Archive for April, 2014

By Prince Charles Dickson

Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking. Albert Einstein

They have been dragging the matter, “write the test, no, we won’t write any test, its a ploy to sack us, it is political, and all the noise remains.” As a nation we are more pre-occupied with politics and economy of numbers.

The teachers in Edo state, to show that they were serious, initiated contempt proceedings against officials of Edo state Government before the Enugu Division of the National Industrial Court, following an alleged disobedience to an order by the President of the court, Justice B. Adejumo, restraining the state government from going ahead with the competency test for teachers in the state.

It will be recalled that the teachers approached the NIC, challenging the competency test, which also restrained the state government from going ahead with the test.

The court had also ordered that the state government maintain the status quo ante pending the hearing and determination of the suit, while the case was assigned to Justice Auwal Ibrahin of Enugu Division, but the state government allegedly went ahead with the test.

The question is why are teachers afraid to write a test, according to my friend Vin, on a serious/light note said, “its a set-up against the teachers, these teachers might fail the exam. They have been out of school so many years ago. They are teaching to make a living, nothing more. If there’s going to be an exam…it has to be set in advance, maybe two years or more notice to allow these grand parents study.”

It happened in Ekiti state, the teachers did everything including going on strike, and to think of it, Ekiti is supposed to be fountain of knowledge. We had a similar case in Plateau and Kogi states; in Niger state, it was ghost teachers everywhere you go.

In Bauchi state, a teacher was plying the profession as a hobby because the certificate in his possession was inherited from his father.

In same state another teacher who went to Teachers’ College in Katsina-Ala said the school was located in Katsina state not Benue state.

In Ogun state, the benevolent governor had to forgive teachers that forged qualifications and age declarations. Even with the whole crisis in the Boko Haram enclave of Borno one is at loss how a brand new car for a pass in WAEC is the best form of motivation rather than a scholarship for further education. 

The on-going WAEC has been overshadowed by the abduction of schoolgirls in Borno state. However a strange occurrence in Plateau state sums up where this nation is going headed.

There are so many issues to grapple with, ranging from security, to unemployment, poor governance, and health, but at the heart of it all is a failing and falling education standard. Alvin Toffler said, “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. In a phrase we are in trouble!

I was a guest at the Police headquarters some two weeks back, and the case is better experience than narrated. Some four young lads were in police custody for exam malpractice.

That fact was not new, but the news was that the kids had gone to a babalawo (voodoo priest) for assistance in the exams. After paying the sum of N5,000, the kids were given options of the type of assistance available

  1. They would be given a special pen: To this they refused on account that the pen may fail, the ink may finish before the exams are done with.
  1. They would be given a concoction to drink and with that a retentive memory was guaranteed: To this the kids said no, infact they were just not ready to read, much more retaining what they read. 
  1. The jujuman gave them a final option, they could carry in textbooks on each paper and the invigilator would not see them, technically no one will see them and their deeds: To this, the kids were comfortable with 

On the day the English examination was taken place, the lads went in with several textbooks and confidently walked in, they were cocksure no one would see them.

The boys walked in, invigilators were shocked, other students were dumbfounded, and the kids went to work, copy, going through pages, infact it was likened to a research rather than an exam.

When confronted by the invigilators the boys simply waved the hand and continued, at that point, the police was called.

I will spare us the agony of the middle and how the story ended. But let me share this from the comrade governor Adams Oshiomhole “To underscore the problem, I came across a woman who, in the course of verifying her credentials, could not read an affidavit. Instead of ‘I solemnly declare’, she said ‘I Solomon’. Instead of ‘Judicial Province’, she said: ‘Onitsha Prophet’.

“’Judicial’ starts with ‘J’, yet she was confusing ‘Judicial’ with ‘Onitsha’. ‘Province’ is ‘Prophet’.

“We asked yet another teacher: ‘how many local governments are there in Edo State, list some of them?’ She said: ‘UNIBEN’. UNIBEN is a local government! I mean, I don’t want to talk about it. We saw things like these in the process of checking credentials, and we realized that the problem goes beyond ghost teachers, or teachers refusing rural postings, but that there are people parading as teachers who are not.

“We have too many quacks masquerading as teachers. And the moment I realized this, it was only natural that I had to find courage to deal with this human element, which makes all the difference.

I am not in support of the Edo state government, or any government, I am in support of doing the right thing, I am in support of getting our educational system right. I dare say, in the words of Oscar Wilde, education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught—while we grapple with our other issues, our educational sector is on a death railroad—is there hope, only time will tell.




Dear Mr. President,

I just want beg you Bros Jonathan. I take all the gods of Nigeria beg you. I take all the gods wey people dey hide worship beg you. I take the God wey most of us dey worship openly beg you. I take the day wey dem born you take beg you. I take all the things wey you like beg you. Bros, as I dey write this ehn, na prostrate I prostrate for you oh. I take all my heart beg you. I take my papa yam farm beg you. I use my papa cocoa plantation beg you.

I take Anti Party take beg you. Shey na 2015? No worry we go dash you till 2019. Missing $20 billion? No be craze de worry Sanusi Lamido, where him see that kind money dey miss, no mind am Bros, we don comot our mind for that one too. We no even want know how you take dey spend oil subsidy money Bros. Spend am anyhow, na you be Presido. Even the almost one trillion naira for security sef, we don close our eyes. Bros, if you like no do any road again, we no go ask you. Fuel scarcity?? No worry Bros, e don tey wey we don dey use to am.

We sabi buy black market. Abi people wey dey sell am dey from there get dem own chop no be we brothers? Bros, even jobs sef, no worry your head for that one. Na you send people make dem born plenty children? No worry, we sabi struggle. Electricity? Forget dat one Bros J. How many of we grand papas use electricity? Dem no live long? We go dey manage dat one too. If we want enjoy, we go use our Gencos. Thank God say we never follow your advice say make we throw dem away. Bros J., all these my begging ehn, na one thing I need from you.

This one wey Nigerians life no come even get value reach cockroach for oyinbo land own tire me. Bros, just use all your head and mind dey see how you go take dey protect our life. We no need all those things wey we dey disturb you for. Na long throat dey do us. Just help us make we dey safe Bros. If you fit do that one for us ehn, I go join curse anybody wey ask you how you take dey spend we money. We no want to dey waka dey fear say the next sound fit be bomb sound Bros.

We no want to dey see fellow struggling Nigerians dey roast like chickens wey oyinbo say dem get bird flu. Bros J, sebi you talk say you no get shoe? E mean say you too be one of us before before. If dem former leaders no protect you allow bomb finish you, se you for reach where you dey so so tey you no fit know how many shoes you get. God wey carry you reach there never resign oh and na Him I dey take beg you make you do everything to see say we too live oh. I beg Bros J., no mind all these people wey say you no go continue.

Just protect our life for us. Na your hand soldiers, police and all of them dey. Use them protect we the poor masses too na. No be only the big big men and women deserve to live safe. We too, na life dey our body and wetin fit make wey una dey where una dey so, we too fit reach there oh one day. But, that one na only if we live. I take God beg you Bros J., na beg I dey beg, no be strong head.

Greet mama peace, abi wetin dem call am, for me

By Prince Charles Dickson

These beans are not delicious, these beans are not delicious, yet the coiffure at the occiput is shaking vigorously. (A person’s actions towards a person or thing belie his or her detracting comments; if one claims to dislike something or someone, one’s actions should not say the opposite.)

Let me start with this riddle: A man was selling his goat, and another man agreed to buy it. The man is using his last money to buy the goat but as soon as he brought the money out to pay for the goat,the goat jumped and snatched the money from his hands and chewed all. Who owns the goat? The buyer or the seller…

In far away Delta, Fulani herdsmen were caught with arms, they have been know to attack in Ibadan, in Kwara, in Taraba, Kaduna, Plateau, Benue, parts of Kogi, Katsina, in Zamfara, border towns and villages in far flung away places like Anambra, Lagos etc.

In recent weeks, it has got worse. Ask those in Taraba, ask those in Benue, also in Zamfara, in Plateau it is case as usual in Beromland and lately the Tarokh axis. The frequency has become scary and worrisome melting into both ethnic and religious hot pond.

Who are these Fulani herdsmen, my DSS friend Kuni tells me “there’s nothing like Fulani herdsmen, these are well trained militia men, you need to see the arms, combat readiness, and well kited military uniforms that these people come in…”

Samaila on the other hand disagrees, “They are fulanis, it is part of a planned Jihad, but they will fail, we are ready for them.”

The media is torn against itself and ethics, on one hand its the fulani herdsmen, on the other “unknown gunmen”, in between we hear of “cattle rustlers”, and the army say they are “insurgents”.

With alleged chemical warfare reports from Benue, one which no appropriate body has confirmed, and on the Plateau where we have seen villages raided over-night commando style, while soldiers are awol, the question is what really is the game plan.

Yet in Bokkos, loads of Fulani live peacefully, so also in many Benue villages. But can we negate the fact that the ingredients for a time-bomb is the making.

Only last week former Zamfara governor Sani Yerima quoted an abridged scriptures, “where one or two fulanis are, there is trouble.” Let me add, not only trouble but double trouble, there is tension in the air, people are filled with mob justice sentiments occasioned by poverty, public distrust and failure in governance.

But wait, who are these Fulanis, what is the historical perspective, why is it that for all the intellectualism paraded or masqueraded, we have not been able to solve some of the cattle problems beyond the controversial grazing zones. How have we not answered the question of  the lanky Fulani whose only strength was at display at the traditional flogging to mark his coming of age or marriage metamorphosing into the Uzi/AK-47 and chemical welding killer?

Are Pastoralist Fulanis same as bandits, same as terrorists, who are the Hausa-Fulanis, why are there no Fulanis on rampage in Sokoto, in Maidugiri, in Yobe. Who are the cattle fulanis, where do they come from?

Governor Tanku Almakura of Nasarawa state brought a twist condemning the killing of some Fulani herdsmen by soldiers in Keana Local Government Area of the state saying that those killed were not insurgents.

But wait, is Almakura not Fulani, the last time I checked we had been ‘ruled’ by Fulanis, what is our intelligence agency doing, are Fulanis ghost, how about the captured Fulanis, there’s a long list of prominent fulanis, and it is high time they speak. We cannot continue to have Fulanis involved in violent clashes.

There are Fulanis in Chad, Sudan, Burkina Faso, Niger and other ends of the Sahel region, they are not killing, slaughtering as is the case in Nigeria.

Can the stealing of one, two or ten cows lead to such carnage or a governor’s convoy being attacked ala Suswan, or is it the same Nigeria where the police arrests goats when truckloads of cows belonging to Senators disappear?

For now like the buyer and seller of the goat, we may engage in the analytics and semantics of why are Fulanis aggressive, how they don’t forgive, and, or why nomads clash with local settlers and whose fault it is –fact however is that these attacks are getting more vicious and deadlier, the earlier we identify the buyers and sellers of these problem the better, but for now how much longer this will continue–only time will tell.