What Exactly Do Nigerians Want?

38
6127
Simon Kolawolelive!, Email: simon.kolawoe@thisdaylive.com. SMS: 0805 500 1961

“To what can I compare this generation? It is like children playing a game in the public square. They complain to their friends, ‘We played wedding songs, and you didn’t dance, so we played funeral songs, and you didn’t mourn.’ For John didn’t spend his time eating and drinking, and you say, ‘He’s possessed by a demon.’ The Son of Man, on the other hand, feasts and drinks, and you say, ‘He’s a glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of tax collectors and other sinners!’ But wisdom is shown to be right by its results.” Ladies and gentlemen, Jesus Christ could well have been talking about us, Nigerians, in those words full of frustration but, most essentially, rooted in resolve.

For ages, we have been complaining about the standard of education in Nigeria. The problem starts from the foundation. If numeracy and literacy cannot be imparted at primary school level, is it at the secondary or tertiary level that students will start learning to read, write, spell and count? When 70% of those who write WAEC/NECO O’Level exams fail every year, would you say the problem started at SS3? We regularly produce university graduates that manage to cheat and beat the system and end up unemployable. As an employer of labour, I am often heart-broken at the quality of applications we receive anytime we advertise vacancies. Absolutely heart-breaking.

I thought I have been hearing commentators, activists and public officials complain about the quality of education in Nigeria for ages. I thought I have been hearing loud calls for reform. Yet anytime any governor or minister makes an attempt at reform, we murder them. I cannot believe the level of opposition to Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, the governor of Kaduna state, in his attempt to reserve the misfortune of education in his state. He has come under attack for doing what most of us have been canvassing for decades. Someone wants to rid the system of illiteracy and install competence and all he gets for his efforts is abuse — in addition to demonstrations and strikes.

El-Rufai has come under heavy shelling over his decision to purge the education system of teachers that are clearly a danger to the society. Over 20,000 primary school teachers in the state failed a standard test for primary four pupils. Many cannot spell correctly. Some do not know that there is a science behind teaching. Many lack a grasp of the fundamentals of planning a child-centred presentation and the use of teaching aids. Some do not know “mean” and “median” numbers, much less have the ability to calculate them. Many do not know the three states of matter. Some cannot spell “malaria”. These are the teachers moulding the future of this country.

El-Rufai decided to lay them off, pay them off and employ competent teachers. These public schools, we must understand, are attended by children of the poor, the people we claim to love so much. We can afford to pay millions of naira for our own children to attend private schools where teachers can at least spell “Donald Trump” correctly. We can even afford to send our toddlers to foreign schools to receive the best of education money can buy. But the poor cannot afford it. So their children must necessarily attend the public schools where illiteracy is dished out to pupils. They do not have options. Their children have to be taught by teachers who cannot spell even their own names.

We complain about the state of affairs in the country. We then hammer anybody, who tries to put things right. So we attack el-Rufai for doing the needful when we should actually replicate this competency test across the country. Poor quality of teaching is a destroyer of national development. Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, as governor of Edo state, sought to do what el-Rufai is doing now but had to retreat under bombardment from critics. Dr. Kayode Fayemi apparently lost his re-election bid as governor of Ekiti state partly because of a similar attempt at education reform. He was accused of disrespecting teachers “old enough to be his parents”! What do we really want?

In 2006, Mrs Oby Ezekwesili, as minister of education, came up with a plan that would have significantly turned around our education system by now. In a comprehensive package that covers all corners, she showed the sort of thinking that is always so lacking in governance in Nigeria. Her proposal for the Unity Schools would have seen them competing with private schools today. But what happened? We shot it down — on behalf of the “poor masses”. Are those schools better off today? If you reform, you are damned; if you don’t reform, you are damned. We piped, you did not dance. We wailed, you did not mourn. What exactly does this generation want?

To be sure, I am aware of suggestions that el-Rufai could re-train the teachers rather than lay them off. But try teaching a 40-year-old how to spell “Nigeria” and see how easy it is to re-train deadwoods. Would you allow your children to be taught by these Kaduna teachers while they are undergoing re-training? Would you? This does not mean I do not have my own reservations about el-Rufai’s reform management strategy. After all, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, as education commissioner under Governor Bukola Saraki in Kwara state, succeeded with his own reform. The political management of reform is as important as the reform itself. But that is a different topic.

I have watched the state of things in Nigeria closely in the last 30 years and I am still trying to figure out how we are going to get out of chronic underdevelopment. We complain and cry, but we oppose any attempt to correct things. We are unable to reach anything close to a national consensus on the way forward. Some just take the opposite direction out of ignorance, some out of mass hysteria, some for political reasons, some for cheap publicity, some out of hardened ideologies and some for no reason. Our inconsistency is amazing. We would condemn President Jonathan for one thing and commend President Buhari for the same thing — and vice-versa. What exactly do we want?

For instance, we criticised Jonathan for not fighting corruption. I dare say that he lost the 2015 election partly for his failure to frontally confront this monster. We accused him of not having the balls. Now that President Muhammadu Buhari is going after those who had too much free access to the national treasury under Jonathan, we are complaining again. Generals are refunding billions and facing trial. It has never happened in this country. Judges are undergoing trial for graft. Politicians are refunding money. But we are here murmuring. You fight corruption, you are damned. You don’t fight corruption, you are damned. What exactly do we want?

Of course, I agree that Buhari’s anti-corruption crusade so far has only slaughtered his political opponents. I have complained about this too. I wish he would go after corrupt APC elements as well. But even when President Obasanjo went after members of his own party, we still complained. When he fired his friend, the late Chief SM Afolabi, as minister (over the national ID card scam), and sacked Alhaji Tafa Balogun as police chief, he was described as an “ingrate” for removing people who actively worked for his re-election in 2003. Head, you lose. Tail, you lose. There is practically no step a president or governor will take that will not be criticised, mostly for political reasons.

Obasanjo was accused of being a dictator. We called him a military ruler in civilian uniform. On the cover of a news magazine sometime in 2002 was a morphed picture featuring half the face of Obasanjo and half the face of Gen. Sani Abacha with the title: “Abachanjo”. We pilloried Obasanjo endlessly. But Jonathan came as a meek and humble president, getting challenged and humiliated by his subordinates and members of his party — and we accused him of being “too soft”. Someone told me: “Obasanjo would not have registered APC. He would not have lost re-election. Jonathan was too gentle.” We don’t want a dictator, we don’t want a democrat. What exactly do we want?

In the final analysis, leadership has to focus on results with resolve. Any leader, who is easily swayed by the crowd, will always be unstable, getting tossed back and forth by every wind of doctrine. There must be sincerity and tenacity of purpose to achieve results. As a Christian, I will repeat the words of Jesus Christ: “Wisdom is shown to be right by its results.” Or, in the words of Prophet Muhammad, “actions are judged according to intentions”. Our leaders should regularly check their intentions, appraise the purpose of their actions and weigh the results. As long as the vision is genuine and the motive is altruistic and fair, the words of the naysayers should not really matter. This I believe.

======

POLICE FARCE

The Nigeria Police Force is the worst in the world, according to the 2016 World Internal Security and Police Index (WISPI) produced by the International Police Science Association and the Institute for Economics and Peace. We failed on all indices: capacity, process, legitimacy and outcomes. Typically, the police have reacted by saying they are the best in Africa. A wiser response, in my view, is to address these issues. How can we improve coverage? How can recruitment and training be modernised? How can welfare be of global standards? How can operations be effective and efficient? How can our police be professional? That’s how to solve the problem. Attention!

ARRESTING THE ARRESTER

I was relieved that Alhaji Ibrahim Idris, the inspector-general of police, finally appeared before the senate committee probing very weighty allegations made against him by Senator Isah Misau (Bauchi central). Idris did not help matters when he shunned invitation to testify in the investigation. Senate threatened him with arrest and I was just wondering: who will arrest the police chief? In Nigeria? That would be some scene! I know many Nigerians have no trust in the national assembly because of the reputation of the legislators, but we should remember it is a vital arm in a democracy, so we must respect it. I’m happy Idris finally showed up. Precedent.

GANGSTER’S PARADISE

The leak of another volume of documents on tax havens, termed #ParadisePapers after the earthshaking #PanamaPapers, should set policymakers worldwide thinking. Billionaires and corporate bodies are using these tax havens obviously to avoid, rather than evade, taxes. There are two ways to it: either the tax havens are forced to harmonise their tax rates with what obtain in other countries — or other countries offer rates to discourage the use of tax havens. The nature of taxation is such that rich individuals and corporate entities will always want to part with as little money as possible and there are countries offering them the paradise. Unpatriotic?

SHOT AT SITE

In a country where women are still treated as second-class, it is refreshing that someone is stimulating our thinking again. Niran Adedokun, my friend and brother, will present his book, “Ladies Calling the Shots”, tomorrowNovember 13, at NIIA, Lagos. The book celebrates the sweat of Nigerian female producers such as Lola Fani-Kayode, writer and producer of the great soaps Mirror in the Sun (in the 1980s) and Mind Bender (in the 1990s), and the late Amaka Igwe, movie producer and director, known for so many great things, most notably Checkmate. There are many more on the exploits of female producers in the 300-page book that should inspire us all. Action!

  • Tea

    My friend there are 2 sides to every story. u seem to have only focused on El rufai’s side – well that’s too bad. I monitored the interview by channels TV where in the NUT President spoke at length. Too bad u didn’t seek the opinion of the teachers, u ought to be better informed before writing rubbish. Strong men in power is the reason why our institutions have been bastardised. The educational requirements and exposure in Kaduna is not same. Southern KD vs Northern KD, the south takes education much more serious compared to the North.
    Thus governors and politicians have no regard for teaching and used it to settle their political base by granting employments to whoever. Same Rufai visited these schools and ordered every1 including messengers and cleaners to go and teach in the classrooms.
    How do u sack 21000 people most married with kids at once. The question is to follow due process, involve the NUT, Subeb, etc in the exams, check their records and determine if indeed they merited the employment in the 1st instance if they didn’t, then they shouldn’t be tagged teachers at all.
    It is a disservice to the NUT if the Kaduna state government labels imposters as teachers while in actual fact they are not.
    Finally, most Nigerians respect the NASS more than the Executive becos corruption emanates from the Exco.
    Why should the action of the IGP (an appointee) be commended for obeying the summons by duly elected Senators of the Federal republic? This is part of the problem with journalist like you – u elevate public servants to semi/demigods. And u say Precedent.
    With opinion leaders like you in Nigeria, we still have a long way to go.

  • Prospekt arty

    Nigerians in general are just corrupt evil people plain and simple and evil begets more evil that’s why despite all its wealth and oil it cannot see any meaningful progress and why 70% of the population is functionally illiterate nearly 20 years into the 21st century . Poorer African countries with just one-tenth of Nigeria’s wealth and GDP are far better developed and organised than this country. They have a better educational system, functioning electricity grids and water and good roads. All Nigerians do is complain and tear each other down. Anyone who wants progress will be murdered and and they will complain about the corrupt politicians if they are not on the receiving end of that politicians largesse. Even in this comments section you’ll find semi illiterate trolls who happen to have access to a smartphone spewing their venom in half baked English. No be by force. Tearing each other down is not going to make Nigeria as developed as Ghana or Togo. Maybe it’s Just a curse…

  • David Chuma

    Is like we all are betting around the bush. We have not been able to point were our problems lies. It’s lies here from day one we have been in hand of the old rulers in country Nigeria is in bondage we will still go no were if youth’s didn’t over the office there will be changes when a father comes off age he leaves things for sons to manage but ln our case our fathers are still there challenging there self’s in the name of party who’s go in comes out and move in again youth’s what should we do? By all means push them out if we want our country to be good Nigeria has everything it takes to be OK but does moving around our power offices are the hindrances to our happiness.

  • Political Affey

    In Nigeria, the wheat and and the tares have been growing together for a very long
    time. We are now at the time of reckoning, and harvest is now plenty. What do you think will happen later when you are expected to be productive, knowing that things have not been done properly since we returned to this democratic era? You see, we call our country democratic, but we are not a free society. People don’t monitor the activities of government, but the same people correct bad behaviour in the communities. Sometimes what we consider to be wrong may not be wrong after all, until it is demonstrated in the laws of the land to be so. We choose to demonise whatever we feel is wrong and then we let the wicked go free. The wicked continue to grow in their evil ways and later make our lives a living hell. All of a sudden we are in a completely new dispensation where everything now has to be determined purely by Western knowledge condemned in the same culture for decades, if not centuries. The lack of true federalism and fierce competition of the states has exposed the rots in this unitary system. The sacked 20,000 teachers from a single state throws up many questions about us. There is too much deception going on here about democracy, human rights, social engineering and visionary leadership. El-Rufai cannot answer those questions by sacking teachers in one fell swoop.

  • moribund9ja

    WE WANT DIVISION
    ==================
    What Nigerians want, right? Ok.
    We want the urgent division of the entity called Nigeria.
    Divide it like this:
    1. Hausa/ Fulani north
    2. Middle belt people
    3. Ndigbo people
    4. Niger Delta people
    5. Yoruba people.
    Have you seen it? Ok.

    Either we become :
    1. a complete sovereign nations
    2. A totally autonomous regions under ‘One Nigeria’.

    The reasons for that:
    1. Nigeria as a nation has NEVER worked.
    2. Nigeria as a nation is NOT working.
    3. Nigeria as a nation CAN NEVER work.

    This is what we want.

    • Iskacountryman

      we do not want nyairis in nigeria…

  • Akinyemi Omolara

    BUY YOUR BAGS OF RICE IN A LOWER PRICE OF #10,000 AND
    GROUNDNUT OIL CALL THE MARKETING
    DEPARTMENT FOR MORE INFORMATION AND PURCHASE. Royal
    umbrella=10,000 Mama Gold=10,000 Royal stallion=10,000
    Otunba=10,000 Rising sun=10,000 Special rice=10,000 Mama
    Africa=10,000 Royal crown=10,000 Ade Brazil=10,000 Elephant
    Gold=10,000 Super eagle=10,000 PJS=10,000 Tomato rice=10,000
    Caprice =10,000 GINO OIL= 7,000 TURKEY OIL= #7,000 WE
    DELIVER TO ANY STATE IN NIGERIA 1BAG OR 1 OIL IS #1000
    NAIRA FOR DELIVERY THANK YOU..PLEASE CALL MR JOHN
    EMMANUEL ON(+2349060707898) FOR PURCHASE.PAYMENT
    ON DELIVERY.ATM TRANSFER AND QUICK TELLER IS ALLOWED
    THANKS FOR PATRONIZING WITH US…

  • Mayo

    1) Simon you still don’t get it and your article also shows you don’t pay attention to what you are reading. Those who are criticizing El Rufai are not doing so because he wants to sack poor performing teachers. Rather they are criticizing him for not following ‘due process’. What you should be asking is – is it true that he has not followed due process? Secondly, some folks are claiming El Rufai also intends to sack those who scored at least 60% in the exam even though a 60% mark is actually a pass mark (yes it might not be the best but if the law says it is a pass mark, you can’t arbitrarily change it). Once again, you are advocating for a strong man instead of a strong system. This is the bane of our development in this country. 2 wrongs do not make a right. It is the same mentality that made the Military shoot all those folks for blocking the COAS convoy, the same reason why police will beat someone they have gone to arrest even though the person did not resist arrest.

    2) Let us assume El Rufai is following due process, you then have to ask yourself – realistically what will happen when you disengage 20,000 teachers in one fell swoop? How many primary school teachers does Kaduna have? How many will be left when 20,000 go? What is the probability of finding another qualified 20,000 to replace the sacked ones? When is El Rufai planning the layoff? Is it going to be during the holidays so that students are not impacted? How long will it take to hire the replacement (assume he lays the current ones off during the holidays, would he have completed recruitment or recruited a sizeable number by the time students resume)? You don’t want to ask questions. All you want is strong man! so that everybody will hail him and say ‘Carry Go!’.

    3) Economically – what will happen when 20,000 people lose their sources of income? Questions like bullet point 2 & 3 are the reason why they say you can’t run a government like a business.

    4) We are not complaining that Buhari is going after those who had too much free access to the national treasury under Jonathan. We are saying that all we hear is XYZ has been refunded but we have not actually seen official documentation of what has been recovered. People are also not being tried or the trial is shoddy and nobody has been convicted. Or were you not hear when some of the Judges were finally arraigned and we saw the wishy washy prosecution that EFCC presented? We have heard of EFCC recovering all manner of amounts from Diezani but EFCC has refused to charge her to court. EFCC claims they have recovered huge amounts but Nigeria is still going around borrowing money. Even the money that has been recovered, we only hear stories of this. Tomorrow those guys will go to court and the court will quash the ‘so called recoveries’ because due process was not followed.

    More importantly, how can Buhari be claiming to be fighting corruption and yet he can’t do the same when it is people close to him?

    5) Finally, please stop penning these pedestrian articles. You can do better than this.

    • Governor

      How can you substantiates your theory that Elrufai does not follows due process. How do you define due process. Examination was set for them and we have all seen the woeful result. Simple comprehension questions can not be answered by a supposed teacher. Elrufai had plan for their proposed disengagement. He place advertisements for recruitments of 25,000 competent teacher through rigorous process and plan payment of retirement benefits for the disengaged staff. If you hate Elrufai style of governance criticise him but don’t play politics with future of innocent pupils. A strong is different with a man of policy.

      • Mayo

        It appears you skimmed through my comment so let me reproduce the very first paragraph for you….

        Those who are criticizing El Rufai are not doing so because he wants to sack poor performing teachers. Rather they are criticizing him for not following ‘due process’. What you should be asking is – is it true that he has not followed due process?….

      • Tea

        having followed this issue and listened to the NUT President and the Kaduna state Com. of education let me inform you that El’Rufai didn’t follow due process. Are u aware that a UK based firm set the exam questions and the cut off is actually 75% and not 60%. The NUT raised several critical points.

    • ‘ned

      Let me see: My daughter’s primary six or JS 3 teacher got 60% of the work fit for a Primary 4 pupil and that is acceptable? Hmm. What will you score yourself in assessing the suitability of such individuals to teach children?
      When getting 60% of the class work of a Primary 4 Pupil qualifies you to be a teacher, then we are in trouble. When people who should condemn such state of affairs justify it, then we are finished!

      • Mayo

        Go back and read my comment. I specifically referred to the law. If the law says 60% is pass, then you can’t say they failed. What you should do is to be outraged at such a law and go change the law. An example for you – if the government sets a cutoff mark of 2 for unity schools for students from zamfara and 180 for students of Imo state, it is outrageous but a principal cannot refuse to admit the student from zamfara because the principal under the law is not responsible for setting admission guidelines. What the principal and parents of aggrieved parents can do is to go and have the cutoff mark changed or get the law which allows such to be changed. And this is what Agbakoba, the former NBA President, did. He sued the FG saying there was no law that said they had to maintain Federal Character in Unity schools (which is the basis for the disparity in cut off marks).

      • 6tus

        Comprehension seems to be your weakest point.

        Mayo is advocating for “due process”, and not condoning the poor performance of these teachers.

        • ‘ned

          In an exam meant for a class it is patterned for, your argument will make sense. Applying a broad law to this particular case is what I am objecting to. For purposes of competence of a teacher, a Primary 4 pupils’ test cannot be used as a yardstick as opposed to the exam meant for the level required. When we apply broad strokes of law without circumstances of an individual cases we come up with absurdities.

    • Grelia O

      The overall system stinks. The present crisis did not happen overnight. It’s been in the making since the removal of regional or local autonomy. The case of Kaduna and many other Northern states is only severe. The same degeneration is going on all over the country. Even Anambra and neighboring states that have remained consistent in the top position are hemorrhaging in quality. The national slide in quality has been a continuum, with no particular point of dramatic dip to shock the nation out of slumber.

      You cannot nationalize management without having quality managerial skills at the central level. The regions were doing well on their own at local levels in their respective ways. This decay began the very day that local autonomy was abolished. The gradual descent or death remained largely latent. What you see now are the cumulative effects, which appear so outrageous because they are all negative.

      What is happening in the North is also happening in the South, the only difference is the severity. Take an average student in my native SE today and compare her to those of earlier decades, and you will see a significant decline – today’s students are worse than those of 2000, those of 2000 worse than those of 1990s etc. By the time you get to the ’70s and ’60s, you’d think you are comparing students from different planets. The sad result is that majority of our graduate students today cannot articulate as properly as their primary school graduate ancestors could and did. It is the same nationwid. If the situation is this bad in the SE that is said to outperform other zones in education, you can imagine what it is like in those other zones.

      The aggregate of this retrogression is the reason Nigeria is a ghost of what it was when there was regional / local autonomy. Don’t take my word for it. Look at others sectors – healthcare, power supply, portable water supply, communication network of roads, rail, and water, environmental sanitation and the list goes on. Nigeria consistently ranks lower than many less endowed and even some war-ravagged nations.

      The most confusing aspect is that the call for a systemic correction of this anomaly is rebuffed by the same architects of the flawed system. When fed-up individuals and groups get vocal out of frustration, they are called enemies of Nigeria and are proscribed as militants and terrorists. The rot has got this bad only because Nigerians tolerated the backward system for too long, so long that it has become the norm.

      El Rufai’s shock therapy will not work. It will only address the symptoms without tackling the root causes. The only way to tackle the root of the problem is for him and his cabal to do a 180° and accept that the current structure is not sustainable. The headache he has and which other state governments have now, if they acknowledge reality, will only get worse absence a surgical restructuring and devolution of responsibilities to lower governing units.

      What is sorely missing, and I say this with seriousness, is the patriotic outrage of not just Simon Kolawole, but that of the entire Fourth Estate, the supposed last hope of the common man. Rather than ask serious questions and propose realistic alternatives that will get us out of the self-imposed mess, they indulge in political correctness.

      I’d not be surprised if this blog is not allowed. They consistently delete my blogs on these national issues.

    • Arinze_Ibeagwa

      While I agree with some of your views and also honestly disagree with some, I will like to point out that this mantra about “Strong Institution, but not Strong Men” is very deceptive and quite flawed. Simply put, it takes a strong man with strong character to build a strong institution.

      A very simple Nigerian example is that it took a a strong personality like Nuhu Ribadu to build EFCC to what we still remember today; however, EFCC turned to something else immediately Ribadu left.

      In conclusion, a strong man (a strong personality) builds a Strong Institution by embedding strong values over time. After sometime, that value becomes attached to that institution.

      • shakara123

        Then Ribadu failed because the foundation he left behind could not be sustained once he departed. Strong institutions must be able to perform regardless of the occupant of the office.

        • Arinze_Ibeagwa

          I think you missed the supporting point – “over time”. Strong values are embedded over time and not in one instant. This goes on to become a culture thereafter, and that what we eventually call – a strong institution.

          The above is the reason I fault this 4-yearly tenure of our democracy – another point for another time.

          • shakara123

            I agree with your point that time is a factor but it is not as significant a factor as you portray it. If he had put in place the rules, regulations, triggers for disciplinary actions e.t.c and tied all these actions to the mandate and vision of the organization. Then it would only take a single tenure to get the institutional culture right. Instead, he treated the place like his personal fiefdom, garnered all the publicity for himself and we are surprised the so called institution would behave properly once he left. No amount of time will suffice if the wrong foundations are put in place.

          • Arinze_Ibeagwa

            While I agree you have some points, I suppose you will agree that there is a difference in having a technocrat vs having an administrator. Ribadu set upt the EFCC from scratch – i mean from absolute nothing. But he had a vision and passion to go after looters who have caused this country absolute pain. His passion can lead him to make some mistakes, that I accept but I do not believe it is enough to write off all he achieved. Moreover, you would not expect him to get every of the internal department right on his first term. I don’t know him but I give him kudos just because I recognize and understand the enormity of the work involved in string up an organisation from scratch, and I really mean absolute scratch.

            An administrator can add on those rules and regulation which you mentioned but this is not normally from the first day in a country like ours. This is why I said that time would have benefited that organisation if the right people with the right mentality had continued after Ribadu. In addition, let’s not forget the political influence from his employer in a country like Nigeria.

            In conclusion, I accept that he did not get everything right but I believe it is not unexpected, therefore more time and resources for him (maybe, plus a seasoned administrator under him) would have corrected all those anormallies.

          • Mayo

            How can one say Ribadu had a passion to go after looters yet the same Ribadu accepted 2 promotions which he knew were illegal and against the law (he’s a lawyer and a police officer so he knows the rules).

            How can one say Ribadu had a passion to go after looters yet when a duly constituted Police Service Commission after following due process reversed Ribadu’s promotion, the man threw a tantrum?

            Ribadu onced described Tinubu’s corruption case as having international dimension but then the same Ribadu joined Tinubu’s party and sought for his support while campaigning for President.

          • Arinze_Ibeagwa

            I think we have to consider the “two individuals” here – Ribadu as the EFCC Chief, and Ribadu as an ordinary Nigerian. Both remain the same person but with different vision and objectives given the power of what they can do in those separate capacities.

            The dynamics of life make ones vision and objectives seem to differ at different times given different conditions, but this does not change the core character of the person. I am not sure if you considered the motive behind the incidents you mentioned. Ribadu as an ordinary citizen has no right to go after looters, and can therefore restrategise to have that power and right to go after looters. The vision still remains but the strategy to achieve such can differ.

            Meanwhile, I don’t want to believe we have descended to such level of “picking groundnut from popcorn”. Lets not digress to the extent of going through everyday actions of Ribadu with a fine-tooth comb because that is not the main intention of this engagement. My overall projection here is just Ribadu’s core personality which has been tested, and still trusted. I neither know you nor Ribadu in person, but If you have any personal issues with Ribadu, you are very free to pursue that in the right place, not here. Goodluck and Cheers!

      • Mayo

        Actually, Nuhu Ribadu is a very clear example of strong men instead of strong institution.
        1) Nuhu Ribadu’s EFCC basically abducted ‘legislators’ and refused to release them till they impeached Alamiesiegha even though they didn’t have the quorum to do so. After that Nuhu Ribadu arrested Alams.

        2) Nuhu Ribadu once publicly declared that he had the files of state governors and that only 2 or 3 (I forget which) were not corrupt. But we know that Nuhu’s EFCC did not charge all those guys to court even after they left office. Why do you think that is so?

        3) Nuhu Ribadu once included Tinubu among the list of corrupt governors but the same Nuhu Ribadu joined Tinubu’s party and ran for the presidency under the man.

        4) Nuhu Ribadu who is the head of EFCC, an agency fighting corruption, was illegally promoted twice. The man knew the process was illegal but he didn’t bat an eye and still occupied the office.

        5) How many ‘politically exposed persons’ were convicted under Nuhu? Yet he was basically trying all of them in the Press everyday. This is what Magu has continued – trying people in the press but when it’s time to go to court, they lose their case.

        I can go on and on but let me just.

        • Arinze_Ibeagwa

          I suppose what you outlined is the ideal way to fight corruption as it applies in developed countries. However, I think we have to be mindful of the standards we want applied in Nigeria. Every country is different and can not copy and paste a standard that has been developed over many centuries in another country where the culture and perception is different.

          Nigerian situation remains different and so should the methodology be different. A clear example is the way US fights terrorism which is different from the way UK fights the same terrorism, and also different from the way Nigeria fights it.

          Nevertheless, it is very clear that a beneficiary of corruption can never see anything good in the way corruption is fought in Nigeria. Such a person will therefore want a developed nation’s standard applied which will ofcourse benefit Nigerian looters since evidence gathering and citizen cooperation are grossly undermined by hunger & poverty, and tribal politics in Nigeria. While the evidence gathering methodology remain at pedestrian level due to our peculiar situation, the looting methodology remains at advanced level still due to our relatively low development in technology and infrastructure, and human capital. These dynamics make it quite impossible to apply the complete structure of what you outlined above. Mind you that the looters do not apply these developed standards as well when they set out to loot!

          Having said the above, I still accept that there is clear opportunities for improvements but I am convinced and strongly believe that it is a work-in-progress and we will get there as every other aspect of the the country continue to develop.

          • Mayo

            The evidence gathering methodology is not pedestrian due to our peculiar situation. Rather it is due to our laziness and our inability to not follow due process (a lot of times). We’re not talking about scientific things like gathering fingerprints, explaining blood splatter, etc. We’re talking about rudimentary things like – you don’t try people in the press, the President should not be directing who should be arrested or prosecuted (it is the job of the investigating agencies to investigate and decide who should be charged based on evidence they have gathered), etc.

            This lack of following due process doesn’t just apply to EFCC though, it permeates our culture and this comes back to this strong men versus institutions. In 2014, Adamawa assembly decided to impeach the governor and his deputy for gross misconduct and corruption. All well and good but again instead of following ‘due process’, they decided to do strong men. They struck a deal with the deputy governor to resign to avoid impeachment. The deputy governor resigned and gave the speaker his letter of resignation. I made a comment then on the published news that this deputy governor will go to court and the court will quash the entire procedure because under the law, if a deputy governor wants to resign, he has to give his resignation letter to the governor and not the speaker of the assembly. Some people abused me and said i was supporting corruption. The Assembly members did their thing (deputy governor and governor were out and the speaker became the governor). The deputy governor went to court, and the court reversed the ‘resignation’ saying submission of letter to the speaker was not known to law. The court also halted the governorship elections that were about to be held. Imagine the amount of money that had been lost preparing for the elections, campaigning, paying the acting governor who had now been removed, etc. All these people had to do was follow due process to remove somebody.

          • Tea

            well said. I hope Mr.Arinze has been properly enlightened

    • Fowad

      El-Rufai has the mandate to restructure Kaduna state. He is the Chief Decision Maker and Kaduna’s fortunes rise and fall under him. Remember he has to work with other strong men in Kaduna to deal with the problem in his state. That is how you build strong institutions. El-Rufai should be credited for acting where necessary

      • Mayo

        Yes, El Rufai is the Governor but this is democracy not a military government. El Rufai cannot act outside the law. Let’s even assume he has the power to sack all those teachers at will (not saying he doesn’t but I was pointing out to Simon that was what people were complaining about), what about the other issues I raised – how do you replace 20,000 teachers who were sacked in one fell swoop? How do those families survive economically? Those families will still live in El Rufai’s state

        • FrNinja

          Which is more important 20,000 useless teachers or the fate of 2 million children? You talk about strong men and strong institutions, mediocrity is built on weak indecision and making excuses of which Nigeria is the champion. We accomodate useless teachers, thieving bankers, incompetent governors making excuses upon excuses. Not a wonder nothing works in Nigeria.

          The western world is brave when it comes to positive change, we are timid and downright stupid. El Rufai should sack all those useless teachers and replace them with teeming thousands in the country looking for jobs including over 300,000 NYSC corps.

    • Grelia O

      Thisday deleted my response to your blog because certain facts, truths are inconvenient.

      • austin

        Why are they deleting your comment? I saw that comment. It was not really regime changing.

        • Grelia O

          I have the habit of looking at our problems holistically, and I keep arriving at the same conclusion. You cannot use the same template from Dodan Barrack or Aso Rock to solve different problems in Zakibiam, Oguta, Ikot Abasi, Yola, Akure or Eleme. That’s what has been happening since the removal of local autonomy, and it’s not working. The evidence of the unworkability is there but the political cabal that benefits from the unworkability will not brook any dissention.

          I point this out and call out those responsible, but the print media will not give me the forum to share my opinion with my fellow bloggers. Until we are able to accommodate alternative ideas and opinions, and try to win over our opponents with objective, superior and convincing ideas, we will not progress. Part of the reason East lost to the West is the East’s reluctance to welcome realistic dissention. Really sad.

    • Iskacountryman

      the man is a buffoon, but an entertaining one…

    • LagLon

      the fundamental question is really a philosophical one.. as a primary 4 teacher why do i need to be able to pass the test? also why werent the kids set the test at the same time?also where the teachers able to leave with a copy of their paper to ensure it was theirs? if the kids scored 10% and the teachers 30% ..the teachers could still ‘teach’ the kids something.

      because of flip flop between relativism vs exactitude.. maintaining quality has always been a challenge in nigeria and in a way the complaint of the teachers is a mirror of the test itself… if el rufai was to take a governorship test conducted by them ..would he pass it?

  • Sarah

    Simon, are Nigerians asking for too much when we ask the ruling party to deliver on the campaign promises upon which we elected them into office? Buhari/APC made several promises re Naira/Dollar exchange rate, Price of Petrol, Devolution of power, Electricity Generation etc.
    First they wasted 6 months chewing gworo, then Buhari’s team spent 24 months either blaming the previous administration for their own incompetence, or making new promises to our Niger Delta compatriots that have not been fulfilled. Leadership is about VISION, INTEGRITY & TENACITY. Buhari/Osinbajo’s poor performance can be traced their deficiencies in these areas.
    As 2019 approaches it is important that we challenge aspirants to clearly spell out their visions and how they will achieve them within 4 years given the ‘Nigerian Factor’.
    As a necessary first step, Buhari should step down in 2019 to take good care of his health. He is not able to lead Nigeria.

    • shakara123

      Please let Buhari run so that he can be soundly defeated. Some good learnings would come out of that defeat.

    • Olusola Olusina Micheal

      what happened to his health oo aunty sarah,what exactly do you want …haters would always hate no matter what you do or how you tried.you just displayed what the writer was talking about Nigerians dont really know what they want,in govt and politics