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Author Name: Omotayo, J. A.
Number of articles: 211
During my time too, there were scholaships, grants and busary awards to students. Some of my friends... (0) Comment

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Retrogression Called Transformation In Nigeria - 2
Author: Omotayo, J. A. | October 29, 2014

During my time too, there were scholaships, grants and busary awards to students. Some of my friends got educated from N500 – N1,000 Ondo State Government busary awards without heavily dependent on their parents, uncles / aunts or spouses. In 1979, I was admitted to both Federal Polytechnics, Akure and Federal Polytechnics, Yaba with a federal government provision for maintenance allowance to cover toiletries, etc in the school. During my time in school, those pursuing Education as a major course did not have to pay school fees because it was free. Those in Teachers Training College and Colleges of Education went freely. Many educated Nigerians in positions of authority today enjoyed all these benefits. Then the federal budget was merely hundreds of millions of Naira. Now the budget is in trillions of Naira, yet all the benefits previously enjoyed have been wiped off. Can all these be manifestations of the so-called “Transformation Agenda” over which the Nigerian students rejoiced? I think otherwise. We need to discuss employment briefly too. The trend in the past was for the government to make provision for the employment of graduates. Even “Maradona” Mr. Ibrahim Babangida provided for youth employment all over the country through his Directorate of Youth Employment, Directorate of Foods, Roads and Rural Infrastructure (DFRRI?), etc. Where are Mr. Jonathan's equivalent of such? None. His 2011 campaigns were empty. Could the post-oil subsidy demostration package called SURE-P that was hurriedly put in place to save his face be the transformation agenda magic? I think otherwise. How many are in employment of SURE-P? Where is the employment plan for young graduates? None. A transparent leadership deserving such a high honour from NANS should have made life better for the students both at school and after graduation. Most of the graduates produced today are a little better than higher school certificate students, the remaining are worse. The standard of education is falling. Teachers / lecturers spend less time in schools. They are either chasing businesses / contracts or are on strike most of the time. The libraries only have old books interspersed with a few new ones. Many pundits have stated publicly that the standard of education in Nigeria is falling. My former boss from Sri Lanka said that he had wanted his children to go to universities in Nigeria. But soon after his first son was admitted to Ahmadu Bello University in the early 1990s, lecturers went on strike. He had to withdraw him for a re-admission instead into a university in United Kingdom. Only recently, I learnt that Polytechnics had been on strike for about a year. University lecturers were on strike last year for about six months. Where then is the positive transformation in education over which NANS would rejoice? Let us to touch on politics briefly. Never in the history of politics (not campus politics) in Nigeria has the lives of Nigerian students and youth corp members been jeopadiced except under Mr. Jonathan in 2011. Graduates on NYSC (National Youth Service Corps) scheme were murdered and maimed because they were perceived to have connived to rig the election in his favour. Where were the Police or Military when those graduates were slaughtered like lamps? Today, the election time table has been reversed with the presidentail election coming ahead of all other elections. Perhaps NANS did not read history. This was not the first time a presidential election would come ahead of other elections. It was tried in 1983. Because Mr. Shehu Shagari (NPN - National Party of Nigeria presidential candidate) had been declared winner contrary to the expectations of those in Ondo State particularly and the Southwest in general, there was mayhelm when the governorship election was declared in favour of the late Mr. Akin Omoboriowo (NPN Governorship candidate). One can only imagine what could have happened in 2011 if presidential election was the first to hold. Could there have been any other election? Another set of NYSC will be deployed to the polling stations in 2015 despite the loss in 2011. What then gladens the hearts of NANS about Mr. Jonathan and his failed leadership since assumption of office in 2010, more than six years now? Mere stupidy. In the just concluded governorship election in Ekiti State, some members of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) came from other States of the federation ahead of election date and distributed N1000 in a bid to win election for Mr. Fayose. But when some other members of opposition party were coming just to monitor elections in the State (perhaps a way of distributing money too), they were barred from entering. Among such was Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, the current governor of Edo State. Did that provide a level playing field for all political parties? I think otherwise. During subsequent Osun State governoship election, the militants among the local populace (similar to “Agbe koya” of the 1960 – 70s in the Western Region) were prepared to engage the military in open battle had it been rigged for Mr. Omisore. Why would a peace-loving head of state be inclined to rig elections? Can we then conclude that the so-called Transformation Agenda is meant to lead Nigerians from peace to anachy? Economically, Nigeria is sliding into debt without any break. A recent report stated that N299 billion was used to service debt in the first quarter of this year (January – March). The import? N1.196 trillions (N299 x 4) would be required to service debt alone this year. Whereas in 1997, the late Mr. Abacha budgeted about N200 billions, he had a budget surplus even after setting aside about N15 billion for PTF (Petroleum Trust Fund). Today, that amount was inadequate to service our debt in just three months. Could this be called a gain from Mr. Jonathan's Transformation Agenda? I think otherwise. Let us briefly carry out a scatter survey. A colleague working with Greater Accra Municipal Council in Amasaman, Ghana told us a story in 2013. He said that his lecturer in 1981 in Russia said Nigeria was the only country that could pull Africa out of her backwardness and indebtedness. Did Mr. Shagari's government squadermania and looting of the treasury allow that vision to manifest? No. Is that not the situation now? Shoes are imported from Kumasi, Ghana for sale in Nigeria. There are more registered Engineers than there are Technicians (junior level manpower) required for day to day operation at industries. Michelin and Dunlop tyres relocated from Nigeria. Are they back? No. How many Nigerians sleeping under the bridges, motor parks, etc without shelters have been accomodated? None. Has the government made provisions for these underprivilege people? No. A colleague told me a story mid this week here in Eldoret, Kenya. He said that an Indian researcher went to see his friend in Denmark. The friend asked that they go out to buy milk. The rate had been pasted on the wall of the container. On getting there, they collected milk from the container and dropped their money in a box provided by the side for payment and collected their balance (change in Nigeiran parlance). The reseacher wondered why there were no one to collect money because in India, the box would have been stolen. But when an Egyptian heard the story, he laughed. According to the researcher, the Egyptian said that both the money and the cows would have been stolen in Egypt. But if this happened in Nigeria today, apart from stealing both the money and the cows, we would have killed ourselves before, during and after scrambling to get our portions. The numerous unemployed graduates who died while going to sit examinations into the Nigerian Immigration Service paints a vivid picture. That is the point. The researcher concluded that Denmark students would be brighter than Indians because milk was produced at relatively low cost (due to little personnel cost involved). But in India, he said the personnel cost on money collection, accountant / auditor to monitor the money collection, and supervisor to monitor the accountant / auditor will all be paid from the sale of the milk to the consumers. Thus the cost of milk in India would be higher. In view of the security risk associated with such a venture in Nigeria, the price will skyrocket or the industry made to collapse. Then the average Nigerian child cannot get milk to drink. That is the reality. What is the difference? In Denmark, there is a good government and social security is at work. But in Nigeria, there is a bag government: winner takes all. Can we then rejoice in Mr. Jonathan's Tranformation Agenda and wish its continuity? I think otherwise. Nigeria is gradually descending into a violent state. Boko Haram is just a bud, not the flower and even not the seed or fruit. Any continuity of Mr. Jonathan adminsitration at the federal level or the PDP (which I like to re-define as “Poverty Distribution Party”) at the centre will lead to conflagration. This is not to say that all the other political parties in opposition are saints. Not at all. But not all of them will be as wasteful as PDP that squandered and looted the national treasury since 1999. It may be wise for Mr. Jonathan to remember history. The late Mr. Idi Amin Dada never believed he would be pushed out of office after dealing heavily with all oppositions to his regime (Those who can find them can still read: State of Blood, Land of Terror, etc on the late Mr. Idi Amin's Uganda). Mr. Shagari's continuity ambition was terminated when he least expected, same with Babangida who was disgraced out of office, same with late Mr. Sani Abacha, etc. An American has predicted that Nigeria would break in 2015, the very year of election. The break up may not be as peaceful as that of the old Soviet Union. Our late Mr. Obafemi Awolowo, quoting the works of someone else, said that “Those who make peaceful changes inpossible, make violent changes inevitable”. If Mr. Jonathan is stubborn and he continues with his push, we shall know who will laugh last. Those who have been reading my articles and comments would have discovered that I have been very frank in them all. I warned and advised the stubborn mediocrity and psuedo-professor of Political Science who became INEC ((In)Dependent National Electoral (Elections) Commission), Mr. Attahiru Jega, before the 2011 elections. I asked that he displayed voters lists in all wards long before the due dates for the elections. I added a caveat that not doing so could trigger riot and make Nigeria to burn. He refused and Nigeria was burnt. When the price of crude was still very high, I asked government to manage it well. I opposed the “Revolutionary” salary upgrades prepared and implemented by the RMFAC (Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Allocation Commission (?)). I was one of those who challenged the then talkertive and demolision Minister of FCT, Mr. Nasir El-Rufai, until he admited his wrong doing in office. I challenged the self-proclaimed pseudo-Mathematician “Expert” who headed the Due Process Office, Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili, in my writings. Today, I write that the Mr. Jonathan administration is the worst that Nigeria has ever experienced. Rather than push Nigeria up the ladder as a model to other African countries, we have become a laughing stock. Excellence has disappeared, mediocrity has risen. Dialogue has disappeared, violence has risen. Tension mounts everyday in the land called Nigeria. These things are definitely signs of retrogression into animalistic instincts typically passed through previously by such other warring countries like Somalia, Sudan, Southern Sudan, Mali, Congo, etc. I welcome comments and criticisms from all quarters. However, those criticising must arm themselves with facts lest they become objects for further critical review. My email address remains: jaomotayo2 at yahoo dot co dot uk

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