The Broken Woman: Crawling Back To your Exes By Blossom Obi

I keep recalling how he made me feel, the times we spent together, how he made me smile and why we split. Maybe I overreacted by saying I was done. My pride won’t let me make the call but I didn’t have much pride left so I went crawling back.

Many times we are so emotionally attached to someone that it feels like an addiction. We all have that one person we reach out to; sometimes the situation surrounding that person is not what we are really into, yet we still can’t help ourselves from bonding.

Although we might claim sometimes that this person brings out the worst in us, or in other words we are an open bottle around that person, with mighty flaws lying around in display and we’re still loved and accepted. To us that’s the important aspect of love. So that feeling of acceptance and strong comfortability creates a shield of dependency on the person.

This is because around that person we share our best and worst behaviours, which is not an everyday comeback, because not many persons can say they know us with all our flaws and limits and are still willing to stay and love us through it all.

Packing out from Your Past
This was difficult to do. Moving on! He was my husband and we had three kids together. I had loved him part of me still does, although he was certain he was done with me he never knew why we were married in the first place or at least that was what he said. So this is me moving on

Although this might appear very difficult but it is needed because just like the pain and the hurt are alive inside of you, ‘’ So Are You’’. Your alive and just like the saying goes when there’s life there’s hope, so pick up the pieces, whatever is left of it, raise your head high and tell yourself you’re going to survive this, you’re going to be fine.

The Problem
We’re mentally stuck in the display of yesterday, holding on and longing for changes to happen, we’re maybe in denial or resentment.

It is the past for a reason; it happened then and this is now. It is past and should pass. The moving starts when you realize that all this pain is hindering you from the present joy and relaxation. Accept that it’s the past and there’s a whole world (life) ahead of you. You just have to be the one doing the mental surgery. The pain can’t hold you back, it’s only you. So free yourself, embrace the moment and live in it.

When Am I Ready For The Next?

This can happen when you feel that you’re okay on your own and don’t need a relationship. Also that you feel you’re ready doesn’t mean that you are. When it comes to your love life, your behaviour is the first place to start when asking yourself if you’re ready for a new relationship. This is because your behaviour will reflect how balanced you are.

1) Outings/parties/church/clubs – There’s absolutely nothing wrong in going out to all these places but it is not a prerequisite for places you find someone you hope to get involved with. Just after the introduction, pick a place where you can meet again a different environment.

2)  Why it didn’t work –  Yes we might be quick to point the blaming fingers, forgetting that it takes two to mess up a relationship. When you’re really ready you can look back on your past relationships and see which behaviours were unhealthy and counter proactive; ones that were mostly hinted on. When you’re done with this listing, you’ll think of your ex you might feel a bit angry but not bitter.

3)  You’ve retired from the Drama- not just that you understand why your past relationship didn’t work but also you can safely say that you’re done with all the unhealthy lifestyle a bad relationship can bring, and you’re ready for some serious adult relationship. So when your friends talk about their exploits with different guys, you can breathe and say ‘’Not Anymore’’.

To crawl or not to crawl

So here’s what I think, you need to discover for yourself who this beautiful person is which is you; what you actually want and need in a relationship. You have to do a mental check of all the things you can swallow and how far you’re willing to go with your tolerance limit. Also if you think it’s worth it then girl, go for it but if you can’t deal with it, don’t push it.

Although if you feel there’s no come back from this, give yourself some treats of love by investing in yourself to become a better you.

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

Buhari’s Health: Who Wants The President Dead? By Eniola Opeyemi

It’s intriguing to note that Nigeria’s leaders facing health challenges are actually getting the nation in the records of time, not forgetting the ordeal in the Era of late President Umar Yar’Adua?, it’s wasn’t really funny as some of us were forced to the street to request the detailed report about the health of the then president. Key players in the struggle under the Save Nigeria Group (SNG) includes; Femi Falana, Prof. Wole Soyinka, the Odumakin’s, pastor Tunde Bakare and many others.

This is yet another disheartening story, last year, on June 4 2016 precisely, many media outfits reported that the president was hospitalised at the State House Clinic. The president, reports say, has a disease that makes him unable to hear properly.

The condition, known as Ménière’s disease, also affects Buhari’s balance — meaning he could fall while trying to walk.

This situation many believed have come to rest, following the president’s declaration of sound health but earlier this year, there seems to be another uprising with many raising eyebrow over uncertainty of the president’s fitness to rule the black most populous country, no doubt, Vice – President Yemi Osinbajo has saved the Kastina born President from crises by choosing to be at the fore front of the battles to proffer solution to many issues facing the country, but there is a perceived return of cabals as it was during the reign of Late President Yar’Adua, hence, this time there is avoidance of repetition of the ugly incidence.

Party chieftains, dignitaries and people believe to be loyal to the Presidency are falling out with the continuous secrecy of the President’s health, just recently, the founding chairman of the ruling All progressive congress (APC), Chief Bisi Akande, took a very rare step to speak up on the perturbed development,  ?an extract of his statements reads, “To avoid the ugly consequences of letting President Buhari’s ailments throw Nigeria into confusion, I am urging all Nigerians to begin to pray for his divine healing and perfect recovery. “Let me warn today that those who wish to harvest political gains out of the health of the President are mistaken. This is not Nigeria of 1993. We are in a new national and global era of constitutionality and order. We hope Nigerians have enough patience to learn from history. “My greatest fear, however, is that the country should not be allowed to slide into anarchy and disorder of a monumental proportion.”

The much vibrant Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) haven’t leave any matter unattended to, ACF however frowned at the unhealthy statement credited to Akande over President Buhari’s health.

Other advocates for transfer of power from Late President Yar’Adua to former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan have also spoken up on the issue, just recently, Professor Wole Soyinka asked, “Why is the president hiding his state of health? He’s supposed to understand he’s public property, me I’m still private property, that’s why I’m not in Aso Rock,”. Also lending his voice, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN) advised the President to take an immediate medical leave, Falana in a statement said, “When President Muhammadu Buhari was recently in the United Kingdom on a medical vacation, which lasted 49 days, many public officers said that he was ‘hale and hearty.’ But upon his return to the country, President Buhari disclosed that he had never been that sick in his entire life,”.

As a concerned Nigerian and a realist, it’s normal to fall sick and it’s more important to pay attention to any ailment as popularly said that, health is wealth, for the President needed at this critical moment of the country, only with sound health would he coordinate the affair if not, the cabals would take advantage of the unhealthy status of the Grand commander in Chief of the Federal Republic and override the constituted powers to add to the misery, if there is anyone that wants the president dead, it is actually those that would prevent him for taking a break to rest and concentrate on recovery, and not keeping the aging man at the detriment of their parochial interest.

God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Eniola Opeyemi writes.
(eniolaopeyemi@gmail.com)

Certificate Forgery Allegation: They Can’t Stop Shehu Sani From Criticising El-Rufai – Aide

The purported forgery of certificate by Senator Representing Kaduna Central, Comrade Shehu Sani which was brought to the fore at a press briefing by a group earlier on Wednesday, is a mere ploy by ‘riff raffs’ sponsored by Governor Nasir el-Rufai targeted at shutting him down from his constant criticism aimed at improving the lot of the majority of Kaduna citizens.

Senior Special Adviser to Senator Sani, Political and Ideology, Suleiman Ahmed expressed this while reacting to the allegations that the Senator lied under oath by presenting fake certificates to INEC, CPC and APC ahead of the 2011 and 2015 elections.

“Shehu Sani would not succumb to any threat he would continue to advocate for good governance. Recently, he drew the attention of the state government to  the hardship the demolition of a market within the metropolis would cause.

“Shehu Sani is an activist not a politician. They are only trying to stop him from criticizing the government. They can never stop him from constructive criticism that will transform to development at the state and the national level,” he said.

Ahmed explained that another faceless group sponsored by the Kaduna Government  had earlier taken the same case to court alleging certificate scam but it was thrown out because it lacked merit.

On the allegation that Shehu Sani did his compulsory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) at the age of 43, his aide admitted that it was true, but explained that as at the time he graduated, he was eligible for service but was sentenced to life imprisonment, and could only go for service after he was released from prison.

On whether the Senator would be willing to cooperate with the Senate if the decide to probe his certificates, Ahmed explained that as a law abiding citizen, he would always cooperate with all the laws of the country.

The Blinded, The Seer, The Sojourners All With An Eye Behind The Shadow By Jimi Bickersteth

I woke up affected by jet lag, and worn out. As I sat this rather wet,sleeting morning, watching the fingernails of the sleet slashed against the streaming panes of the broad windows of the Transcorp Hilton,Abuja,the horizon and the streets in the background were all just as I remembered them. In the distance,the panes reflected a dog crapping on the well manicured lawn.

I wondered if the present crop of leaders that was trumped up by the current political dispensation, including our dear PMB, expected to see with clear grey eyes that never seemed to flicker, are doing anything worthwhile, particularly,with a PMB being shunted to hospitals abroad, the weeks of dreary convalescence,the hard work of getting his body back into shape, and presently held incommunicado all in the process of making him fit to resume duties.

Good gracious,he PMB has been shunted back to work and hopefully would chair the FEC meeting this Wednesday. Watching him at close quarters, stepping back into life and the reality of the postmortems on the shambles the nation has been and has become has somewhat become an uphill task for the beanpole politician.

Yes! Shambles.What with the government’s economic growth policy lacking blueprint and that is completely out of sync with the nation’s peculiar realities;or what on earth do you call a situation where you have a closet full of clothes yet naked;a whole barn of fat cows,bones and cowhide are our choices.

The nation with an HDI an acronym for Human Development Index,a composite statistics of life expectancy, education and per Capita Income ratios on the decline, and getting harder on the people. The nation sitting comfortably at no155 out of 188 countries.

With such a gloomy summary, one feels the government by now must be thinking of a safe harbour, and a rendezvous that is to end with either further drama in darkness or improved light, bigger and better hope and renewed optimism;if the blinded, the seer,the sojourners, all of us held hostage in power are to be liberated.

A lightening suddenly flashed,roughly pushing aside the darkness in the darkened horizon and revealing the entire picturesque landscape for one brief moment. It is getting darker here. Outside, the weather is thickening as PHCN struck and in a flash the hotel’s ‘standby’ generator switched on displacing the sudden pitch darkness.

The centre of the king size room became a warm yellow pool from the reflection of the green-shaded desklight.

Bit highly strung,from the wall mirror, I caught a glimpse of my prematurely greying temple, (and this holds true for all of the millions, blinded and traumatized “country people”),from the endless grind of work and responsibilities,often saved from a nervous breakdown by physical and mental toughness, and, of course,a wry and dry senses of humour,and the stoic resiliencies of refusing to allow us to be completely dominated by an emotion or impulse under the conditions of  inclement storms showing no signs of abating. We can’t abandon ourselves to despair,you’ll say.

The sadness all around us is accentuated and aided basically by the hostile hostage takeover of:

a).a zeal expressed in transient bursts of ardour from our seers and statesmen which time cooled and which compromises and difficulties diverted.

b).a weak, incompetent and corrupt system of justice, that often leaves justice standing on its head.

Therefore, the aggregate total of(a) and (b),promote directly or indirectly the ascetic and abominable violence that deny the nation the variety that produces the biggest bloom that can be picked for a bouquet, both in size,depth, length and height; and a nation left lonely and alone, wandering as a big black rain cloud.

The despair that has taken over, leaves on its trails,a distressed, feebled frames of a people living in the memory of the past and the painful pleasure of the present;as they eat the sour grapes-a travesty of justice,what democracy stands for; a sad chapter and tragedy of being in bondages;of being in the wrong place and at the wrong time, in the annals of a people tired of stories and in need of and thirsty of glory.

With the state of the nationwide ,being the same all over- a land where people are thirsty in spite of the super abundance of water,the general picture is that of gloom and despair everywhere, it crosses my mind that the only thing that will save and help our nation is a radical shakeup of the way it’s run.

In a land flowing with milk and honey,the general picture is that of despair everywhere. The blanket of pessimism about our future seems to cover everywhere. Pessimism, shambles and glorified despair through and through and in every respect which the cut and thrust of Parliamentary debates have not been able to assuage.

Thus presenting the nation with a future we may never hold even as we are planning to possess the tomorrow that may never be ours. In sum,Nigerians have been mesmerized and have been so blinded by our seer leaders. We live in shacks ready to collapse and give way.

We live like refugees in our own land, not sure where the next meal would come from, not sure when we’ll be able to get food for the next meal;-a sordid reminder that hunger and poverty its frater cousin,are engaged with us;but for a happy spirit and that tremendously delicate, complicated piece of machinery, Prayers.

Subjected to all sorts of strains and stresses, and when you look at all the factors in a given case,you can’t help wondering how, by and large, our people do as well as they do; even with the tons of loads of cash in the sands all over the place.

Nigerians keep sniffling, sniffles that brought embarrassed sniggers from around the world,on what our leaders have done to us and what we have done to ourselves.

True, Nigerians have overindulged their leaders and for refusing to squint and “shine eyes”,they have continued to bask endlessly in the euphoria of wretchedness as they, albeit, for ages,continually, lament the absences of social welfares packages, in spite of the county’s enormous,”fantastically”,stupendous oil wealth.

Social services where available is in a subnormal way, ludicrously expensive and ineffective. All of us held as ”hostages to fortunes”, as successive administration’s continued to play Peekaboo with our collective destinies. Meanwhile,politicians, their allies,coteries of advisers and top civil servants keep tons of loads of cash in antics, septics,cellars,ceilings, geepees,and all over the place but our pockets.

Our nation has become virtually unique in her ability to ensure that the entire citizenry do not enjoy a good life, while it keeps recycling and fortified the bourgeoisie in the ruling class,from governor to senator.

The nation also has in place a deceptive pattern of always and crudely too,attempting to build a ” new” Nigeria that has forever refused to be, out of the rubbles of the old one, a metaphor that has remained meaningless. Whatever happened to the Nigeria we used to know and are used to. Nay,now a rudderless ship, helpless against the power of the storms generated by its army of thieving politicians and top public servants.

Our political elites arrest every fibre of our patience. They see Nigerians as miniature adults as they ask us to continually straighten deck chair on a sinking ship crippled by a storm. It’s gone really bad to date and the government appears to be mainly concerned to conciliate public opinion. The people on their own are right to ignored the government’s attempt at conciliation because there are no disputes to settle between it and the people.

The people might be forgiven for concluding that the government does not care about delivering to the right dividends, and are continuously counting the costs of government’s failures to provide adequate Health care delivery, agriculture, housing, education, energy, water programmes/policies;add to this, an APC and PMB-an unfailingly courteous combination but do not encourage conversation. They are not saying much and are not inviting much to be said either.

The peoples appear to be 1.)getting fed up with a president held incommunicado partly due to ill health,an unstable condition and whom they could no longer relate with.

11.)getting disconcerted and disillusioned and disillusioned in the lie,cruelty and gross naïveté in the reasoning that things should get worsened before they get better.

111.)even with the trillions of petrodollar at government’s beck and call,it is pain,pain and more pains rather an admixture of some pain and pleasure for the teeming mass of the people.

One looks so disconsolate, sitting here alone in the rain and seeing an album-full picture of a government showing sublime indifference to the people sufferings. With the prices of food and other consumables skyrocketing by the minute.

The refrain the people are singing to the beats of the bear-bug in their homes, in their increasing frustrations and irritations, which, the PMB administration must not taken for granted, is,that, getting out of office is not all that complicated, in fact easier than getting in; particularly, if things do not move quickly,efficiently and in the way we want.

The nation’s problems of hunger, poverty, uneven allocation of resources, underdevelopment et al,in the face of whistle-blown discovery of stupendous amount of free money looks a lot like championship wrestling-not nearly as painful as it looks, because the people can’t feel the loots, yet,the deplorable conditions, as raw as the weather, under which our compatriots live and die;people existing in poverty trap,where they get a job,whose faces are etched with suffering,and in the face of so much money lying fallow all over the places,leave so much to be desired.

From the sublime to the ridiculous. The nation right now is on default mode,because our guardian angel is down. The sickness, rest and convalescence has come at a wrong time,when there has arisen a subtle,brewing and seeming crisis within the polity,where the falcons do not want to hear the falconer, and we’ve all began to flex.

A condition that arose principally, because the nation has always not been able to differentiate between “disagreement” and “conflict”on one hand and “arbitration”,”reconciliation”, ‘”resolution”, which often breeds compromise as a solution.

This facts and prognosis has amply been demonstrated by the Senate in the feud in confirming the Ag. Chairman of the EFCC,a conflict in sections 171 of the nation’s constitution and the statute that established the anti graft institution, whichever is superior. This has in a way slowed down the paces and strides of the agency, and the nation indeed is like multiplying 21978 by 4.

It appears this state of affairs may linger until such a time would come to the realisation that problems are meant to be solved, resolved and not postponed. That for all our immediate and remote problems,there’s the need to design instant practical and workable resolutions-its about coming up with answers. It’s about bringing causes and people into relational unity, not necessarily into agreement, of course,some issues will never be resolved in our multilingual, multiethnic, multi religious and corrupt setting,but they can still be reconciled for peace, ultimate peace to reign.

As the National Assembly resumes plenary, it should consider that in our ideal setting, disagreement if well handled ends in drawing close and growing up together,in deeper respect and understanding, but where conflict is never entirely resolved due to inherent primordial selfish interests,it portends grave danger to the polity,to nationhood, where the consequences of one battle begin to overlap with a prelude to the next.

Having said that,it is worthy of note that some of the ill diagonised,untreated and unattended symptoms has as its undercurrent in the polity,the threat of a formation of a mega party, a preset new beginning, if you like. One doesn’t have any qualms with the approach and this understanding of the rules of power and engagement.

Nonetheless, to strengthen our democracy and its institutions, there’s the need for us,as the actors on the stage, blind seers,all of us sojourners, to begin to learn to deal with substantive natters that haven’t yet be resolved, both on the standpoint of probity, morality,altruism and common sense;before they can fester and further erode on our relationships from within.

This and some other highly explosive dynamics are what a US intelligence outfit saw a decade ago,and predicted 2015 for the nation’s breakup. The predicted breakup will never come to pass and no amount of shoves and pushes can break it or restructure it. Nigeria with its make up is not and will  not be easy to brrak. Not with our solid resolve and resillience.We only need to continue strengthening the internal institutions.

The intimidating and domineering allure of the Three Arms square in the background takes me back to PMB and the Senate president, each on his own have been caught in the web of presumptions and an unspoken but visible sensational disagreement of a partisan political nature and are bound to suffer distractions of a kind that required the duo either to let the APC administration be controlled by the antics inherent in the present ideological engineering or to learn to steer their courses irrespective of the distractions,weaved and or contrived to put the resolve off-balance.

They certainly owed the nation a responsibility, a sacred duty,even if it meant standing in the middle of the political class in disgrace. Consequent upon this, the harsh draw- line between North and South must be removed not through any restructuring, but by social engineering and integration. The North and the South (power sharing)should henceforth not be the basis for the clamour of restructuring in the polity. If we are to maintain our cohesiveness and the nation’s sanctity,it should be the beginning of a new national consensus beyond political gains of north, south, east, west in a multicultural, multiethnic, multi religious monolithic Nigeria.

In any case,whatever it is, I make bold to state here that no restructuring will ever lead up to the nation’s breakup, because all the members of the elite are united in preserving their advantages over the masses,irrespective of tribes, religions or creed. The nation can only be restructured only as far as to accommodate new power brokers the establishment has created and perhaps redistribution of political office and influence. And so the MASSOB,MEND,NDA,etc are all comic reliefs and laughing stocks at the elites dinner dinners and other nocturnal gatherings,where they take far reaching decisions on our collective destinies. They’ll keep us like Machiavellian,permanently on a learning curve and finding it extremely difficult to marry our realities with sincerity,thus keeping us perpetually at the thresholds of a just, prosperous and egalitarian society.

The nation needs no seer to tell us that, now is the time to get deep in the earth with our faces to the coal,in a world where we all have lofty goals, goals so lofty that they blind us to the needs of those other of our compatriots. It is not only a paradox, but also, being hoisted by our own petards.

The reason why we are where we are. A bruised and traumatized people with callous leaders. Leaders leading a people gripped by mass hysteria of No! No! No water, no food, no light, no house, no work,no money,no nothing. A hurt,angry,lonely and tired people. Whether PMB and the National Assembly leadership have the ideological savvy to set a new agenda for Nigerians is yet to be seen.

It is amazing when people attach political developments and social engineering to money. Let it be known now and this should be a piece of good news to the people, that the most impactful changes do not require money-what they require is common sense and a sound political will.

PMB and co must note that politics is a voyage in the deep,where people pay little attention to politicians who say,’You can count on me’,unless their track records so say. The nation can no longer accept the Burkean idea of change and preservation as a credo of political life, hence, needs to be inspired by the highest of motives, by such higher ideals as patriotism.

This calls for the awakening of moral imperative on government’s to provide succour, and reliefs for the poor as it also addresses all injustices. Nigerians want their leaders to show a certain degree of eagerness, but not desperation. The nation you seem to be kept away from, want you to believe yourself and to demonstrate why they should believe you too. Talk to them,let them feel you and the cadence in your speech.

The person PMB always felt like inside had better be made visible on the outside. To stand tall in the saddle is hardworking,but it would make the people adore you the more and hold you in high esteem.

The nation’s experiences in the hands of looters is taking a new dimension, a dangerous influence and risky choice. The simple matter and seemingly complicated and in tense case portends grave danger to the polity. Nigerians had thought PMB is on the cusps of solving our problems, but the events that followed the “change” were anything but nice.

It’s been nice day with you here. Wifey’s birthday I owe her a dinner date.Even as we are going to be prudent with spending and realistic with revenue expectations. Like George Washington, “We must consult our means rather than our wishes”.

 

The Illegality of Covenant University Students’ Suspension by the School Management By Festus Ogun

The management of the Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State has suspended about 200 undergraduates of the faith-based institution for missing an Easter ‘Youth Alive’ program. The school had earlier organized the four days Easter retreat for the students and had also made attendance mandatory. However, while some of the students were fed up – for various reasons – of going for church services in the morning and evening for the four uninterrupted days, they couldn’t just but miss some days out of the retreat. Surprisingly and unfortunately to them, they have been punished through suspension by the school management for simply missing the compulsory Easter program. Some were suspended for a year.
Suspension is a very serious punishment. As serious as it is, however, there are instances where it will and must necessarily be applicable on erring students. Yet, the means by which students are suspended from school must be reasonable and must be carried out within the confines of our laws.
This case of the Covenant University suspending about 200 of its students for not attending an Easter program is a prima facie case of unconstitutional suspension of university students.
Before continuing with this piece, there is need to state clearly that if there is any enacted law in the university that have made attending religious functions compulsory, such law is void and of no effect whatsoever. I am quite sure that the school would have relied on a particular written law of the institution before the suspension since “nulla poena sine lege” – there can be no punishment or penalty without law.  And if such law exists in the school, the law is clearly against the provisions of the Constitution; the sacred book where all other laws derive their validity. And if not, that will amount to the height of total unconstitutionality because there ought to be no punishment without law. See Section 36(12) of the 1999 Constitution.
Interestingly, the school itself is a creation of law and the law is above the school authority or laws – the Constitution is supreme and all other laws derive their validity from it. The implication of this is that its (the school’s) actions must be within the provisions of our laws, particularly the Constitution. By virtue of Section 1(1) of the 1999 Constitution, the Constitution is supreme and its provisions shall have binding force on all authorities (including Covenant University authority) and persons throughout Nigeria. See MADU v. ONUAGULUCHI (1985) 6 NCLR 365.
Therefore, any law made by the institution that is inconsistent with the provisions of the constitution shall be declared void and unconstitutional. Section 1(3) of the Constitution goes further to provides very clearly that “if any other law is inconsistent with the provisions of this constitution, this constitution shall prevail, and that other law shall to the extent of the inconsistency be void.” See ABACHA v. FAWEHINMI (2000) 6 NWLR (Pt. 660) 228; F.R. N. v. IFEGWU (2003) 15 NWLR (Pt. 842) 113; A.G ABIA STATE v. A.G. FEDERATION (2002) 6 NWLR (Pt. 763) 264.
First, the students’ right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion guaranteed under section 38(1) of the 1999 Constitution has been breached. The section provides thus “every person shall be entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom (either alone or in community with others, in public or private) to manifest and propagate his religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice and observance.”
The implication of this section is that even though the school is established by a church, it will be quite unapt to deny students the right to freedom of religion. Even when, for example, all the students are Christians, the constitution has granted them the right to change their religion or belief without notifying anyone. The constitution has also granted the students the freedom to manifest their beliefs either alone or in public and this can infact justify their sitting in their hostels instead of joining the congregation.
If based on personal conviction – brought about by deep thought ( a constitutional right) – the students suspended has changed their religion, should that lead them out of the school? Should exercising the constitutional right to change religion amount to automatic carry overs and extra-years? Frankly, making attendance of students compulsory and mandatory at a ‘Youth Alive’ Easter program is a breach of this fundamental right.
Section 38(2) of the Constitution goes further by providing thus: “No person attending any place of education SHALL BE REQUIRED TO RECEIVE RELIGIOUS INSTRUCTION OR TO TAKE PART IN OR ATTEND ANY RELIGIOUS CEREMONY OR OBSERVANCE, if such instruction, ceremony or observance relates to a RELIGION OTHER THAN HIS OWN or religion not approved by his parent or guardian.” (Emphasis supplied by me).
The above provision has expressly precluded any institution from imposing religious instructions on students for any reason whatsoever. However, there are two main clauses that need to be clarified.
They are:
(1) Where the religious instruction relate to a religion other than his own OR (not AND)
 (2) Where the religion is not approved by his parent or guardian.
Thus, if the school religion is approved by the parent of the students, it will amount to a lawful instruction. And where the instruction is in consonance with the plaintiff’s religion, it is legally binding.
After all said however, in my humble view, the former relates to where the person relying on the provision is an adult and is deemed fit under law to make decisions of his own without any interference from anybody including the parent or guardian. And the latter will be applicable where the person relying on the section is still an infant under the law and is incapable of making some decisions without the parents’ or guardians’ consent. And that’s why the drafters of the Constitution were careful in making use of OR instead of AND. You either fall within a category. I stand to be corrected!
There is need to categorically state that an adult does not necessarily need the approval of parents for the religion he wishes to practice.  More importantly, the students, presumed to be adults, have been granted the right under section 38(1) of the constitution to change their beliefs and religion without the approval of or from anyone. Thus, where some of the students have exercised their constitutional right to change their beliefs, it will be unconstitutional and very violating to force the students of the institution to attend religious functions other than theirs. For the constitution has provided in clear terms that no student shall be compelled to attend religious function or ceremony where such instruction or ceremony relates to a religion other than his own. And since most of them are adults, the alternative (2) of “parents’ religion or consent” can be do away with and inapplicable to this very serious matter.
Since it has been established that the student has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religious, it will also be very unlawful for an institution to compel students to be in the midst of others for religious purpose. Apart from the fact that section 38(1) has vested on the students the right worship alone or in the midst of others, making it an imperative for the student to be in attendance has also violated the students’ right to peaceful assembly guaranteed under section 40 of the 1999 Constitution. It provides (in part) thus: “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 interest”. See the celebrated case of AGBAI v. OKAGBUE (1991) 7 N.W.L.R. (Pt. 204) 391 and the provision of Article 10 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act.
Additionally, one of the students was reported by Punch to have said this: “They stopped me from sitting for a paper last week because I did not go for a service and I don’t know if I will be allowed in today either.” This statement has the effect that the student was not infact aware of his suspension until he got to the exam hall. Since the students appear not to have been summoned before suspended, it is therefore safe to submit that the place of fair hearing is missing!
Fair hearing is a very sacrosanct provision of the Constitution that relates to administration of justice. Section 36(1) of the 1999 Constitution provided for the right to fair hearing or trial. Since the students are not summoned and interrogated formally before suspension, it will be trite to submit that this fundamental right has also been violated. It is a cardinal principle of Natural Justice that “nemo judex in causa sua”; no one must be a judge in his own cause. But here, the management of the Covenant University has assumed the role of the complainant and the judge which is against the above principle. The school authority has also failed to hear from the other side before meting out punishment since it is the law that “audi alteram partem” – both sides must be heard in determining cases.
Commenting on the sacrosanct nature of fair hearing, in OMOKHODION V. FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA AND 6 OTHERS (2006) All FWLR 1, the court observed that a hearing can only be fair when all of the parties involved are heard. And so, without fair hearing or trial, the principles of Natural Justice, highlighted above, are out rightly abandoned and violated. See GARBA V. UNIVERSITY OF MAIDUDURI (1986) 1 NWLR (Pt 18) 550, OTAPO V. SUNMONU (1987) 2 NWLR (Pt. 58) 587, KOTOYE V. CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA AND OTHERS (1989) 1 NWLR (Pt. 98) 419
Having established the grave violations of the authority of the said school, it will be instructive to assert that the school should as a matter of urgency withdraw the suspension in order to promote rule of law in this country. For the truth is that suspension as punishment in this kind of situation is too harsh a decision. Saying it is the height of cruelty and illegality is an understatement.
Relying on the above legal authorities and provisions, the school is therefore enjoined to recall the students and reinstate them and thereafter offer them public apology with immediate effect. Unconstitutionality shouldn’t be celebrated and overlooked in this country. We have laws in Nigeria which are above all of us and as such all citizens and authorities must abide by it, whatever the state of our temper.
Remember, this piece is not written to promote insubordination or indiscipline but to ensure justice is done to the poor students.
God bless Nigeria.
Festus Ogun (festusoguntv@gmail.com) is a Civil Rights activist and Law undergraduate of Olabisi Onabanjo University.

Dear Nigerian Youths, Life Is About Struggle, Betrayer’s Tag Is Blackmail By Maxwell Adeleye

Class Struggle, as posited by Karl Marx, means fight against slavery. It connote Fight for FREEDOM from SLAVERY and EXPLOITATION. Through the class struggle, the earth moved from Ancient Communism/slavery to Feudalism, now Capitalism while Socialism is already knocking at the door step of capitalism.
In Nigeria political and economic space, people, especially Youths who had received God wisdom and deliverance from Stockholm Syndrome, thus, decided to fight for freedom from political and economic slavery; and from the bondage of their bougoersies’ godfathers/employers are labeled BETRAYERS by the YOUTHS still living under the SPELL of Stockholm Syndrome.
Listen, fellow Nigerian Youths: It is the prayers of every father that his son achieves more than him but such is a aberration in political economy. I say expressly that no political leader pray that any of his follower achieve more than he has achieved likewise no capitalist business owner pray that his staff succeed than him.
No employer wants his employee to be greater than him. Your employer can never pay you the salary that you can use to acquire what he has acquired. Your employer is not your benefactor; the person who assisted you to get the job is the benefactor.
By my understanding, the man whom you did everything within your power to help to win election into executive or legislative arm of government but in return, gives you #20,000 every three months or who would give you bag of rice during Xmas or who bought apple or Samsung phones for you is never your BENEFACTOR but he would claim to be one. THAT MAN OR WOMAN IS A SLAVE MASTER or MISTRESS.
Most capitalist leaders/employers will never give their followers/employees chance to have financial freedom so that they can keep using them (the followers/employees) to enlarge their political kingdom and to maximize profit.
They gave you phone/laptop not for your personal development but because they want you to be using the gadgets to be praising them on social media. Receive your HEALING today. Your employer increased your salary by #10,000 because he doesn’t want you to ever think of resigning. Receive your healing.
I left banking job because what was happening there was like neo-colonial slavery. I resigned to be my own boss. If you are brilliant and intelligent without hailing from the ruling class family or possess the evil power to destroy; that your leader will never empower you because he would still want you to be useful to him on the errand field.
Struggling for freedom and survival from a leader or employer is not betrayer however, do things with wisdom and do things at the right time.
Life Is About Struggle. You Fight For Everything. Keep Moving. Take Risk Worth Taking. However, Never Betray Your True Benefactors in the process of struggling. Follow, to become a leader but with sense; do not follow dogmatically.
@maxwelladeleye on twitter. He can be contacted via Maxwell_adeleye@yahoo.com

Jollof Rice War And Lai Mohammed’s Suicide Response To Richard Quest By Bemdoo Hulugh

When the Minister Of Information, Mr Lai Mohammed said Senegal has the best jollof rice, CNN’s Richard Quest was also in shock. He said “I hear a shock across the country. I hear a sigh across the country”. But the Minister who was at that moment obviously unaware of his crime was smiling sheepishly. He didn’t understand that he had just betrayed his countrymen and women who have been telling the whole world that Nigeria has the best jollof rice. Since ignorance is never an excuse and it is a crime for a Minister of Information to be uninformed, Mr Lai Mohammed has been rightly tried and found guilty in the Court of public opinion for committing treason. He did not just betray his countrymen and women, he also missed the opportunity to officially support our social media claim that Nigeria has the best jollof rice. In fact he aided the enemy in the Jollof Rice war.
On a more serious note, some people feel this is a minor issue that should not be talked about for too long but it is not. We are talking about our national pride. Do you understand what it means for the spokesman of the Cuban government to say cigars from Dominican Republic are better than Cuban cigars? That will be a national disaster. Do you understand what happens to the pride and self-confidence of French citizens when you fry potatoes in your village but still call it “French fries”? Do you understand the feeling of self-worth in the mind of a japanese citizen when instant noddles which was  invented by Aondo Momofuku in Japan after world war II is now your favourite meal in the deep jungles of Africa? Do you know what happens to the mentality of an American when you prefer a chilled bottle of coke(not kunu or zobo) which was invented by a pharmacist called John Pemberton long time ago in Atlanta, Georgia? The Honourable Minister had the opportunity to give us all that sense of pride but he failed woefully. What a man! What a disaster!!
All great countries throughout the ages make deliberate effort to dominate politically, economically and culturally. That is how they become great. Though jollof rice is a West African delicacy, it became more prominent when Nigerians and Ghanaians argued about who cooks the best jollof rice on twitter. This was about cultural dominance in the region and the Honourable Minister missed a golden opportunity to tell the world we cook the best jollof rice. That our jollof rice has different varieties that are all cooked with different ingredients which gives them all a slightly different taste. We expected him to tell a powerful story of how Mark Zuckerberg or any other foreign dignitary enjoyed our jollof rice and said good things about it. And how all ceremonies in Nigeria, be it mourning or celebration are not complete till jollof rice is served. He missed the opportunity, failed in his responsibilities and also betrayed his country. This is how Mr Lai Mohammed became a traitor.
Bemdoo Hulugh is an active citizen and he writes from Makurdi
You can also interact with him on Twitter @bumy04.

Worker’s Day Without Workers Pay By Muhammad Kano

There are some few, effortless and simple things, which I have already assured myself that, if they are not confronted and solved squarely and completely in Nigeria, we should all continue to consider Nigeria as a joke. In other words, if the Nigerian rulers and the ruled are unable to solve these simple managerial crises, we should all forget about anything development and continue to wallow in our self deception mode. On these issues, I have assurance but I remain to be corrected. They are only four (4) simple things, among others;
1) Fixed date for the payment of salary: this doesn’t mean that, salaries should be paid on 24th, 25th…… it should be paid on whichever day chose by the government. However, one thing must be considered, that’s FIXING a specific date for that purpose. Salary is something that must be paid, then, why this deceptive and unorganized approach? For Nigeria to even start thinking of development, workers must be truly and carefully considered. Their rights must be paid on time, because, as they say, it is not a privilege. If the government likes, let it pay it on 30th of each month, or even make every month to contain 31 days and pay it on the 31st. Let’s have a fixed date please. If not, let’s take the police for instance. A police may not know when to get his salary for risking his entire life to protect people; however, he is sure, he can be bribed by the poor through corrupt ways. How can you deny him something that he is certain about with an uncertain? This penetrates deeper into every sector.
 
2) Our epileptic power supply must be scheduled and planned. The little we have must be given not in random. People are entitled to know when they should expect the little. 10:20am-11:20am on Wednesdays? Saturday and Sunday nights? Two hours every day? When? This must be planned and relayed to the payers if we are not jokers! This electricians switch on and off at their will and we pay for the rubbish.

3) The National Carrier: we should have it at least for our internal development. There are so many countries around the world especially in Africa which Nigeria and Nigerians underrate and undervalue, however, they have their Sudan, Ethiopian, Mali, Malawi, airlines, but the so-called giant of looting rely on ants for its air transport survival. This is a mischief of the highest order.
 
4) The over dependence and over reliance on dollar. Mark what I say, overdependence! Nigeria can use dollar. This is one of the cantankerous weaknesses which many people have agreed to live with, especially the Nigerians. However, the overdependence is alarming! Almost every individual in Nigeria, big or small, knows about dollar. Nigeria should learn to uplift its currency and leave dollar alone.
There are so many other simple things which you can help to count. In other countries they are not even remembered because they are subconsciously arranged for over hundred years. But in Nigeria, we are still battling with something which can be corrected in two months. In Nigeria we face price hikes, lack of infrastructures, no medicines, no qualitative education, good roads are there only in televisions or when Abuja airport is planned to be renovated, no nothing….. You can continue counting our lacks, they are many. However, the above mentioned four, are very simple, they can be corrected with a simple verbal order, without putting much money and effort. May Nigeria be great come what may!

Executive Assent: The Final Hurdle For Legislative Bills, By ‘Demola Adeyeye

One final step before a law passed by the Legislature becomes Law is for it to scale the final formal process of the Executive Assent. The Assent signifies the readiness and eagerness of the Executive Arm of Government to implement the said Law.

However, in the course of this, a lot of Politicking and shenanigans plays out. Despite the legislative time and resources that the two arms of the National Assembly with a majority of the 469 Elected Representatives making a decision on behalf of the people, it still behoves on the President of the Federal Republic or anyone he so designates to assent to a Bill already passed by the National Assembly towards becoming law or otherwise. Many a time, one hears of bills and legislative proposals being in and around the legislative process since the 4th, 5th, 6th or 7th National Assemblies; yet still present till now in the 8th National Assembly without becoming law due to the withholding of assent.

Sections 5 and 9 (1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended speaks on the responsibility of the Nationality Assembly even as it involves lawmaking for the Federation and accords this prerogative of Assent even on Constitutional Amendments to the Executive Arm and in fact the President. This is side by side with Section 2 of the Interpretation Act Cap 123 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria which provides that “an act is passed when the President assents to the bill or the act, whether or not the act then comes into force”. This inherent power is actually meant to ensure that only the best of laws are made for the people.

However, this power has both been used and abused at different times in the course of the last 17years of our nascent democracy leading to a repetition in the legislative process – a waste of time, energy and resources for many rather important bills which could have become law. Many a times as well, petty politics and pecuniary interest remains the major reason why some laws aren’t assented to. This selfish and insincere approach to Governance has continued to the very bane of our underdevelopment.

 

According to Senator Solomon Ita Enang who currently serves as a Presidential Aide on National Assembly Matters (Senate), the number of bills so far assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari in the course of the tenure of the 8th National Assembly has surpassed the number of any Assembly since the return of democracy in this Republic. Bills which President Buhari has assented to include the Prevention of Crime Amendment Act, Water Resources Amendment Act, National Judicial Institute Amendment Act, Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers Amendment Act and the Endangered Species Amendment Act amongst others.

Furthermore, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo SAN acting on behalf of President Buhari withheld his assent to four bills passed by the National Assembly. Two fo these bills, the Dangerous Drugs Bill and Currency Conversion Freezing Order Act Amendment Bill actually emanated from the House of Representatives; was concurred with by the Senate and forwarded for assent while the other two, the National Lottery Bill and the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Fund sprang from the Senate itself. There is however a silver linen in this in that for the first time; at least to public knowledge, an Ag. President Osinbajo on behalf of the Executive Arm wrote to Senate President Bukola Saraki of the Legislative Arm in respect of this decision and clearly spelt out why and how such decision to withhold assent was reached.

This improvement which attested to the great rapport between both arms also continued when on Wednesday 5th April, 2017. Senate President Bukola Saraki during Senate Plenary constituted a committee to look into the issues raised by the Acting President leading to the withholding of the Presidential assent and to fashion out modalities towards ensuring they are adequately met and the law assented to pronto. This step turned the entire situation into a Win – Win for both arms of Government as they indeed worked in the spirit and letters of the Constitution for the overall interest of the Nation in ensuring that the best laws are made for the people.

 

Nevertheless, pundits have noted again and again that it is not the absence of good laws that makes us seemingly stagnant as a nation but the actual lack of political will for implementation of law or the selective implementation of same depending on whose interest is at stake. This trend has to stop. At this time in our democracy it is indeed pertinent that the Media, Civil Society Organizations, Pressure Groups and NGOs focused on Ideal Democratic Tenets and Good Governance ask questions about what happens to several bills from first, second readings to committee work, third reading and even after final passage by the National Assembly.

As a foundation has been laid in respect of an open transparent communication process for assent to legislative bills to become binding laws or the withholding thereof between the two arms concerned, we should never go below that in ensuring the best practicable laws are enacted for the good, freedom and protection of the citizens, their privileges, rights and the society in general.
-‘Demola Adeyeye loves the Legislature and tweets via @AAAdeyeye

CORRUPTION: WHERE IS THE PROBLEM? By Abdulmajid Lawan

“Sometimes, the questions are complicated and the answers are simple” – Dr Seuss.

Discussions about corruption became more tensed prior to 2015 general election and continuous till today. What is not certain is whether the successes recorded worth the amount of publicity from the government
or the fight is advancing to the detriment of other sectors. Some analyst believed that the continuous mention of this fraudulent act is a step forward as compared in the past when little or nothing is talk
about it.

To some, the only difference from the past is in the area of publicity but nothing much has been done in regards to matching words with action. Others see it as a selective fight aimed at oppressing the opposition, people close to the government are placed on zero targets only in rare cases when the FG succumb to action as a result
of pressures from the general public and media. A segment of the public also argued that the federal government’s resolve to fight Grand corrupt practices more than the Petty ones is a huge mistake considering the fact that most of the petty corrupt practices occur at the implementation end of public service for example, in private and public offices, police stations, highways, institutions, registration offices etc.

HOW DOES CORRUPTION STARTS?
It is completely illogical if we continue to advocate strategies to fight corruption without paying some attention in curbing it root causes. What are the driving forces? How does this dishonest act find its way into our domain?
The home is generally seen as the first institution one attends, a well discipline home produce a corrupt free child and vice versa. Is offering the child with the best discipline he/she deserves enough? Is the need to tell our children the truth about the cruel and hostile world that is filled with selfish people necessary? Perhaps not only to tell them, but to educate them on how to live in such an inevitably complicated world.

It is believed that the earlier we make up our children to the harsh realities the better it is. A child should grow with the knowledge of how bad corruption is, let them not grow in the delusion to convert everything for personal gain. It is difficult for a child to learn on his/her own about the deceptive world. More so, this education should
not be done in such a way the child will think that all humans are selfish and dishonest. Great achievement of any society is a prerequisite to its childish purity, innocence and virtue.

Many politicians and highly placed public workers have one or more religious consultant with a very special obedience that is ordinarily uncommon to these fortunate people. They respect them and listen to many of their instructions. As busy as these politicians are, they create time to visit them for guidance and other consultations –
mostly personal. The increasing romance between these two parties of the society ought to have reflect a lot of goodness to the society, unfortunately it has produced more harm than good. The religious leaders use the politicians to actualize their selfish whims while the politicians enjoy the prophecies they get from them – mostly self centered and user friendly. They don’t tell them how to worship God or the sufferings of the poor, they have derailed and become subject in misguiding politicians, they celebrate and keep on telling them what they wanted to hear and not the truth.

Religion teaches the importance of social justice, welfare and accountability. It is obvious that our religious leaders are guilty in this regard. Until they readjust to their original position as ambassadors of goodwill, corruption will remain in our corridors. God forbid!

The tertiary institutions where moral values ought to be acquired have become breeding ground for different kinds of immoral activities. The institutions have not done enough in teaching critical thinking skills to student. A good critical thinker has the ability to analyze fact in a reflective and more reasonable way. Investigation shows that most of these corrupt politicians begin this illicit act right from the tertiary institutions. It starts from embezzling of student union funds, bribing lecturers to pass exams among other heinous act. The institutions as a matter of importance needs to inculcate in their student the spirit of selfless service to humanity as well as demonstration of good character.

The method we use to pick a leader is of paramount important in the effort to change the present status quo to a better one. It is important we assess a candidate not only based on his/her antecedent but based on the positions they take on issues and the leadership qualities and experience they would bring to the office. Picking leaders based on the penny we receive from them or our relation with them is the reason that caused us today’s problem.
Apart from posters and radio ads, other channel must be improvised to gather enough information about a candidate. If we don’t want corruption then we must shine our eyes and bring in leaders that can match their pre-election words with post-election actions, leaders with proven track records of accomplishment, honesty and integrity.

Getting someone with high sense of morality that cannot be easily manipulated and has a genuine passion to serve should always be a priority. The need for a collective fight against corruption cannot be overstated. From the home where the child is groomed to the academic institutions where character and learning is installed, and then the religious leaders whose priority among others should include enlightening the followers on God fearing and the dangers of using official capacity for personal gains. Strategies should be put in place to mitigate the impact of past corrupt practices, however more emphasis should be giving to track corrupt act happening under their watch than spending more time probing yesterday’s offence. We cant fight corruption like God, measures should be put in place to change the mental attitude of the man. Prevention they say is better than cure.

Akwa Ibom State Politics: The PDP Defectors—No Worry They Will Return to PDP By Ikpafak Essien

Defecting from one political party to another by party activists is nothing new; it happens everywhere in the world. In the context of Akwa Ibom State, what makes defections to grab the headlines, especially in the social media, is the cause for defections and the caliber and characteristics of those who defect. Let examine the reasons for defections.
 
Last week, or two weeks ago, speaking on behalf of the hundreds of defectors at Odot in Nsit Atai Local Government Area, two leaders, who represented the defectors, Mr. Johnny Johnny and Prince Ime Jacob, “said they jumped ship from PDP because it was clear that the party was heading for a ship wreck.” What these two community leaders did not mention was the reason PDP, a party they loved so much when Akpabio was the Governor, is heading for a ship wreck.
 
No matter all the spins by defectors, the simple compelling reason for their defections is money. In Akwa Ibom State the economic situation is biting sharply. No more available money to throw around. Those who used to depend on politics as the main source of earning a living and survival could no longer afford the life-style they used to enjoy in the days of Akpabio’s administration, hence the hullabaloo about defections.
 
When Akpabio was the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, these same groups of people, who are now running away from PDP to APC, were the largest beneficiaries of the Akwa Ibom State revenue. Many of them served as Chairs of Local Government, Personal Assistants, Commissioners, Area Boys, and so forth and so on.
 
Together they wielded so much influence in the State. They committed lots of mind-bugling atrocities and were ready to, and in many instances did, eliminate anyone who appeared to be on their way. Scores of innocent indigenes of the State were murdered, assassinated, kidnapped, raped and mutilated. They cared less for human lives; after all, no accountability was required of them.
 
Some of them, especially those who served as Chairmen of Local Government Areas, abandoned their respective houses to reside in expensive hotels that cost the State thousands of naira per day. They wallowed themselves in alcohol and women, became enmeshed in cult activities, and behaved at the time as if the world was coming to the end the following day.
 
That was the era of Godswill Akpabio; an era which was enhanced, nurtured, and supported by those who are now abandoning PDP to APC. Today, these PDP defectors are running away from PDP under the false expectations that if the APC party wins the governorship election in 2019, the leaders of APC will provide them with the same life-style they enjoyed during the era of Godswill Akpabio.
 
But times have changed!
 
The defectors may blame PDP all they want as the reason for their defections. The truth is well known that their frustrations are being directed at Governor Udom Emmanuel, not the PDP, who has refused to allow his government to become involved in fiduciary irresponsibility.
 
First, due to lower prices in oil, the revenue allocations from oil are no longer as bulky as it was in the days of Akpabio; therefore, Governor Udom Emmanuel has to be very prudent in managing the little available resources.
 
Second, unlike the background of former Governor Akpabio, Governor Emmanuel came into office after years of experience in the banking industry, which equipped him to understand the importance of resource management. Therefore, it would be an injustice for anyone, including the defectors, to expect his administration to throw money around in an irresponsible manner, as was fashionable in the days of Akpabio’s administration.
 
Besides money, who is the brain behind the defections? Some people blame Nsima Ekere as the rogue politician who is fooling the poor innocent masses into defections. But how influential is Nsima Ekere? Can he win election in Akwa Ibom State? These questions will be addressed in Part 2

Is The National Open University Back To The Dark Ages? – By Ahmed Abdullahi

A ubiquitous trend in all human species and societies is a constant desire for change – change from bad to good, and good to better. It is a desire that has fuelled decades of development and propelled advancements in science, medicine, technology, arts etc. Change however is not always progressive. There exists the propensity for change from good to bad due to leadership challenges. And it breaks the heart that the change currently being experienced at the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) is one that threatens to undo years of progressive developments at the institution.
The federal government in February 2016 rejigged the leadership of the nation’s flagship open and distance learning institution by appointing Professor Abdalla Uba Adamu as Vice Chancellor, taking over from Professor Vincent Ado Tenebe. This was immediately challenged by a civil society organization, alleging that the move ran contrary to the National Open University Act (2004), which mandates the federal government to consult with the University Council before removing or appointing a Vice Chancellor.

The National Open University of Nigeria, NOUN, was established formally in 2002 as the flagship tertiary institution for Open and Distance Learning in Nigeria. Since its establishment, the institution has engaged the services of NOUN iLEARN, a harmonised Learning Management Portal that allows for online instructional delivery through the combination of audio, video and text mediums.

Without the iLEARN platform, the relationship and synergy that exists between the students and the knowledge bank as provided by the university management through the lecturers are shattered. And this transcends academics. Other aspects of the university operations made possible through the iLEARN technology are condemned to stone age realities. Unfortunately, this is what currently obtains at NOUN as decisions taken by the VC have plunged the school into an operational chaos that is having a devastating impact on the students.
The iLEARN platform serves as the digital soul for the smooth running of an ICT-compliant National Open University. Without it, students are subjected to long trips to and from the school to physically do things that should be done remotely. The workload of support staff and admin officers are tripled as they have to attend to long queues and manually fill forms and file papers. Removal of the iLEARN platform basically strips NOUN of all its ICT components and that is what the leadership of Professor Abdalla Adamu has done.

Apart from operations, iLEARN provides NOUN students with dedicated support lines and staff who answer student’s questions on all matters of interest from admission to graduation. The service ensures students can reach to the school via multiple social and digital media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, BBM, blogs all coordinated and linked to a dedicated call centre with 5 personnel per time. Before the questionable decision to stop the service, students called in from all part of the world to make enquiries on NOUN through iLEARN. Now students must visit the institution to make enquiries. Without the synergy and connectivity that iLEARN provides, students no longer have valuable and immediate feedback on issues affecting them and the management is left winking in the dark as well.

It gets even worse.

Professor Abdalla’s insistence of doing things his own way even when all available metrics point to better solutions has left NOUN with a broken student-tutor interaction system. Due to the VC’s decision to strip the school of ICT framework provided by the iLEARN platform, students now rely more on self-learning and have been cut out of interacting with tutors where they could ask questions and get guidance on studies. Currently, there are no engagements or interactions of any sort between students and tutors. In the bid to help themselves, they must constantly source for tutors to tutor them face to face – which is against the vision and spirit behind the establishment of the institution.

It doesn’t end there.

In the catalogue of retrogressive taken the current VC to undo 15 years of development at NOUN is the decentralization of the university portal. Before now, nou.edu.ng served as NOUN’s only website and a centralized portal that guided students’ and visitors alike for correct information while providing the school the benefit of being well placed according to webometrics ranking.

This has since changed under the new VC. NOUN now operates multiple websites with portals that have barely worked for 48 hours, leaving students stranded at different stages of their payment and registration processes. This has also opened students and the institution to security challenges as sensitive information are entered into different websites in a world of cyber and information attacks. The cost of operating multiple websites also raises the question of whether the VC’s decision makes any economic sense.

These and more are what students of the National Open University are currently dealing with. Learning has been made cumbersome, and even basic processes such as payment of fees, registration and taking exams have become so stressful that a lot of students have been demoralized and frustrated.
Things may yet get worse if the current trend is not checked. A fully functional and operational NOUN is in the best interest of Nigeria’s human capital development. As such the relevant authorities must come to the aid of the labouring students of the school by compelling the VC to reverse the damaging policies so instituted.
Ahmed Abdullahi writes from Lagos

Send this to a friend