Turning invasive aquatic weed to successful business in Lagos

This is a fascinating story coming from our very own Lagos, Naija! Only seven minutes long talk. I learnt so much about usefulness of hyacinth plant. I have seen these plants so many times that I never thought it could be this useful to turn to household and office items.

And so many names given to hyacinth from all of our regions and political meaning attached to each is just eye-opening – all of this is completely new to me. I never knew hyacinth is called ‘gbeborun‘ (busybody).

Ms Achenyo Idachaba is such an incredible speaker, concise and very informative with lots of wit (one needs to know a bit about Nigeria to get the joke).

I do hope this is harvested in a way that encourages more growth – I bet they likely provide shelter/shade for some aquatic dwellers.

Enjoy this wonderful talk, hope you learn something new like I did.

 

Boy, 3 drank caustic soda at school, who should be held accountable: the school or the state?

Paying for insurance of any kind isn’t what we take seriously in Nigeria. In big cities, it is taking ground a bit, it is only minority who understands the importance of insurance policy especially business insurance.

My children’s school has insurance to cover them from serious financial loss in case of accident – this is part of the school fees and I believe it is compulsory. Either they have insurance or they face paying out of pocket for any accident.

While private schools is very common in Nigeria, so common every neighbourhood has one, especially in the south, insurance policy to protect the children isn’t a priority.

If accident happens especially in the mushroom schools that ordinary citizens were forced to enrol their children in due to lack of better state/federal schools – parents pick up the pieces and pray to God to intervene.

One of the reasons, I have found out that insurance policy for schools is very important is that it protects the children – so there will be no dispute about their care and most importantly that they receive timely intervention.

Darasimi Ogunwunmi, a three year old boy attends Fahsal Children’s School, Ilupeju Estate, Idiroko, Ogun State. On Nov 19 2015, like many children of his age, when he was thirsty, he mistook caustic soda that his teacher placed on the floor for something that could quench his thirst – he ended up in hospital later in the day.

Reportedly, the school was in the process of expanding their business line to soap making, and the processing is done right within easy reach of toddlers.

Here I wondered if Mrs Fausat Abubakar, the proprietor of the school has her own children or that of her family at the school.

Accidents happen all the time but to assume it wouldn’t which leads to failure to ring-fence business i.e having no insurance is a big problem in Nigeria.

It is utter carelessness that chemicals for soap is left lying around within children’s reach. Also after the poor Darasimi drank the chemical, his stomach wall must have been burnt before being rushed to the hospital as he was already through up blood.

Upsetting to see that the school proprietor did not take full responsibility by being there for the poor boy throughout the ordeal, reading through the story reveals the ugly side of Nigeria business owners especially schools where they ducked rather than being accountable during crisis – you can hardly blame them because they’d get away with it.

Parents are now left with raising money for the boy’s operation. I shake my head at the comments asking Ogun state government to step up and help the family – I support that everyone who can should chip in to help the boy so hopefully be giving a second chance at life but what about the call to hold Mrs Fausat Abubakar accountable for every kobo spent?

How about using lesson from this and many other examples from the past to make sure that everyone who founded schools is not all about profit alone, but also to take utmost care to protect children in their care?

Darasimi could not eat due to sore stomach, hence his skeletal picture in a perfect world, his growing body could have been nourished via tube while dealing with the effect of chemical poison in his stomach.

I pray Darasimi responds well to treatment.

I hope the school owner is made to pay for all costs incurred, otherwise where is justice for little ones in our midsts?

Growing menace of ransom

Stitch in time saves nine, goes the saying.

For the last 5 years at least, kidnapping has become another usual news that we no longer startle about.

The target used to be politicians, their family members and comrades – not anymore. Teachers, doctors and everyone in-between is now target , even the clergies are not spared.

I read with pity kidnappers haggling back and forth with a Catholic church in Lagos over a priest and his wife release, the kidnappers must have miscalculated how much the priest was worth or perhaps how much the church could afford to pay for a missing clergy. At first instance, they asked for 100M naira ( around $500k) isn’t that unbelievable? After much bargaining the priest was released but the wife was detained until more money was paid. The priest and his wife was kidnapped on their return to Lagos from Delta State.

In all of the cases of abductions that I have read, from Ms Adichie’s father, Chief Falae to former president GEJ many relatives – ransom was paid for release.

Therefore, kidnapping is lucrative business in Nigeria that guarantee huge returns.

Dr Biodun Ogungbo writes regularly on health matters for Punch Newspaper, usually his articles are light-hearted keeping Nigerians informed on health matters and tips to stay healthy.

This week his writing was of concern for his abducted colleagues across the country. He narrated how doctors were being kidnapped on return from work, those on humanitarian mission were not spared.

It got so bad that doctors in Rivers boycott work so state government could pay attention to the issue and find a way to protect medical doctors from further kidnap.

This is sad, it is worrying that we will leave this issue until roadside hawkers can no longer be guaranteed to hawk safely on their streets.

Kidnappers have one goal – to extort the maximum amount of money individual is willing to part with. The only reason the doctors have been the target is the assumption that all doctors swim in endless cash and because their skills is so valuable, family, friends or government body will be willing to pay for their release.

My understanding of Dr Ogbungbo’s article can be summed up as iku to n pa ojugba eni, owe lo n pa fun ni (the death that keeps killing ones’ mates, calls for attention).

In order to stop kidnappers, paying ransom must be stopped – this will only happen if both community and government work together to oust those who choose kidnapping as a career in our communities and government take necessary action to deal with them.

While we can’t afford to lose the few doctors we have, the problem with kidnapping is that they will attack anyone or any profession that guarantees ransom – there should be a way to disincentify these criminals.

On gender inequality: exclusion fosters stereotypes

“I am sorry Aunty” 

“Don’t be silly, it’s not your fault and for what it’s worth, I am sorry that these guys remain to wallow in their own ignorance – all in all, it’s their loss, brother.”

Nephew laughed, he loves to laugh. My nephew thinks ‘sorry’ is enough to take sexism away. He was concerned about it and knew things have to change as it is just ridiculous people get left out of activities just because of their gender.

He translates Yoruba to English at the church. From my experience, youths going to most of our traditional Pentecostal churches benefit more when participating in any of the many roles in the church – sitting in the crowd for me is depressing.

However, roles in our traditional Pentecostal churches (i.e CAC or TAC) are insanely sexist.

Take for example translation role in the church. Many of our churches do not allow women to participate even if they are a lot better suited for the role than the men in the church – not for any other reason than being a female.

I am really proud of my nephew being useful to himself and the community, translating role helps boast confidence and improve language depth for him as well as encouragement to younger kids in the crowd.

Why would anyone need Yoruba-English or English-Yoruba translation in a small town where most people speak the same language? Even the non Yoruba speakers around have very good grasp of the language. Nobody needs the translation, not in my area at least, but that’s a whole different story.

So nephew plays the drums, guitar and interprets in the church – I am proud of him.

Here is the flip side; his own 17 year old sister,  who has better primary and secondary education (not bragging for her but to highlight a point) is only allowed to be in the choir – can’t play instrument. Even when those who have a degree can’t interpret.

The church is known for given their youths chance to learn and play instruments within the church, however this is only for the boys not girls. Now, this may be slightly different in big city like Lagos, but even my sister who goes to the same church in Ibadan agrees is the same case in her big church.

So niece bought her own keyboard and decided to learn outside of the church – she is aware that her gender should not be a deterrent to her ambitions/interests.

What would you do differently, Aunty? My niece asked.

I will probably stick with it. However, in a year’s time when you are likely to be out of home to college, if I still really want to go to church (it is not all bad) I will definitely ‘shop’ around. I am not going to waste my time in any gatherings that I am denied full participation just because of my gender.

You owe it to yourself to be in the gatherings of people who appreciates your individuality and gives you opportunity to excel, not those who have memorised one bible verse since the beginning of time and refused to see the world is moving on from sexism.

The challenge I find is that there are very few activities around us. What I will encourage is to fill your free time with stuff that inspire.

Spiritual journey, I find is individual, parents will try their best to set your foot in the right path (or what they think is the right path).

However, at 18 it is your job to be ‘born again,’ re access your path as you can no longer blame anyone.

In a few years’ time you are likely to realise most of the teachings were hogwash – just wait and see. I concluded.

I did my part.

Here is an excellent free online course sponsored by Gender Hub Nigeria.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pedophila: Protecting children

A few months ago, there was a story of a Nigerian guy serving a long jail term in a USA prison for raping his nine year old daughter.

The story goes that Emmanuel Ngene, like many Nigerians relocated to the States in the ’80s and subsequently returned to Nigeria for a wife. They had 3 children, wife and children lived in Nigeria until 2007.

From the same year that the Emmanuel Ngene’s family joined them in the States, his nine year old reportedly had been raped by the father, in 2008 the mother took the young girl to the doctors as she had been physically abused by the father and had marks on her body to show, at the same visit, the girl told the medical team how her father had been raping her. Full story here.

After the legal proceedings including cross checking to be sure the girl’s story was not made up to get her father in trouble (I am not sure why a nine year old girl would ever do that), Mr Ngene was served a long jail sentence.

The trial court entered 15 separate judgments. The court sentenced defendant to four consecutive aggravated-range sentences of 300 to 369 months imprisonment for the four counts of first degree rape; three consecutive aggravated-range sentences of 300 to 369 months imprisonment for the three counts of first degree sex offense; four consecutive presumptive-range sentences of 16 to 20 months imprisonment for the four counts of incest; and four consecutive presumptive-range sentences of 16 to 20 months for the four counts of indecent liberties with a child. Defendant timely appealed to this Court.”

Both Mr Ngene and his wife told different stories. The little girl’s story is consistent with the findings of medical team – she has been abused, raped consistently through out her short time in the States.

Mr Ngene said she was raped in Nigeria where they moved from whereas poor girl gave details of how her father had raped her. Mr Ngene said his wife had been complaining about how her expectations of the US was farther from reality, so she was getting back to him by making the girl lie.

A few Nigeria news papers that carried this news managed to look past the poor girl that was violated by the person she trusted the most. The focus was on how women brought to the USA changed after they have gotten qualifications and financially independent.

And the most ‘intriguing’ comment I read was that ‘our men don’t rape, that is not our culture’ – that is where I thought we have a long way to go if people who have access to the internet and presumably some education are still this much deep in denial.

In this January alone, leaving aside adult rape, I have listened to a 3 year old girl talking clearly about her uncle raping her, the mother shared the video on Facebook, she wanted to raise money to prosecute the uncle. Another one of a 4 year old raped by a neighbour. And another one whose wife caught him in the ‘act’ with his 3 year old daughter. The list go on.

The depravity is insanity. It breeds contempt especially if these children receive no support from general public.

Too many cases that is sad because the country has failed to realise that Paedophile sometimes has family and even if they have more than one adult sex partner, they will still prey on children including their own.

I believe Cindy’s story (the USA girl) and I am glad that she has moved to a country where Paedophile especially when it is a family member attracts maximum punishment.

I wish Cindy all the best in the future.

Nigeria six social protection programme

Nigeria news has to be taken as a pinch of salt until it actual materialised. Often, what get spread for public consumption is not the entire picture, and other times government officials change their minds without acknowledging errors in prior information for the fear of being criticised.

The other day, I read that Prof Osinbajo had clarified the scheme of free ₦5k for the unemployed graduate – now we learn that the scheme is meant to provide vocational training for unemployed youths, graduates or otherwise. This to me sounds a lot better than cash in hand.

And again, I am treating this lightly until I see/hear ordinary folks down in small towns benefitting.

I suppose it is safe to treat this infographics as authentic given Prof Osinbajo signed6 Social protection programmes it.

I am hoping that one day there will be a follow up document that explains the highlighted areas in the infographic as it will help greatly.

Looking at point 3 – The monthly unconditional cash transfer of ₦5k for the extremely poor Nigerians. Who are these extremely poor Nigerians and how are their condition assessed? Here I am only curious and no ulterior motive whatsoever. However, in the last few years whenever the talk about poor Nigerians came up, the eye is in the northern part of the country. So we have lots of essential poverty alleviation programs from Unicef providing cash in hand for girls to stay in school and last regime providing Aljamari schools for begging street children.

Additionally, we have  questionable programs with government paying millions of naira so adult men could marry their third or fourth wife, and adult women re marry their third or fourth husband as the previous ones conveniently drove them out, while the children roam the streets. That, and the pilgrimage for many people who would never have spent their hard-earned cash on such a trip.

Yet, genuinely, poverty is rife – no kidding. But, where do we draw the line so leaders are held accountable?

Here is another angle, the one we ignore to talk about. Today in the south, we have people who are almost if not on the same level in ‘poverty class’ as some folks in the north, but this may not be that obvious as they are tucked away in our villages and small towns.

As a teenager, I used to live in a house in the late ’80s in the ‘rich’ south with a family who hailed from Gbongan – I have never seen anyone this poor in my life, so poor Baba Rọ́pò had to wash his clothes with a fist sized stone to scrub the stains off. Their food is horrible. One day my sisters and I returned from school holiday to learn that Baba Rọ́pò had died. He died after vomiting bucket filled with green stuff, and of course no hospital visit whatsoever because you need money for that.

More recently, three years ago, my sister helped with collating some information in town as a group were looking into providing solar lanterns to selected students. She helped so the most vulnerable ones get this.

There are some areas in town where the local crisis hits really badly 18 years ago,  many people, especially elderly still live in half burnt houses because there is no where else to go and their farms had been seized. She was especially emotional with an elderly man who was blind in one eye and had nowhere to turn to.

I know my focus is in the town that I am familiar with, it is the same case for folks in Ile-Ife and not too surprising that travelling throughout our SW even areas with no local crisis, we still have lots of people like this.

Example of this is the osinbajo-father picture of Prof Osinbajo took during campaign in Ogun state. It is not enough to take photos of the villagers just to get votes, it is important to incorporate these people into the plan as well.

To see how terrible this is in the south for some folks, one needs to visit our villages especially the schools, roads – they don’t bite, anyone can do this and I am hoping Prof would trace his steps back to the campaign routes.

My point here is that, this time let’s make it all inclusive social welfare, and this means the 1M people the scheme intends to help reach the poorest of all our regions.

 

Burning bush, unlike the Exodus story

In a lawless town, no one can be accused of any offence, goes the local saying.  Only that in Nigeria we claim that we have rule of law, however it only applies sporadically mostly to the commoners, the no name people.

Will this prophet of Celestial Church of christ, Abule Egba be arrested or prosecuted even. Adult members of the church were there during the church service to testify to the miracle act but this is Nigeria, the same church likely to open in a few weeks for business as usual.

It is hard to lay blames all the time on religious leaders especially when their victim is an adult. Such is the case of this woman, Bosede. 

“Our prophet said the spirit of God whispered to him that I would not burn if he sets me on fire. When I came out, they poured kerosene on my body and set me ablaze. But, unfortunately, I was burnt beyond recognition and before the other church members could get water, the deed had already been done.”

In the first instance, I thought this prophet is insane for setting Bosede on fire blaming it on God’s voices, then I realise it is not just the prophet of Celestial Church of Christ Abule Egba, Lagos that needs serious help, also Bosede who as an adult allowed herself to be a recipient of the prophet’s experiment.

If God was really speaking to the prophet that he could successfully pour kerosene on someone, set it alight without burning, why can he (the prophet) run the test on himself?

Now poor Bosede lie in agony at the hospital, with what look like 3rd degree burn, hope she gets better soon. Has Bosede learnt anything? Maybe, maybe not.

 

Sabada

I have heard ‘Sábàdà’ so many times over the years, usually during events when the drummers were doing their job. The word is associated with people of Modakeke. The drum message goes:

Sabada ni e lu fun, Modakeke lo ti wa – (Beat sabada for him, he is from Modakeke). For some reason, like intoxication, people will rise up to move their hips in rhythmic fashion – they’d dance for the recognition.

Once you get the grip on Yoruba language, it is not hard to decipher the meaning of any words, knowledge of accents and dots makes it a lot easier – creativity with words is endless.

However, looking at the word ‘sabada’ on its own – the meaning beats me. And interesting enough, a few elders I know agreed it to be a new word, perhaps in use in the last 30 years or so (yet to get hold of the relevant book).

As with all other languages of the world – language does not exist on its own, it evolves, changes, improves by the events of the society and the people therein – adding to the beauty of it all.

But where does Sábàdà come from and why is it associated with this group of people, the Modakekes?

Ẹwà Èdè – Beauty of Language

I found out that Sábàdà is a relatively new word coined Dr Oladiran Ajayi who was once a lecturer at University of Ibadan Chemistry Department and a passionate writer on the issue around Yoruba culture & tradition and how Modakeke-Ife fits into it.

This post isn’t about Sábàdà alone, it is more about how peaceful co existence facilitates progress.

Dec 26th 2015 was 32nd Akoraye Day – it is the town’s own festival to celebrate gift of life. It would have been the 34th but we missed two years 1997 & 2000. Read about that here

History, I have found is powerful. Knowing the past allows us to plan to execute actions differently if we ever expected different results.

On this day, I was with a friend, she is a fellow Modakeke and her husband is mixed (not race) His father is from Modakeke and Mother from Ile Ife. (what an irony) Our talks was all around our town, how we all are hoping that permanent (not pretend) peace reigns.

Permanent peace here means people in both towns and villages can go about their business with no fear for their lives.

“Oh well, let’s thank God now, abi? At least there’s more awareness and something promising is happening.” I said.

Then a text message about Ooni Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja II came through that reads “Oba Enitan Ogunwusi is also present.” I showed the message to the adults around me – everyone was happy!

We were over three thousand miles away, all lived through the last 35 years and for the first time a monarch, in our lifetime deem it fit to step on to the soil next door to jubilate with fellow Yorubas, fellow Nigerians and fellow humans – well, Ooni Ogunwusi is making history and a positive one.

When people follow what they communicate with actions, then it means a lot.

I have heard and read online about Ooni Ogunwusi’s  insistent on bringing back permanent peace both in towns and villages – that is commendable.

My two kobo here is that – B’ina ko ba tan lori, ẹjẹ kii tan lekanna – (Lice infested clothes encourages ones fingers to be feasted on).

E f’ori jin omo, to ba se bi owe o.

I am not suggesting this will be an easy task given our long history, however, I hope Ooni Ogunwusi would look into making it possible for our farmers to return to their farms and villages. These are the people who managed to survive the massacre in the farms between 1997 and 2000. Residents of both towns were affected. Some of these people are still picking up pieces of their lives after 18years.

I know this is a lot to ask, but then again, Ooni Ogunwusi is Enitan (person of history), you have the authority to change the course of history – mend the broken hearts.

K’ade pe l’ori.

Pareto Principle according to master of all disciplines

A few years ago driving on Ife-Ibadan motorway, a friend and I chatted about the numerous billboards by the road side. Most of which were religious ones, all from different pentecostal churches – from miracle children, prosperity, deliverance from village witches to finding perfect life partner. It is incredible really, most of our religious leaders are experts in everything under the sun because God has called them.

Then he told me a story, a brilliant story of a man of God who prayed for a certain politician and spoke to God on his behalf, and God being all-powerful answered the politician’s prayers and became a governor of a state in our dear land Nigeria and in return he gave the church 100M naira as a thanksgiving.

I turned to my friend and asked if the money that the politician ‘shared’ belonged to babanla baba politician yen?

This is not an isolated case, it is very common tactic used by most of Nigeria Pentecostal leaders most especially the big ones. They are all the same, a quick search online will reveal plenty to read.

My friend and I talked about how this is simple, if a politician gives a pastor outrageous amount of money he could never have earned in 10 years as a thanksgiving gift, we all knew that is the health care, water, road and education funds taken away from the people – it is no brainer as budget is finite.

Now, Pastor Ashinmolowo of KICC London is a funny guy and really should just face his ministry and leave President Buhari to spend as much time as he could to fish out where $2.1B disappeared to –  those Nigerians who are at the bottom are in no hurry as they are already down. If they happen to suffer a bit more now, they will not die – the future will be brighter for all of us if for once and all some scape goats are punished.

“President Buhari is a man of great integrity, who wants the best for the country. But if he spends all his time pursuing looters, the majority of us who did not steal will suffer” “Therefore, he must use the Parento’s Principle to approach governance. If you have your eyes permanently on the rear view mirror, you cannot drive fast. The past deserves just 20% attention,” Pastor Ashimolowo

Reading the above statement from the pastor, the first thing that came to mind was to ask the minister of God the last time he was at CAC Oke Aanu Akarabata, Modakeke. He was once a worker there as Ologba (training evangelist) I believe the school there was in okay condition at the time, this is how it looks today, empty and used as aatan (dumpster)DSC_6654

DSC_6651

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most of Nigerian big Pentecostal preachers originated from Osun State, they are all alive when a section of it was on ‘fire’ God did not ‘speak’ to them then.

Most of them are the biggest headache for Nigeria especially the last seven years where they were able to manipulate GEJ with daily ‘vision’ of heaven. Now, with the present administration who is a Muslim and need not daily devotion, fighting corruption is a waste of time to them and Oga pastor teaching Economic principle.

What an irony.

 

Life of a nine year old maid

A town with no law, there is no sin there –  so goes a Yoruba proverb.

Precious Chinwedu, a nine year old girl who received boiling hot water bath as a punishment for allegedly stolen crayfish is another reminder that there must be a system where children is protected by law of the land beyond  cheap court fine.

The story goes that Precious arrived in Lagos July last year from Imo state to be a live in maid for Madam Mbakwe who has a seven month old baby in Lagos.

I suppose part of the deal was that Precious be educated as she is in primary 3. This story is sad on many levels. Who sends a nine-year old child away to work as a maid? How much work can a nine-year old girl who goes to school during the day can actually do to help Madam Mbakwa?

From experience arrangement like this is quite common in Nigeria, however it often happens with family member or someone related in one way or the other but in Precious’ there was no mention of her being relation of Madam Mbakwa.

This is why rule exists to protect children so no adults be it their parents or outside of home can have absolute power over them.

A neighbour testifies to Mbakwa’s cruelty towards Precious – “If any of the neighbours gave her food, she would beat her. We talked to her several times to stop beating the girl, but she refused. I was not at home on the day the incident happened, she did not allow anybody to intervene,”

Looking at the sorry photo of Mbakwa online, one can not rule out possibility of postpartum depression. I know this is rarely a ‘thing’ to take seriously in Naija but yet it is a very serious issue affecting many new mothers the world over -this in anyway does not excuse the treatment she gave to her employee.

I only wish parents from small towns have just enough number of children they are able to look after. Sending children to live outside of home as employee when they are still children themselves is never the best option, rarely in the child’s best interest.

Precious talked about wanting to go back to her parents, I hope the law enforcement officer on her case at least make this happen for the poor child.

Ẹkún àlọ ni t’ahun, t’àbọ̀ ni t’àna ẹ̀: Dasuki had the first laugh

Ahun or Alábahun and Ìjàpá are names referring to one animal – tortoise. Tortoise is one of the most used in Yoruba folklore, usually a male figure. He is cunning, downright cruel (like how he got Monkey who was his friend into trouble), he can be greedy, selfish etc.

Tortoise appears a lot in our stories to pass on lessons on who or what not to be. Sometimes, in rare occasions he is gentle and docile (like in the story of him and his inlaws).

Here’s a poem that comes to mind today while I was thinking of #Dasukigate saga. It is likely one of Alawiye’s poems.

Ìjàpá t’ìrókò, ọkọ *Yánníbo 

Ọlọ́gbọ́n ẹ̀wẹ́, oníkùn ọ̀tẹ̀

A f’ọgbọ́n gb’ara re l’ọ́jọ́ búburú

*A fi àìgbọ́n de ara rẹ̀ ní ìgbèkùn…

The important and relevant lines that fit Dasuki gate case is the fourth line roughly translated as:

*’The one, who due to lack of wisdom entangles himself.’

Nigeria has not been this interesting and at the same time stressful in a long time. Former National security adviser, Sambo Dasuki definitely is not going to go down alone. Ever since  he was first arrested in December 2015 for diverting $2.1B to individual and private company accounts instead of spending the cash for intended purposes – to fight the Boko Haram, he has been dropping names, lots of them – people who had a slice of the pie.

Last week, the nation’s one time Minister of Finance and Secretary to former president Babangida and a presidential candidate, Baba Olu Falae was added to the list, the old man received ₦100M from Dasuki.

₦100M is about $USD500,000 – this is a massive amount of money in any country. Olu Falae admitted collecting the cash. Money for what purpose, you ask? – E seun, ba se ma n bini niyen o (thank you, that’s how one asks o).

Nigerians reaction to any event is always ‘colourful,’ sometimes more than the event itself. Here’s is a glimpse on SaharaReporters. Apparently some Nigerians think ‘we should just move on’ as if humans are capable of changing behaviour without consequences of their actions.

Here I remember the incredible African American, Harriet Tubman nicknamed ‘Agent Moses’ so she could help out other blacks escape slavery:

“I freed a thousand slaves I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.” HT
“I grew up like a neglected weed – ignorant of liberty, having no experience of it.” HT

These two quotes are for the age group who once experienced good public education/health care services before the headquarters were moved to the States, UK, India and all around the globe where only the elite can access.

And the so called youths, the under 30s who were born into deep mess – always knew Nigeria to be knee-deep in corruption.

While it is clear corruption isn’t our only problem, investigation of everyone involved in Dasukigate is to everyone’s benefit. It means more money will be refunded, it means (and I am praying) criminal charges for illegal spending/sharing of public fund is likely. And most importantly, those who are die-hard tribalists can see that all looters are in every single tribe we have – that alone will ease the needless tribal tension that only work to confuse people.

Next few months will get more colourful. Reading some of the comments from Naija people, the common concession of why Dasuki ‘dash’ out money to key people is that he probably believe he had a chance of becoming president come 2019 – oh well, that dream hasn’t even form before it shatters.

Ẹkun àlọ ni t’ahun, t’àbọ̀ ni t’àna ẹ̀ – Tortoise had the first cry, the last cry is for the stubborn inlaws. In this context, people of Borno and everywhere that Boko Haram touches cried first, now it is time for Dasukigate’s turn.

*Yánníbo  – Yoruba for female tortoise.

The real losers of a Nigerian university impulsive strikes

In the last 16 years at least, OAU is mostly known for its foolhardy strike actions more than for its academic excellence. If the lecturers weren’t on strike, it would be students or the non teaching staff. Usually, the only losers of the lot were the students whose 4 year degree turns out to be 5 year if they were lucky.

One thing I have learnt about our love-hate nation that is Nigeria is that looking up to the government to solve all our problems is never the best strategy because calling on the government is like calling out ‘that black girl’ from a crowd in a place like Nigeria where everyone is black. Well, people would try to explain different shades of blackness but that never hold water.

Around 20th of November 2015, speaking to a friend at the school, he was very happy with his progress, lectures have been running smoothly for a while. He entered OAU in 2012, had witnessed several school closures for many reasons – from local elections to student protesting against tuition increase.

Strike ranges from 2 weeks to several months, the longest he had experienced was 6 months. Nigeria post secondary schools – Colleges of Education, Polytechnics and universities across the country are known for going on strikes but OAU campus is the mother of all.

Now in 2015 he is in year 3 second semester. If things were to run the way it was meant to, he should have been in his final year working on his thesis.

November 30 at 9am he texted to say students were protesting against awful hostel conditions At 7:30pm, he texted again to say the school management is threatening them with closure if protest persists.

So I asked what is going on at the school or in town in the next few weeks because if history has thought me anything about school closure especially at OAU, there is a pattern, sometimes it makes absolutely no sense, but that is just how it goes. In early December there is a plan for convocation and another big event in town – OAU administrators have never learnt to separate the school from events in town/state.

For example, in the past, OAU closes its campus for a whole day so GEJ could campaign, it closes door during last NUGA (games the school hosted meant to inspire students) – yes, some actions beat any sensibility.

Pack your load and plan for Christmas trips – your school will close, I said jokingly.

On December 2nd, OAU announced school closure and the management wanted the students off the campus the very next day.

This strike action call by the OAU management was done with no regards whatsoever to the welfare of other people whose works support the smooth running of the school – the independent stores at the New Market and SUB such as bookshops, restaurants, photocopiers, provision stores etc.

To summoned school closure given only a couple of days notice just three weeks to Christmas undoubtedly leaves tens if not hundreds of people to leave their day job does not indicate a school management with thorough assessment of implications of their actions on neither the students nor their community.

There is assumption that school management are the best to judge situation and that their actions usually is the right one, however, looking to the past history of strike actions, it is mostly about management avoiding to do what they are paid to do while making sure there’s minimum negative impact on the students and the community whose services support the smooth running of the school.

OAU resumes back tomorrow Jan 11th after six whole weeks of pay without work – best wishes to the students and the independent store owners.

Whether strike actions was initiated by the academic, non academic staff or the students – the only people missing out are the students and the independent store keepers – my question is who is looking after the interests of these people?