It is evident that politicians for the past four to five decades in Nigeria have not delivered good governance to Nigerians nor managed our resources to improve the well being and welfare of its citizens. It is common knowledge that these politicians in their estimation have perfected the cycle of deceiving the electorate by literally buying the votes of the people and foisting incompetent people on the citizens on the platform of their political parties. Strategies of manipulation also include exploitation of ethnic sentiments and religious dispositions of the electorate to impose these visionless, corrupt and ethically immoral people of them. This current government set us back many years with the level of nepotism that we thought had died in our country and many lives have been lost in what could be considered the archaic and backward policies of cattle herdsmen that has resulted in many deaths.
Change of leadership could not be more compelling than in 2019. This is why the electorate has to be enlightened to no longer be deceived by N1000 or a piece of Ankara to mortgage their quality of life and those of their children to hirelings and charlatans who wear political garbs with no understanding or desire to serve their people. Good governance is about is about service to the people. Valuing with integrity the trust that is reposed on leaders to judiciously and efficiently manage the nation’s resources to the direct benefit of the people of Nigeria. It is not about ethnicity or religion or tribe. It is about being accountable, transparent, committed to meeting the goals that have been set to deliver to the electorate in a timely manner. Let us do all we can, using the social media and other media to disarm money politics in our country that undermines our ability to choose wisely those who will deliver on their campaign promises and stop the rot of incompetent leadership in Nigeria.
The time for change is 2019. Please, do not sit on the fence. Get involved. Join a movement to change Nigeria. I have joined the Red Card Movement. Let us take charge of our destiny and drive change that will deliver good governance and the benefits of a progressive nation for our country. Let us educate the electorate. The time to start is now.






Query 1:

Examine the critical elements of the Nigerian Constitution and identify aspects of it needing an amendment for a better administration of the country.

Our Response:

The 1999 Constitution lies against itself as it is not a people’s constitution, but rather foisted by the military. Hence it’s anti-developmental applications.
A critical element requiring urgent amendment is in the area of the security apparatus of the country. Our allusion points at the Police, where centralization has limited effectiveness while accounting for crass incompetence.
The police are underpaid, under-trained and overstretched. Consequently, the soldiers who are the last line of defense of any nation are now the first, having been drafted to 32 out of the 36 states doing internal security operations.
The 68 items on the exclusive list must be revisited and be worked on. These in part also have been the cog in the wheels of effective development.
Legislation on resource control must tilt in favor of states, while formula of monthly allocation must be reversed, such that the federal government gets less in the suggestions of LG…40… States …40 and the federal government 20.
Extra-budgetary allocation and honorarium will be made possible to the federal purse for security reason.

Query 2:

Examine the roles of Political, Traditional and Religious Leaders to determine if they have fulfilled their critical roles in nation-building and development of the society.

Our Response:

Of a truth, the majority of these ‘power groups’ should and would have contributed more, but the ethnic clannish and religiosity skew have obliterated expected efficiencies.
Let us x-ray these traditional and religious leaders a bit more closely.
The former, whose task is to both preserve and teach core values, while staying neutral has lost it, partly because our kind of democracy has supplanted their mode of evolution as they have to get approval as well as Staff of Office from the governors, invariably, they are tied to the apron strings of their paymasters.
If we go down even to our recent history, we know that when Sultan of Sokoto Sir Abubakar 111, the father of the current Sultan Saad, was going on his first pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, he left his household in the care of Mr. Dike, an Igbo from the South who went to Sokoto in 1915. Mr. Dike was so trusted that he had access to the Sultan’s bedroom.
Dike’s offsprings are still in Sokoto fully integrated. In doing this, Sultan Sir Abubakar 111 was practicing what his worthy ancestor, Shehu Usman Dan Fodio advised in his book, “Bayan Wujub al_Hijra” where Dan Fodio wrote, “one of the swiftest ways of destroying a state is to give preference to one particular tribe over another, or to show favor to one group of people than another, and draw near those who should be kept away and keep away those who should be drawn near.”
So how come we have missed the way so dastardly?
The religious leaders themselves teach, that their religion is the only channel to God, thereby creating a direct or subtle psychological mindset of religious superiority to others. It further engenders hatred and divisions, while causing jeopardy to harmony.
Political leaders also seem superior to the laws, as they repeatedly violate the constitution and subvert the process of justice in connivance with their lawyers and corrupt judges.

Posted By C&L Alumni Core Group.



Constitutional Provisions on religion

In the Federal Government of Nigeria Constitution of 1999, in Part II, section 10 it states the following:

The Government of the Federation or of a State shall not adopt any religion as State Religion.

The sub-section 1 under section 15 of Part II of the same constitution where it is said that the motto of the Federal Republic of Nigeria shall be Faith, Unity, Peace and Progress it also stipulates the following:

Accordingly, national integration shall be actively encouraged, whilst discrimination on the grounds of place of origin, sex, religion, status, ethnic or linguistic association or ties shall be prohibited.

The Federal and State governments have complied fully with the provision (i) above but the same affirmation of adherence cannot be said of provision (ii) both at the Federal and State levels. The challenges and negative consequences that this non-compliance has posed in undermining the effective management of resources at both levels of government will be enunciated later in the synopsis.

These constitutional provisions confirm the secularity of the practice of religion within Nigeria and guarantee its citizens freedom so to do if it does not present threats to life and property of others or constitutes itself into a nuisance thereby inconveniencing the peaceful way of life of others or breach their fundamental human rights.

Though these conditions are not explicitly stated in the provisions, they are considered intrinsic in their definition towards living in peace with each other with mutual understanding.

Geographical Religious Diversity

Contemporary statistics indicate the following as the percentages by the population of the major regions in Nigeria:

Muslim – 50%

Christianity – 40%

Others – 10%

All states in the Federation have a mix of all these religions in different ratios and we can state a generalisation that the Southern part of the country comprising the South West, South Central, and South East are more predominantly Christian and the Northern part of the country comprising North West, North Central, and North East are predominantly Muslim.

Before the late 70s and early 80s, the state governments and previously regional administrations were religion agnostic and did not participate in religious activities formally or as governments. The relationship between adherents of these major faith was simple, non-hostile, tolerant, accepting to the extent the Muslims enjoyed Christmas celebrations with Christians and Christians enjoyed Idel Malud and Idel Kabir celebrations with Muslims so much so that gifts and food were exchanged during these times between themselves. There were no incidents of hate speeches between Christians and Muslims and intermarriages did not meet with resistance from either faith as such.

The moral values of followers of both faiths and in general everyone else was founded on age-old cultural dos and don’ts that had stood the test of time and continued so to do. It is a fact also that traditional idol worship namely Ifa, Ogun, Oya, Oshun were mixed with these major faiths as well.

Religion was private, and many adopted or were brought up in these faiths by following what their parents taught them and practiced.

Religion and Governance

Religion in government started late in the 80’s where States in the northern part of the country to help many more Muslims in their states fulfill their religious obligations to go to Mecca started to subsidize the flights and gave logistical support to operationally and effectively manage a fulfilling experience for its adherents. This provided the opportunity for many more Muslims to embark on this journey annually. What used to be a privileged journey for the rich or those that could afford it became commonplace and the proceeds of the oil boom that enhanced the size of the disposable income of many also played a very crucial part.

The equivalent activity of traveling to Jerusalem for Christians was not a religious obligation in their faith and consequently, it lagged when it came to state support. For many Christians, this remained a spiritual desire which they finally were able to influence the state governments to subsidize and support as well. Religious organizations have since been set up formally in some states of the Federation to manage these activities every year to which resources are allocated from the state budgets.

Though religion remains private, the involvement of state governments has given it a different coloration. The backdrop of committing state resources to supporting these activities has in effect empowered State Governors to push the boat of their religious beliefs further into the sea when they are in office thereby endangering the secularity of religion in states. We see this in attempts made by some state governors to compel the wearing of the hijab in some secondary schools in the South Western segment of the country.

The knock-on effect of this state government involvement in religion has led to the establishment of Sharia courts in some states of the Federation particularly in the northern part of the country. This has been a direct impact on the Judiciary in the country leading to a parallel judicial system in some parts of the country.

Religion and Faith

The growth of religious tourism in the country has become an industry in the country to which significant resources are committed yearly. The inherent expectation of these activities would be that adherents of these faiths will be more pious in their behavior reflecting their beliefs in the teachings of these faiths. Sadly, this has not been the case. Religiosity now straddles the country, particularly in the Christian faith where churches number over 25000 across its length and breadth.

Despite this growth of places of worship in the country, there is more corruption in all facets of public and private sectors of the economy. Crime in various forms has also become a commonplace which prior decades ago was not the case. These include kidnappings, ritual killings, large-scale embezzlement of government funds by public officers and criminal conspiracies between banks and government establishments to defraud.

To state that the motivation for the growth of places of worship in the country was more financial than spiritual would not be far from wrong. In the counterproductive message of miraculous and sudden wealth by many churches, the work ethic of the adherents of the Christian Faith has been severely undermined with a consequence that creativity, innovation, and hard work have stunted and become moribund. The deliberate and conscious mis-emphasise of wealth as a message primarily for self-enrichment of Pastors has severely damaged the economic benefits that honesty, integrity, and accountability have afforded our economy and by extension our country.

Religion and Politics

The rather primitive mentality of ‘do or die’ in Nigerian politics and the obsession for political office for self-enrichment as against service has resulted in the use of every deviant device and mechanism to secure a political position. Religion, therefore, has become a victim and a tool exploited by politicians in very manipulative ways to get support and undermine opponents. The mixture of politics and, religion, however, is very toxic and rhetoric by politicians in attempts to secure votes exacerbates religious intolerance and results in conflicts and clashes between different party supporters that sometimes leads to the loss of life.

Exploitation of religious beliefs also blinds the views of the electorate about the capabilities of a potential candidate and constrains their ability to evaluate objectively what such a candidate will deliver if elected. Consequently, incompetent, inexperienced, unprincipled and morally bankrupt people find their way into public office on the back of religious beliefs to the detriment of the people for a minimum of four years.

The loss in the mismanagement of resources, the under-development of the state of the economy, the visionless posture of such people causes irretrievable damage and the consequences last a long time. In some cases, the quality of life of such people fall and standards of behavior are compromised all around. The society is then the victim of religion that has been abused for self-gain.

Points to ponder

That official involvement of state governments in religious tourism should be discontinued as there is no empirical and visible evidence of tangible benefits to these activities

That the non-intervention of state governments in religion will deter the abuse of governors in their offices to arm-twist the electorate to adopt their personal beliefs via the imposition of educational policies that are sympathetic to their own religious disposition

That the non-intervention of the government at all levels in the country will further respect the multi-religious society that we are and strengthen our nation as one that is secular.

That the non-intervention of government in religion and religious affairs will further disarm politicians from its exploitation and better empower the electorate to make informed decisions about candidates to ensure people of good standing and right competencies are elected into office.
That the non-involvement of government in religious affairs will help to deter the religious extremists among us from exploiting the ignorant and poor youngsters from becoming terrorists and focus their attention in the delivery of good service to all Nigerians

That the non-involvement of government in religious affairs will help the peaceful co-existence of people of different faiths better live in harmony across the length and breadth of Nigeria.

That the resources currently used in funding the subsidies to religious locations be better utilized in meeting the developmental goals of medical, educational, social infrastructure in the country.

It is evident that politicians for the past four to five decades in Nigeria have not delivered good governance to Nigerians nor managed our resources to improve the well being and welfare of its citizens. It is common knowledge that these politicians in their estimation have perfected the cycle of deceiving the electorate by literally buying the votes of the people and foisting incompetent people on the citizens on the platform of their political parties. Strategies of manipulation also include exploitation of ethnic sentiments and religious dispositions of the electorate to impose these visionless, corrupt and ethically immoral people of them. This current government set us back many years with the level of nepotism that we thought had died in our country and many lives have been lost in what could be considered the archaic and backward policies of cattle herdsmen that has resulted in many deaths.

Change of leadership could not be more compelling than in 2019. This is why the electorate has to be enlightened to no longer be deceived by N1000 or a piece of Ankara to mortgage their quality of life and those of their children to hirelings and charlatans who wear political garbs with no understanding or desire to serve their people. Good governance is about is about service to the people. Valuing with integrity the trust that is reposed on leaders to judiciously and efficiently manage the nation’s resources to the direct benefit of the people of Nigeria. It is not about ethnicity or religion or tribe. It is about being accountable, transparent, committed to meeting the goals that have been set to deliver to the electorate in a timely manner. Let us do all we can, using the social media and other media to disarm money politics in our country that undermines our ability to choose wisely those who will deliver on their campaign promises and stop the rot of incompetent leadership in Nigeria.

The time for change is 2019. Please, do not sit on the fence. Get involved. Join a movement to change Nigeria. I have joined the Red Card Movement. Let us take charge of our destiny and drive change that will deliver good governance and the benefits of a progressive nation for our country. Let us educate the electorate. The time to start is now.

Posted By C&L Alumni Core Group.







Nigeria’s form of government looks familiar to the American style as the president has a four-year term and has a possibility of a second term. The national assembly is bicameral, with a senate and a house of representatives distributed among the states by population. There is also the apex judiciary court known as the Supreme Court.

Political parties are expected to be a core group of institutions in any functioning democratic system. However, the activities of Nigerian political parties over the years have been to subvert and not promote democracy and good governance. Here are the major actors in the choice of leaders for the country

THE CABAL…Nigerian political parties have been hijacked by a few cabals whose mindsets are those of “do-or-die” politicians. They generally tend to believe that political power through elections has to be “captured”. These highly placed Nigerians include retired society’s elites, top military officers, policemen, paramilitary agencies and government contractors who operate as political godfathers. Because of their enormous wealth and influence, they personalize political power which ordinarily should belong to the people and ought to be institutionalized. With the assistance of state institutions like the police, army, and the electoral body, they turn their different parties or states into personal estates. They determine nearly everything that happens in the parties or states. They are the ‘king’s makers’. These godfathers arrogate to themselves powers to decide for the people thereby threatening the democratic process in the country and equally denying the people the right to take part in politics. Generally –speaking these kingmakers themselves are power drunk, self-seeking, ideologically barren. The pervasive ‘godfather challenge’ also exists in almost all parts of the country, and is not necessarily limited to any one state or geopolitical zone in particular

Among these cabals are members of the States and National Houses of Assembly in Nigeria who themselves are products of corrupt and undemocratic rules and processes

INEC included among the list of amendments to the legal framework it submitted to the National Assembly as far back as late 2012 or thereabouts, the need for the introduction of Independent Candidacy in our electoral laws. The idea behind that is for the purpose allowing (an) independent candidate(s) – i.e. any eligible person(s) who happen(s) to meet a very strict set of specified qualification criteria for such – to be able to avoid the influence of godfathers in deciding who gets to be on the ballot as a party candidate. Perhaps, not totally unexpectedly, that amendment did not sail through in the end.

UNEMPLOYED YOUTH…Unemployment is high resulting in youth restiveness and its concomitant general insecurity and high crime rate in the country. These include militant activities in the Niger Delta area, kidnapping cases in the south-east, the activities of ‘area boys’ and robbery cases in the southwest and Boko Haram menace in the north. All these are clear reactions of unemployed Nigerian youths to bad governance in the country.

THE POOR MASSES….Nigerian citizens are grossly unequal in wealth and the poor who are invariably the most, are dependent on the wealthy. Most of our largely uneducated pool of electorate, on their part, do not still understand or appreciate the fact that they can, indeed, vote for the candidate of a different party other than the main party they support, depending on the quality of the candidate presented by each party. In other words, the concept they seem to generally accept and entirely go by, more often than not, is one which tends to imply that once they massively support a particular political party or candidate in a state or an area, it then automatically follows that they just have to vote and return any and all candidates presented by that party across all the conceivable election types conducted by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) – i.e. Presidential, Governorship, Senatorial, House of Representatives and State Houses of Assembly elections – and possibly, even local government council elections conducted by the various State Independent Electoral Commissions (SIECs), regardless of whether other more qualified or better-suited candidates may be running for the same place on another party platform. The resulting dangerous phenomenon during elections, which is largely fuelled by such mindset, has appropriately been dubbed and has since come to be known and regarded as the “bandwagon effect” in local electoral parlance. Their membership of parties are not based on genuine manifestoes but linked availability of cash gifts, incessant religious crisis, the persistent ethnic and sectional conflicts, separatist movements etc. They are generally not averse to maiming, killing, burning, and unimaginable destruction of lives and property either.

OTHERS…To some extent, the Nigerian Judiciary and most of the State Independent Electoral Commissions (SIECs), cannot be absolved of blame about what these parties are doing. The roles of the judiciary and that of the SIECs as the last hopes of the average person have been undermined by different godfathers either through inducement, cajoling, and intimidation. In essence, “the judiciary and most of the SIECs, to a large extent are subject to the whims and caprices of these do or die, politicians.


A poor political culture has emerged from the interactions of the various actors above leading to

Machine politics which “involves the parceling out of parts of the State including territories to people, usually under the leadership of one or two notables

Those who have somehow appropriated and cornered for themselves the rights to pick out or select from among the long list of aspiring politicians on our behalf appear uncomfortable with pushing forward and implementing the kinds of reforms that will make sure only people who meet the relevant criteria of qualification, knowledge, experience, vision, skills, wisdom and courage, among others, are put forward for such positions. This is, perhaps, because such people may not be amenable to being teleguided or pushed around in a way that their benefactors have come to expect over the years. We, therefore, have a “garbage – in, garbage – out” syndrome on our hands

Political parties look more like social clubs and not groups of people held together by well-thought-out manifestoes. Usually, party primaries are conducted in grossly undemocratic fashion. In many cases, the results were said to have gone to the highest bidder and usually well-known in advance before an election

Political Powerlessness – which is an individual’s feeling that he cannot influence the actions of a party because of the crude use of money to buy votes. Or the heightened use of thugs to influence results. Massive rigging of buying of votes during internal party election is a norm and not an exception

Political Meaninglessness – which implies the person who finds himself in this situation is unable to make choices without directions from the cabal

Political Lawlessness– here the individuals’ perception that norms or rules of political relations are not observed, or that there is no adherence to the rule of law according to party constitutions. There is the perception of a high level of deviating behavior generally among political actors

Political Isolation of people who decide not to play ball

Political Estrangement – this is a feeling of withdrawal that an individual has arisen from the deplorable conditions of public life even as he plays his roles in the political process. Increasing discontent with current government policy and performance undoubtedly contributes to political cynicism.

Reckless mobilization of ethnic, language or religious differences within party members

Violence and assassination of political aspirants and kidnap of their families

Very high financial wherewithal for the campaign, take care of the cabal and the social norms of the clubs otherwise called political parties.

Even where party members feel aggrieved or where an electorate has a change of mind the legally permissible recall of elected officials is a rather tedious process, which probably explains why none has succeeded thus far in our recent history.



The average Nigerian has been so profoundly frustrated, disappointed and devastated by the crude manifestations of the mechanics of Nigerian electoral politics, so much so that they have become either apathetic and indifferent, or exceedingly cynical or The civic duty of going out to vote in elections had become very dangerous, exposing voters to risks of being assaulted or injured or killed by armed thugs doing the bidding of some politician, or by some deranged militants and terrorists. If they succeeded in casting their votes unscathed, they watch helplessly as the votes were stolen, or the election results purchased from cooked election and security officials, such that for all practical purposes, their votes don’t count. In the circumstances, many citizens have withdrawn from the electoral process and/or have become extremely skeptical about the value and utility of elections.

As a developing third world country, Nigeria is bedeviled by institutional weaknesses and systemic challenges, which all impact negatively upon the preparations and conduct of elections. For example, INEC was inherited by Prof. Jega as a weak institution, with a very negative public image to boot. Some of the characteristics of a week institution include inefficient and personality-driven business process; lack of good record-keeping and institutional memory; and susceptibility to pettiness conflicts by primordial vested interests and cleavages. It is very challenging to routinize work and achieve efficiency and effectiveness in such as organization because it requires a change of attitudes through serious efforts at change management says Prof Jega.

There is also the complicated matter of the impact/influence of other weak institutions, on an institution being reformed!

General systemic challenges and peculiarities also impose constraints on electoral reforms. For example, Nigeria has a very serious systemic security challenge. There is an upsurge in criminality, committed with impunity and unrestrained by the remarkable weakness of the police as an institution; political thuggery, kidnapping, armed robbery, assassinations, militancy and insurgency, all joined to make the political and electoral terrain very unstable and insecure. There is not much an EMB like INEC can do in the face of such systemic challenges; except forge closer collaboration and working relationship with all security agencies, in the hope that working together, there could be a more effective strategy in minimizing the challenges.

The cost of running INEC is also rather too astronomical for our economy. Revenue that could be used to provide the infrastructure needed by business is used for funding elections. The total budget for the 2011 elections released by INEC was put at N89billion ($659million). In the federal budget for 2011, another N46.4 billion was allocated to the same elections. Indeed, the total budgetary allocation for elections was about N133 billion naira. It is important to state that INECs budget for 2011 dwarfed the budget of most states of the federation. Osun state had a budget of N88.1 billion, Kwara state N68.6 billion and Edo had a budget of N106 billion. When compared to other developing countries such as Bangladesh, India, and Ghana, the cost on per head basis in Nigeria was more than double. For 2015 elections INEC’s N74 billion on voters register amounts to N1, 138 per head for 65 million registered voters. Ghana conducted its 2008 elections at the cost of $40 million which amounted to $3 per capita.

Commencement reviews of the electoral legal framework do not usually start early and do not usually comply with the international Protocols to which Nigeria is a signatory. This need to be completed at least six months before a general election.

INEC recognized, quite early, the need to increasingly use technology to improve the conduct of elections in Nigeria. One key challenge is associated with the virtual absence of Original Equipment manufacturers (OEMs). Virtually everything has to be sourced from vendors, and imported from abroad, who impose extortionate conditions, arbitrarily review upwards licensing fees on account of ‘proprietor’ rights. As most technology relies on electricity, the inadequacy of power supply requires added expenses on batteries, spare parts, and redundancies. INEC tried to right technology, albeit through vendors, but with an effort to curtail their total control, by signing on to contracts with detailed specifications and use of Open Source Software. But doing this also has its own challenges!

There are also other associated challenges. For example, meeting the production deadlines in the production o permanent voter card (PVC) f PVCs was seriously affected by power failures, which damaged equipment, which the vendor could not quickly replace. The use of smart card readers (SCRs) was constrained by the fact that some polling units are located in areas where there was no Internet coverage! Or in schools, which were used as Super Registration Area Centres (RACs) with no electricity to charge batteries and SCRs!


Several factors accounted for the voter participation in the elections. These included

Voter Education

Mobilization of Human and Material Resources

Security for Electoral materials

The credibility of the candidates,

The desire to change the party in power due to poor performance,

The use of the Smart card readers and fairness of the zoning arrangement.

A large number of voters were also encouraged by INEC‟s assurances of credible polls.

Party image was reported to have played the least impact on voters‟ decision to vote.

Voting behavior in the election was generally in conformity with INEC‟s electoral guidelines. Voters were orderly during accreditation, voting, sorting, counting, and declaration of results. Voters also largely accepted the outcome of the election without resorting to post-election violence.

In spite of all these, the election was characterized by low voter turnout (see table below showing Number of Registered voters versus Total Votes cast) This is no surprise with the anticipation of rigging, insecurity, dissatisfaction with the performance of elected representatives, general lack of interest in the election, and people‟s valuation of the rewards of other activities on the election day, as reasons for poor outing for the elections.


  Summary of 2015 Presidential Election Results in Benue State    
S/n Name of No. of No.   of Votes Received by Parties
  No.  of   No.    of Total
  LGA   Regd.   Accred,       Valid   Rejected Votes
      Voters   Voters         Votes   Votes Cast
            APC           PDP
1 Ado   59,888   10,946 2,328 7,382   273 9,983   559 10,542
2 Agatu   47,895   15,284 3,627 9,555   120 13,294   658 13,952
3 Apa   46,934   13,418 4,526 6,450   203 11,179   778 11,957
4 Buruku   92,862   42,564 23,397 15,407   478 39,084   639 39,723
5 Gboko   191,036   83,180 54,065 22,971   489 77,521   1,570 79,091

The Commission’s performance in provision of electoral security was largely below the mark and this accounted for some pockets of electoral violence in some areas.


All is not bad news, however. If in the not so distant past, apathy, skepticism, and hopelessness pervaded the Nigerian landscape, there are now some positive vibes emitting from the relative success of the 2015 general elections.There seems to be a growing perception that things like the PVCs and the SCRs, combined with our active and take part in the electoral process can indeed, make our votes count!

Moral/Religious Values




Government much more than ever before needs to evolve credible strategies to improve the resource base of the State to address the socio-economic requirements of the people as postulated by Johari (2012). This is the essence of recruiting leadership at elections and this is the basis for which leadership is able to garner legitimacy and acceptability.

Self-appointed ‘kingmakers’, also known locally as “godfathers”, who perennially go about oozing their familiar overbearing attitude on the rest of the population either change their ways, or we somehow collectively find a way to dislodge them from their current vise-like grip on our political leadership selection process, with a view to liberalising and democratizing it, to make it a more open one eventually.

We wish to agree with the recommendation of some writers for the exclusion of certain categories of people (i.e. the cabals identified earlier in this paper) from participating in the democratic process and governance in Nigeria. The ignoble role played by these cabals in Nigerian politics is a threat to the sovereign existence of Nigeria

The problem of our leadership selection process is well within our powers and wherewithal to work and improve upon, but we somehow always fail to do those vital little things that are required to make a marked difference

The release of the party structures from the vise-like grip of godfathers and other money bags, to make way for a more open and democratic system of selecting candidates,

Voters should be free to choose the preferred candidates of their choice, regardless of party affiliation, and there are, perhaps, several instances one can possibly cite where that has, indeed, been the case.

Amendment of the electoral law in Nigeria to further curb the widespread election rigging in the country.

Political parties should be encouraged to improve on their public images through the entrenchment of internal democracy and good governance when elected into power. Many registered voters did not turn out in the elections due to the fact that, they were not satisfied with government performance by the party in power. As major institutions in the democratic process, political parties can enhance political participation when they deliver on their mandates through good governance

Political parties should develop internal rules for candidate selection that are transparent and democratic, and exclude those who use intimidation, violence or bribery to gain nomination or office. Nigerian women and youth should be more encouraged to take part more actively and to seek public office



Improve the transparency and credibility of the conduct of elections, and cut persistent fraudulent activities, which are perpetrated with impunity in Nigerian elections.

Review and amend the Electoral Act 2006 and the 1999 Constitution to substantially improve the electoral legal framework

Polling stations should be at institutional buildings such as schools, community centers, etc, which are centrally located.

Where these are not available, INEC should set up temporary polling stations at permanent locations; and each polling station should consist of not more than 500 voters.

Voters’ Registration should be a continuous exercise as provided for in the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended), such that every eligible voter would be given the opportunity to register at designated INEC offices ;

There should be an interconnectedness between the National Identity Card and voters’ registration data to ensure the credibility and integrity of the Voters Register; and

There should also be continuous voters’ registration, education, and sensitization.


There is, the absolute need for a deliberate, purposeful and focused continuation of the reform of the Nigerian electoral process leading to the next general elections in 2019, to tackle subsisting challenges, clean up, sanitize or cleanse the political terrain, stabilize the polity and create a solid foundation for consolidating and deepening democracy in Nigeria, as well catalyze economic growth and socioeconomic development.

INEC also should be given more powers to prevent it being manipulated by the government. Once a new electoral law is enacted, the National Assembly and Nigerian civil society organizations and professional associations such as the Nigerian Bar Association should exercise oversight functions over its implementation and the actions of INEC

There is also the increased need for more foreign observers to train and sensitize INEC officials and to watch elections.

A permanent Electoral Reform Committee, with the mandate to make wide-ranging recommendations for electoral reform in Nigeria is a necessity The modest effort at electoral reform after the submission of the report of the Justice Muhammadu Uwais Electoral Reform Committee (ERC), as represented by the introduction of new legal and administrative reform measures, and the inauguration of a new Chairman and Commissioners, paved the way for remarkable improvements in the 2011 and especially the 2015 general elections. But many of the important recommendations were left out.The major ones notably Nos 1-4 were either partially accepted and addressed or simply ignored. For example, while INEC was placed on First Charge and thus gained some relative financial autonomy, the mode of appointment of Chairman, National Commissioners and Resident Electoral Commissioners remained the same, and this continued to nurture a deep-seated perception of the Commission as only doing the bidding of the incumbent who nominated them; under the notion that “he who pays the piper dictates the tune”! In any case, it can be said that there is still unfinished business with regards to the recommendations of the ERC, which other efforts at electoral reforms would need to seriously address

Strengthen and protect the autonomy of INEC from political interference. This is to be done first, by giving the National Judicial Council (NJC) a major role in the appointment of Chairman and National Commissioners of INEC, instead of the current role of the president in nominating these officers; and second, by placing INEC on First Line Charge and granting it relative financial autonomy.

Unbundle’ INEC. That is, create other agencies to handle responsibilities being undertaken by INEC, which have overburdened it, such as constituency delimitation; registration and regulation of political parties; and prosecution of electoral offenders; and thus allow INEC to focus on its core mandate of organizing and managing elections.

Introduce some form of proportional representation, to promote inclusiveness, especially in National and State legislatures, and improve the representation of women, persons with disabilities and the youths

The Independent National Electoral Commission needs to improve in the area of electoral security. The electorates, election officials, and sensitive election materials must have adequate security during elections. This will make sure the confidence of the electorate in terms of their safety is guaranteed.

Civil society organizations to continue and expand their broad civic education efforts to include monitoring and reporting on the adjudication process and to promote non-violence acts throughout the election process.

There are many challenges of elections irregularities, corruption, and impunity that political leaders and government must address. Unless alleged perpetrators of electoral fraud ,violence and associated violations of the Electoral Act and the Nigerian criminal Law are urged to quickly brought to justice ,irrespective of their official positions or political associations ,the specter of corruption and impunity that has marred Nigeria’s electoral process in the past and now ,will continue to threaten and undermine Nigerians confidence in the country’s political institutions.

Where results declared by INEC are set aside by the decisions of election tribunals, INEC should conduct internal investigations and take the necessary steps to sanction those members of its staff and/or poll workers found culpable of electoral malpractices, and start criminal prosecution where and applicable.

The Independent National Electoral Commission can also urge increased political participation by improving on its use of the election technology of Smart Card Readers in future elections to decrease the delays that were witnessed during elections due to technical hitches. In addition, the Commission should in conjunction with the National Orientation Agency, the Media, Non-governmental Organizations and Community Associations improve on voter education with particular focus on vote casting to cut the number of rejected ballots in next elections. A situation where a total of 19,867 rejected votes, constituting (28.3%) of total votes cast for the presidential election in Benue state is not healthy for the electoral system in Nigeria.

Finally, we advocate for the introduction of civic and political education in Nigeria’s School Curriculum from primary to the tertiary level. This will improve the political awareness of Nigerian masses to demand their rights as well as demand accountability from their representatives when necessary.


Educate the electorate on the importance and advantages of good governance and their right to demand nothing less from political leaders.

Liaise, coöperate and exchange ideas with other Groups or Organizations’ with similar mandates working towards the actualization of a better Nigeria.


1.Here is my suggestion to someone on Nairaland recently…. …”Easy for u to stay here and abuse everybody…u better get out and join the struggle to defeat them….after your voters card get together a group in your area to form the nucleus of the effort to push them out…meet to set goals and plan on what to do in your area …get out now to emancipate Nigerians…the task will not be easy but mere abuse on social media won’t achieve much either”….

2.Those you form the association with should also form their own groups and so on and so forth till u have something like the MMM.

3.Decide the way to go but the overall aim should be to quietly or loudly destabilize the cabal by joining a party or standing alone. But either way, it can be a deadly assignment.

4 The alternative, of course, is the third force but we can not suggest anything till we know them…


Leadership Selection In Contemporary Nigerian Politics: Challenges and Prospects

Electoral reforms in Nigeria: challenges and prospects by Professor Attahiru M Jega, OFR

Political participation and voting behavior in Nigeria: A study of the 2015 general elections in Benue Dr. Member Euginia George-Genyi

Democratization and electoral process in Nigeria: A historical analysis by Ezekiel Oladele Adeoti


Posted By C&L Alumni Core Group.





A group of chartered accountants has been looking closely at the political scene in Nigeria for a while. Their WHATSAPP chat group is known as XC&L CORE or C&L Alumni Core Group.

For many months they tabled, analyzed and discussed several political issues. But sometime ago they decided to take the bull by the horn.They divided themselves into 4 groups to examine Nigerian core problems and come up with helpful solutions.Each group was tasked as follows:

Group 1.


Examine major facets of social, political, economic, educational, moral, religious and traditional superstructure in Nigeria with a view to identifying lapses and areas of improvement.

Examine overall Governance arms: legislative, executive and judicial at the various tiers of Government and determine areas of failure or poor performance.

Examine the role of Law Enforcement Agencies in providing security of lives and prooerty, and determine to what extent consequences have been applied as a means of enforcing compliance to societal laws, rules and regulations.


Educate the electorate to understand the value of their votes and the inherent power the votes give them in a democratic dispensation.

Educate the electorate on the importance of high ethical and moral values backed by transparency and accountability as catalysts for building a virile and stable nation.

Disseminate information about levels of government and how the role of each segment will impact the life of the electorate.

Group 2.


Examine our Leadership Selection and Electoral Process at various tiers of Government and identify areas needing improvement.

Examine our subsisting Moral and Religious Values and determine to what extent these have aided poor and failed governance.

Liaise, cooperate and exchange ideas with other Groups or Organisations with similar mandates working towards the actualization of a better Nigeria.


Educate the electorate on the importance and advantages of good governance and their right to demand nothing less from political leaders suggesting solutions for effective accountability.

Articulate the most effective means of communicating and disseminating the informed position of this Group to the relevant vestiges of the society for maximum impact in achieving the set goal of this group in both the forthcoming and future elections and selection processes.

Group 3.


Examine Inter and Intra Tribal/Ethnic Relationships and determine to what extent this has contributed to poor or failed governance.

Examine Educational and Skill Acquisition System and identify the extent these have contributed to poor governance and erosion of the Nigerian State.

Critically examine the economy and determine to what extent Government at various have fulfilled their catalytic roles of engendering economic growth and development.


Identify, support and market a leader(s) that fit into our vision in collaboration with other groups with similar objectives with narratives of evaluation processes and characteristics.

Proffer strategies to be adopted in raising funds to support the identified political party and to finance electorate educational activities, leaflet printing and other media to uplift voter consciousness and awareness

Group 4.


Examine the critical elements of the Nigerian Constitution and identify aspects of it needing ammendment for a better administration of the country.

Examine the roles of Political, Traditional and Religious Leaders to determine if they have fulfilled their critical roles in nation building and development of the society.

Examine the roles of the common man, the elites and the political leaders in the erosion of governance and the nation State.


Identify and promote a political party whose manifesto fits or can be modified to fit into the vision and ideals of the group.

To open an organisation current account to be managed by four members with all three as co-signatories mandated to perform financial duties and the fourth with internet account enquiry access to the account for reporting and control purposes.

Propose a flat organisational structure with the roles of officers to drive this change initiative and define strategic ways to register our collective interest in the adopted political party towards contributing to sustaining a political awareness campaign.

Posted By C&L Alumni Core Group.


Relevant Radio Jingle on Youtube






Watch “Nigeria Visionary Leadership For 2019 By Herbert Akin Sowemimo” on YouTube


They came in two buses.40 nursery and primary school students of Tukur International School, accompanied by 4 staff members. They were chatty, and like children today, needing something to excite them and keep them interested in what they were about to experience.
After welcoming them I was about to address them at the gate of the Honourable Ogunlana Reading Room (H.O) when the sun came out mercilessly bearing on them so were moved into the H.O.
Before telling them about Lagos Books Club (LBC) and H.O, I promised to award 5 prizes (N100 each for a bottle of Coke) for the best listeners who would be able to answer my 5 questions at the end of their visit. That intrigued them a bit. Thereafter, they were told:
1. The history and uses of a library
2. About Honorable Ogunlana and his family
3. That I became a librarian at the age of 11 and that many of them are old enough to be librarians and love a library too.
4. That their school must be a good school to have brought them to a library and that they should repeat my statement to their parents at home
5.That in the past we also took the students of Mason and Pass Tutorial Colleges to the University of Lagos Library and Bookshop, Covenant University Library, Glendora Bookshop and other related places just as their school is presently doing for them.
6. That they should tell their parents to build mini bookshelves for them where they can keep their books at home.
At the end of the briefing, one of the children asked if they could become members of the LBC.I informed them we shall be coming to their respective schools to set up Book Clubs in them. It was at that point I noticed that the older ones among them had ‘biros’ and sheets of paper with them and had scribbled down what I said. I also learned from their Head Teacher that the senior ones were going to summarize their experiences at LBC and H.O when they got back to school.
My Q/A session took place after they had been shown the books and media sections of the library. It was obvious they were very much ready for me. They cleared the five questions given to them very easily and even remembered:”Honourable Ogunlana” being one of the answers. For this, the Head Teacher promised to double the winning of the boy who answered it without blinking an eye!
As we waved our goodbyes I was happy because it was a deeply satisfying experience with the kids. As I looked at each of their faces on their way out I got some measured assurance, that by God’s grace, the many rows and columns of books and media they saw will leave some lasting impressions on their young minds for some time.
We are expecting more of such visits between now and the end of May 2018
Thank you


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Elder Solomon Adesina Ogunlana J. P. was born in Ilisa-Ita Oliwo compound at Iperu Remo, on 2 1/11/26. He was the only child of late Madam Safuratu Efunkoya Ogunlana and the first of the two children ofPa Yinusa Ojuroye Ogunlana, a distinguished trader in Aso-Oke (Native Cloth).

He had his primary school education between 1935 and 1943 at Wesley Primary Schoool, Iperu Remo under the notable late Ebumawe of Ago Iwoye, Oba D. M. Osiyemi as the Headmaster and Rev. W. F Mellor as the District Superintendent. He was a chorister, a flute player of Boy’s Brigade and first eleven footballer. By academic performance he qualified to enter the Wesley College, Ibadan. But contrary to attending a Teachers’ College he chose Baptist Boy’s High School, Abeokuta which also gave him admission in 1945. He completed his secondary school education in 1950 and was successful in the Senior Cambridge School Certificate Examination.

He started his working career at the British Ordinance Depot, Yaba, He then moved to P&T (Telegraphic section) where he worked briefly before joining the UAC Ltd in May 1951. At UAC he worked till 1957. In Nov. 1957 he joined ESSO West Africa Inc. which was later to be known as IJNIPETROL and now called OANDO PLC. He worked there till 1960.

In June 1960, he was employed by Shell company of West Africa Ltd later known as National Oil and Chemical Marketing Plc.(NAOCM). There he had series of training courses including accountancy with ACCA. He had a distinguished career of twenty-five and half years in National Oil and Chemical Marketing Plc also later called CONOIL before retiring as the Management Payroll Accountant in November 1985. He was the Treasurer of the Co-operative Society Branch of NAOCM.

Married to late Grace Adunni Awoderu of Ogere-Remo, he was blessed with two children before she died in a ghastly motor accident on 9/7/56. (May her soul rest in perfect peace).His second marriage to Janet Olatunde Odetoyinbo has also been very successful and blessed with five children. His seven children are Oluremi (Public Administrator/Retired Civil Servant), Olabisi (Lawyer/Retired Civil Servant), Modupe (School Vice-Principal), Olusola (Medical Doctor), Abimbola (Chartered Accountant), Adebayo (Chemical Engineer) Oluwatoyin (Electrical Engineer). He is also survived by many grandchildren and great grandchildren.

In 1989 he joined active politics and in 1990 was elected as a councilor into the legislative arm of the Shomolu Local Government and worked as a legislator while simultaneously discharging the functions of the Chairman, Works and Housing Committee which was dissolved in Nov 1993. He was the Chairman of Shomolu LGA of AFENIFERE which metamorphosed into the DEMOCRATIC PEOPLES’ ALLIANCE. He was also a member of the executive arm of the party in Lagos state where he worked closely with Mr Jimmy Agbaje as the gubernatorial candidate. Coincidentally, Jimmy and wife had been long-time friends with some of his children from their university days at OAU, Ile-Ife.

His social life was very pleasant having been the President of Iperu Club 48. He was also the Financial Secretary of Remo High Society. He became the Chairman of Pedro Community Development Association and Treasurer of Alabi/M.Bakare/Adeffiye/Akinsanya St. Landlords’ Association. He was also the Treasurer of the Federal Road Safety Special Marshall Unit 73 Shomolu.

He was a devoted and very prayerful Christian. In particular he was a completely committed member of William Memorial Methodist Church Ago-Ijaye, Ebute-Metta, Lagos and an Executive member of the Men’s Christian Union and Assistant Auditor of the Elders’ Union.

All through his life and as shown by this biography his most notable traits were honesty, dependability and an unshakeable faith in God and education. As accountants say he was ALWAYS TRUE & FAIR. Even in his church societies members gladly added that he MAINTAINED AND SUSTAINED through his genuine friendships and care of his family and external relations.

Therefore we glorify God Almighty for his disciplined life and pray that the soul of our father Hon. Solomon Adesina Ogunlana rest in perfect peace. Amen


Omo Iregun Shabii


Omo maka

Omo maka alo

Omo Aberintan

Ko gbodo jerin

Omo ija,

Ijalo to nja lehin ogba

Koje komode ile lo musu wa

Omo isu wa nle

Ko sobe ta ma fije

Omo iwera oke elewu ara

Omo idarika,ni kabo








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By the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, “education” is a process of training and instruction especially of children and young people in schools and colleges etc. designed to give knowledge and develop skills.

Education, as we know it today, takes place throughout life from basic education which teaches Nursery and Primary school students reading, writing and arithmetic skills to Secondary school education which prepares students for Higher Education. We have Universities or Polytechnic education to provide technical and specialized skills for obtaining more rewarding careers. Other types of education include Continuing Education and professional development courses which provide information or expand people’s working knowledge and help them to take advantage of future career opportunities.

Education is not about schooling alone. In fact, Mark Twain had this to say “I never let schooling interfere with my education” This is a truism our group of schools has attempted to explain in the past through a write-up “Am I a student or just an attendant at school?” We have also emphasized this through many after-school programs to show that education is made up of both classroom and non-classroom experiences. Non-classroom experiences are also covered by your relationship with your friends and your socialization through your parents, neighbors, churches, mosques and the society at large. This has made someone (Henry Drummond) to state that “Life is not a holiday but an education”.

The purpose of education as the Bible (Psalm 90) says, however, is to “teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts to wisdom” To connect wisdom to happiness let us quote the Bible again “Only a wise man knows what things really means. Wisdom makes him smile and makes his frowns disappear” (Ecclesiastes 8:1). In other words, education should lead to wisdom and wisdom should lead to happiness in life.

Earlier we stated that education is designed to give skills and knowledge. But does knowing lead to wisdom? For this, let us consider a truism stated by a man of God called C.H. Spurgeon. He says “Wisdom is the right use of knowledge. To know is not to be wise. Many men know a great deal and are all the greater fools for it. There is no fool so great as a knowing fool. But to know how to use knowledge is to have wisdom.”This leads us to another truism to be studied later about how we use the knowledge and skills we learn in schools and ultimately to the one great fact that God is the author and finisher of all our being and happiness.

Today, students, parents, educators, employers, and government are changing the educational system from what it used to be, they are taking advantage of information technology, developing business – education partnerships or programs and using value-based performance objectives and measures in order to have a better educated and happier workforce. But are they succeeding?


There is a lot of truth in the saying that education is not about schooling alone. And believe it or not, schooling which we mistakenly call education in our country is nightmarish to the average Nigeria child. As a matter of fact, the schooling types we now have can be classified as:

  1. a) Buckingham Palace (Top grade private schools)
  2. b) I “Pass my Neighbor” (Average grade private and public schools)
  3. c) Boko Haram (Low grade private and public schools)

All the same, education remains the best option for empowering not only children but adults alike for contributing to the social, economic and political fabric of the society. Although parents are aware of the importance of education and are desirous to give their children the best, many of them are unfortunately uninformed about the best way to achieve their hearts desires. The inability of staff in teaching and students in applying appropriate teaching techniques have also led to repeated failures in both internal and external examinations causing frustration and disappointment to students and their parents.

We educators today must, therefore, come to terms with the realities of our schools and the info-tech age. The methods used in the past to educate us are in the main not relevant to our children. There are too many distractions calling for their attention within the limited time available for studies. Unfortunately, many students are often mistakenly labeled as lazy or lacking in concentration! But by the time you take out school hours, class assignments, home chores, family socials and commitments, PREMIER / CHAMPIONS LEAGUES, FACEBOOK/TWITTERS, IPOD/IPAD, BIG BROTHER AFRICA, NAIJA SINGS, NIGERIAN/AMERICAN IDOLS, X-FACTOR, BACHELORETTE, hand-held phones and web roaming one is left to ponder when these children can read seriously or ever take their studies seriously! Compare these to their parents who probability had only BONANZA, VILLAGE HEADMASTER AND IICC V RANGERS FOOTBALL MATCHES as “distracters”.

Unfortunately, many parents are under the illusion that sending children to boarding houses will limit students’ propensities for some of these time- eaters. What they seem to forget is that those dedicated teachers and boarding housemasters of old have faded away and only a few of those left are comparable to when they were in school. These days we have those who want to be bribed by parents for “taking care of their children” or “for organizing extra classes” for them.


So what needs to be done? This is where EDUPEDIA, its Lagos Books Club Library and its series of books under EDUGUIDE come in. For almost 25 yrs those of us in Edupedia have actively promoted regular schooling and emphasized remedial education for thousands of secondary school students through our MASON COLLEGE and PASS TUTORIAL COLLEGE Festac, Lagos. Along the line, we also got involved in “training the trainers” seminars and conferences. We have not interacted with students in private schools only but have also been appointed to serve on rescue teams of public secondary schools. In the same vein, we served on the Education Foundation Board of 17 public primary schools in ONIGBONGBO LCDA OF LAGOS and have conducted Jamb clinics for thousands in the Amuwo Odofin LGA. We have also been guest speakers at the valedictory ceremonies of schools such as LIGHTHOUSE SECONDARY SCHOOL IKORODU. We have been praised for our qualitative contribution to students’ education and have made our impact felt wherever we were invited.

As far back as 2006 we also reviewed the state of things in public schools in Nigeria generally and sent a detailed write up on what needed to be done to the then Honorable Minister of Education Mrs. Ezekwesili. She replied almost immediately thanking and promising to get us more involved in future. But she had to return shortly after to the World Bank. We also sent the same write-up to the two houses of the national assembly and all education parastatals attached to the FMOE. Same to MOEs for each state through their liaison offices in Abuja.

But if we had read books such as these in our secondary school days we would probably have graduated with top honors all the way to the University. Then, life was less complicated and distractions were few compared to what students face today. By the time we were in university we had been preloaded with some of the skills you are about to read in these books. But if the same programs are to be used to promote life skills to students today they would see them as through a glass darkly.

After University and while taking professional examinations from Nigeria and England we were lucky to come across a few teachers who opened our eyes about studying and taking examinations. But it was when we opened our tutorial and regular schools that the need and contents for these books started gathering steam from day-to-day problems we had to take care of over the 25 years.

In addition to borrowing, buying these books or inviting us to conduct related clinics and seminars, please feel free to invite us as guests or motivational speakers to your students, staff, and parents on these topics or any other. We might even be able to suggest other topics not covered above. We shall be willing to cover your special events including valedictories, parents’ open days, inter-house sports days, students’ clubs and societies’ days, prefects’ boot camps or installation ceremonies.

Our conclusion is that many schools need to reorder their timetables to conform to the National Education Policy’s specifications on Educational Support Services. These sections should be looked at closely and activated as we have done. Each school should consider specific programs to cover Academic, Co-curricula and Remedial aspects of education for their studies.

Thank you






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ATTENTION: 2017 Batch ‘A’ Prospective Corps Members

NYSC online registration for 2017 batch ‘A’ will start on Monday 17th April to Thursday 4th May 2017.

NYSC Mobilization Time Table For 2017 Batch A

S/NO                                                  Event Date
1 Briefing/Sensitization of Final year students/prospective corps Members. 4th – 16th April 2017
2 Display of list of all approved programs for institutions on NYSC portal for cross checking feedback. 3rd – 7th April 2017
3 Collation of Prospective Corps Members’ Data by Corps Producing Institutions (CPIs) 3rd – 9th April 2017
4 Submission/Uploading of Senate/Academic Board Approved Result for Full/Part-Time Graduates and Revalidation Lists by CPIs 10th – 16th April 2017
5 Uploading of Corrected Lists by Corps Producing Institutions (CPIs) 10th – 16th April 2017
6 On-line Registration by Foreign and locally Trained Nigerian Graduates 17th April to 4th May 2017
7 Entertainment of complaints from Prospective Corps Members by the state Deployment and Relocation officers and NYSC Help Lines/Desks 17th April to 4th May 2017
8 Forwarding of Complaints to Mobilisation Dept by State Deployment and Relocation officers 17th April to 4th May 2017
9 Deployment and printing of call-up letters by ICT department 4th – 6th May 2017
10 Notification/On-line Printing of Call-up Letters/delivery of call-up letters to institutions 4th – 6th May 2017
11 Online printing of deployment disposition by Corps Producing Institutions (CPIs) 6th – 8th May 2017
12 2017 Batch ‘A’ Orientation Course





In one of our epistolary exchanges in the late 1970’s, Moyo Ogundipe explained why he had decided to quit a high-profile advertising job some had thought would be his ultimate answer to the challenge he had always craved. But that expectation fell flat after the first two weeks! Tired of the world of sound bites and pretty phrasing, of celebrated clichés and tendentious imaging, Ogundipe began to yearn for new frontiers where words and images roam and range, unencumbered by hackneyed lingo and special interest.

I was hardly surprised at his dissatisfaction with any preoccupation that would turn him into a ‘desk artist’. For Moyo Ogundipe has always been an ‘artist on the go’: restless, mercurial, dynamic, but also deep and rooted, playful and utterly serious, sometimes comically transparent, sometimes intimidatingly opaque. In whatever mood his Muse places him, in whatever medium he chooses for his expression, Ogundipe remains the quintessential myth-maker and poet, one who sees Word and Image in verbal and visual terms, and the space between. His words on the open page are as protean and seamlessly suggestive as his strokes on the canvas. His ‘pictures’ are visual proverbs with a sinuous lyricism and inescapable musicality. To merely see an Ogundipe painting is to do it an egregious disservice; you have to hear it as well. Then think it as you feel your way around it.

Ogundipe’s lifelong fascination with the word and the image began a long time ago. When I arrived for the Higher School Certificate course at the famous Christ’s School, Ado-Ekiti, in January 1967, one of my first objects of curiosity was the school magazine. (My abiding interest in such publications began at Amoye Grammar School, Ikere, where I had been editor-in-chief for the school magazine). I was impressed but not surprised at the quality and diversity of the contents of Christ’s School’s magazine, considering the high status of the school and the caliber of its students. What kept me completely engaged were the illustrations and cartoons by a young artist who signed his name as “Lancey M”. Page after page, these drawings served as visual reinforcements for the written texts, or curious representations of the young artist’s own unusual imagination. Almost instinctively, I knew this artist and I would soon find areas of collaboration and engagement, but I was not sure how exactly it was going to be.

But Fate has its own drama, complete with baffling plots and teasing serendipity. A few days later, I found that the person sitting next to me in Mr. S.A. Oloketuyi’s literature class was none other than the famous “Lancey M!” Thus began what has now turned out to be a lifelong personal and professional relationship. I soon found out that the artist whose ‘hands’ I had seen in the school magazine was also a budding poet with a deep and passionate interest in poetry and drama. We traded enthusiastic ‘gists’ about Shakespeare and Soyinka, Okigbo and Wordsworth, John Pepper Clark and John Keats. Even at this early stage, I discovered that Ogundipe adored Soyinka’s poetry, but was absolutely dazzled by Okigbo’s hypnotic lyricism. This lyricism, this running fusion of myth and matter, music and magic, became the hallmarks of Ogundipe’s poetry and, later, his works as a visual artist.

Soon, our classroom chattering blossomed into a practical demonstration. With the encouragement of the school principal, Chief R.A. Ogunlade, we revived Agidimo, the school’s occasional magazine, with me as editor-in-chief and Ogundipe in charge of art and design. A drawing of Agidimo, the rhinoceros insect (namesake with the hill on which Christ’s School is sited), superbly done by Ogundipe, occupied the masthead of the magazine, providing an irresistible visual appeal. Buoyed by this impressively artistic cover and its insightful and lively contents, Agidimo caught the fancy of the characteristically critical Christ’s School readers and became the toast of the entire community.

Ogundipe’sartisticc talents took him straight to another stage, literally speaking. In 1968, he and I were involved in two major dramatic events. The first was the annual inter-house drama festival, a keenly contested and robustly inspiring competition for which Christ’s School was justifiably famous – and respected. With enthusiastic input from gifted members of our house, Dallimore House, I composed the two plays (one in English, the other in Yoruba), but it was in the English play that Ogundipe played a major role as Heir of a powerful but embattled Emperor (played by me). The same year, with the active support of the Principal and under the able and disciplined directorship of Mr. V.A. Daramola, the school’s Drama Group produced This Is Our Chance, undoubtedly the most frequently performed play by James Ene Henshaw, Nigeria’s late doctor-playwright. Again, Ogundipe played the role of Prince (while I played the role of King Damba). For many nights, this play set the stage of the school quadrangle aglow, and its success was so rapturous that the Principal encouraged the group to take it to neighboring schools.

Without doubt, Christ’s School brought out the growing essence of Ogundipe the poet, the journalist, and the actor, but it was in his capacity as a maverick artist that he made his name. Rebellious, sometimes mischievous, and suspicious of authority, Ogundipe was neither a law-breaker nor a passive genuflector at the altar of what he considered intemperate commandments. His love for freedom was passionate and intense. His impulse was ineluctably democratic, even demotic. Junior students threatened by campus bullies came under his wings, as did free rangers and would-be artists in need of a kind mentor. His bedside in Dallimore House was always thronged by a motley gathering of pilgrims from other houses, while his easy-going ways made him one of the most popular students on Agidimo Hill. Wherever he went on campus, a chorus of “Lancey M” from passers-by sweetened his passage. Even the birds in campus trees seemed to recognize the name.

Christ’s School had its own community of artists: talented, focused, proud, keenly aware of their special gifts, sometimes posing as the chosen tribe of the Muse. Under the tutelage of V.A. Daramola, a devoted teacher and art educator, a generation of future Nigerian artists and allied professionals fledged and soared: Macaulay Iyayi, Morakinyo Olugboji, Sesan Ogunro, Susan Ilugbusi, Funmilola Olorunnisola, Iyabo Oguntusa, Femi Mosuro… (To this list must be added the likes of Ben Tomoloju, one of the most richly talented artists and cultural impresarios in Nigeria today, who was many years Ogundipe’s junior). The incubating chamber and cluttered workshop was the Art Room, strategically sited on the upper floor of a tower-like structure which loomed like the lighthouse over the school quadrangle and the rest of the campus. What moments of admiration and envy for the rest of us as we watched the young artists going up and down the stairs that led to this tower, spattered with paint, their brushes held aloft like rainbow spears! This was Moyo’s inaugural professional tribe, the first appreciators of his then precocious output. But the wider Christ’s School community sometimes had a glimpse of the artist at work as Mr Daramola stood with visible pride by his protégé and his prodigious explorations on the canvas. It surprised no one when Ogundipe emerged from the Higher School Certificate exam as one of the best Fine Arts candidates in West Africa in 1968 and was instantly snatched for the B.A by the then University of Ife. Thereafter, Ogundipe’s canvas became wider, his brush more adventurous, his insight more profound. Thereafter, he became an artist of the world…

*When Ogundipe left for graduate studies in the United States about a decade and half ago, many were afraid that this highly gifted artist might become a victim of the “immigrant disease”, that terrible affliction of the artist torn from his/her roots, now surrounded by the sights and overwhelmed by the sounds of another land. Would the deeply indigenous sound fade into a mongrel echo? Would erstwhile sharp and penetrating sights blunder into visual blurs? Would the pulsating hyperbole of the native idiom attenuate into a half-remembered hint? Just how would this artist survive the tempting, sometimes lucrative hype of the American system without losing his way in its “post-modernist, post-structuralist, post-hermeneutic, post-representational, post-industrial, post. .  post. . “ maze and its literal, frequently modish presumptiveness? How would he draw from the astounding richness of the American world without losing his African soul in the process?

Ogundipe’s prolific output in the past two decades has given the lie these fears. Home is in the heart, Ogundipe often philosophizes during some of our many informal brainstorming sessions and reminiscences; everywhere you go, it never leaves its place in your chest. Every land has its song, but Humanity has a large choir. When the snail goes on a journey, it never leaves its home behind. And so Ogundipe has taken full advantage of the vast American space, tapped into its infinite possibilities. The result is an outpouring of an artistic genius that has been struggling for an outlet for many years and was happy to get one at last. The Agidimo Muse is on the ascent. . . .

That home that travels so ineluctantly in Ogundipe’s ‘heart’ frequently finds expression even in the strangest space. It is a home that is telluric in its tenacity, bristling with sound and silence, sign and sense, the ludicrous and the sublime, the apparently simple and the hermeneutically complex. It is an essentially plural home, whose mathematics works through the maxim of this plus that, whose matrix rests on the principle of rational inclusiveness. It is a complexly polyphonic, polyvalent, and polydimensional home which locates the specific in the general, the general in the specific. A home that is self-assured and tolerant, accommodating without losing the faculty of rational discrimination. That home derives from the Yoruba worldview which waters the very root of Ogundipe’s creative tree, bestowing the flair and freshness that looks so native to his art.

A sensitive apprehension of that worldview is necessary for an adequate appreciation of the predominance of what I call the forest idiom in Ogundipe’s works. Like a typical Yoruba forest, his canvas is thronged, haunting, and quick with surprises. The soil is moist with fecundity; undergrowths are thick with mystery; ropy climbers swing and interlock in every direction; the canopy lends a spell of brooding shadows. There are unmistakable hints and echoes here of Fagunwa, Tutuola, and Soyinka (especially the Soyinka of A Dance of the Forests and Forest of a Thousand Daemons). For Ogundipe, this wild and wondrous site, this intimidatingly promiscuous space, is the theater for the real drama of existence, or oftentimes an alternative stage for the marvelously impossible. For in Yoruba belief, the forest is not simply the opposite of the cultivated city. In many ways, both sites are complementary and mutually reinforcing. The forest is the abode of innumerable spirits, some benign and benevolent, others dangerous and forbiddingly mean. It is also the home of the dead and/or the living-dead whose communion with the world of the living – and the unborn – is considered vital for the sustenance and survival of all states and spheres of existence. Its essence is as plural as the leaves on the trees, its power as potent as the vital forces that populate its zone.

Intimations of the forest breathe through Ogundipe’s canvas – in the ubiquitous green, its dense and crowded ambiance, and the lines which criss-cross the space like traveling branches. But this forest is hardly ever a region of unrelieved darkness and monochromatic gloom. A playful yellow often lets in the sun, and there are times when a brown or bright orange lends the hint of the dry season. Dappled in their detail, arrestingly colorful, Ogundipe’s paintings remind us so forcibly of Ankara, that textile brand so beloved to people of West Africa. Jungle of Magical Feats vibrates with forest echoes, while in Emperor Sundiata’s Daughter (a painting whose subject possesses the stunning gaze and immortal poise of an African Mona Lisa), the background is lush like Ijesa-Isu forest in the rainy season.

Water and the water motif also capture our attention in these paintings. Here Ogundipe’s imagination waxes solidly liquid, and his images swim in a sweet, seductive blue. Mermaids are the predominant denizens of this zone (Queendom of Mermaids, The Mermaid and the Piscean Princess etc). Here Ogundipe has invited us to the dance of deities: Olokun, Yemoja, Osun, Oya, all staple goddesses, invariably come to mind as we watch the Mermaid swing and splash across the canvas. There is a mythical boldness in these double-bodied beings that compels comparison with their pastoral counterparts in Three Negritude Princesses, the sassy debutantes in Three Lagos Socialites, and the regal, statuesque figure in Emperor Sundiata’s Daughter. From mermaid to madam, women throng Ogundipe’s canvas whether in their Negritude nudity or bejeweled modern mode. Critical spectators might see these women and marvel at their mythic grandeur while wondering why the woman that ‘draws the water and cooks the food’ never makes it to the artist’s canvas. They might be anxious to know why the ‘hue and cry’ of a harsh world hardly troubles the music of Ogundipe’s visual symphony.

Such spectators would be asking questions that are so fundamental to Ogundipe’s philosophy and practice of art. For his journey in these works is an essentially interior one, a journey into that world of endless transformations and magical mutations in which centaurs serenade the universe with saxophones, and the fumes from a smoking pipe morph into raging cobras. Perhaps these works are conceived as an imaginative escape from the ugliness of the world we know, a psychic journey into the universe of root and essence, into an African past whose value has been violated by reckless modernity, a quest for a vision that challenges contemporary blindnesses as a way of confronting them.

Indigenous laakaye, global flair, constant wrestling with memory and remembrance, lyrical celebration of nature and life; a bardic brush, a canvas bristling with incantations, a forest of endless music and marvel . . .  these are some of the gifts presented here from the “sacred and secret territories of [Ogundipe’s] soul”. They are his ultimate testament, the unfolding narrative of his canvas of tales. From Agidimo’s budding artist to a global master; from Christ’s School’s quadrangle platform to the world stage, from “Lancey M” to “Moyo Ogundipe”. . . the journey has been long, frequently rough, colorfully impressive – but not yet complete. The works on offer here are from Ogundipe’s forest of a thousand wonders, his “painted harmonies” (to borrow Okigbo’s memorable phrase). They are music in motion, songs which thresh the color of fertile dreams.

Source: Forest Of Thousand Wonders (For Moyo Ogundipe 1948 – 2017) By Niyi Osundare | Sahara Reporters


Source: Online Teaching: Reflections of a Virtual School Teacher | Connections Academy