Re: Opon Imo (Tablet of Knowledge), or Opon Scam? By John Ogunlela
If you watch loads of military movies like I do, you will be amused when you hear people say, “There is no smoke without fire”. On the commander’s barking of a “Make smoke” order, a simple canister is tossed that will quickly obliterate the sun with thick, black smoke and provide a screen for a quick, tactical maneuver. There is absolutely no fire or a blast of an explosion.
The bizarre article in Abusidiqu.com Opon Imo (Tablet of Knowledge), Abi Opon Scam? By Adeyemi O.J is one of those synthetic smokes. But whatever clever maneuver the author and those behind him wish to execute behind the smokescreen will have to be stood down right now since it takes more than making smokes to sally out and charge into a fight with a government as credible and as popular as that of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola. The first line of the write up goes thus: “Opon Imo (Computer tablet) is a project of Osun State Government….” Shall we start by pointing out that, in the first place, there is no such thing as a computer tablet. Computers don’t take drugs and tablets don’t have computers, as anybody should know. There are no computer laptops or computer palmtops but only laptop computers, desktop and palmtop computers. There is the Tablet Computer, that is, computers in the tablet hardware design format. They are wholly flat and the more popular brand is the ipad, made by Apple Computers. It is a point worth stressing because we are talking about educating our children here and education has everything to do with precision. One should thoroughly understand the issue he wishes to publicly discuss or he will have to later slink away with head bowed in embarrassment.
The use of figures in this article is no less as shoddy and scandalous as the error I pointed out above. This adventurous writer going by the name of O.J. Adeyemi claims he can get a tablet computer for 30 US dollars “online”, whichever sales shop goes by that name. What sort of talk is that? What is the cost of good quality memory cards? Or of a good handheld phone? Each Opon Imo is loaded with 56 standard textbooks, duly licensed by the publishers for not less than N200 million since the project is not about purloining people’s intellectual properties. Then there is the mythical Kamoru Aregbesola he synthesized who has been paid eight billion naira as a sole contractor and distributor of Opon Imo. The Kamoru is configured as “governor’s son”.
For a fact, Governor Aregbesola has a dutiful, young son named Kabir, a computer engineer trained in Cuba and United Kingdom and yes, he certainly contributed to the software development of the Opon Imo project. I stood in admiration of the dad when I confirmed this. Other sons of public officials are known for their clubhouse drunken brawls and sleek Maseratis and Lamborghinis oppressing people on the streets, but this one is unofficially supporting his father’s office as he quietly serves his state. Why should someone stand by to generate a scandal from that? Kabir Aregbesola, according to Ogbeni in a public interactive session did not invoice his services to the Opon Imo project and has not been paid a kobo so far. I expect that he will be paid, for he should be, obviously, like all other contractors. It is of course the general trend in the Nigerian context to expect salacious outcomes from such things and dream up mountains of money being made under such circumstances. Yet, anyone who is to be taken seriously should come up with his facts and figures and not assume that stories of rot can be easily plastered on any government any day.
Tablet computers are currently being supplied free to SS 1 to SS 3 students in the state of Osun, each preloaded with 56 standard textbooks and 12 additional volumes like the Bible and Quran, reproductive health educational materials, fitness guides, etc. Then there is a pack of twenty years of past question papers from WAEC and JAMB with solution guides in 17 subjects. The price per device is N58,000.00. And as for charging and maintenance, solar-powered charging points have been provided in all schools. If Nigerians successfully maintain their millions of cell phones, the maintenance of 150,000 Opon Imos cannot be expected to be a mission impossible except to the incurable pessimist and a paid professional naysayer. His hurried, racy closing in the article fancies that there are workers in the state that are owed five months’ salary and that a yoke of N200 billion naira hangs on the state’s neck. These are childish lies all. State borrowing is carefully monitored by the CBN and it is technically impossible for Osun state to be allowed to borrow beyond its annual budget. At times politicians become desperate, especially as elections draw closer and some go as low as resorting to telling blatant lies in trying to upstage their opponents. But at least they say among thieves there is still honour, even if only the dregs of it – those who craft these lies for them ought to be a bit more intelligent and the lies ought to look somewhat like truth or they sound like drunken men writing poetry as in the case of the article in question.
July 25, 2013
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