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Biafra: Stop your Social Media Vituperations, Cursing, Grand standing and Join Me to Educate Others

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I, like many other Igbos have stood on the side lines for far too long, wishing this Biafran breeze fizzles away, but it’s now dangerously turning into a major storm that constitutes an existential threat to Igbo civilization as we know it. Those of you IPOBians, Sympathizers, Rumour Mongers, Facebook Warriors, Facebook megastars, Opinion Leaders and Propagandists escalating the already tense situation must understand that in the end, you’ll all be losers, victims and at the same time in more bondage than you ever were. Not my wish anyway, but the perceptible reality. No war ever got won by emotions. Preparation and strategy does, ask any battle-tested soldier. Even the best of them get eaten. Little by little you guys are doing everything possible to attract avoidable conflict to our region hoping that the international community will intervene. You’ll be in for a shocker when this meal you’ve cooked for so long is served up.

Understand this, I have monitored many revolutionary conflicts around the world and know this for a fact, the international community foot-drags at less than a snail pace, if at all, before attempting any interventions in internal conflicts in a sovereign nation and that includes America and Israel you’re hoping on. War is a huge liability and no Country wants to meddle. The best they give these days are reliefs not military aids and that is after many must have died including those who started the fire. I watched it happen to Libyans, Yemenis, Syrians and till now they still don’t have peace. Besides, you’d be stupid to believe that those countries, if ever there is any, promising to support Nnamdi Kanu are really in for it. Some of them want to use him to initiate conflict and sell their weapons to both sides and make blood dollars. War is an all-comers affair and all kinds of demonically vicious players come to the slimy field to play the hellish game of blood and death.

I watched it happen to Libyans, Yemenis, Syrians and till now they still don’t have peace.

In this case, Boko Haram that has largely been caged by the army will break free to roam with ambitions to finally establish their Caliphate across Nigeria, all because the Army now fighting on two fronts can no longer concentrate on them having become too stretched. Guess what, they’ll come with ISIS on their back. Nigerian Army will be fighting to keep Nigeria together on one front, Boko Haram (ISIS Nigerian Branch) with Caliphatist ambition on the other and Biafra with secessionist ambition on yet another front.

That was how Syria got so complex till date and any war in Nigeria today will have a similar picture. Whoever gets overwhelmed will face the other. It will be a long and difficult journey and unlike the first civil war without Boko Haram in the equation, no one can predict the tortuous end. Other Jihadists from across Africa and Middle-East will join in as they always do wherever there’s instability to advance their different brands of Islam. In the end you’ll leave Nigeria and discover you’re fighting other strangers you don’t even know how they came into the picture.

Libyans thought they were fighting Ghaddafi but after Ghaddafi, they discovered other strangers fighting them to establish their different brands of Islam.

The big boys (international players) like Iran will be there to get there pound of flesh from Nigeria in revenge for the Shiites, Saudi will be there to defend Nigeria, and all will play. Weapons merchants will the start smiling to the banks. Guess where the theatre of war would be, Igboland. We must not allow this! Libyans thought they were fighting Ghaddafi but after Ghaddafi, they discovered other strangers fighting them to establish their different brands of Islam. Same thing in Syria. The words of Saif Al Islam Ghaddafi (Ghaddafi’s first son) keeps ringing in my ears as he forewarned Libyans of these grim possibilities, but okuko nti ike nánu ife n’ite ofe. I never took him seriously at the time but in retrospect, I now see he knew better because it panned out just as he predicted and Libya still isn’t out of the woods.

That’s the way it is these days of jihad consciousness across the world. If you ever experience war, you’ll never take peace for granted. War is not a movie as some of you think. You could be the first victim. Can you stomach watching your loved ones maimed, killed, raped, tortured, starve to death under slow and painful circumstances? Those are the grim realities of war and in Africa, it is executed with luciferous savagery and psychopathic sadism. The worst of peace is still better than the best of wars.

Funny enough, most of our chest-beating IPOBians will likely die off within the first month or two of the conflict leaving those who knew nothing or are on the sidelines to defend themselves. There will be nowhere to run to as no country in West Africa will agree to accept the ocean-sized volume of refugees. When the Rwandan genocide was looming, everyone was running his mouth until the death hurricane they courted so hard swept across their country, they wailed and shouted for international community to intervene but none came. That’s the way it is. Paul Kagame, their current President it was who ended it. And they vowed to “never again”. They learnt from history and have completely removed tribalism from every facet of national life and are admirably making astounding progress as one of Africa’s best.

On one occasion Kanu bragged that it would take him only two weeks to reach Sokoto in the event of war. I don’t know what weapons and extra-terrestrial strategies he has to execute that.

My advice, agreed, Buhari hasn’t treated us as well as we wanted, but wait till 2023 and make amends. I have listened to Nnamdi Kanu on several videos and my conclusion is that he is plain naive on how things roll in a conflict situation. On one occasion he bragged that it would take him only two weeks to reach Sokoto in the event of war. I don’t know what weapons and extra-terrestrial strategies he has to execute that. War is an unpredictable undertaking that you’ll be ignorant to estimate which direction it goes. As it is, he has no weapons just yet and is bragging. Many of you believe him and even ascribe infallibility to his words. I have lived a couple of years abroad and what some of you don’t know is that many of our people there egging you on don’t have immigration papers and are praying for an outbreak of hostilities in Nigeria so they can claim asylum on the back of it.

We must advise ourselves on this current path of self-annihilation. Some of you think Biafra will be the end of all your problems, so South Sudan thought, as did Eritrea, but sorry it will be the beginning of new ones. Now take this to the Bank, it will even be far more difficult for any country to touch any conflict here with a long spoon than it was in the sixties. Reason? Then there was the prospect of oil but today oil is out of fashion and even as it is, Nigeria is begging for buyers and nobody’s buying. Osinbajo said that much a few days back. Now, tell me, if they spend their money intervening in your conflict to save your asses, what will they get in return? The best they can do for you is to condemn what is going on, then more out-pouring of condemnations and then more unleashing of floodgates of condemnations, but NO ACTION while you die in numbers.

You often argue that a call for referendum is not a call for war. I agree completely! Very true! Referendum is a right not a privilege. Even Buhari asserted that much in favour of Palestine when he addressed the UN. However, it is plain naivety to assume that all that is enshrined in international law is enforceable. UN has no mechanism of enforcement. Countries and Dictators constantly flout it and nothing happens. Even if something were to happen you’ll all have decomposed in your graves by then. A show of bravado will not lead you anywhere Umunnem. Call me a coward if you like, but Chinua Achebe told us that we often stand in the house of a coward to point at where a brave man ONCE lived. In any case, isn’t it foolishness to challenge an army that has been stockpiling arms since 1960 when you on the other hand haven’t bought a bullet just yet?

“Only a foolish man can go after a leopard with his bare hands”

Papa Achebe puts it this way, “Only a foolish man can go after a leopard with his bare hands”. As impulsive and as tempting as it may get, tone down your rhetorics, invectives, acerbics, and cursing on social media. Cherish the peace you now have at least Igbos are not worse-off than other regions despite never being in power. While there is grinding poverty in other regions, the highest income per capita in the country is posted by Anambra and other Igbo states ain’t doing badly. Our people live well, build better houses compared to other regions and it’s all a miracle given the scratch we started from after the war. Why do we want to throw all that away because of ego and start all over again? Is it a curse? The Hausas though having been in power do not even live a better quality of life than Igbos. Let’s be wise and not give opportunity to destroy all we’ve achieved as a people.

I condemn in the strongest of terms the killing of unarmed people by Nigerian soldiers, killer herdsmen, and do not by any means say Nigeria is what we want it to be but understand Biafra wasn’t Ojukwu’s first choice. At Aburi his choice was a return to true federalism which he knew was a better deal for us than secession. Nigeria failed to honour that agreement and continued the killings forcing him to declare a Biafran Republic to save his people from slaughter and it’s understandable. Nigeria owes us tons of apologies, I agree. But brothers, let’s think again! A Biafra today will even be far less economically viable than it would have been then. Reason is because then we would have used oil money to jump-start the new country but today oil is so unsellable to the extent that Venezuela with arguably the largest reserves is grappling with severe economic problems. Kick-starting a new country from the basics would be painfully slow and may outlive our generation to even get the basic things in place. Arewa youths know that, the reason they have asked Nigerian Government to let Igbos go, only for Nnamdi Kanu to start asking for Benue and Rivers because he  knows that Igboland alone isn’t viable.

Benue were never part of Biafra and have made it clear to all, as did different Rivers groups that they don’t want Biafra.

Asking for Benue is laughable because they were never part of Biafra and have made it clear to all, as did different Rivers groups that they don’t want Biafra. A handful of his collaborators from those regions pledging allegiance to him does not equate to an entire people. Majority of their people hate this Biafran idea and have made that much clear. Some funny IPOBians are also hoping on Asari Dokubo and FFK. What a funny bunch being used to fight other people’s fight. Why won’t they take up the gauntlet or is it only us that is suffering injustice? Don’t even think corruption will suddenly disappear in a new Biafra as some naive IPOBians hope. If they give you Biafra today, your eyes will open up to new unpleasant realities many of you haven’t even factored-in in your agitation but then it would have been late.

We can together liberate Nigeria from Fulani if only we can unite.

I know voices like mine are often loathed and cursed by IPOBians but some of us who know the truth can no longer keep quiet while you drag us all into avoidable chaos. I owe our people the truth as I see it. Curse me all you want, it’s OK. Umunnem, ka ako’n’uche na udo chianu biko! Patience solves all things, with time. Let our people think again and know what is looming. Stop your facebook and social media vituperations, cursing, grand standing and join me to educate others. De-escalate this situation and speak words of kindness to others. Even mighty America de-escalates after tensions with Russia. It’s called wisdom.  North Korea provokes South Korea most times but the South always de-escalates tensions knowing that the North hasn’t got anything to lose in the event of war but beautiful South Korea will lose quite a lot. In our case, all the beautiful houses and streets in Igboland will be razed to the ground. Why should we be starting afresh all the time? It will even be more painful if we lose again as was the case in 1970. As it is, it’s not looking good! One more thing. We can join other ethnic groups to demand restructuring. Let us not face our common enemy alone. Britain is our enemy using minority Fulani to enslave Nigerians. We can together liberate Nigeria from Fulani if only we can unite. Let’s stop all these provocative language and join forces with the West and the Middle belt. See all over where Igbos are killed on daily bases. The worst is our behaviour in other people’s land.

Udechukwu Nnoruka, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, (SAN),  Emeritus Attorney General of Anambra State, and a  past member council legal education is now in private legal practice. 

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Nigeria

Schooling in Nigeria a scam?

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By Olabisi Deji-Folutile

Unfortunately, the reality is that Nigeria cannot achieve its full potential until it begins to invest in its human capital.

School na scam! I hear this phrase a lot of times these days, especially from Nigerian youths. Ask them what they mean, they will tell you that the whole hype about education being the foundation for a productive and profitable future is all lies – that all the talks about schooling being the gate pass to a life of comfort are all made up.

As far as they are concerned, Nigerian schools are teaching them things they may never need or use in life. Unfortunately, society keeps telling them that the road to success in life lies in school, when they can actually see that most of their peers doing well early in life are school dropouts. And the ones that society idolises don’t even have degrees. That is confusing!

One of them told me recently that going to school is a waste of time. To him, people spend so many years in school and still come out to do things that do not really require any form of academic rigour to handle. He cited examples of graduates ending up as fashion designers, photographers, event planners, etc. That’s share waste of time, isn’t it? These ones could have invested their energy in these vocations rather than waste their time studying what is not really relevant to their lives.

Well, that may be true. Many youths ‘doing well’ in Nigeria today are dropouts. A lot of them are into music. A lot of them got into the limelight through reality shows and they seem to be doing well for themselves.

Meanwhile, the number of graduates doing menial jobs is mounting every day. Just this past month, the story of a female graduate of the University of Calabar, who left her teaching job to ride a tricycle, popularly known as Keke NAPEP went viral on social media. According to her, she took up a teaching job after she graduated but, because the pay was meagre, she decided to venture into driving a commercial tricycle, which she said, brings her far more financial returns than her teaching job.

Another lady, Unyime Asuquo, a graduate of English Language, is also riding keke to earn a living because she has not been able to secure a job since graduation. If after leaving a university, all you come back to do is ride keke, why go to school in the first instance? No one needs a degree to learn how to ride keke, so why waste time and energy in a higher institution just to become a keke driver? How do you convince people like these that education is not a scam?

I know people talk a lot about the correlation between academic success and success after school. They claim academic feats rarely translate into success in life. They cite examples of first-class graduates working for third-class degree holders and wealthy stark illiterates employing brilliant professors and teachers. All of this seems to further justify the phrase that school is a scam. After all, if the narrative of schooling guaranteeing a great future is true, professors should be the richest people on earth and first-class graduates should probably be among those controlling the world’s wealth.

I may not have empirical data to back this up, but I have observed an increase in the number of Nigerian youths dropping out of higher institutions. I have also noticed that these youths aren’t really bothered about not finishing school. The ones I know are not idle either. They are all working – some as social media managers, web designers, SEO experts. These are skills they learn on their own in most cases. They even earn more money than graduates and they seem at par or even better than their graduate colleagues in terms of eloquence, industriousness, and relevance.

Are these enough reasons to conclude that schooling is a total waste of time? Definitely not! Rather, I would say what we need is a functional educational system. It is now apparent that Nigeria’s current educational policy is neither satisfying the yearnings of its teeming youths nor delivering the needs of the labour market. From personal experience at recruiting for jobs, I can tell you for free that many people who parade themselves today as graduates are unemployable. This does not mean that these youths aren’t smart; they are not just groomed for the labour market.

First, we miss it as a society when we think that every child should go to higher institutions. That is a grave mistake. There was a time when Nigeria had functional technical schools where students could learn vocational studies and specialise in whatever area of interest they were good at. Then there was carpentry, welding, building, hairdressing, catering, etc. These colleges were equipped to provide these vocational courses. Had my youth friend been aware of this, he would have known that you don’t have to go to university to become a fashion designer or event planner.

As a matter of fact, the main objective of the 6-3-3-4 system of education, championed by a renowned Nigerian educationist, scholar, and former minister of education, the late Prof Babs Fafunwa, was to produce self-reliant graduates with better labour market skills and earning potential.

The 6-3-3-4 system of education, introduced in 1982, according to experts, was designed to inject functionality into the Nigerian school system, by producing graduates who would be able to make use of their hands, head, and heart. It was designed to produce the expected technician class needed in Nigerian society.

It had a provision for technical schools. The idea is that every child would have six years of primary school, three years of junior secondary school, and then proceed to a technical school or senior secondary school depending on their interest and ability. As early as Junior Secondary School 3, the students proceeding to these technical colleges would have done so. They don’t have to waste their time by finishing senior secondary school or sitting the UTME because they really don’t need that stress.

Technical colleges prepare the students for specific trades or careers. They could spend 2-4 years there depending on their programme of choice. And they are awarded certificates at the end of their study. These colleges had workshops. They were not the typical classroom settings. The students had the opportunity of experiencing what they were expected to see in the labour market. In other words, the colleges offered practical lessons. These schools teach students life skills that cannot be taught in the traditional classroom setting.

In the developed countries, these technical schools are almost the complete opposite of a university. Rather than receiving a broad education, they prepare their students for a particular job of interest. Whereas, universities are for people interested in research or a general pursuit of knowledge.

The 6-3-3-4 policy initially seemed laudable; unfortunately, it didn’t take into consideration the fact that at the tender age of 13, some children may not really know what they want to specialise in. Besides vocational courses are stigmatised in this part of the world and those who go for them are largely regarded by society as being crude, unpolished, and dull.

Perhaps, it would have been better if the pupils had been allowed to finish senior secondary school before going for the vocational courses. So, it was replaced with the 9-3-4 system of education which merged the six years of primary education and the first three years of the JSS education. That muddled everything up. We ended up neither being here nor there.

Be as it may, the technical colleges are almost all dead now. That integral part of our education is gone and this is one of the reasons why the young ones are convinced that schooling is a scam. This is one aspect of the problem.

The other leg of it is the use of obsolete curriculums in many higher institutions. Many of these institutions have not reviewed their curriculums in years. The result is that they produce graduates that cannot use their hands, head, and heart. The world is changing but the curriculums have remained static. To be relevant, schools have to upgrade their curriculum to be in tandem with the needs of today’s world.

There is also a problem with the way our higher institutions structure their programmes. There are some course combinations that are not allowed here. This restricts the students and prevents them from expressing themselves. The schooling system should be reviewed to make room for more goal-oriented courses. Institutions can encourage students to have majors and minors. You can major in Computer Science for instance and have a minor degree in history or music. This will ensure diversity and help students to discover their purpose.

Besides, Nigeria has a funny way of getting people admitted to university. Everybody must have a credit in English and Mathematics. I often wonder, the mathematical formula that someone studying English would need or the lexicon that a maths student would need to solve mathematical problems. We just put unnecessary stumbling blocks in students’ way. Some students spend extra five years at home looking for maths and English to gain admission into Nigeria’s higher institutions. This is another problem. Imagine going through such a hell and coming out to ride a tricycle.

For me, school is not a scam. Rather, the dysfunctional education system that we have in this part of the world is the scam. Education remains a key driver of societal growth and progress. However, it would be a mistake to think that we go to school to obtain certificates and that the certificates should be a meal ticket. Proper schooling should help to develop one’s critical, logical problem-solving skills. Collins English Dictionary (2009) describes education “as a process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgement, and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life.”

You don’t have to go to a university to learn these skills. Some of the highest paying careers in the US include dental hygienist, Air Traffic Controller, Margin Department Supervisor, Construction Manager, Automobile Service Station Manager, Cardiovascular Technologist, Elevator Mechanic, and Power Utility Technician. They are all learned in trade schools or technical colleges and not in universities. Some Nigerians all in a bid to obtain foreign degrees often end up attending these schools abroad meanwhile, back home, our employers discriminate against polytechnic graduates.

With the IT revolution in today’s world, people in charge of our education should be thinking of how to establish centres where youths can be taught how to code, develop websites, design and implement software solutions. That is how to make education and learning practical and relevant.

I know that Nigeria’s situation can frustrate many people. There is a deliberate move by our leaders not to focus on the education sector. Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State has told us that politicians shy away from investing in education and health because such investments are generational as it takes 30 years for the results to show.

Since politicians only have a four-year term in office with a maximum of eight years if returned for another term, he said they often ignore these sectors and focus on road constructions, building of secretariats which to them can easily be paraded as achievements.

Perhaps, the other point the governor forgot to mention is that politicians make their money from kickbacks on such projects which make them attractive than investing in human resources.

Unfortunately, the reality is that Nigeria cannot achieve its full potential until it begins to invest in its human capital. Bill Gates made this valid point sometime ago when he advised the country to build human resources rather than bridges and roads. As good as these infrastructures are, they become useless if done at the expense of providing quality and practical education to the citizenry.

A Yoruba proverb says a child that is not trained well will sell off his parents’ house. In other words, if a father builds a house at the expense of his child’s education, that child will end up selling the house built. If Nigeria continues to build infrastructure and devalues education in the process, its uneducated and half-baked graduates will destroy the infrastructures and the country will be back to square one. A word is enough for the wise!

Culled from the Sahara Reporters

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Nigeria

How Nigeria’s “Best Brains” Accompanied A Mannequin To The UN General Assembly in New York

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—Activist, Sowore

President Buhari will address the Assembly during the General Debates on Friday, September 24 when he will speak on the theme of the conference and other global issues.

Human rights activist, Omoyele Sowore has knocked Nigerian technocrats and professionals who went with President Muhammadu Buhari to the United States for carrying on with the charade knowing he has nothing to offer.

The media had reported that the President departed Abuja on Sunday, September 19, to attend the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), where he is expected to speak.

According to Femi Adesina, presidential spokesman, Buhari will address the Assembly during the General Debates on Friday, September 24.

He will be speaking on the theme of the conference and other global issues.

“President Muhammadu Buhari will depart Abuja Sunday for New York, United States of America, to participate in the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA76),” Adesina had said in a statement.

“The session opened on Tuesday, September 14. The theme for this year’s UNGA is, ‘Building Resilience Through Hope – To Recover from COVID-19, Rebuild Sustainably, Respond to the Needs of the Planet, Respect the Rights of People and Revitalize the United Nations.’

“President Buhari will address the Assembly during the General Debates on Friday, September 24 when he will speak on the theme of the conference and other global issues.

“In the course of the Assembly, the Nigerian leader and members of the delegation will partake in other significant meetings such as ‘The High-Level Meeting to Commemorate The Twentieth Anniversary of the Adoption of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action’ on the theme –Reparations, Racial Justice and Equality for People of African Descent.”

But reacting in a Facebook post on Monday, Sowore asked why a country of 200 million citizens could deploy some of its “best brains” and human resources to support a lie and a fallacy in “this mannequin.”

Sowore, who posted some pictures of Buhari with some members of the delegation, including one showing the foreign affairs minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, seemingly showing the President something from a note, described the ‘show’ as a charade.

He posted, “It remains a mystery to me that an entire country of 200 million could consistently deploy some of its ‘best brains’ and Human Resources to support a lie and a fallacy in this mannequin.

“On this trip to the United Nations General Assembly are two well-trained pilots, at least an aeronautical engineer, at least two medical doctors, speechwriters, several lawyers, Nurses, Accountants, Policy workers, International Affairs specialists, some clergymen, and women. So, one can’t imagine that there is NOT a single of men and women in these photos who could turn around and just sober up. Tell the truth that these exercises presented here are a charade as well as a facade.”

Culled from the Sahara Reporters

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Nigeria

Ndume: I’m Worried About Hasty Approval Of Loans By Senate

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Senator representing Borno South, Ali Ndume, says he is bothered about the “rush” of the senate to approve loans….

Senator representing Borno South, Ali Ndume, says he is bothered about the “rush” of the senate to approve loans.

He said this during an interactive session with journalists in Abuja.

Ndume said though borrowing was not a crime, the thoroughness required for its approval was often not followed by the Senate, and by extension, the National Assembly.

“What is the borrowing for and what are the terms? Borrowing is not a crime but when the rate of debt services increases which I understand is getting to 80 per cent to 90 per cent, you have to be cautious, and you have to look for an alternative.

“There are some loans that are not just absolutely necessary, there are some that can be delayed there are some that can be negotiated or you renegotiate the terms. I think this is what the media should analyse and see whether it is necessary.

“Let us look at the implication, what the money is to be used for. We have infrastructural deficits in this country and all we hear is that when people come to Abuja and allocation is made, you don’t see anything happening.

“For me, it’s better to borrow that money and do the road instead of giving it out for people to collect it and go and spend it without accountability.

“What I am worried about again is the way the Senate is handling it. The Senate by definition is the house of deliberations when things like this come, we don’t just rush and say because you are to be seen to be good you just rush and approve it.

“You are supposed to look at it critically, cross the ‘Ts,’ dot the ‘Is’, ask questions; carry the people you are representing along. But the way we do it, makes the people we represent look at us with suspicion. There is some situation where the time is short you have to act fast but you must carry Nigerians along.

“They call us rubber stamp; it is because we don’t carry people along. If for example there is an opportunity and it is for one week and the Senate needs to approve and we need to get it for Nigeria we can get in 24 hours because of the need and the emergency but if it can wait there is no urgency in it, we need to analyze.

“Like we rushed to approve certain borrowings until now we did not get the money. So why did we rush? These are the questions that come to my head most of the time,” Ndume said.

Culled from the Daily Trust Nigeria

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