not to see this channel of helping our atrophied economy. Tertiary institution students are real thinkers, if it’s hard believing this, then there is a problem with our educational system, of course there are enough things wrong with the system, but at that, many are still thinking far outside the box. If we have people who can come up with ideas capable of developing into businesses, small or medium scale, why not invest in their ideas? Its however saddening, every government only wants to help students when they become graduates, by organising entrepreneurial trainings for them, to gain cheap popularity, and at the end of the day provide them with enough of nothing.

There is no doubt in the fact that small and medium scale enterprises are very important in any economy that wants to grow. This sector contributes 30-40 percent of all employment in USA and Europe. The Asian Tigers such as Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand also progressed through the development of their small and medium enterprise. Concerned stakeholders should look into empowering of tertiary institution students, as there ideas can sprout and blossom into businesses capable of reducing unemployment rate and improve the growth and development of our country.

We shouldn’t wait until they add to the seemingly increasing numbers of unemployed graduates. An empowered student starts a business and invites 4 other friends to join the business, the 5 of them have no business creating problem for the society when they are done schooling, rather they are also doing one or two things connected to the development and growth of the economy. Why don’t we see easy ways of making things improve in Nigeria?

Tijani Sheriffdeen is an undergraduate student of the University of Ilorin.

Time To Accelerate Results For Nigerian Children By Olawale Rotimi, Habiba Mohammed

It has not been the best of times for Nigerian children lately, despite progress made on few fronts, there has been a number of major setbacks for children in Nigeria. A five-minute walk on the street of any city in Nigeria will convince any doubter.

Over the last five years, the displacement of persons in the North Eastern states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa caused by the Boko Haram insurgency has placed the biggest burden on women and children who have had to flee their communities to a safer environment; which in some cases also turn out unsafe.

Education has been the most hit by the Boko Haram insurgency, at the peak of the insurgency in 2014, all schools in Borno state were closed, denying boys and girls the opportunity for a decent education, the National Union of Teachers have also reported that more than 600 teachers have been killed by the terrorists.

Furthermore, it is no longer news that young girls have been major victims and bargaining tools of the insurgents.Boko Haram is known to kidnap young girls, the most prominent of these was the kidnap of Chibok girls in their dormitory in April 2014. The terrorist group also continues to use girls as suicide bombers to carry out their dastardly acts majorly in Borno State.

More recently, the Nigerian government have made strides in curtailing the spread of Boko Haram, it is cheery news that despite the persistent problems, many schools have re-opened in Borno and children have returned to the classroom.

Asides the challenge in the North East, more than 13 million children are out of school in Nigeria, representing more than half of all the out-of-school children globally. While these seem to be a huge challenge, there exist opportunities to close this gap as well as guarantee 12 years of quality education for girls and boys in Nigeria. The quality of education is another debate.

The passage of the Child Rights Bill into law represents one of such opportunities. Following the passage by the National Assembly in 2003, 25 states in Nigeria mostly in the South have domesticated the law by passing similar bills into law in the state. The time is ripe to ensure that the remaining11 states do same.

The passage of the Child rights bill into law at sub-national level guarantees the rights of children for several things including a right to education and delaying early marriage for girls until age 18 and ensuring they have decent education. Educating girls is not a burden, it represent smart investment as each year a girl stays in school, it adds 12% to her future income. This has been proven.

While states have complained that there isn’t enough to finance 12 years of free and quality education for children, data obtained from the Universal Basic Education Fund shows that several states failed to access over 57 billion Naira in funding over the last three years. Every unspent fund represents a missed opportunity to send children to school. It is time to harness every resource available to ensure that education of boys/girls are guaranteed.

While the Universal Basic Education in itself was established in 1999 and institutionalized through an act of the National Assembly in 2004 to provide funding and support to guarantee nine years of basic education for children in Nigeria, it is high time to revisit the act and make commitments to align the act to the Sustainable Development Goals towards ensuring that we move from 9 to 12 years of quality education.

Finally, the recent initiative by the Federal Government to employ and deploy 500,000 teachers to schools across the country is a welcome initiative, we urge the government to ensure that equal number of male and female teachers are employed especially in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) related courses. This idea is not one to play the federal character politics with; at least not now! Efforts must be made to ensure that only the best hands are recruited as teachers.

It is foundational and key to finding a short and long term solution to this problem. Girls need role models in schools, employing bright, smart female teachers show young girls that they can also aspire and tackle seemingly difficult ‘maledominated’ courses and dream of a better world. Asides this, travels and learning visits should also be part of their education. It is important to triggering bigger dreams for these girls.

The opportunity to make a big difference in education is ripe, we only need to match this with a strong political will and a focus on tangible results ensuring that no child is left behind by guaranteeing 12 years of free, safe and quality education in Nigeria. The time to act is now!

Rotimi Olawale &Habiba Mohammed, Gulmakai Girls education Champion of the Malala Fund

Dele Sobowale: A Voice Of Reason or A Voice Of Treason? By Undung Pam

Each time I read an article written by Dele Sobowale, and I have read more than a few, I often find myself asking, whose side is he on? What exactly is he talking about? Never have I read one man’s work filled with so much controversy, bickering, and misinformation like Sobowale’s. Is his real motive to spread angst by misinforming Nigerians and spreading half-truths? Is he one of those divide-and-conquer thinkers who love to spread lies and rumours often brandishing them as truth? I am led to think so.

Sobowale, our “Area Boy of the Media” swings so fast and so frequently on the opinion pendulum that anyone who dares become an ardent reader of his work is left dizzy. Today here, tomorrow there. Nothing sticks where Sobowale is concerned, except his inability to take a definite stand, and interestingly, his obvious dislike of Nigeria’s former Minister of Finance and Co-ordinating Minister for the Economy. I mean, through all the changes and metamorphosis Sobowale’s opinions have undergone, he remains constant in his childish spite for Mrs Iweala.

Despite his claims that everyone receives the same treatment from him, Sobowale has shown that his ‘Frankly Speaking’ column is no more than a vehicle for working the bidding of his paymasters. And like the true area boy that he is, he deploys all the resources at his disposal to ensure that the “Chairman” is satisfied with his work, not minding if he has to stoop low and pit one tribe against another or one religion against another. He may as well say that everyone receives the same treatment from him to the extent that his pockets have been lined.

Without any thought for the people of this country, of the many challenges we have faced as a people; of the issues that constantly fight to tear us apart rather than keep us united, our dear Dele has often used tribal sentiments to cause chaos and unleash psychological mayhem on unsuspecting readers.

Stella Oduah, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and others have been accused of tribalism at one point in time or another by Sobowale who often goes the route of penning diversionary articles full of unguarded statements and baseless accusations to serve his purpose. As I recall, Sobowale once accused Okonjo-Iweala of ethnic chauvinism at a time when Robert Orya, who by the way is a Tiv from Benue state, was appointed MD of NEXIM, saying that she favoured the Igbos for appointments.

From the days of the Jonathan administration, especially nearing the election period when he turned the heat up, Sobowale has written numerous articles calling for the head of Dr Okonjo-Iweala, or at least for her resignation.

Quite recently, he wrote another article charging EFCC to bring her in for questioning over the several cases of misappropriation of funds by government officials. Now, some of those investigations are months old, and if the relevant anti-graft agencies had seen the need to invite Okonjo-Iweala in, I am quite certain they would have done so.

They need not wait for a Dele Sobowale to tell them what to do, after all, what does he know about their investigations save what they have chosen to make public. But that is only one matter. My first reaction after reading the article was to ask who had lined the pocket of this lackey this time around? After all, the Sobowale I know, as opinionated as he may sound, has no original idea save what he has been instructed to trumpet.

Which brings me back to my first question: whose side is Dele Sobowale on? Need I say more?

Undung Pam is a social commentator contributing from Jos, Plateau State.

Why Do People Link Academic Prowess To Hard Work? By Isa Mubarak

I remember when I was still in primary school there was this girl who was always top of the class academically. We all stood in awe, humbled and belittled by her academic prowess, she was intelligent beyond measure. To ever dream of being better than her in class was farfetched. But the question that was always on our little minds was how could she be brilliant than all of us without even seeming to put so much effort on it?
I’ve noted, with disdain perhaps, through both my secondary schooling and college year(s) that people tend to assume that whoever makes it into the top ten list is a hardworker which is not always the case, depending on what one considers hard work.
Last year, with my family away from home in the form of my room-mate and others, we’d sit and argue about insignificant things all day before a test only to study in the wee hours of the night. Stressing at this point, the bravest would go around knocking on doors asking for sugar and coffee so as to keep awake through the night. Soon one by one we’d all retire to our beds believing we’ve either studied long enough or that we’ll wake up in a few hours time since it was, at that time, already morning.
We’d wake up just minutes before the test, take a quick shower and rush to the venue while reciting that which we learned a few hours ago to ourselves. We’d arrive at the venue and the air of tension would be so thick in there, it weighed heavily on the students who placed knowledge-filled heads on the tables while praying silent prayers.
In this exams venues, the ‘Einsteins’ will make you look as though you’ve read nothing and know nothing. They could easily tramp on your self esteem, intimidation is all you get.
We’d write, the papers would be taken in, get marked and finally be given back to us.
Now this is where it gets interesting. When the marks come out and it is put in the public domain that I basically crammed well, people would congratulate me while making assumptions of what a hard working person I am oblivious to the fact that I only started studying less than 12 hours before the test. Nevertheless, I’d smile and appreciate all the praise for one does not spit phlegm of ingratitude in the faces of well-wishers. So I kept quiet and took all the glory in the same way a thief that is praised for jumping a high fence does not announce to praisers that a pitbull was actually chasing them.
As in College, the same was practically done in High School. I’d spend most of the weekend text-battling, essay-battling on 2go and Facebook with intervals of movies and series episodes and study late on the Sunday.
But to my surprise, when I get in the Top Ten everyone would somehow attribute that to not going out, being a hard worker and basically everything I’m not. And like in College, I’d keep quiet and not correct the false narrative that was being disseminated.
Now, from what I’ve shared and observed, I can conclude that I’m no hard worker. Same goes for other people that, to an extent, excel in academics. Sometimes the test was just too easy to be considered the fruits of hard work. Sometimes people don’t do good because they never understood the concepts. Other factors will be mentioned by people who’ve made the same observations.
To conclude, I haven’t seen anyone who claims to have not worked hard and passed his/her exams. Though some people are naturally born intelligent but without hard work all the intelligence goes to waste.
I think it would be in all fairness to say that not everyone that excels, to an extent (only including this so I don’t hurt the physics and engineering students seeing flames in varsity), in academics is a hard worker. Most students that chow courses are arrogant jerks that know they are mentally gifted in cramming so they cram 8 to 6 hours before a test and still walk out with a distinction. Surely we cannot call such people, myself included, hard workers.
By: Isa Eneye Mubarak
isamubarak66@yahoo.com
Tweets @IsaMubii

Quintessential Jiti Ogunye At 50 By Lekan Alabi

This is the time to roll out the drums to celebrate one of very few honourable men in a country where character is a scarce commodity. Ibukun Olajinbiti Ogunye, an Ikare Akoko born legal titan is known to different people for different reasons but he is certainly known to the oppressed as their liberator using the instrumentality of the law as narrow as it is to get succor for freedom fighters, labour leaders, victimized students’ union leaders and workers in a society where the resources of all are in the hands of few.
In his life journey,  whether as a young person or as an adult, he has been playing leadership roles for his immediate family, students movement, human rights community and pro-democracy groups. If one considers his intellectual input to the struggle to liberate our society, one will be tempted to conclude that Jiti has been around for well over 8 decades. His life best captures the aphorism that says that not how long but how well. For Jiti it is so far so best if I am permitted to use the phrase.
In the past three decades of his life of struggles against oppression and evils embedded in market theology, Jiti had not taken a neutral position on national issues. To him, neutrality in a moment of decision is a moral bankruptcy. No wonder, as a union leader in the late 80s and the early 90s in the University of Benin, a period in history that coincided with the military dictatorship and rulership, he played a patriotic role in rallying patriotic youth and student activists in collaboration with other progressive movements in different part of the country to fight against the military regimes and attendant reactionary policies.
Being an organizational person, he alongside with his comrades organized a methodical resistance against the military rule. They campaigned and protested against the commercialization and privatization of education in the country. They, in alliance with Academic Staff Union of Universities demanded for university autonomy and academic freedom for the benefit of all.
Upon being called to Nigerian Bar in November, 1992, being a Marxist Leninist ideologue who fully understood/understands the Marxist Theory of Jurisprudence, consequently, his natural habitat was to work in the Law Firm of fiery Femi Falana Esq. SAN.
It should be noted that Falana is the arrowhead of the Aka Tradition of radical legal practice, pro people approach to law as a weapon to fight economic and political injustice.  His experience in Falana Chambers as a Marxist Lawyer was a watershed in his professional career as he was highly fulfilled in working in peoples” Chambers. Under the military regimes, leading Jiti and other progressive and radical lawyers, Falana was a torn in the flesh of the military oligarchy particularly in the area of expounding and widening the scope of human rights practice having suspended the Fundamental Rights provision of the Constitution via Decree 107 of 1993 enacted by the ruthless Abacha Junta.
It must not escape my mind to state that Jiti is highly resourceful.
No wonder, this quality of his was maximally exhausted by his political group and allies in the human rights community. He was part of the movement against the military tyranny and oppression. He assiduously worked mentally and physically within the circle of pro democracy groups and human rights bodies which include but not limited to the following: The Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, National Association of Democratic Lawyers, Campaign for Democracy, NADECO, JACON, Lawyers’ League of Human Rights.
He was/is a consultant to Civil Rights Congress, Female Leadership Forum and other nongovernmental organizations. He is a household name as a public affairs analyst in main stream print and electronic media in Nigeria.
This writer will never forget the 1st day of May, 2002 when Jiti told him that his perspective in legal profession was to be a constituency builder of radical and progressive minded lawyers who were and still in short supply in the country.
Being a union leader from Ife, he offered me instant employment in Jiti Ogunye Chambers where I cut my teeth in legal profession. While working with him, he was/is a man of industry and high intellect. Most of the cases were done pro bono. They were centered on workers’ rights, students’ rights and the downtrodden who were the victims of the anti-people policy of the management.
He is a public interest litigator per excellence. He deployed his legal talent to defend the victims of executive lawlessness of the military and their satellite in the university community.  NEPA VS. OSOSANYA &ORS…, W.A.E.C V. ADEYANJU (2008) 9 NWLR (PT. 1092) 270 W.A.E.C V. AKINKUNMI (2008) 9 NWLR (PT. 1091) 151, PROF POJU AKINYANJU V. UNIVERSITY OF ILORIN, AZUBUIKE V. MILLAD LAGOS STATE & ORS (1 NPILR), RUFUS OYATORO V. OSOGBO STEEL ROLLING COMPANY, ADENEKAN ADENIYI AKANNI & ORS V. OAU & ORS: SUIT NO: FHC/OS/CS/15/05, ALABI ADEBAYO MOJEED V. OAU & ORS SUIT NO:  FHC/OS/CS/16/05 among other numerous cases to be mentioned were conducted with vigor and conviction to the apex court.
It is a sad irony that the human angle to the society was lacking in a temple that ought to have it in highest doze. But what is important is the principle behind the picking up the defence of the victim of the system to a logical conclusion regardless of where the pendulum swung. On the issue of principle, Jiti is uncompromising, he is as hard as Ikare-Akoko rock.
He is an innovator and original thinker, in Nigeria legal space. He engineered a debate on Plea Bargain which eventually led to his publication on The Imperative of Plea Bargaining 2005 after a thorough research and rigorous finding. However, the ruling class and their lawyers have thoroughly bastardized a concept that supposed to reform our criminal justice system. Jiti is a public interest litigator per excellence.
People are the cornerstone of his existence. Principle is his way of life. Fairness is in his blood. Love, large heart and humanism breathe in his heart. This is celebrating with my benefactor, radical lawyer, public intellectual and socialist as he clocks 50 in a society where it is a grace and privilege to attain the age of 50.  Kindly join me in rejoicing with him as he dances his loved music Baba Ara.

Whose Interests Come First, The People Of Kano Or Sanusi And His Powerful Friends? By Umar Hassan

I had just one fear regarding Sanusi Lamido Sanusi’s suitability for the Kano Emirship when I was supporting his candidature for the exalted seat and that fear has proved justified.He simply cannot transit from a suit and tie ‘do good’ advocate to the royal father of one of Nigeria’s most historic states.
Certain extraordinarily high standards are expected of such men.They are not to be seen criticizing other leaders in public before at the very least, a botched attempt at advising them in private. If at all they must speak on governance,they are expected to urge government to explore more productive policies instead of criticizing existing ones.Their status in a few words can best be captured in this hyperbolic statement-“Other mortals may bleed red but royals bleed blue”.
He has attacked the Buhari government at every opportunity, delved into sensitive religious issues and sent his daughter to represent him at a public function.He not only had her do that, he sang her praises in a video message introducing her for once slapping a boy that had disrespected her.That was just about how much anyone could stomach and when the Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption commission decided to probe alleged misappropriation of funds by the Emir, many lauded the state government for acting in line with good conscience. It didn’t matter what he was been accused of,what mattered was someone somewhere recognized the fact that the sanctity of the throne was being violated and that there was a need to act fast.
No one bated an eyelid when the State house of assembly took over the probe of Sanusi as the common perception was that it was in a better position to look into the non-financial aspect of the investigation which happen to form the reason for his travails.In addition to embezzlement of funds,he was being accused of tarnishing the image of the Emirate by having his daughter represent him at a public function and repeatedly attacking President Buhari in a manner unbecoming of the custodian of his seat.
To my utter dismay,the house in a session on Monday,suspended the probe of the Emir based on a letter written it by the Kano state Governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje requesting that the probe be halted in the best interest of peace as some prominent nigerians had interceded on Sanusi’s behalf.Particularly shocking was the shamelessness involved in the disgusting acts of both the governor and the house.
The Sanusi inquiry was going to stop not because he had been cleared or had publicly apologized to his people but because he had some very influential friends and no one even bothered to keep that secret.Their names were reeled out.Whose interest would peace suit most if he stayed on as Emir,the people of Kano who stood a high chance of being incited by their Emir’s false claim that the Governor and members of the house spent one month in China wasting taxpayers money or by his disrespect for the Emirate by having his daughter represent him at a function instead of any ranking official?.
The City’s high reverence for culture is legendary and as it is,the Governor is lucky to have had no revolt against the ‘unEmirly’ Emir.A lot of people still feel it would have been better for Sanusi to urge his fellow Muslims to delve into polygamy only when they can cope with its rigours than to outrightly suggest the government makes laws determining who should and should not marry more than one wife.Religion is quite a sensitive issue down north and an emir neglecting caution in that regard is a recipe for disaster.
I am highly disappointed in the Kano state governor for willing to discard Sanusi’s probe just because some influential people begged him to.What he has made categorically clear is that the wishes of Ag.President Osinbajo,Abdulsalami Abubakar,IBB and Aliko Dangote and a few others override the best interests of his people.It doesn’t matter whether anyone has embezzled funds or whether the throne is being dragged to disrepute, as long as they have powerful friends,it will all go away.Sad.
Umar Sa’ad Hassan is a lawyer based in Kano.

Rauphobia, Raufmania And Raufnomics By Sikiru Akinola

He has never achieved anything without struggle. As commissioner for works, I didn’t know more of him until he declared intention to run for the governorship position of Osun. Not many, including this writer, believed he was going to make it. ?Many people willingly joined the struggle. Anyday, anytime, Aregbesola is a crowd-puller. Only few people can match his streetness.
On many occasions, he cheated death. It was a tortuous journey. From the pre-election till when his mandate was restored, it was one day, one trouble. He won the election but the incumbent was declared. And the legal tussle began. The first tribunal was comprommised.  Many people laid their lives unnecessarily. Why? They were tired of the locusts who had almost sucked the state’s treasury dry.
And finally, on November 26th, 2010, the Appeal Court, sitting in Ibadan, affirmed the judgement of the reconstituted tribunal, by declaring Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola as the duly elected governor. That day?, the jubilation was indescribable. Many major towns were thrown into ectastic celebration. He couldn’t be sworn in that day. Before the second day, it was evident that the will of the majority eventually prevailed.
From the beginning, it was evident that he was prepared for governance. Within a twinkle of an eye, he left no one in doubt as to his capacity to effect changes in the shortest time. His many O-projects many of which ?have become models for many states have earned him recognition and awards locally and internationally.
His many projects were unusual. The few condemn him while the majority commend him. And that is why he is always happy to associate with the common man on the street. He is not known for his flamboyant lifestyle. It didn’t take many residents of the once-upon-a-time state of the living spring to know that their prayers have been answered. The more than 7 years before Oranmiyan came on board was akin to the years of the men in khaki.
Like his first election and the legal tussles that followed, the re-election bid was also fought with everything. He contested against the candidate of a party that was bent on entrenching its hold, no matter what it would have cost. The people were determined like the first term. They believed that the O-General needed another term to solidify his achievements. At last, despite threat from far and near, he was announced as the winner.
?Though an engineer by training, the way he has handled the economy of the state calls for applause. Many of us are even baffled how he has been able to achieve what other states, especially the financially-buoyant ones have been unable to do. His would be successor is lucky. All what he or she needs is to device means of sustenance through prudent management of resources and fund generation internally.
?Despite all his good intentions, there are still opposition in the state. A compromised section of the media has made itself available, as a tool in the hands of the never-see-well. There was nothing they didn’t insinuate about the Ilesa-born former Lagos commissioner. He was alleged of attempting to islamise Osun. He was criticised for merging schools. Every good thing he does is not good in the hands of some minority few. It is not that the opposition don’t see that all his projects are unusual, they are angry because he has spoilt business for them. You don’t expect a baby to be beaten and not cry. Everytime, he triumphs. It seems he has the magic wand to transform misfortune to fortune.
The worst of it all. Those who had undeservingly  benefited immensely from his generosity but are part of the enemies within. They are terrible students of history. They have forgotten that everything about the husband of Sherifat is tied to struggle. There is nothing they have not said about him. Some even said he is an Ajele (District Officer) after over 10 years in the politics of Osun. That is incredible.
But ?why has he always triumphed against his adversaries? For an upcoming politician, Aregbesola is an example of who to follow. Just like he is loyal to his mentor and pathfinder -Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, he rewards loyalty. Those who are closer to him say that he  is restless; that he likes working in the dead of the night, when his colleagues are snoring. He has demyified governance by always covering many kilometers with his people. He once said that he doesn’t look like a governor because he is ‘haggard’.
However, all these achievement can be rubbished in a matter of weeks if he is unable to present a successor. As the first governor of the state to use two-term and with a lot of credit to him, he needs a man who can think like him; who can continue from where he would stop. That is my fear. And it is not even a fear. I cannot only but pray God to assist, guide and guard him to choosing the best man for the job. Whether you like it or not, no governor or politician wouldn’t be concerned about who succeeds him.
Recently, an attempt to blackmail ?him ahead the 2018 governorship election hit the rock and Ogbeni appeared stronger. it was a business in disguise and those who planned the inhuman plot are regretting it.
Just like Oranmiyan, he is an intrepid politician. He is a veteran of many successful  battles and wars?. Some have even referred to him as the heir apparent to the throne of Bourdillon. This, he has displayed through his rare support for any cause he believes. Some even said he has one of the few persons who have the ears of the “Lion of Bourdillon’.
As people besiege Osogbo, the State of Osun capital. To celebrate the diamond anniversary of Ogbeni on earth, I wish my mentor many more glorious years on earth.
Wa inna jundana laomul’ galibun.
Sikiru Akinola (Oranmiyan II)  publishes www.insideoyo.com. He can be reached via sikiruakinola86@gmail.com?.

What Happened To Transparency? By Simon Kolawole

At the annual Nigerian jamboree to the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston, Texas, Dr. IbeKachikwu, the minister of state for petroleum resources, told a “world press conference” on May 5, 2017 that Nigeria’s refineries would soon have new investors. He said 26 investors had indicated interest in the epileptic refineries. “By September, we will unveil the investors for the refineries,” the minister said smoothly, typically. “When we came onboard, the refineries were not working but as we speak, we have sizeable investment portfolio for them to an extent that we don’t know who to partner with for the investment.”

Let’s say I didn’t go to school at all. Or let’s say it was evening school that I attended. These would still be my takeaways from the minister’s proclamations: one, our refineries are now in a position to attract investment; two, 26 investors have indicated interest in taking over the refineries (on a repair, operate and maintain, ROM, agreement); three, we have not taken a decision yet because there are so many suitors to choose from; and four, we will announce the favoured investors by September. Without attending Harvard Business School, I would still conclude that it appeared the process was going to be competitive and transparent.

On May 11, 2017 (six days later, right?) Mr. Wale Tinubu, the CEO of Oando Plc, told the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) that the group had received approval of the government to “repair, operate and maintain” the Port Harcourt Refinery together with “our partner” Agip, a subsidiary of ENI, the Italian company indicted in the Malabu/OPL 245 affair. Tinubu said: “We plan to increase the refinery capacity from 30 per cent to 100 per cent.” Great news, as far I am concerned. We need the refineries back as soon as possible; we have had enough of the endless TAMs gulping billions of naira and spewing out virtually no products for decades.

Now this is where I need your help. The last time I checked, with the help of Google, May and September are different months. There are June, July and August in-between. With the help of Google, I also discovered that the gap between when Kachikwu spoke in Houston and when Tinubu spoke in Lagos was a whopping six days — or, to make it simpler, less than one week. There are usually four weeks in a month, and from May 5, when Kachikwu spoke, to September, there are 17 weeks, according to the all-knowing Google. With Tinubu’s disclosure, should we assume that May is the new September? Or that September came early for Oando, Agip and Kachikwu?

But I think Google is overrated. There were so many questions it could not answer. For instance, I asked: “Is Oando among the 26 investors Kachikwu boasted about in Houston?” I could not make head or tail of the results. Google came up with “FOX 26 Houston KRIV”. Nonsense. But I got more gibberish for other questions: did Oando and ENI send in a bid? Was it an unsolicited bid? Was it selective tendering? If it was competitive bidding, how many bids were received for Port Harcourt? How much did Oando/ENI bid? How much did others bid? How much did the bidders promise to invest? How many years will the ROM run? Are there concessions for the new operators?

I can understand why Google got stuck — that almighty search machine likes transparency. If you do not make your information public, it cannot make it public for you. The best, or should I say the worst, Google would do is to suggest answers that it thinks are related to your questions, even when there is no connection whatsoever. If you google most of the major concessions and major contracts awarded by this government, you will get irrelevant answers on the process. For the same reason: transparency is very scarce in these major deals. We just wake up one day and hear that one company has been awarded a job. Not a word on the process.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying Oando should not take over the Port Harcourt Refinery. I have devoted a significant part of my column-writing career to promoting the cause of Nigerian companies. I believe that one day, made-in-Nigeria will be enjoyed all over the world. I want Nigerian companies to fly our flag honourably. Even though I have been called names and subjected to sickening innuendos for promoting Dangote, Globacom, Oando and Innosons, among others, I am not about to repent. Americans are proud of their Apple, Microsoft and Chevron, and my dream is that our people and our companies will become global brands too.

That said, though, I am very worried about an emerging pattern in this administration. President Muhammadu Buhari campaigned on the strength of correcting the mistakes and misdeeds of the previous government, but I am seeing too much repetition for it to be coincidental. There is too much secrecy in the way many important things are done, and corruption, need we say, thrives on secrecy. Take away competition, take away transparency, take away accountability, and you have a perfect recipe for corruption. We cannot be sealing deals under the table without revealing the details to Nigerians and then claim we are building an open society.

We just woke up one day to learn that GE had secured the concession to take over the railways. How did it happen? What are the details of the deal? Is this the best possible deal Nigeria can get? We were just watching TV one evening and learnt that the federal government had finally signed a renegotiated concession agreement with the Global Steel Holding Limited (GSHL) for Ajaokuta Steel. Up till today, we don’t know the details. Ask questions and what you get as answer is: who paid you to ask? As a journalist, I’m used to the blackmail. I would have quit this job the day I joined if I had to pay attention to personal attacks.

By the way, I know a bit about the procurement options. I know of “sole sourcing”, where you go to one provider only because no other provider does it — like buying a Rolls Royce from the maker. “Selective tendering” allows you to approach a few providers who meet certain criteria. There is “repeat procurement”, where you return to earlier provider because of time constraints and because they did a previous job well. All these need strong justifications because you are restricting competition, which is a major element of procurement. And then there is “competitive bidding”, where you throw it open to all. In all, Nigerians deserve to know the process adopted.

Get me right. I am not saying anything illegal is being done in the case of the Port Harcourt Refinery. It just lacks transparency. That’s my point. And what about other moral issues? ENI again? As I write this, many Nigerians are being prosecuted or wanted by the EFCC for their involvement in the OPL 245 deal. They are being accused of taking part in an elaborate bribery scheme. But ENI, which is at the centre of it all and is being prosecuted by an Italian prosecutor for its role in the $1.3 billion affair, is cornering more deals in Nigeria without getting as much as a slap on the wrist. The impression being created is that our anti-graft war is very narrow.

I sympathise with the government over the limitations imposed by procurement rules, particularly the constraint of speed, but the process was designed for a purpose. More so, this government has been in power for nearly two years, which means a lot could still have been accomplished over the years in spite of the constraints. And, remember, there are many options that can shorten the process which the government has been using for a while now. The biggest headache, though, is that there is too much opaqueness for us to conclude that transparency is a guiding principle. The chaos over the concessioning of Port Harcourt Refinery is a very good example. Dissonance.

The Broken Woman: Consistent Flaw By Blossom Obi

The night was cold as I struggled, my strength failing me and my lips would not close or stop letting out the sruciating sound of the reality that was happening to me. I begged and cried, I even began calling names of God and gods that they might believe in. that was when one of them decided to hit me and I felt my jaw shift, only then did my screams stifled to muffled noise as unending tears continually rolled down my face and It dawned on me, no help was coming and they weren’t going to stop.

Strong hands tore at my jeans as it made a giveaway sound, another one held one of my legs apart as the other one held my other leg fastened to the ground. I fought with every of my willpower but it felt as though the more I fought the more excited they got. I didn’t understand, probably I was some meat that the struggle it went through would make it tastier. I started to embrace what was happening to me as I told them I wouldn’t fight but they should let my little sister go.

All four had their way with me, each going two rounds. I was so weak I wanted to just die, as I then opened my eyes and saw my little sister as she rushed to me and held me so strong. I knew inside of me, I was going to die, yes surely but not today! She helped me sit up a bit as we both cried. That was when one of them began to slowly look at my little sister his gaze never leaving her, a cold shiver ran through my body.

“Please she’s just ten”, I whispered as he walked up to us and dragged my sister away. She kept calling my name as he took her away. I suddenly found strength as I tried to stand up, I could swallow what they did to me, but not my sister, I wouldn’t have it!

There he was, their leader I suppose standing in my way with a gun pointed to my face as if to tell me if I moved further he was going to shoot me. Hasn’t he noticed I didn’t care? At that point all that mattered to me was my sister who was being violated as little as she was. I moved and that was when he shot at my shoulder, I fell to the ground as the pool of blood began to surround me. “Mabel, Mabel” was what I kept saying as I fell into deep unconscious.

“Where was I” I thought to myself as I regained consciousness. “What was going on?” I tried to move but was held back by a strong pain that made moving seem like loosing parts of your body.  That was when I remembered as flashes ran through my mind.

“Mabel”, I whispered, “Mabel” this time I yelled. Someone rushed in but it wasn’t her, it was a nurse who just told me to relax that I needed to get well before I could think or even help my sister, she was making sense but I wanted to see Mabel at all cost.

It was the doctor this time, not Mabel and something was off so I demanded for answers and that was when I got the shocker. Mabel was no more she had died as she didn’t survive what happened to her. I cried and as couldn’t bear it; I told the doctors to just give me something that will make me join her wherever she was.

Sometimes, our lives might seem a little off or just off entirely, and we might want to just go on a vendetta for all the pain and hurt we have received over the years, and in most cases are still feeling.

There’s more to our existence than we often admit to ourselves most times, we ignore that part of us calling for reformation and we just want to go on feeling bad not wanting to move on just because bad things happen. Heck worse things happen consistently, it makes living unbearable and you just don’t want to exist anymore in this outrageous world.

It’s true you want this life to end, because you’re alive feeling those pains and hurts of everything that has happened to you, so stop feeling sorry for yourself, get up, clean up yourself, take a stand that all these consistent happenings are going to end or at least reduce to a percentage.

Stand up, fight for you, fight for what you believe in and in this case fight to live on because of your Mabel.

Blossom Obi writes from Owerri, Imo State. For comments and responses, reach her via obiblossom8@gmail.com

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