Nigerian Tribune

Switch to desktop Register Login

Opinion (749)

A  stiff-necked fowl listens but in a soup pot. So can the fate of Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi aptly be described. No doubt, since his elevation to the plum position of the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria by late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua in June 1, 2010, Sanusi had demonstrated through his actions and inactions that he could be as much assertive and courageous as to reaching the point of foolhardiness, or what the economist will call the point of diminishing returns. Like a friend would put, though Sanusi’s courage is worthy of commendation, there is always a limit to showing courage so that it does not metamorphose into foolhardiness.

Some people who have all of a sudden become strident critics of Sanusi today were the same elements of yesterday who quickly eulogised him concerning his unilateral decision to sack the likes of Mrs. Cecilia Ibru and Erastus Akingbola (the erstwhile Chief Executive Officers of Oceanic Bank Plc and the then Inter-continental Bank Plc – now Access Bank plc – respectively) over what he  claimed was poor corporate governance and lax administration on their part. However, it appears that the death that will take the life of a dog does not allow it to perceive the smell of faeces. In essence, Mr Sanusi ought to have been clever enough to avert stepping into similar administrative lapses he allegedly committed, and for the sake of which he had wielded the big stick against Mrs Ibru and her like. As a matter of fact, one does not even need to flip through the contents of the said report of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria on the strength of which President Jonathan had relied on to raise his hammer of suspension on Sanusi before sharing in the notion or, better still, the allegations financial recklessness and misconduct leveled against the latter.

Actually, not a handful of Nigerians had expressed deep concern about the unabated rate and the aberrant manner Mallam Sanusi had been arbitrarily dishing out public fund to select groups of people and institutions purportedly on behalf of the CBN and under the guise of discharging the apex bank’s corporate social responsibility. Similarly, many had also wondered and in fact wanted to know if indeed there is no bar on the amount of money which the CBN’s enabling laws allow in carrying out this kind exercise. These and many more issues actually agitated the minds of quite a number of persons, including my humble self.

With hindsight, therefore, one is inclined to think that the fate of Mallam Sanusi is  likened to that of a dog destined by providence to go astray.

What is more, just a fortnight ago, the media was awash with news of a  letter purportedly written to Mallam Sanusi by Mr President directing him to brace up to proceed on compulsory leave by the end of March, preparatory to his final exit from the office of the CBN governor. Incidentally, a day or two later, the same media carried yet another news about Sanusi wherein he was quoted as saying that the President had no sole authority to show him the way out  of office of the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria. Accordingly, he reportedly insisted that Mr President must curry and garner the support and approval of the two-thirds of the votes of distinguished members of the Senate before he could successfully make his ouster the possible.

 It is though worthy of note that the President alone cannot remove the CBN governor judging by the relevant provisions of the CBN Act as amended, yet such an immodest remark underscores the intolerable height of Sanusi’s arrogance and disdain for the person of the President of Federal Republic of Nigeria. In fact, for Sanusi to have asserted that the same principal who is legally and solely vested with the powers and authority to hire whoever he deems competent and thus wants him/her as the apex bank chief can no longer  exercise his inherent powers to fire the same “subordinate” by any means possible (call it suspension if you like), especially in the face of reasonable suspicion of flagrant breaches of CBN enabling laws and due process is, to say the least, preposterous. This is clearly where Sanusi got it all wrong.

As lawyers are wont to put it, he who goes to equity goes with clean hands in the same way he who seeks equity is expected to do equity.  In the circumstances, therefore, Sanusi cannot safely be adjudged to have observed either of the above maxims in the course of discharging his duties as the then CBN substantive governor if the report of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria is to be held on to. Agreed, Sanusi has the right to turn himself to a whistle blower with respect to the alleged missing 49.8, nay 20, billion dollars kerosene subsidy fund which he accused the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation of failing to remit into the Federation account. But while his courage in speaking out loud about this seemingly obvious anomaly in the operations of NNPC is highly commendable, it would have made sense if Sanusi had realised early enough that those who live in a glass house do not throw stones.

Much as further investigation is reportedly being carried out on the suspended governor, it is totally absurd and unimaginable that Sanusi could allegedly spend a whopping sum of 1.257 billion naira on  lunch for policemen and private guards in 2012 alone. Wonders, indeed, shall never cease. May God have mercy on Nigerians!

Chiduluemije wrote from Abuja

Thursday, 06 March 2014 00:00
Published in Opinion
Written by
Read more... 3

I must confess that choosing to write a topic like this is one of the greatest challenges I have ever encountered in the whole of my existence. It is with a deep sense of utmost necessity that I’m writing to let people know that I am not a Nigerian even though some irreversible circumstances make people identify me as a Nigerian. Before I explain the irreversible circumstances, I would like to talk about the two types of slaves that I know. First, is the natural slave who has been enslaved mentally and look up to other people for help. Second, is the artificial slave who is captured in war or bought in the market as a commodity.

Before the Europeans first came in contact with Africans in the 15th century and for much of the 18th and 19th century, there was no place called Nigeria, Togo, Cameroon, Republic of Benin, Ghana and what have you. All we had then in the African traditional society where so much emphasis was placed on respect for elders and culture and where Africans had been developing quantitatively and qualitatively was a kingdom or an empire like the Oyo empire, Ashanti kingdom, Kanuri kingdom, Dahomeh kingdom and many more. But when the European great powers came to Africa through exploration and trade, they abolished most of the African system and way of life in order to advance their trade and colonial agenda to improve their society at the expense of Africans. The idea of colonialism was to explore all around the world and gain access to territories where there was little or no military power in order to exploit their resources, enslave their people and compel them with force to be submit to the way of life of their colonial masters.

To forestall this, several congresses were held and treatises were signed among the European powers. The great powers came into Africa with their heavy military resources and used their military power to force, enslave and colonised Africans. It was after this that many African independent states were shared among the European great powers like the British, French, Portuguese and Spanish. During this time, some parts of West Africa were shared among the French and British governments.

Nigeria, in particular, was granted to the British government which colonised, enslaved and exploited the (African) resources at the expense of the people. Togo, Mali, Republic of Benin and the likes were granted to the French government.

The name, Nigeria, was coined from River Niger flowing through its territory. It was a name given by Flora Shaw in 1898, the wife of the British Administrator in the region at that time; a colonial name, more or less like a slave name given to all the inhabitants of the land. During this colonial period, the colonial masters succeeded in dividing and sharing Africa and Africans among themselves, exploiting the resources of Africa to advance and improve their society at the expense of Africans through trade and their imperialism, a system whereby the rich and powerful nations control the less powerful nation.

Till today, this slavery ideology persists even after the abolishment of slave trade and colonialism. Little wonder that Africa is categorised by the United Nations as an underdeveloped continent while those who exploit the resources of Africa to advance their societies were categorised by the United Nations as developed nations. Africa must be underdeveloped since the great powers in the United Nations security council had successfully divided Africa among themselves so that Africans can look up to their country for help. So Sad! J. E Casely- Hayford, An African(Gold Coast) nationalist said in 1922, “Before the British came into relation with our people, we were a developed people, having our own institutions, having our own ideas of government.”

I was born into this world among the black race (Africa), where the heat is like a second skin in Yoruba land. I was never born Nigerian: Nigerians are those natural slaves discussed earlier, who had been enslaved mentally by the great powers and look up to them for help. Nigerians are a “smelling and packaging people.’’ Little wonder, everyday, Nigerians live in destitution, despair, pain, sorrow and poverty. I was born black and free (African) in the western part of Africa which is today known as Nigeria, an artificial state created by the colonial masters in the 19th century. While I was growing up in this part of the world, I knew I am a voice in this world, I speak my mind without fear or favour, so I deserve to be heard.

Like every other African child, I received an education whose content and pattern  is structured in the colonial style. I remember that while in the elementary school, speaking my mother tongue (vernacular) in class was prohibited and attracted a fine, while speaking English (the colonial masters’ language) was the accepted mode of communication in class. I was given an alien name (Arabic name). All this experiences never made me see myself as an African coupled with the fact that I was confused in choosing between the religion of my ancestral forefathers and that of some faraway Arabians. Even though I love the holy prophet SAW of Islam, often times, I am confused. This confusion led me to many rational thoughts which made me rethink the past. My inquiry into the past made me realise that under normal circumstances I am truly not a Nigerian.

Finally, I would end this piece by sharing this little information with my fellow Africans, those who always wonder if Africa will rise again. Yes! Africa will surely rise again, if only Africans are ready to revolutionise their social instinct, emancipate their mental slavery, detach themselves from the so called great powers whose puppets are at the helm of affairs in almost all Africa countries; and come together to live as one and develop themselves with the abundant resources on the Continent.

Anifowoshe is  a 300 level student of Law at the University of Ilorin.

Thursday, 06 March 2014 00:00
Published in Opinion
Written by
Read more... 0

ANYONE who is familiar with the border areas between Lagos and Ogun states will accept that the areas have witnessed fast pace of development in the last 10-15 years. Before then,  a trip along the Lagos -Ibadan Expressway presented an endless, long expanse of undeveloped  lands on both sides. Indeed, the fear of being robbed along the long stretch of land was very palpable. Now, the expressway is dotted with thriving towns like Mowe, Ofada, Magboro, Asese, Arepo and Ibafo  which sprung up almost overnight, drawing lower and middle income earners, mainly from Lagos.

Similar patterns were repeated along the Sagamu  corridor towards Ikorodu, the Akute and Isheri axis as well as the Sango Ota  region. The residential buildings were typically constructed on private farmlands or long-held family land and were largely without any form of government approval.

Perhaps it was the sheer scale of development or its speed that was overwhelming but somehow, successive governments in Ogun State have proved that they were unable to regulate or plan the spate of development. The result  is a myriad of unplanned slums, with buildings that have no formal Plan Approval  or indeed any form of documentation.The “possession is nine-tenths of the law “ maxim ruled and had governed property deals in such areas for many years. This situation has created its own problems including the selling of  same plots of land to multiple buyers and  regular harassment of people by local thugs known as “omo oniles”.  Being both unplanned and undocumented, these areas remain characterised by a lack of public infrastructure.

   The Ibikunle Amosun-led administration had a number of options in tackling the problems of these areas. Its massive road renewal programme and the attendant demolition exercise seem to suggest that the government might likely opt for the exercise of its legal right to demolish illegally built properties so as to enable planning and urban renewal in its key border areas. The  economic motive is a strong justification to demolish and reclaim valuable areas and resell them at higher prices.  After all, those who have developed property illegally, fully  understand that they have only moral rights of protest but very little by way of legal rights and protection.The most famous example of such a mass programme is  the notorious demolition of Maroko. For those too young to remember, Maroko was a notorious slum area very close to prime Victoria Island. It was demolished 22 years ago by the Lagos State government under Colonel Raji Rasaki, in which an estimated 300,000 people lost their homes. Today, the area is known as  Victoria Island extension, regenerated,  re-priced and resold to  the highest bidders.  While it might be argued that such mass demolition is draconian and  could only be effected under  a military administration, the point remains that it was an option  for the present government in Ogun State to deal with the disorganisation  and anarchy in  Mowe, Ibafo, Akute, Ofada, Arepo, Magboro, Asese and other border towns of the state close to Lagos.

A cursory tour of some of the areas  reflects a wanton lack  of adherence to conventional building layouts and the lack of allowance for communal services such as schools, hospitals, playground, community centres, police stations, among others, strongly suggest that demolition is a necessary option. As an estate surveyor, I must readily admit that the unveiling, in December,  by Governor Amosun of the Homeowners’ Charter caught many observers of this situation off guard. The programme is essentially an amnesty which allows those who built illegally  and who have reveled in ignoring previous call by government for them to regularise their property documentation. This initiative converts illegal property owners into legally recognised homeowners at a 78 percent discount.  The fines payable for building without approval have been waived, as has the need to provide three years tax clearance, indeed every  hurdle to  obtaining C of O and Building Plan Approval have been eliminated. This programme allows property owners in Ogun State to embrace all of the rights and benefits that being a homeowner offers. These include then the right to sell, transfer  or utilize property as security for loans. All these  opportunities had previously been denied the vast majority of property owners.

   The long queues at the brightly branded Homeowners’ Charter centres which dotted the state show that the public have embraced the opportunity. One might ask what government stands to gain from extending such generous largesse to the people. Indeed, looking at the economic factor, those who have built illegally should, in fact, pay the necessary fines and penalties in full. Since they have no option, their properties are fixed and a truly determined administration could simply have gone door to door, coercing people with the menacing presence of a bull dozer to collect in full, all fines and penalties that are due. This is where the pragmatism and people-focus predilection of Governor Amosun is evident.

  Very few governments are practical enough to sacrifice the opportunity to make money and exert its authority for the option of kindly allowing the people to regularise what ordinarily would be illegality. In America, President Barack Obama’s  attempts to allow illegal immigrants to regularise their status has been met with stiff resistance, a clear manifestation of the saying that governments must not be seen to bend or yield for fear of showing weakness.Rather than terrorise the people and enforce the law strictly, Senator Amosun has deployed  what in management speak, is a pull strategy. Offer the people what they desperately want  and never imagined they could have, at a reasonable price, in convenient manners and they will come to you.  Illegal residents who for years have perfected the art of avoiding government agents, now queue to embrace government initiative on the same issue.

Adekunle is an estate surveyor based in Mowe, Ogun State

Wednesday, 05 March 2014 00:00
Published in Opinion
Written by
Read more... 4

There are great cities of the world where one can find the largest concentration of people. A place is named a city when its population is considered worthy of such status. One of such cities is Lagos which is now being called a mega city. Most city planners call for the most exotic architectural designs and the people will wonder at such wonderful creativity. Such a city can derive its popularity and image from the creations. A great city has the osmotic culture which keeps it going. Since people are concentrated in large numbers, there is the necessity to maintain law and order. There is the need to have the friendly environment all the time. The city must be very neat and without pollution though the Co2 from the exhaust pipes of numberless cars are yet to be prevented by the administrators of the cities of the world.

Flowing from the above perception, the most important element in any city is the human being. Therefore, whatever is done in the city is ultimately for the good, progress and comfort of the people. No matter the rich values which are introduced, the real meaning of a city is people. It is not to be seen as a city without the people. If something happens or is done to affect the health of the people, that is against the standard practice. The city performs different types of functions for the society and that again keeps it going stronger and stronger and people can refer to such city because of what can be done socially, politically and economically in that city. Some cities are noted for being the political capital of the country. Some can be performing the function of economic, cultural or social centers. Lagos was formerly a federal capital city and commercial nerve center of Nigeria.

Today, it has ceased to be the capital of Nigeria and Abuja is now playing that role. But Lagos remains the commercial city of Nigeria. It provides the facilities for economic activities more than any city or town in Nigeria. There are more than fifteen industrial estates in Lagos. After the Federal Capital City was founded, the Shehu Shagari administration was the first to devote much governmental energy to the building up of the city. The Ibrahim Babangida administration started to move gradually to Abuja in the early 90s. Abuja has become a reality from that time and later, Sani Abacha enforced the movement. There are two powerful and terrible groups who are the operators and administrators of the city: the civil servant and the ruler. The civil servant or call it state bureaucracy is a consolidated wickedness and corruption. By the way the civil servant is operating; many Nigerians cannot find Abuja to be the center for the actualisation of their dreams.

To many observers, Abuja cannot and may never be the solutions to their problems. To those classes, Abuja will always add more sorrow and more problems to the existing problems. To most of us outside that city, it is better called a failed city. What gives it the title of a failure is the attitude of the dwellers. The structure is fine. The road is fine but the attitude of the people is evil. Many people go to Abuja in the hope that they would be able to realise their dreams but unfortunately that cannot be, because the civil servant who is the main operator of the city is always operating against ethical humanism. The civil servant will be on the job for 35 years before retirement unless his evils catch up with him before that time. For a whole of 35 years, the destiny of many people would have been totally destroyed. All the politicians in Abuja who are the members of the ruling class are temporary evil because a ruler will be there for either four or eight years if such politician is re-elected for second term.

The evil which they would do for that period is more than the whole years of the civil servant. Politicians go to Abuja like they are going to war and during their term, they would excavate the whole city into their numerous bank accounts. Civil servant and their rulers would not pay the pensions of the pensioners and rather, the fund would vanish from fund record. As the wickedness grows at greater crescendo, pensioners die without receiving their pensions. For more than two years, the federal Ministry of Agriculture has refused to pay my 26  years of pension. Here, we are talking about groups who are having the heart of lion and would not spare the time to know and use the true definition of humanism. Employments into some of the governmental agencies are surreptitiously organised on the extent of whom you know or on cash and carry basis.

People in Abuja live everyday like they would not live in that city tomorrow. The situation is desperate and one can only make an end meet by the people one knows. There is no credible standard except by the people you know or the money in your hand. The issue of ethnic relations is also a factor in the knowing and so there is ethnic segregation. The contractors whether local or foreign who want to get work through the politician ruler or top civil servant know how they survive. It is the same problem which can only be solved by those one knows and the fund at hand.

If I say that Abuja must change, I mean that the civil servant and the ruler politicians must change. There is nothing wrong with the land or the structure of Abuja. Nigerian politicians are not likely to change because their attitude is the one they know best and it seems that they have sworn to keep on the attitude because it is yielding for them. Isaac Newton’s First Law states: “A body will continue in its present state of rest, or if it is in motion will continue to move at uniform speed in a straight line unless it is acted upon by a force.

Osunbote, a writer and philosopher, lives in Ibadan.

Wednesday, 05 March 2014 00:00
Published in Opinion
Written by
Read more... 4

HUMANS beings have always sought escape routes to problems and ugly situations. Every human being wishes to have a lovely and comfortable existence without hassles. To some, the complexity of life should be totally wiped off and replaced with merriment all day long. To others, farming is unnecessary, if nature can be kinder to put food in the garden without tilling. In the human quest for freedom without sacrifice, human beings have been hiding under a cover- an ‘umbrella’ that is vulnerable to the rains of the realities of life. It is not a substitute for diligence as a major requirement in one’s quest for success. This cover is religion!

Religion is peoples’ belief and opinion concerning the existence, nature and worship of a deity or deities. The origin of religion cannot be traced. It is as old as man himself. It cannot be excluded from man because it has been with him from the word go. The more religion grows, the more human beings become subjective to it and the more it is devoided of its meaning which it is to empower humanity and revitalise the society. Humans have embraced religion at the detriment of the principles of life. We have neglected our roles in solving complex puzzles of life but depended solely on providence for solutions. Man now puts all his challenges on the shoulders of deities looking towards them to solve his problems. Thus, confining himself into a religion prison.

The question that readily comes to mind now is, has religion answered and proffered solutions to all human problems? The essence of religion is so numerous that all cannot be enumerated. Religion is vital but human contribution is equally necessary for anything to move up.  Man has great roles to play in solving his everyday problems. If religious activities are the only things needed for development, why do we still have bad roads, when thousands of churches are everywhere? Why do we have poor power supply when numerous Muslims do ablution and pray five times daily? I wonder why the crime rate is increasing on a daily basis, when we have traditionalists performing ritual rites to gods also on a daily basis? This simply says, religion alone cannot solve our problems. Religious leaders have sung it into our ears that the true essence of living is adhering to all religious activities, forgetting to stress the importance of our personal efforts in realising the purpose of our existence. It is best to seek courage to question ourselves and to question religion, is religion all that is needed?

Religion is nothing but a philosophy. It is a prison that deprives us from seeing the truth and the reality of life. Ken Saro –Wiwa , in his poem “The true prison, says, “It is not the leaking roof nor the singing mosquito that defines a prison but it is the lies that have been drummed into our ears for generations.” Religion preaches only the supernatural but understates the natural things. It has infested us with so many unreal situations and lured us to believing in unreasonable assertions. It has successfully dominated and oppressed us. Many do not have the mind of their own and had lost sight of reality.

Everyone seeks happiness and wishes for a world without hassle. Religion has told us the story we want to hear. It has made many able men to lose sight of their visions and many productive women to fold their hands awaiting miracles. Human beings through religious doctrines believe they have no power or right to do anything productive or creative aside to pray, worship and do good deeds. If these are the only reasons for existence, then what is the function of our brains? Galileo Galilei said “I do not feel obliged that the same God who endowed us with senses, reasoning and intellect had intended for us to forgo their use.’’  

Religion is one of the biggest enemies of humanity if not the biggest. Humans kill and corruption grows with the nutrients got from religion. Crime rate grows simultaneously with religion. What then fuels crime? Could it be religion? The truth is that many criminals hide under religion to perpetrate evils.   Blaise Pascale said “Men never do evil completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction”. This is the justification the suicide bombers have for their actions, killing thousands of innocent souls, believing they will be rewarded in heaven. If the history of war is critically evaluated, religion had played a vital role in it also.

Many who hold religious positions had embezzled so much, hiding under the cover of religion. Their wrong deeds were not questioned because religion said ‘touch them not and do them no harm.’’ Power is abused by these same religious leaders, no one questions them because religion had made them untouchable. Over time, religion has done more harm to humanity than help. It has made mankind lazy and subjective to plain lies. It has made us to leave our responsibilities to the hand of fate. The embrace of religion without evaluation has made us to lose many vital virtues in us. The acceptance of it without appraisal had made us lose sight of our human roles. Desmond Tutu said this “When the missionary came to Africa, they had the bible and we had the land. They said “let us pray, we closed our eyes. When we opened them, we had the bible and they have the land.”
  Truly, the roles of religion cannot be undermined in the society but it is better to hold our religious value and be conscious of our roles as humans in determining the outcome of our various engagements. If religion can be redefined and critically evaluated, it will add more value than harm. Of what importance is the eye that cannot see and the lamp that cannot shine through the dark path? Religion will be so unnecessary if it cannot empower humanity and revitalise the society!

Ademulegun wrote in via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Friday, 28 February 2014 00:00
Published in Opinion
Written by
Read more... 1

TO all intents and purposes, the 2015 governorship contest in Oyo State, Nigeria’s political capital, promises to be deeply interesting. While there are expectedly a medley of  contenders and pretenders asserting their rights to the governor’s office, a legitimate aspiration going by the Constitution, there seems to be a valid basis for believing that the contest is strictly between three dominant political parties in the state, namely the All Progressives Congress (APC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Accord Party (AP), with the Labour Party (LP) inhabiting the margins and hoping for a benevolent implosion in the contending parties which could give it a good outing.

Of the many challengers of the incumbent governor, some would appear to stand out at least from the perspective of media presence. In this group, Senator Rasheed Ladoja, Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala, Senator Teslim Folarin, Mr Seyi Makinde and Mr Femi Babalola are worthy of mention.  As probably any seasoned analyst knows, the governorship contest would be decided on the bases of pedigree and political structures. In this connection, Ladoja’s struggle to occupy the Oyo Governor’s Office for a fresh term is painfully circumscribed by his platform, ongoing cases with the anti-corruption agencies, public posturing and the incumbent governor’s sterling performance. For, take it or leave it, Ladoja is a leading contender for the governor’s office  who would, in another clime, probably have given any incumbent governor a run for his money. For one, his party has some presence in the state House of Assembly and in the National Assembly. For another, he is a reputable business mogul with a heavy war chest that can never be taken for granted. And, what is more, he has left no one in doubt about his intention to return to the governor’s office by working closely with his former deputy and one-time tormentor-in-chief, Alao-Akala. Partnerships are strategic in politics.

  In Yoruba land, an ethnic nationality in which Ladoja occupies a robust place as a High Chief and indeed a potential Olubadan of Ibadan, there is hardly any greater challenge to a man or woman than a question mark on his/her integrity. Thus, while many of his followers hail him as “a prudent manager of resources’’, the anti-corruption agency has thrown up a challenge that the former governor must battle to a standstill to clear his name. Penultimate week, the Lagos division of the Court of Appeal threw out an appeal he instituted, praying the court to quash the N4.7 billion money laundering charge brought against him by the EFCC. He had, through his counsel, Dapo Olanipekun, appealed  the ruling of a Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, which had earlier refused his prayer to quash the 10-count money laundering charges. In the judgement delivered by Justice Sidi Bage, the appellate court dismissed the appeal and ordered Ladoja to continue his trial at the lower court.  While Ladoja has vowed to challenge the judgement at the Supreme Court, the fact that the political tide in the South-West has turned determinedly against the Peoples Democratic Party and its mutants, including the AP, cannot be overlooked.

Nor has Ladoja’s public posturing helped. When he is not spinning fairy tales (e.g “Mokola bridge was my dream,’’), he is busy castigating the urban renewal policy of the Ajimobi government mouthing platitudes in the hope that such propaganda could come in handy in 2015. The reality however is that the people of Oyo State are tired of such ambush tactics and puerile posturing, particularly as the golden opportunity, offered twice, to validate such preachments was mindlessly squandered. On his part, Alao-Akala, who is, with Babalola, equally battling the anti-graft agencies, leads a PDP platform that is heavily depleted and burdened with its notorious past. The fact that Femi Babalola and Seyi Makinde are contesting on the same platform is a huge minus even though they have, between them, proven to be astute business men and employers of labour, with each boasting of at least 1,000 names in their employ, and they can do that on a larger scale when the time is ripe. They are engaged in philanthropy, however limited, and the age factor is definitely also in their favour. Unfortunately, however, they both lack political experience, and the battle of 2015 is definitely not for political greenhorns. There seems to be little doubt, nevertheless, that they would be valuable material for the councillorship in their respective wards, quietly redeeming, if they can, the badly fractured image of the PDP in the hope that good fortune might smile on them some day. As the Yoruba wisely enjoin, “Ibi pelebe ni a ti n mu oole je,” meaning in effect that big things start small.

Folarin, former Senate Leader, has had his stewardship in the Upper Chamber questioned by a shockingly large section of the Oyo populace. In addition to his PDP drawback, there seems to be a consensus that he cannot successfully dislodge the incumbent governor from office, even if he gets the PDP ticket which, again, is an uphill task for the Ibadan-born politician.

All said and done, there is no doubting the fact that no one is more suitable to lead Oyo State into greatness than the Ajimobi-led government. The major credentials of the government include changing the state from a rural setting to a metropolis and repositioning it for the next generation. Indeed, in less than three years, the Abiola Ajimobi led governments has restored the people’s confidence in governance through people-friendly policies, including the massive road construction efforts across the state, free shuttle buses scheme for school pupils, restoration of pipe-borne water, enhanced security of life and property, among others. The state is cleaner and a new sense of order, direction and discipline has been instilled in the populace.

Instructively, penultimate Thursday, PDP and AP lawmakers in the Oyo State House of Assembly lauded Governor Ajimobi’s strides in the state in the past two years. The Deputy Speaker, Babatunde Olaniyan, said: “You have, in the last two years, demonstrated that you want us all to work together to move Oyo State forward.” His view was echoed by the Minority Leader, Rafiu Adekunle, who said, “You are performing and we want you to perform more. We are very grateful and happy to work with you. Those of us in other political parties cannot see something good and say it is bad.” That is the consensus opinion in the state, and crass politicking cannot change the equation.

Oluwafemi, a public affairs analyst, writes from Ogbomoso, Oyo State.

Friday, 28 February 2014 00:00
Published in Opinion
Written by
Read more... 0

IN Nigeria today, a very disturbing and worrisome problem is the declining quality of teachers due to decline in the quality of teacher training. You will agree with me that hardly any learning is taking place in most of our primary schools today across the country because hardly is any teaching being done at that level. Many primary school teachers simply do not know what to teach because they are not more literate than the pupils they are supposed to teach. A child who comes under the undesirable influence of an incompetent teacher can have his entire school ruined and may even grow to hate books, teachers and the school.

 Let us look at some very serious common mistakes made by some teachers. A teacher was once asked, what is your qualification? She replied, “MCE” instead of “NCE”. She was asked to give the full meaning of “NCE”, she replied, “Natural Certificate in Education” instead of “Nigeria Certificate in Education”. Another teacher was asked, “What do you do for a living?” she replied, “I teaches”. “I am a teacher student.” In the course of teaching, many make serious mistakes: “Jesus turned water into drink.” Another, teaching the alphabet, said with all conviction: Big letter “A”, small letter “A”, instead of capital latter “A” and small letter “a”. Many mix up small letters and capital letters when writing. Most of the primary school teachers pronounce “X” and “OX” or “us”. These days, most teachers abuse the use of abbreviations. For example, they write C.R.S instead of the full meaning, Christian Religious Studies. When teachers were asked to write the full word on the chalkboard, they wrote Christian Religion Study.”

Others wrote “Intergrated Science,” instead of Integrated Science”.

The following are common spelling errors made by teachers during teaching practice exercise:  1.  It is good for us to be jelous/jealous.  2. Satify/Satisfy. 3.   Disrepect/Disrespect 4.   Ballons/Balloons.  5.   Enoironment/Environment. 6.Healt/Health. 7. Flat/Float. 8. Nuresry/ Nursery. 9.Easther/Esther. 1 Prophesy/Prophesied. 11.Shepard/Shepherd. 12.Competitor/Competitor.  The following are some questions drawn by a teacher: 1.  Adam and Eve are obedience to God.  2.  Isaiah gave the prophecy of to the people of Israel.  3.  Why did Cain killed his brother?  4.    Why did God tested Abraham, because God want to test his? _______  5.           ___________ obeyed God and leaves his father house from Haran to the promised land. 6.  The reason why child must obey there parents is to avoid ___________ 7. What the problem s affecting Agriculture in Nigeria?

In 2012, the Delta State government returned some schools to the Catholic Mission. The Mission advertised for teachers. Over 500 teachers applied to teach in the various schools. Our first task was to short-list applicants. Over 200 copies of application letters submitted to the Mission were nothing but a hilarious joke. If not seen, one would imagine it was a tale. In these letters, a lot of errors were observed: autographical [spelling] errors, organisational errors, and lack of cohesion. Almost all the letters had no margin, some underlined capital letters, using the informal diction

“Dear” in a formal letter, wrong use of tenses, wrong appropriateness of punctuation marks, etc.Reading through most of the application letters, one can say that we have a big problem with the teaching and learning of English. The four language skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing, are very important.

If any one doubts the authenticity of the above letters, let that person come to me and I will show him/her the original copies with their names and addresses boldly written on them. I hold very dear to my heart the issue of professionalisation of teaching. Unlike the medical, legal and other professions, teaching has yet to assume professional status in Nigeria. Two major factors are responsible for this: the teachers and their organisations and the government and the public. Teachers’ organisations in Nigeria must behave more like professional organizations and less like trade unions. To do this they must have a positive code of ethics and introduce a classification system within the group.

We need to professionalise the practice of teaching. Teaching in Nigeria cannot be compared to such ‘true’ professions as medicine and law. A profession has a recognised knowledge base, demands rigorous training and certification of its members; fosters a culture of consultation and collaboration in the work place; systematically indoctrinates and “encultures” new members; requires that continuous, regular learning be built into the work cycle; has high public accountability, and takes full responsibility for outcomes; internally maintains high standards of practice; and has members who make autonomous decisions guided by an agreed-upon canon ethics.  None of these characteristics can be claimed for teaching. How, then, can the practice of teaching be so thoroughly overhauled that it will fill everyone of these criteria and thereby transform teaching into a profession? I believe the time has come for the Teachers Registration Council to work hard to actualise the professionalisation of teaching in Nigeria.

First, give teachers a real career. The primary requirement for turning teaching into a career is to offer a highly visible and clearly defined career path, with opportunities, rewards, and advancement for teachers who continue to work in the classroom, teaching children. A career with a clear trajectory offers the opportunity for increased responsibility, salary, and status commensurate with increased skills and demonstrated performance.

It also helps ensure greater accountability for all teachers. The NUT should consider establishing six teaching positions: Chief Instructor, Professional Teacher, Teacher Associate Teacher, Teaching Intern And Instructional Aid. Each position has its own job description, stipulated level of professional training and achievement and licensing requirements.

Every year, we lament the poor performance of candidates in the West African Schools Examination Council [WAEC] exams. We trade blames, we blame teachers, teachers blame government, government blame organized labour and organized labour blame government and we run round circles. If education must improve, the teachers must first be improved. There is no nation that is above her educational system and there is no educational system that is above its teachers. Organizing in-house training for teachers who are poorly prepared from the on-set is a colossal waste of tax payer’s money.

Dr Ogbuagu, former Commissioner  of Education, Delta State, wrote from Effurun.


Thursday, 27 February 2014 00:00
Published in Opinion
Written by
Read more... 2

IN Nigeria today, a very disturbing and worrisome problem is the declining quality of teachers due to decline in the quality of teacher training. You will agree with me that hardly any learning is taking place in most of our primary schools today across the country because hardly is any teaching being done at that level. Many primary school teachers simply do not know what to teach because they are not more literate than the pupils they are supposed to teach. A child who comes under the undesirable influence of an incompetent teacher can have his entire school ruined and may even grow to hate books, teachers and the school.

 Let us look at some very serious common mistakes made by some teachers. A teacher was once asked, what is your qualification? She replied, “MCE” instead of “NCE”. She was asked to give the full meaning of “NCE”, she replied, “Natural Certificate in Education” instead of “Nigeria Certificate in Education”. Another teacher was asked, “What do you do for a living?” she replied, “I teaches”. “I am a teacher student.” In the course of teaching, many make serious mistakes: “Jesus turned water into drink.” Another, teaching the alphabet, said with all conviction: Big letter “A”, small letter “A”, instead of capital latter “A” and small letter “a”. Many mix up small letters and capital letters when writing. Most of the primary school teachers pronounce “X” and “OX” or “us”. These days, most teachers abuse the use of abbreviations. For example, they write C.R.S instead of the full meaning, Christian Religious Studies. When teachers were asked to write the full word on the chalkboard, they wrote Christian Religion Study.”

Others wrote “Intergrated Science,” instead of Integrated Science”.

The following are common spelling errors made by teachers during teaching practice exercise:  1.  It is good for us to be jelous/jealous.  2. Satify/Satisfy. 3.   Disrepect/Disrespect 4.   Ballons/Balloons.  5.   Enoironment/Environment. 6.Healt/Health. 7. Flat/Float. 8. Nuresry/ Nursery. 9.Easther/Esther. 1 Prophesy/Prophesied. 11.Shepard/Shepherd. 12.Competitor/Competitor.  The following are some questions drawn by a teacher: 1.  Adam and Eve are obedience to God.  2.  Isaiah gave the prophecy of to the people of Israel.  3.  Why did Cain killed his brother?  4.    Why did God tested Abraham, because God want to test his? _______  5.           ___________ obeyed God and leaves his father house from Haran to the promised land. 6.  The reason why child must obey there parents is to avoid ___________ 7. What the problem s affecting Agriculture in Nigeria?

In 2012, the Delta State government returned some schools to the Catholic Mission. The Mission advertised for teachers. Over 500 teachers applied to teach in the various schools. Our first task was to short-list applicants. Over 200 copies of application letters submitted to the Mission were nothing but a hilarious joke. If not seen, one would imagine it was a tale. In these letters, a lot of errors were observed: autographical [spelling] errors, organisational errors, and lack of cohesion. Almost all the letters had no margin, some underlined capital letters, using the informal diction

“Dear” in a formal letter, wrong use of tenses, wrong appropriateness of punctuation marks, etc.Reading through most of the application letters, one can say that we have a big problem with the teaching and learning of English. The four language skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing, are very important.

If any one doubts the authenticity of the above letters, let that person come to me and I will show him/her the original copies with their names and addresses boldly written on them. I hold very dear to my heart the issue of professionalisation of teaching. Unlike the medical, legal and other professions, teaching has yet to assume professional status in Nigeria. Two major factors are responsible for this: the teachers and their organisations and the government and the public. Teachers’ organisations in Nigeria must behave more like professional organizations and less like trade unions. To do this they must have a positive code of ethics and introduce a classification system within the group.

We need to professionalise the practice of teaching. Teaching in Nigeria cannot be compared to such ‘true’ professions as medicine and law. A profession has a recognised knowledge base, demands rigorous training and certification of its members; fosters a culture of consultation and collaboration in the work place; systematically indoctrinates and “encultures” new members; requires that continuous, regular learning be built into the work cycle; has high public accountability, and takes full responsibility for outcomes; internally maintains high standards of practice; and has members who make autonomous decisions guided by an agreed-upon canon ethics.  None of these characteristics can be claimed for teaching. How, then, can the practice of teaching be so thoroughly overhauled that it will fill everyone of these criteria and thereby transform teaching into a profession? I believe the time has come for the Teachers Registration Council to work hard to actualise the professionalisation of teaching in Nigeria.

First, give teachers a real career. The primary requirement for turning teaching into a career is to offer a highly visible and clearly defined career path, with opportunities, rewards, and advancement for teachers who continue to work in the classroom, teaching children. A career with a clear trajectory offers the opportunity for increased responsibility, salary, and status commensurate with increased skills and demonstrated performance.

It also helps ensure greater accountability for all teachers. The NUT should consider establishing six teaching positions: Chief Instructor, Professional Teacher, Teacher Associate Teacher, Teaching Intern And Instructional Aid. Each position has its own job description, stipulated level of professional training and achievement and licensing requirements.

Every year, we lament the poor performance of candidates in the West African Schools Examination Council [WAEC] exams. We trade blames, we blame teachers, teachers blame government, government blame organized labour and organized labour blame government and we run round circles. If education must improve, the teachers must first be improved. There is no nation that is above her educational system and there is no educational system that is above its teachers. Organizing in-house training for teachers who are poorly prepared from the on-set is a colossal waste of tax payer’s money.

Dr Ogbuagu, former Commissioner  of Education, Delta State, wrote from Effurun.


Thursday, 27 February 2014 00:00
Published in Opinion
Written by
Read more... 1

THe Director of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO, in Nigeria, Professor Hassana Alidou at a recent launch of the Education For All, EFA, Global Monitoring Report, GMR, said that Nigeria has some of the worst education indicators in the world. In ‘Teaching and learning: Achieving quality for all’, an account by the UNESCO launched 29 Jan 2014, Nigeria is among the 37 countries that are losing money being spent in education, because children are not learning. UNESCO disclosed that the menace is already costing governments $129 billion a year.

The report stressed that despite the money being spent, the rejuvenation of the primary education is not in the near future because of poor quality education that is failing to ensure that children learn.

But speaking in Abuja as at June 2013, when he granted audience to the Director of the Bureau for the Development of Education in Africa, BREDA, an arm of UNESCO, Dr. Ann-Therese Ndog-Jatta, the supervising Minister for Education, Mr Nyesom Wike, declared that President Goodluck Jonathan was fully committed to the elimination of all forms of illiteracy from the country, stressing that there is no way significant development that can take place in the face of illiteracy. Extolling President Jonathan’s giant strides in education, Wike blamed past governments for the challenges being faced in the country’s education sector. “If previous administrations had worked towards eradicating illiteracy the way President Goodluck Jonathan has done in the past two years, we would substantially have tackled this challenge. However, I am happy we are making serious progress with our direct partnership with UNESCO and we shall continue to build on the successes already recorded,” said Wike.

Ten per cent of the global spending is on primary education, yet, hardly a child out of four children can read a single sentence or solve a simple mathematics. UNESCO feared that it would take poorest young women in developing countries of Asia until 2072, for all to be literate. On sub-Saharan Africa, UNESCO lamented that it would take about the next century for all girls to finish lower secondary school.

With the development, pundits decried the supposition by the Federal Government in 2000, boasting of meeting the 2015 Millennium Development Goal in education, whereas the UNESCO said that it would take more than 70 years for all children to have access to at least primary education.

UNESCO tailored the number of children who did not even get basic schooling to 57 million, of which a huge portion was from Nigeria. The number of Nigerian children out of primary school was given as 10.5 million. The number of children in poorer countries who remain illiterate, notwithstanding having been in school, was given as 130 million.

These worrisome figures by UNESCO, however, did not go down well with the stakeholders in the sector. Mr. Lambert Oparah, the Special Assistant to the Supervising Minister of Education, Wike, disagreed with these figures saying, “I don’t know where UNESCO got the statistics from, but I am particular about Nigeria, especially what the Supervising Minister of Education is doing. In the next couple of years, Nigeria will begin to see improved quality of education in Nigeria, given the efforts of the Federal Government towards this effect presently.”

Nevertheless, UNESCO was not alone in its position about the poor state of education in Nigeria. Contrary to Oparah’s position, Mr. Hassan Soweto who is the National Coordinator, Education Rights Campaign, ERC, was of the view that the education sector in the country is nothing to write home about. He contended that there are 10.5 million out of school children in 2013 as compared to 2004, when there were 7.3 million. Soweto revealed that there is less corresponding increase in number of schools compared to the number of applicants to the universities in the country.

At the 11th Education for All Global Monitoring Report by UNESCO, the bleak future that Nigeria’s education sector faces means that it would not be able to meet EFA’s Goals 1, 2 and 4 by the year 2015. According to UNESCO’s report, Nigeria is one of the only 15 countries that the report projects will have fewer than 80 per cent of its primary school age children enrolled by 2015. Nigeria’s out-of-school population not only grew the most in terms of any country in the world since 2004-2005 by 3.4 million, but also had the 4th highest growth rate. It was revealed by analysts that while huge sums of money are yearly budgeted for the education sector in the country, the 2014 budgetary allocation to education in particular, cannot sufficiently address its numerous woes.

There are challenges and prospects of achieving the six goals of EFA, adopted in Dakar in 2000, according to Professor Alidou, but inequality and inequity are very pronounced in certain parts of the country, as she noted in an EFA global monitoring report. As UNESCO seemingly promised to give-a-hand to the federal government in education, developmental agenda and security challenges, hope has been raised in the Nigeria’s education sector.

Speaking at the lunch of Opo Imo by the Osun state government last year, Senator Sola Adeyeye, the Deputy Chairman, Senate Committee on Education, challenged the leaders of Nigeria to integrate technology into Nigeria’s education system. “Nigeria could raise nearly half a billion dollars per year for education if 20 per cent of its oil revenue was invested in the sector. The amount raised would be almost three times what the country currently receives in aid to education,” he said.

Onwumere is a public affairs analyst

Thursday, 27 February 2014 00:00
Published in Opinion
Written by
Read more... 0

The stormy ending of Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi’s tenure as Nigeria’s Central Bank Governor is not coming as a surprise to many keen followers of recent events around the apex bank. The CBN has, in the past few months, become a theatre of melodramas, with the suspended CBN governor’s histrionics featuring very prominently in each episode. As in melodramas, sensationalism was a very visible feature in the acts, appealing to the emotions of Nigerians.  

 Since the announcement of the suspension, there have been waves of comments in the media profiling the pros and cons of the move by the President. But what appears to be deliberately snubbed in the avalanche of discussions on the matter is the crux of the suspension itself. There is the overwhelming departure of majority of those challenging the suspension from what I consider the crux of the matter - the Federal Government’s allegations of serial infractions and financial recklessness by Sanusi.  I am asking that rather than belabour the suspension issue with emotions and unfounded sentiments, Nigerians should make the issues raised against Mallam Sanusi by the Federal Government the epicenter of the debate.

Let us discuss the content of the suspension as in the letter to Sanusi by the Secretary to the Federal Government.The argument replete in the media that Sanusi’s sack stems from the man’s recent whistle-blowing is as juvenile as it is sentimental. What difference will the sack make in the alleged case of some missing billions of Nigeria’s petrodollars? If anything, the suspension of Sanusi will only successfully concentrate international and local attention on the said missing money, thereby forcing the Federal Government to take seriously and make more transparent, the facts-finding process on the whereabouts of the funds. Sanusi’s suspension has just placed a renewed burden on the Federal Government  to not only come out with the money if truly it is missing, but to also have heads rolling in the petroleum sector in like manner as Sanusi is paying for alleged misconduct in the CBN.

 Sanusi’s removal has not stopped the fact that the National Assembly is investigating his claims of the missing money. And come to think of it, Sanusi’s claim of some missing money cannot be bought wholesale in the first place. By now, there is a question of credibility on his claims following his faux pas some months ago on a similar claim of some unremitted monies by the Nigerian National Petroleum Cooperation. Sanusi disappointed Nigerians with his reversal of self at the Senate few days after his claim. First it was 49 billion dollars that he said was missing. He would later reverse himself to 12 billion and further to 10 billion after admitting that he got his figures wrong, and then to 20 billion dollars in what now appears like a childish prank played on Nigerians by a high-ranking government official.

 Rather than condemn the suspension outright, the challenge before those questioning the President’s action is to ask Sanusi to come out in defense of the hordes of allegations of financial recklessness and lawlessness given as reasons for his suspension from office. The proper challenge would be to provide convincing evidence that Mallam Sanusi did not persistently contravene Section 15 subsection 1(a) of the Public Procurement Act by engaging in the procurement of goods and services amounting to billions of naira without the permission of the Bureau of Public Procurement. It would amount to mere noise-making to challenge Sanusi’s suspension without providing evidences to the contrary that his spendthrift ‘intervention projects’ were illegal, self-serving and  without adherence to the federal character principles as enshrined in our constitution.

 By now, Sanusi should have begun to roll out comprehensive facts to the effect that, as against the scathing reports to the President by the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, he complied with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) as required by the law; and never breached the Memorandum of Understanding signed with deposit money banks by unlawfully utilising the banking resolution, sinking funds without requisite approvals. It appears that Nigerians’ emotions are being deliberately tapped on to suppress what might be the truth. Otherwise, those close to Sanusi would have told the man that rather than his pity-party adventure by giving the impression of being witch-hunted, the honourable thing to do is simply to put the records straight on his alleged acquisition of seven  per cent shares worth more than 7 billion naira in a Malaysian Islamic Corporation without the approval of the President and contrary to the CBN Act 2007.

 What is Sanusi’s response to his alleged spending of over N1.2 billion on ‘private guards’ and ‘lunch for policemen’, almost three times of that sum on advertising the CBN, and more than N20 billion on ‘legal and professional  fees’? Amongst others, these are the issues which the Federal  Government has raised as grounds for the easing off of Mallam Sanusi. Why would you set standards for passing judgment on another man but would not have same standards adopted in judging you? Or has equity ceased to be approached with clean hands? The challenge against Sanusi’s removal can only make sense within the social media, TV and radio stations

 A concern which is also not to be ignored is the man’s of irreverence of authority. Sanusi’s relationship with the Presidency has overtime revealed just how much he may have been contemptuously dealing with his employer, a result of which was his recurring face-offons with the President and other high-ranking members of the executive.  Sanusi told  The Financial Times of London some years ago that his ambition is to be the Emir of Kano. But as a crowned Prince and one whose ambition - ordinate or inordinate - is to one day occupy a seat as revered as that of the Emir, I believe that disobedience to constituted authority and treating of people in high offices with sassiness should feature least in his character. To even think that a crowned Prince would openly express the urgency in his spirit to succeed a living Emir is a moral question we can leave for another day’s debate.

Luke is a member of  the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014 00:00
Published in Opinion
Written by
Read more... 0

The contents of the website are copyright of African Newspapers of Nigeria (ANN) Plc. All rights, including copyright, in the content of ANN Plc web pages are owned or controlled for these purposes by ANN Plc. You are not permitted to copy, re-produce, download, store (in any medium), adapt or change in any way the content of this website for any other purpose whatsoever without the prior written permission of the ANN Plc. In accessing this website, you agree that you may only download the content for your own personal and non-commercial use. © Copyright 2004-2014 African Newspapers of Nigeria Plc | All Rights Reserved | Site Designed by Tribune Web Team

Top Desktop version