Connect with us

Opinion

Success Adegor, Agony Of The Nigerian Child And Shame Of A Nation

Published

on

Success Adegor

By Alex Enemanna

Ever since the video of little Success Adegor, a primary 3 pupil of Okotie Eboh Primary School 1, Sapele Delta state broke the internet, our real nature, the very thing that defines us as a nation and of course our stark nakedness has been advertised to the global community for a free view bazaar. The seven-year-old pupil was said to have been sent home from school for her parents’ inability to pay her examination levy.

Little Success was visibly green with anger, full of fury, overwhelmed in frustration as she expressed in her words and gesticulations but not without unassailable determination, stone hard resilience, defined focus and a contagious optimism. She was certain she will pay as soon as her parents make the money available to her. Yet in the face of a brazen harassment, threat and intimidation, in the face of a premeditated humiliation of her very human dignity, ridicule of her social status and mockery of her family and ancestral background, her eye, spirit and soul was in the classroom; she wants to join her mates to acquire education for a brighter future. She never retreated nor surrendered, she defied all odds, like a sportsman determined to lift the trophy, she moved, surged on with all the energy she could muster in her very innocent heart.

Thanks to the internet and the social media that brought to fore Success’ story that has since turned a success story through the overflowing milk of kindness of the good people of Nigeria and foreigners alike. The story of success again gave life to the already known fact that there is no Islam or Christianity, North or South in the Nigeria project but a people united in one common goal and love for one another. There was no Christian or Islamic help, Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo or Tiv assistance in the collection of the succour that has come the way of little Success ever since she was embarrassed into success. She and her family saw Nigerians who were touched by the agony of an angry school girl.

Paradoxically, beyond the hoopla, razzmatazz and frenzy the story of little Success has generated, I can bet my integrity that not a lot would be done by those in authority to address the ranting of an aggrieved Sapele girl. Apart from the pseudo and face-saving suspension of the Headmistress of Okotie Eboh Primary School 1, Mrs. Vero Igbigwe and the hasty renovation of the school, nothing else will be done to rejig a system that has abysmally failed to serve the purpose for which it was created.

Loading...

Instructively, Success’ case has been there as far back as one can remember. It is an old, obsolete and archaic practice that has consistently set the pace in counter productivity yet my dear country still adopts sending pupils home in this era as a measure to deal with them for the inability of their parents to pay their fees.

Banking on Malcolm – X’s saying that “Education is our passport to the future, for, tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today” even as a little boy who was determined to raise my head above waters through the pursuit of education, I was constantly reminded that my razor sharp zeal was not enough to keep me in the classroom without a financial backing. This wouldn’t have formed a discourse if it was clearly stated that primary education was/is not free. Like the Sapele school, the age long deceit that education is free in public primary schools started from my most humble and mini forest Ebeyi Nvosi Community school in Abia State over two decades ago.

I was almost a regular customer to premature school dismissal on the account of non payment, a situation that continued till I eventually found myself in the secondary school. As a palliative measure, I had to wake up 4:30am every day to cover several kilometers in bicycle from Ebeyi in Isiala Ngwa South to Nbawsi in Isiala Ngwa North where I purchased breads for resale. While I reserve this story for another day, it is pertinent to state that as it was from the beginning, so has it remained.

These school managers usually hide under the veneer of one potato and yam levy or the other to extort parent with reckless abandon, milk them dry while still thumbing their chest that “education is free for every Nigerian child”. This is happening under the full glare, supervision and co-ordination of the government, who in this case has embarked on an aggressive scavange for a scapegoat in a desperate efforts to save its face. Could poor head teacher Mrs. Vero Igbigwe have acted solely on her own?

To say that the Nigerian child is the most disadvantaged, cheated and depraved among his equals across the world is to put it mildly. The signs are visible for everyone to see.

Addressing the Northern Nigerian Traditional Rulers Conference on Out-of-School Children pre-conference briefing in Abuja in October 2018, the Executive Secretary, Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Ahmed Boboyi, stated that the population of out-of-school children in Nigeria has risen from 10.5 million to 13.2 million, the highest in the world.

According to the United Nations, out-of-school children are children who are yet to be enrolled in any formal education excluding pre-primary education. What this implies is that Nigeria is housing a scandalous 13.2 million Success Adegors who are in a certain street, village, community or hamlet boiling in anger and frustration without anyone hearing their voices or listening to them even as their faith in their fatherland continues to dwindle with a speed jet.

There is no right-thinking Nigerian that will not be startled by the outrageous figure of Success Adegors we have succeeded in nursing and raising amid concerns of our precarious security situation. What could happen between now and 10 years to come is better imagined.

UNICEF said the reason why more children were out of school, especially in the North is “rooted in socio-cultural and economic environment barriers, cost of education, poverty and negative perceptions to formal education .”

These are the children we see loiter the streets day and night. While some have resorted to hawking banana, groundnut, pure water, akamu, moi-moi, bread and beans, some have become permanent secretaries in one virtual bet centre or the other, hoping and praying that fortune (that may never come) smiles at them.

How they eventually become the terrors of our day and horrors of our night shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone by the way. How they become movers and shakers of internet fraud industry becomes traceable. How they become merchants of hard drugs and other high profile crimes becomes what we already know.

We have shown a large scale unfaithfulness by the number of malnourished children we are currently incubating as a nation. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in 2018 raised alarm that 17 million Nigerian children are stunted due to severe acute malnutrition (SAM). What are we doing the address this?

In the face of the growing sexual abuse, pedophilia, exploitation and harassment against the Nigerian child, how have we lifted a finger in helping them?

In the face of physical torture, mindless aggression and battery, how much do we do to protect them?

In the face of emotional abuse, subjugation and suppression, how much efforts do we put in giving them a shoulder?

In the face of harmful cultural practices, obnoxious religious rituals and other inhuman treatments, have we done enough to amplify their voices?

Whatever we make of our children today is what we’ll reap of them tomorrow. If we play ostrich to the myriads of physical, emotional and psychological burdens heaped on the average Nigerian child, when the result finally manifests, we’ll all be affected.

Like little Success Adegor, we must rally round the rest of the 13.2 million children in her shoe. We must look at our immediate environment and give a child a pen and a paper for our collective good. It it not enough to wave the flag of “me, myself and I” in utter selfishness from the comfort of our fenced houses, tinted cars and heavily secured workplaces.

We must stretch a helping hand to one child. We must nourish a child in our immediate environment and give him a hope to live.

The story of Success is also a big for the slay queens and kings out there to rise above their limitations, conquer fear, threat and intimidation. We must not be the architects of our own reason for failure. Success was in a face to face confrontation with limitation but she was determined to soar.

Government at all levels must rise above politicking and deceit. The rot in our educational system can conveniently make it to the Guinness book of records. If we have succeeded in lifting the trophy as the headquarters of abject poverty in the world, what else is beyond us? We are a nation without shame and have learned nothing from the anger of a seven-year-old baby.

Until proactive measures are taken to make education affordable for all at all levels, make life more meaningful and liveable for all Nigerians, our journey to Eldorado will continue to have a comfortable abode in the figment of our imagination.

Enemanna is an Abuja based journalist.

Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Opinion

Who Is Afraid Of Amotekun?

Published

on

By Azuka Onwuka

In the past 10 days, about 100 people were killed by Boko Haram, bandits and highway kidnappers in different parts of northern part of Nigeria. The Emir of Potiskum escaped being kidnapped by spending the night in the forest, but some of his aides were killed. However, these killings were not the key issue in the news last week. The key issue was the declaration of illegality given by the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami, to the launch the South-West Security Network, code-named Operation Amotekun. Not only Malami opposed the launch of the security outfit. The Miyetti Allah Kaute Hore, a cattle breeders’ association, also opposed it.

Interestingly, most of the opponents of Operation Amotekun are northerners whose territory has been a source of serious security concern for many years now. There has never been any plan by the proponents of Operation Amotekun to move to the North in the exercise of their security duties. They will only operate within the states of the South-West. One then wonders why anybody from the North should be worried about it when there are enough things of worry to occupy the person. The issue of securing the South-West has sadly been made to look like a case of North vs South.

Given the level of insecurity in Nigeria and the number of casualties recorded every week, especially in the North where three dreaded groups operate, one would think that every Nigerian would gladly welcome any initiative that would help to check the activities of criminals in Nigeria. However, it is often said that with the exception of the gay issue, every national issue polarises Nigeria into North and South.

Our military are overstretched and war-weary. Our police are overstretched too and unable to cope with the diverse and complex nature of the security challenges facing Nigeria from different zones. And like former Vice President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar said over the weekend, in his support for the launch of Operation Amotekun, local policing has become a necessity as a result of the “obvious inadequacies of the federal police to effectively deal with these rapidly growing security challenges.”

The former presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the added: “The police are more likely to be effective in areas where they are well known and trusted by the local communities who in turn are willing to share information about known criminals and criminal activities, thereby foiling those crimes before they are even carried out…

Loading...

“In the envisaged new order, states and local governments shouldn’t be reduced to peripheral players in policing and security matters. When local police structures are closest to the grassroots, emergency response will be more effective than the current unwieldy chain of command that renders local government chairmen ineffective when their people are under attacks.”

The most ridiculous aspect of the opposition to the launch of Operation Amotekun was the threat that by its launch, the South-West may lose the opportunity to produce the president of Nigeria in 2023. This came from Alhassan Salleh, national secretary of the Miyetti Allah Kaute Hore. It is a way of telling the people of the South-West that if they want to be given the opportunity to produce the president in 2023, they have to leave their zone porous to make it easy for their people to be massacred. One wonders if a dead person can be president.

It is this sort of subtle blackmail that has made the South-West to virtually turn to the lamb since 2015, ignoring all the threats to their people. On July 19, 2016 I had written an article titled, “Something strange is happening in South-West”, to buttress this strange behaviour of playing the lamb led to the slaughter in a bid to be considered good by the North “to inherit the kingdom of Nigeria.” Some people even added a ridiculous dimension to the debate by telling me that I would not succeed in making them clash with the North.

One wonders how protecting one’s home should equate to fighting with the North. Can a zone be only said to be friends of the North if it does not complain or react when its people are killed? What type of friendship is that?

The biggest threat to security in Nigeria since 2015 has been the fear that protecting one’s people means fighting against the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.). Governors and other key politicians have been afraid to complain or take measures to protect their people against the killer herdsmen because of this fear. Few governors like Samuel Ortom of Benue and Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti who tried to take action against the killer-herdsmen faced stiff opposition from Nigerian security agencies as if they were the aggressors. Rather than being supported to protect their people, they were threatened and harassed by the security agencies.

This confirms the views of many that the worsening security situation in Nigeria has the backing of government in one form or the other. In March 2018, Lt Gen Theophilus Danjuma (retd.) had said: “The armed forces are not neutral. They collude with the armed bandits. They kill people, kill Nigerians. They facilitate their movements, they cover them. If you depend on the armed forces to stop the killings you will all die one by one…. I ask everyone one of you to be alert and defend your territory, your state. You have nowhere else to go.” If anybody should know about what is happening in Nigeria security-wise, it should be Danjuma, a former Minister of Defence and Chief of Army Staff.

Thankfully, the support for Operation Amotekun has been swelling. Groups from the South-East, South-South, North-Central as well as individuals from many parts of Nigeria have given support to it. Interestingly, those with different political views from the mainstream APC in the South-West have been the strongest supporters. That points to the fact that life comes first before politics.

The words from the governors of the South-West have shown that they are not ready to be cowed or blackmailed into backing off the plan to secure the South-West. The level and depth of insecurity that the North-East and North-West have faced should not be wished on any zone. The regular kidnapping of people on the highways in the South-West is a warning that all is not well. The killing of Mrs Funke Olakunri, daughter of Afenifere leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, in July last year seemed to have jolted the governors out of their slumber.

For me, the South-West should take all possible measures to safeguard its zone for my selfish reasons. I live in the South-West. Because I love to drive between the South-West and South-East, I have to drive through Ogun and Ondo states. One cannot guarantee that one would not meet highway kidnappers on the way. I occasionally have projects that take me through the South-West. In recent times, I have been wary of undertaking such trips within South-West. If these highway kidnappers embarked on intelligence gathering on their targets, I would not be a target because I am not a high net-worth individual. But their modus operandi is weird.

The South-West governors should immediately individually send bills to their respective state House of Assembly to pass a law legalising the security network in each state.

The issue of bearing of arms by members of the Operation Amotekun is also a major one. Using batons to battle well-armed criminals is suicidal. People’s children and husbands should not be sent on such a suicide mission. Just as many different vigilance groups are allowed to bear arms, the operatives of Operation Amotekun should bear arms. Thankfully, the police had given support to the group. They should work closely with the police to make the South-West safe.

— You can Onwuka on Twitter @BrandAzuka

Continue Reading

Opinion

‘Regional Security Organisation In The South East Is A Child Of Necessity’

Published

on

By Kalu Nwokoro Idika

I decided to make another round of case for a regional security organization in the South East of Nigeria in other to remind the political leaders of the region that evil is already in their midst. This will be the last time I will ever attempt to drum up support for this issue. One thing I have come to understand about the leaders of this region is that they are too lukewarm and cowardly disposed when it comes to confronting matters that is strangulating to death the interest of their people. There is this Igbo maxim that say: only an irresponsible person will run after a black goat in the night. For one not to be cut up in the middle of nowhere there is need to arrest a pressing situation before it blows out of proportion and consume everyone.

The Nigeria of today is full of unimaginable surprises. When a section of the country now possesses the prerogative power to determine who forms any group or who becomes the President then one begins to wonder if there is any difference between a banana republic and Nigeria. In a country where terrorists are treated with kids glove while peaceful agitators are massacred with AK47 and even in most cases bathed with chemical weapon, there is every need to bale the water while it’s still an ankle deep. The aim of my message is neither to open old wounds nor to inflict fresh ones. It is a divine mandate, designed to wake every lucid mind in the South East region with the bitter and incontrovertible truth.

Time and events have proven that truly Nigeria belongs to an uneducated tribe, while the other educated tribes in the country are slaves and must bow to the command of uneducated arrogant demagogues. Sometime ago a vituperative leader in this country once said that Nigeria is the estate of their father and they must ruthlessly do everything humanly possible to make sure it doesn’t slip away from their hand. Fifty nine years after independence, the story has been the same. There is no record of unity, peace and progress. The nation has been enmeshed in all manner of ethnic jingoism, killings, tribal warfare, economic terrorism and political parochialism. Nigeria has been nothing but a skeletal shadow.

In natural law, I was made to understand that what is good for the goose is also good for the gander. From time immemorial, this law applies in all human interactions and has become one of the yardstick for measuring fairness and equity in all social stratum. Unfortunately the revise is the case with Nigeria. While a section of the country is qualified to own all the oil wells, control the Presidency and the coercive apparatus of the state, the rest exist to applaud and lick their filthy anus. This reocuring ugly incident of a section of the country attempting to lord and intimidate the rest is becoming so visible and embarrassing. It is really a mockery on collective intelligence that an infinitesimal group in a nation will be bold to tell others when to eat and when not to eat.

The horrible security situation in Nigeria calls for a thorough regional introspection. There is no day that passes without one hearing stories of how terror movements and other bandits killed and displaced hundreds and thousands of people from their communities, and these are happening in a country where there are functional security agencies who are paid with the tax payers money to maintain absolute security. There are recorded cases of Fulani bandits kidnapping and raping aged women in their farmlands. The one that happened in Ebonyi State which was widely reported by media houses is a clear testament. The same carnage is on-going in Enugu, Imo, Anambra and Abia states. No arrest has been made and the governing powers have not held anyone accountable for all these heinous crimes. These killers and terrorists appears to be above the law because there seems to be some level of conspiracy from the top to shield them from prosecution

Loading...

Moreover, the lopsided structure of Nigeria and its security architecture is a larger signature to the fact that nobody is safe in the country. The Fulani tribe is in charge of the police, army, DSS, civil defense, customs, Navy and Immigration. It’s all about the government of the Fulani, by Fulani and for the Fulani. Other extractions of the country have been displaced from the national security formation.
When it comes to security and beyond, the South East region has been jettisoned. The only thing that works in the region is the mounting of road blocks from one pole to another by haggard and poorly trained security agents. Coordination of various military operations (like operation Python dance), extortion, killing and illegal arrest of motorists who refuses to part with their hard earned money on the numerous checkpoints littered all over the region is categorically seen as an act of gallantry.

However, there can’t be and will never be one Nigeria when some selfish and backward folks have chosen to arrogate power to themselves. There can’t be one Nigeria when there is no sea port and international airports in the South East. It is sheer deceit and folly for anyone to say there is one Nigeria when the Hisbah police and Civilian JTF in the North are legal while in other regions of the country such organizations are deemed illegal.

Nigerians don’t need to be told that one of the major reasons that have compelled the various regions of the country to establish indigenous security organizations is because the centre cannot longer hold. The security architecture in the country has been crippled by dead woods and ethnic chauvinism; hence the regions are now left to source for concrete alternatives for self preservation. The police and the army as presently constituted have stupendously failed to secure the people.

It will be bad and very regrettable that the South East leaders will fold their hands and watch while other regions of the country assiduously work to protect lives and property of their people in the face of this terror that is escalating in the country. It is necessary to constitute a viable regional security organization. It is a child of necessity. There is Hisbah police and JTF in the North, while there is Amotekun in the West. Thus, South East region shouldn’t be left behind in this self preservation mechanism. Political leaders from the South East must synchronize and push for the formation of an indigenous security outfit. Anything short of the above suggestion will continue to put the region in the radar of killers who maim and kill with impunity. My suggestion is not an attempt to be divisive and sadistic, but the reality on ground is what I’m laying bare for every reasonable mind to embrace.

In conclusion, I will quote professor Farooq Kperogi’s commentary of 18th January, “It’s irrelevant if Amotekun is constitutional or unconstitutional. You need to be alive to read the constitution. Only the living debate legality and constitutionality. The seemingly never-ending widening and deepening of the theaters of bloodshed in the country, occasioned by the unrestrained sanguinary fury of homicidal marauders, in the face of the inability or unwillingness of federal security forces to protect lives has made Amotekun an issue on which most people in the Southwest won’t compromise”.

I will advise all stakeholders from the South East to take a leaf from professor Farooq Kperogi’s commentary. Decisive measures should be taken to ensure the safety of the region. There is no room to start arguing the legality and illegality of setting up such security organization. Self preservation is a basic instinct in human beings and animals. A Stitch in time saves nine.

  • Kalu Nwokoro Idika is a political analyst, investigative and freelance journalist. You can reach him via kalunwokoroidika@yahoo.com

Continue Reading

Opinion

Project 002: The Wonders Of Nigeria (Clinical View)

Published

on

Nigeria

By Ikechukwu Agada

When duty calls, the vast majority of men sprout emergency wings and fly away to safer heavens where the clarion call of service cannot reach. An anonymous cocoon might be a good temporary place to hide away from the missiles and derision of traducers but it is no permanent place for a champion and certainly not as roomy as a palatial home.

The Southeast and Southsouth leaders should as a matter of solidarity constitute its own community security outfit similar to Western Nigeria Security Network codenamed(Operation Amotekun) to show southern oneness and to declare the Nigerian Security Agencies incompetent of protecting the life and properties of its citizenry which is the cardinal objective of any responsible government as enshrined in the constitution. The current Nigerian Security architecture dressed in a tribal gown cannot guarantee the safety of life and properties.

Earth Shaking! Grand Breaking! Mind boggling! Ordinarily, these terms are used as exaggerations but on this creative innovation(Operation Amotekun), they could even be said to be understatements. When you think of Nigeria and its stupefying wonders, you cannot but believe that there are a lot of mudslinging and tirades that comes with the terrain of politicking.

It is therefore no coincidence that the Northern Youths and Miyetti Allah who are the unofficial spokespersons of the Presidential Cabal would flippantly unleashed missiles against this responsible community security outfit structured to save lives. It is unpatriotic and abuse of office to declare Amotekun illegal without the law courts. Every citizen has the right to protect himself or herself. Such illegality should also be extended to civilian JTF in the Northeast and Hisbah police in the North. Those opposed to the security outfit are insensitive to the plight of people suffering from insecurity.

The Southeast and Southsouth leaders should outwit the bobby trap of the Northern Oligarchs by fronting its own security outfit via the State Houses of Assembly to colour it with constitutionality. The greatest threat to the community security outfit is not the vocal Northern Groups and their sponsors but desperate 2023 Presidential Secret Southern Conspirators who are overwhelmed by political correctness and fear of being viewed with restructuring lenses(Anti-North). These ambitious men do not want to offend their Northern masters. This conspiracy played out during the inauguration of the Western Security Outfit where a top Presidential hopeful from the Southwest after observing the body language of the Presidential Cabal instructed his three coronated governors to steer clear of the venue in an apparent loyalty to the northern forces allegedly sharing presidency. He flew to Aso Rock to have a conversation with the President to technically exonerate himself of any possible backlash arising from the initiative in order to advance his candidacy. Those who are hobnobbing with these northern power brokers should learn from the political calamity that befell some former confidants of these men in total obedience to the wonders of Nigeria.

Loading...

The just concluded Supreme Court pronouncement is not only a 9th wonder of Nigeria but a doctored political miracle which can only happen in the giant of Africa’s soil. The former Eastern Heartland’s helmsman was axed because of his total loyalty to the then ruling party where he held the reins of power as Deputy Speaker Federal House of Representatives. Similar fate awaits his boss the then speaker who is now a governor except by divine intervention to punish them for frustrating legislations encouraging Project 002 conspiracy theory. All the arguments and prayers in support of this Marlian judgement are mere political cosmetics conjured by integrity stunted jurists.

A courtesy visit to the top Nigerian Agencies and Parastatals will leave you with official shock because they are peopled with certain tribe from head to bottom(Organogram) making you wonder if “One Nigeria” still exist.

It is high time the Southern leaders revisits the native intelligence deployed by their sages like Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Ajayi Crowther, etc to beat a smart retreat because the North preserved and uses leadership ethos they mastered from their patriarchs like Ahmadu Bello and Usman Dan Fodio to distribute influence.

The outcome of the Amotekun Debate will shape the 2023 political games as those in support and against will be profiled. This is why most Gubernatorial and Presidential hopefuls are being careful of speaking out on the matter for fear of victimisation. If the South loses the battle to stamp its feet on this community security outfit(Which the Core North interpretes as restructuring in disguise) then the alleged Southern Presidency will die a natural death (because insecurity can never birth credible elections) and Project 002 will be fast tracked.

If the illegality tag handed on Operation Amotekun is not removed despite Southwest leaders responsible and objective dialogue approach, then “ONE NIGERIA” will remain the tallest wonder ever recorded in the history of the world. Nigeria obviously needs rebooting.

GOD BLESS YOU

Continue Reading
Advertisement