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Education

Seun Bisuga: Who will educate Nigerians

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Sometimes I wonder, whose burden is it to educate Nigerians? Before now, I thought the problem was with the millennials who have almost dedicated their lives to social media but increasingly it is the adults that are most illiterate. So, I ask again, who will educate Nigerians?

Most of the misconception and falsehood that holds sway today actually generated from them and was handed over to the next generation. So the question, who will educate Nigerians, is a big one.

In today’s world, we have political and religious leaders who will distort history and spin our culture and tradition to a yarn that favours them. We have millienials whose smartphones are way smarter than them and to make it worse, Google Assistant and Siri are on most phones just to help but they fail to take advantage of these tools.

One issue at hand that has shown that Nigerians are largely illiterate and uneducated is that of the Xenophobic attacks on Africans and including Nigerians. Two wrongs don’t make a right but not for some Nigerians, it’s retaliation or nothing most of which has been fuelled by fake news from supposed influencers on social media.

Many of these people who think they are targeting South Africans by attacking their businesses here, have only succeeded in making sure fellow Nigerians become jobless and possibly broke. Not many of them know that MTN, DStv, Shoprite and other South African businesses lease properties in Nigeria but in their ignorance they think Shoprite owns Ikeja City Mall and The Palms.

These set of people don’t also know that MTN Nigeria has gone public; the telco is now a Public Liability Company. At the end, many Nigerians who are staff of MTN, Shoprite etc will become jobless when this heinous act is over.

But that’s not the only issue some Nigerians have demonstrated little of no knowledge of lately. Take the G7 and TICAD7 narrative for example, President Muhammadu Buhari was expected to speak at the TICAD7 in Japan but it was his non-attendance of G7 that mattered to some who claimed that he was snubbed by G7.

Many of these people don’t know that G7 is only compulsory for seven largest IMF-described advanced economies in the world: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Other countries and personalities in attendance are usually invited. When President Buhari attended G7, he was invited but because G7 rotates invitation, it cannot continue to invite President Buhari every year.

But that was not all from the G7. During and after the G7, there were pictures of African Development Bank President, Akinwunmi Adesina, with some world leaders at the G7 summit in France and immediately after there were calls for him to run for the Presidency. No doubt, Adesina is the poster boy and the sole shining light in the Goodluck Jonathan administration with his innovative ideas in agriculture when he served as minister.

But is that enough to ask him to be President? Simply because he took pictures? It’s stunning how some Nigerians reason. How does taking pictures with world leaders translate to competence or experience? Nigerians buy anything on the surface and it’s a shame.

Like every qualified Nigerian, Adesina has the right to contest for Presidency but it cannot be on the back of a few pictures, that’s completely absurd if not stupid.

Before that, some Nigerians had to deal with the twist of President Muhammadu Buhari’s speech which directed Ministers to liaise with the Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari to book appointments with him. Many Nigerians turned the narrative on its head.

What the President said was simple, “In terms of coordination, kindly ensure that all submissions for my attention or meeting requests be channeled through the Chief of Staff, while all Fed. Executive Council matters be coordinated through the SGF.”

Boom, fire on the mountain, the next thing we heard is that Abba Kyari is the real President. Some said Buhari has finally admitted that Kyari has more powers than him, others said even the Vice President will now answer to Kyari. All the permutations were heart wrenching and it showed how largely illiterate and uneducated many Nigerians are.

A simple Google search on the functions of the Chief of Staff would have saved most ignorant Nigerians from shame and embarrassment, but no, they like to revel in their lack of knowledge. They like to show off their stupidity like it’s a box of perfume on a shelf.

Eventually, the Presidency had to take pains to explain the functions of the Chief of Staff and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation. These are subject matters that should be taught in Social Studies but somehow we missed it. I think the burden is now on our schools to inculcate the organogram of the Presidency in our curriculum.

Also baffling is the (extra) powers that Nigerians place in the hands of the Vice President. If you listen to some arguments, you will almost puke. You will hear people who have worked in corporate organisations even say the Vice President should be able to overrule the President. Abeg, I laugh in Pidgin.

Can anyone point to one private or public organization in the world where the Vice President of Vice Chairman overrules the President or Chairman, please just mention one. It never happens. In all my working years, I learnt that if your boss is going right, you go right even though you know left is the right direction.

Even worse, is that the Vice President has very little powers constitutionally. Take a cue from the US, whom we like to compare with ourselves, please do you ever think that President Donald Trump will impose stiffer tariff on China and VP Mike Pence will say he did wrong? It has not happened and don’t think it will.

For greater clarification, the functions of the Vice President of Nigeria includes; participation in all cabinet meetings and by statute, membership in the National Security Council, the National Defence Council, Federal Executive Council, and the Chairman of National Economic Council. Although the vice president may take an active role in establishing policy in the Executive Branch by serving on such committees and councils, the relative power of the Nigerian vice president’s office depends upon the duties delegated by the president.

So who will educate Nigerians? We need to learn to do some background checks. We need to learn to do some basic research; we need to be able to know some of our basic rights. We should remember that that is how some Nigerians were praising Invictus Obi to high heavens, even our politicians and Captains of Industries fell for his scam.

Many Nigerians have not set foot in the United States but they can tell you your rights once you are arrested in the US. “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in court. You have the right to talk to a lawyer for advice before we ask you any questions. You have the right to have a lawyer with you during questioning. If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed for you before any questioning if you wish. If you decide to answer questions now without a lawyer present, you have the right to stop answering at any time.”

It’s called the Miranda warning, biko, how did we know this? From watching tons of US action movies, but what does our movie industry teach us? They portray us as people who are heavily reliant on spiritual powers or other forms of cynicism.

Who will educate Nigerians? The moral burden is on everyone who read this to do more. Read more, so you can pass more knowledge across, we cannot continue to be the country where non-issues become issues and our smartphones shouldn’t be smarter than us.

Seun Bisuga is a journalist, public affairs analyst and social commentator can be reached via Twitter @bisuclef

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Education

Gov. Abiodun arrested, arraigned us so we don’t talk about our unpaid salaries – TASCE lecturer alleges [Interview]

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A lecturer at the Tai Solarin College of Education (TASCE), Omu, who was one of those arraigned at an Ogun State Magistrate’s Court on September 11 for alleged robbery, has accused the Governor of Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun, of being the brain behind their arrest, detention and arraignment.

In this interview with DAILY POST, the lecturer, Daniel Aborisade, talked about how the five lecturers were arrested, detained and taken to court for allegations, he claimed were orchestrated by Gov. Abiodun to prevent them from agitating for their 60 months unpaid salaries and other crises rocking the college.

Excerpts:

DAILY POST: You were arrested and arraigned, alongside four other lecturers of TASCE, for alleged robbery, kidnapping, assault and others. I also saw your allegations that some individuals, who you described as “errand boys” to Gov Dapo Abiodun arranged your arrest and detention. Please elucidate.

Aborisade: I want to tell the whole world that those allegations levelled against me and some members of staff of TASCE were to silence us over our demand for our legitimate right.

I was arrested on Wednesday, 11th September, 2019 at the Governor’s office with one other colleague, Seyi Akinola. I was invited to have an amicable solution to the crisis of unpaid salaries running to 60 months, so I asked the other colleagues to join me in that very important meeting.

We had a brief meeting with the Special Assistant to the Governor on Tertiary Institutions, another Special Assistant and then the Chief Security Officer to the Governor. One thing that was germane in these short meetings was that we were advised to eschew peace.

It was at the tail of our meeting with the CSO that some security officers came in. (The CSO had sent a message to them). He exchanged his phone number with me and we left his office.

It was in the front of the Governor’s office that we were told that we were to be taken to Eleweran, Ogun State Police Headquarters.

I need to inform you that other three (3) members of staff had earlier been picked up on Monday, September 9. They are, Com. Tosin Hembah, Labake Ballard and Bolaji Odunsi. It may interest you to know that we were heading to seek for their bail when the impromptu call for the meeting with the kitchen cabinet of the Governor emanated.

At first, I was sceptical about the meeting. My friend, Olamide Lawal, and a member of the defunct Education Transition Committee facilitated the meeting, but by the time we arrived at the Governor’s office, we could not find him. He directed a young chap to come and welcome us.

When we arrived Eleweran, we were led to the Deputy Commissioner of Police, we were made to write a statement and taken to the cell. We were cajoled that a peace meeting would be called between us and TASCE management the following day.

It was in the wee hours of Wednesday that we were charged to court. We were taken to the Ibara Prison as a result of our inability to meet up with the bail conditions. We were released the following day. I want to say that all the allegations of theft, kidnapping and armed robbery levelled against us were false.

DAILY POST: Do you mean that the governor orchestrated the arrest, detention and arraignment?

Aborisade: Yes. Some of our women staff were at his Iperu residence and he confirmed to them that he ordered the arrest of our staff that were picked on Monday. As of today, Dapo Abiodun government just paid half salary of only May and June 2019, he is yet to pay the balance of May and June and we have not received July and August as of Sunday 15/9/19.

We were owed 57 months salary by OGD and Amosun administrations, Dapo Abiodun promised to pay us instrumentally, but nothing has been done on it.

DAILY POST: Are you saying the governor is trying to send you people to jail because you are calling for the payment of your entitlements?

Aborisade: Yes, he wants to put us behind bars so as not to agitate for our owed salaries again. He wanted to add ‘Resolving TASCE Crisis’ in his 100 days achievements without doing the needful. He asked us to resume work without paying us a kobo, which we did, at least to honour him. The next thing he did was to proscribe our association (Coalition of TASCE Staff, COTAS) and refused to unban our staff unions as recommended by the visitation panel he set up to look into our case.

The governor has been deceived by the Provost of our college, Dr Lukmon Kaidese, to silence us for them to have their ways. This is the Provost that we accused of mismanaging our IGR and subvention, also that he is not qualified to be our Provost. His appointment was terminated by the University of Ilorin, and the governor still keeps him there to wrongly deal with us.

DAILY POST: What are your requests?

Aborisade: Our requests include, setting up of governing council, reinstatement of our staff unions, payment of substantial part of our 60 months salary, release of our three year promotion letters, removal of the Provost as he is not qualified according to our college enabling law; we also want massive infrastructural development of the college. The government should assume payment of 100% of our salary.

DAILY POST: What about the case in court, that is, the allegations of robbery and others?

Aborisade: It is rather unfortunate that TASCE management and Ogun State Government can stoop so low and accused innocent staff leaders agitating for payment of 60 months owed salaries, three years promotion and other welfare packages as kidnappers, armed robbers and so on, just to coerce and silence us. We challenge them to provide concrete evidence on their allegations. They should show us the person that was kidnapped, the ransom collected, who was robbed with guns or other dangerous weapons?

TASCE management and Ogun government should be bold enough to say the truth and do the needful to bail TASCE staff out of our present predicament. All these allegations were cooked just to put staff union leaders behind bars. It is better for them to pay us now. They can only kill the messengers and not the message. The message is, keep TASCE alive, stop the killing of our staff. We have lost 51 staff to the cold hand of death due to non-payment of salaries. As for the case in court, we were granted bail and the case adjourned till 4/11/19.

DAILY POST: Do you see an end to this prosecution and are you sure it will not affect your careers as lecturers?

Aborisade: We are so sure we shall be vindicated as there are no substances in their allegations. We are law-abiding staff of the college. We are just requesting for our 60 months owed salaries. We are neither kidnappers nor armed robbers.

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Buhari

Association writes Buhari over new minimum wage

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The Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals, Research Institutes and Associated Institutions has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to expedite action on the full implementation of the National Minimum Wage.

SSAUTHRIAI made the call in a communique signed by its sectoral chairman, Felix Uwadiae and Secretary, Ademola Olajire, on Sunday.

While the Federal Government is proposing 9.5 per cent salary increase for employees on grade levels 07 to 14 and 5 per cent for those on grade levels 15 to 17, the organised labour is demanding 30 per cent increase for officers on grade levels 07 to 14 and 25 per cent increase for grade levels 15 to 17.

The communique reads, “The council-in-session appreciates Mr President for signing the new national minimum wage bill into law.

“However, the union shows its displeasure in the partial implementation of the new national minimum wage.

“SSAUTHRIAI, therefore, urges Mr President to expedite action in its full implementation.

“The President should urgently and personally intervene on the issue of the committee working out modalities for the implementation of the new national minimum wage for the workers to ensure its implementation.”

The union also appealed to Mr President to reconsider his decision to close the nation’s borders, as it has resulted in the astronomic increase in the prices of some staple foods like rice, beans, and groundnut oil, while the alternative local products are not readily available

“Where they exist, the prices have become prohibitive, due to the low quantity available.”

While sympathising with the Federal Government on the killings and abductions going in different parts of the country, the organisation demanded that government should “reorganise the nation’s security architecture in order to combat the security challenges to conform with the reality on ground.

“The issue of incessant killing, kidnappings, herdsmen attack, armed robbery, Boko Haram and other social vices has been on the increase in recent times in the country.

“While we sympathise with the family of those who lost their lives and others who are affected, we humbly plead with Mr President, to re-organise the nation’s security apparatus to conform with the reality on ground,” it added.

The union also expressed concerns that in spite of the judgment of the National Industrial Court delivered in September 2013 on the skipping of CONRAISS 10, the management of some research institutes were yet to comply.

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Education

Court summons Baze University over student result controversy

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The Abuja High Court on Thursday Summoned Baze University, Abuja over the refusal to review the appropriate results 19A semester result in MSC 801, Theories of Mass Communication and MSC 803, Research Methods of Mass Communication belonging to Leo Ekpenyong.

The Court summon made available to DAILY POST on Saturday and taken out by Yakubu Philemon noted that the defendant’s refusal to accede to the claimant’s request for review of his 19A semester result in MSC 803,Theories of Mass Communication and MSC 803 Research Methods of Mass Communication was contrary to the provision of paragraph 2.9 of the Baze University Abuja policies, procedures and regulations as contained in the student’s handbook 2011.

“Let, Baze University Limited of Plot 686 Cadastral Zone COO, Kuchigoro, Behind National Judicial Institute, Abuja, FCT within 42 days after service of this summons on it, inclusive of the day of such service, cause an appearance to be entered for them to this summons which is issued upon the application of Leo Ekpenyong.

The summons which reads in parts noted that by virtue of the provisions of paragraph 2.9 of the Baze University Abuja Policies, Procedures and Regulations, the defendant is bound to arrange and convene an academic appeal Panel for considering of the complaint by the claimant on the claimant’s 19A semester results.

It further reads: “An order compelling/directing the defendant to arrange and convene an academic appeal panel in respect of the complaint by the complainant on the claimant’s 19A semester result in MSC 801 Theories of Mass Communication and MSC 803 Research Methods of Mass Communication.

“An order of this Honourable Court, directing the defendant to set up an independent panel of examiners, as Commission and globally acceptable practice, in accordance with paragraph 26 of the Baze University Abuja Policies, Procedure and Regulations Students’ Handbook, 2011.

“General damages in the sum of N20, 000,000 (Twenty Million Naira) for all the psychological trauma caused by the refusal of the defendant to review the result of the plaintiff.

“Whether the defendant’s Academic Appeal Panel will not be biased in its arbitration, taking into consideration the refusal of the defendant to respect and abide by the provisions of paragraph 2.9 of the Baze University Abuja Policies, Procedures and Regulations Students Handbook 2011 as enacted by the defendant.

It will be recalled that the claimant, a lawyer by training and a First Class graduate of Communication Studies having explored all available internal remedies within the University, initially dragged Baze University before the National Universities Commission NUC, whereupon he was advised to seek redress before the temple of Justice.

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