NIGERIAN ELECTIONS: EDUCATING THE ELECTORATE NOT TO SELL THEIR VOTES AND CHOOSE GOOD ASPIRANTS

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.

BY HERBERT AKIN SOWEMIMO

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WHICH WAY NIGERIA? ASSESSING THE CONSTITUTION AND ROLES BEING PLAYED BY OUR LEADERS

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.

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WHICH WAY NIGERIA? A REVIEW OF THE SUBSISTING LEADERSHIP SELECTION AND ELECTORAL PROCESSES

LEADERSHIP SELECTION PROCESS/PARTY POLITICS AND CHOICE OF LEADERS

PARTY STRUCTURAL RELATIONSHIPS

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.

PARTY STRUCTURAL DEFECTS

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.

ELECTORAL PROCESS/CONDUCT OF ELECTIONS

THE SHORTCOMINGS OF INEC AS A DEMOCRATIC UMPIRE

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!

THE 2015 ELECTIONS

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
OTHERS
       
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

SEE NEXT POST

SUGGESTED SOLUTIONS

PARTY POLITICS AND CHOICE OF LEADERS

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

FOR ELECTORAL PROCESS /CONDUCT OF ELECTION

FROM THE NATIONAL CONFERENCE

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.

FROM OTHER SOURCES

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.

WHAT NEXT FOR OUR GROUP?

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.

HOW?

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…

NOTES/REFERENCES

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 State.by Dr. Member Euginia George-Genyi

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

National-Conference-August-2014-Table-of-Contents-Chapters-1-7

Posted By C&L Alumni Core Group.

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COMING UP: RELIGION AND MORALITY IN GOVERNANCE

 

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ABOUT HON. SOLOMON ADESINA OGUNLANA-IN LOVING MEMORY

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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

ORIKI

Omo Iregun Shabii

Afujalo

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE COMMISSIONING OF HON S.A. OGUNLANA READING ROOM AND COMMENCEMENT OF FREE LIBRARY SERVICES IN AMUWO ODOFIN LGA (1)

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 THIS IS A SLIDE. KINDLY WAIT FOR ABOUT 30 SECONDS MAX (DEPENDS ON PHONE CAPACITY) FOR LOADING OF PICS INCLUDED .THANKS

FOREWORD

EDUCATION IN NIGERIA AND RELEVANCE OF EDUPEDIA ASSOCIATES

WHAT IS EDUCATION?

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?

 TYPES OF SCHOOLS IN NIGERIA

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.

RELEVANCE OF EDUPEDIA

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

O.O.ODUMOSU

JANUARY 2010

 

Gallery

THANKS TO PRESIDENT DAFFY DUCK…NIGERIANS CAN NOW SHOW ITS “HUTS” AND “SHITHOLES” TO THE WORLD!

This gallery contains 127 photos.

A GREAT PHOTOGRAPH IS A FULL EXPRESSION OF WHAT ONE FEELS ABOUT WHAT IS BEING PHOTOGRAPHED IN THE DEEPEST SENSE, AND IS, THEREBY, A TRUE EXPRESSION OF WHAT ONE FEELS ABOUT LIFE IN ITS ENTIRETY. ~ANSEL ADAMS PHOTOGRAPHY RECORDS THE … Continue reading

Gallery

SEE HOW CALABAR AND NIGERIANS PROVED TRUMP AS THE DUMBEST PREZ IN THE WORLD!

This gallery contains 165 photos.

WHILE THERE IS PERHAPS A PROVINCE IN WHICH THE PHOTOGRAPH CAN TELL US NOTHING MORE THAN WHAT WE SEE WITH OUR OWN EYES, THERE IS ANOTHER IN WHICH IT PROVES TO US HOW LITTLE OUR EYES PERMIT US TO SEE. … Continue reading

Gallery

LOVING LAGOS “HUTS” IN OUR NIGERIAN “SHITHOLE” (2)

This gallery contains 114 photos.

“I DON’T TRUST WORDS. I TRUST PICTURES.”— GILLES PERESS “I REALLY BELIEVE THERE ARE THINGS NOBODY WOULD SEE IF I DIDN’T PHOTOGRAPH THEM.” — DIANE ARBUS “THESE PICTURES CONTAIN PART OF THE REALISM OF OUR HUMANITY FAR AWAY FROM RACIST … Continue reading

Gallery

LOVING LAGOS “HUTS” IN OUR NIGERIAN “SHITHOLE” (1)

This gallery contains 111 photos.

A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS, THEY SAY. KINDLY TELL MR TRUMP THAT THESE PICS ARE NOT ABOUT CAMERAS BUT PEOPLE WHO NEVER KNEW THE PRESIDENT OF A SO-CALLED CIVILIZED WORLD CAN BE SO IGNORANT! PLEASE WAIT. THE SLIDESHOW … Continue reading

REGISTRATION NOTICE TO 2017 BATCH A CORPERS

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
 REGISTRATION NOTICE TO 2017 BATCH A CORPERS

 

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FOREST OF THOUSAND WONDERS (FOR MOYO OGUNDIPE 1948 – 2017) BY NIYI OSUNDARE

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

ONLINE TEACHING: REFLECTIONS OF A VIRTUAL SCHOOL TEACHER

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

THE SECRET BENEFITS OF A CURIOUS MIND

Curiosity improves learning and memory for things we are not even interested in.

It’s no surprise that when we are curious about something, it makes it easier to learn. But cutting-edge research published in the academic journal Neuron (link is external) provides startling evidence for how a curious state of mind improves learning and memory for things we are not even interested in.

Albert Einstein said, “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.”

While Einstein probably suffered from modesty in addition to curiosity, it is interesting to note that he attributes his intelligence and success to having a curious mind.

A recent study in the field of cognitive neuroscience from the University of California, Davis provides surprising insights into the interesting link between curiosity, learning, and memory.

For the study, participants were given a series of trivia questions. The researchers asked the participants to rate their level of curiosity to learn the answers for each question. They were then presented with the trivia. After each question, there was a 14-second delay before the answer was given. During that time, the researchers flashed a picture of a neutral, unrelated face.

Once the trivia session was complete, the participants were given a surprise memory recognition test based on the faces the participants saw during the trivia. Additionally, during the study, researchers scanned the participants’ brain activity with an FMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging).

Curiosity Didn’t Kill the Cat. It Improved His Memory

The study reveals several interesting findings of what happens to the brain when it is piqued with curiosity.

We already know that when we are curious about a topic, it is easier to learn. And, as expected, the study proves that when participants were highly curious to find the answer to the trivia question, they were better at learning that information. But what the researchers really cared about was to see how the participants did on the face recognition test when they were highly curious.

This is the interesting bit. The researchers found that when participants’ curiosity was aroused by wanting to know a certain trivia question, they were better at learning entirely unrelated information, which was the face recognition, even though they were not curious about that information. In both the immediate and the one-day-delayed memory tests, the participants showed improved memory for the unrelated material they encountered during states of high curiosity.

“Curiosity may put the brain in a state that allows it to learn and retain any kind of information, like a vortex that sucks in what you are motivated to learn, and also everything around it,” says Dr. Matthias Gruber, lead author of the study.

How Intrinsic Motivation Affects Learning

So how does this work? The FMRI data reveals the underlying mechanisms that are activated when curiosity is engaged. The study provides insight into the link between curiosity and how intrinsic motivation affects memory.

Curiosity is a form of intrinsic motivation. When you are curious to learn a topic you are motivated to learn for its own sake. Surprisingly, little is known about the mechanisms behind how intrinsic motivational states affect learning. This is one of the reasons why this recent study is so important. It gives us insight into what happens in our brain when we become curious.

The investigators found that when curiosity is stimulated, there is increased activity in the reward center of the brain. This is very interesting considering that normally extrinsic motivation is thought of as recruiting the brain’s reward circuits. Extrinsic motivation is engaging in a behavior because your motivation is an external reward. Yet the research revealed an interesting neural connection between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.

“Intrinsic motivation actually recruits the very same brain areas that are heavily involved in tangible, extrinsic motivation,” Dr. Gruber explains.

Additionally, researchers found an interesting link between curiosity and activity in the hippocampus. The hippocampus is not the part of your brain that looks like a hippo. Actually, it is the part of your brain that looks like a seahorse, from the Greek hippos for “horse,” and kampos for “sea monster.” The hippocampus is the area of the brain that is important for forming new memories.

The scientists found that there was increased activity in the hippocampus during the curiosity motivated learning. They also found that when curiosity learning was engaged there was increased interactions between the hippocampus and the reward circuit.

“Curiosity recruits the reward system,” explains Dr. Charan Ranganath, principal investigator of the study “and interactions between the reward system and the hippocampus seem to put the brain in a state in which you are more likely to learn and retain information, even if that information is not of particular interest or importance.”

The findings demonstrate just how powerful a curious state of mind can be for learning information that you do not find interesting.

This is particularly important for learning how to help individuals retain boring information either in the classroom or workplace. To facilitate learning, often we try to make the material interesting. This is a fine strategy if the material can be made interesting. Remember the pictures of neutral faces were pretty boring content.

But the important implications of this study is that this is not the only way. The findings show that another strategy you have at your disposal is to take less interesting material and attach it to interesting content to reap the carry over effects of curiosity. This strategy focuses less on making the material interesting and more on creating an environment of curiosity into which the material can be inserted.

In this way, the secret to making boring work memorable is to harness the students’ and workers’ curiosity about something they are already motivated to learn.

Adoree Durayappah-Harrison, M.Div., M.A.P.P., M.B.A., is a Texas born writer now based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Learn more at AdoreeDurayappah.com.

Source: The Secret Benefits of a Curious Mind | Psychology Today

WHY TEACHING IS STILL THE BEST JOB IN THE WORLD

1. The potential to transform lives – ask any teacher who has helped a student in any number of ways, from academic to welfare and emotional learning, and they will tell you that life is not only good, but amazing.

2. It gives you the chance to be continuously creative – of course there are increasing levels of accountability in teaching, but teachers are allowed to be creative in every lesson. Even in observations, in fact most of all in observations, lessons are encouraged to be creative and interesting to engage the students. Teachers have so many opportunities to try new ideas, and indulge in iterative process to ensure the optimum learning environment is created.

3. It offers you a chance to continuously get better – teachers are not only encouraged to seek continuous professional development, but can ask for observation on a regular basis, to provide opportunities to grow and learn from masters or more experienced practitioners. In so few professions is there such support, and considering that as a minimum, contracts are for a year, teachers have so much time to demonstrate improvement. A growth mindset is part of the foundation of teaching.

4. It is a grounding, humbling profession – the amount of work teachers do compared to remuneration is shockingly disproportionate, in 2 senses: firstly, in terms of how many paid vs non paid hours of work they receive, and secondly, in relation to other similarly creative and important (and not so important) vocations in our society. But that is not why teachers teach. So few teachers go into the vocation for the salary – it’s a calling before anything else.

5. There is always satisfaction somewhere – teaching is a calling, and no one enters it without his or her inner voice telling him or her that. Of course there are always some imposters, but the massive majority have their hearts in the right place. How cool is that for the students?

Having said that, teaching can be and is incredibly demanding, and often we can lose sight of that calling, bogged down in aspects of the profession that don’t seem to be connected to it. But on closer inspection, most of the extra demands are actually central to the job itself: explaining to parents where you are coming from; being observed; collaborating with others; marking.

Take this last aspect, crucial to understanding whether students are learning what you believe you are teaching. Yes, it is very time consuming, but perhaps one of the most important and fundamental weapons in a teacher’s arsenal; any good school will understand this and the other cited demands, and create an environment where they become part of directed time.

It is when these aspects are not acknowledged in directed time that the conditions for burnout are rife.

6. It’s a chance to truly to lead the world in the 21st century – introducing students to new technologies and ways of presenting, curating, and collaborating with others with what they know is truly exciting and truly invigorating. Modern teachers are actually pioneering pedagogy, and can and will be able to hold their heads up high in the future when we look back and see how learning in this day and age took a radical but enormously beneficial turn for the better.

Engaging students in greater collaboration, and instilling initiative in curation and the promotion of information leads to truly independent learning, and setting up such learning environments is an opportunity that all teachers now have before them. There are few more gratifying feelings that being needed.

7. The children.

By Paul Moss

Source: Why Teaching Is The Best Job In The World

STUDENT POPULATION IN NIGERIAN OPEN UNIVERSITY HITS 254,000!

The registered active student population of the National Open University of Nigeria, NOUN, has hit 254,000, its vice- chancellor, Abdalla Adamu, disclosed.

Mr. Adamu told the Economic Confidential magazine in Abuja that the number is distributed across the 77 study centres scattered all over the country touching all the states, local government areas and the six geopolitical zones.

“I can confidently confirm to you that the total registered active student population is now 254,000 scattered across the 77 study centres in the country”, Mr. Adamu said.

The NOUN boss also said that having the 77 study centres means that some states have more than one or two study centres depending on demand, adding that Abuja has about 8 centres.

He further stated that “some organisations come to us and ask for study centres and we call them specialised centres, notably Police, Immigration and the Nigerian Prison Service, while some states have community study centres.

He, however, noted that at the inception of the Open University, there were misgivings and mistrust about the institution, as many people did not look at it as credible and worthy. He said the pressure of students getting admission to conventional universities was increasing by the day as almost one million students want to gain admission into universities yearly through Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB.

He emphasised that the influx has become so enormous that the state study centres can no more cope with the population, which gave rise to requests for community study centres by some states and these requests were mostly from the southern parts of the country.

Meanwhile, the university authority has sacked the two companies manning the Information Technology (IT) infrastructure and replaced them with an in-house team of IT experts, thereby saving the institution about 80 per cent revenue that had earlier been lost to NOUN.

“Well as for how much I have saved for doing away with consultants, I would not tell you that because that is our secret. When I took over, I saw that the entire Information Technology infrastructure were outsourced to two companies. One was called Cyberspace and the other called Emerging Platforms.”

“They were the ones running the entire system. As an ICT person myself because I spent about 15 years teaching System Analysis at Masters Degree level in Bayero University, Kano. Now how can I have a department of Computer Science, and the Dean of that department was the immediate Vice-President of Nigerian Computer Society, a professor of Robotics and other talents in ICT in these university, and yet still outsource all these to another agency, I said no it cannot happen!

“So the first thing I did was to look at the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between us and the two organisations. Of course they paid us the usual courtesy call so that they can remain relevant. We sat down and looked at the MOU and found out that in one of them the MOU stipulates 70 per cent profit and the other 85 percent of the revenue as profit because they provide all the skills, technology including examinations portal. I said this is not acceptable”.

“So we assembled a team and asked ourselves whether we can do this. So they said they can. Then I said go and design it and we decided to shut out the two companies and all kinds of legal battles started, stating that they have signed the contract for five years and cannot be terminated”.

“I told them that within the MOU we can give each other one month notice to terminate such contracts and so I have the powers to do so. You can imagine when the students pay this money, one company gets 70 percent of such payments and the other gets 85 percent! I said that has stopped, and any money coming to us would now be ours henceforth”.

He stressed that the revenue flow was able to provide needs of the study centres and train them at conferences to increase their efficiency, adding that the money is also used in paying for those writing course materials for the university.

We are contented because we do not request government to provide such monies, the professor said.

He said because of funds “being generated through the payment of tuition by students, the institution is now able to push out quality materials for students and also planning to shoot this into tablets, so that we have what we call “I-NOUN”.

“So this I-NOUN will be a complete package of courses. So we cut out these outsources and created our own services and it is working. The key to sustainability in any Open Distance Learning (ODL) is independence.

Source: Student population in Nigerian Open University hits 254,000 – Premium Times Nigeria

‘IF YOU HAVE NOTHING TO SAY, AT LEAST SAY IT WELL’

'IF YOU HAVE NOTHING TO SAY, AT LEAST SAY IT WELL’

Charles Moore reviews The Elements of Eloquence by Mark Forsyth (Icon Books)

An alternative title for this sparkling book, which would fit with its occasionally over-jocular tone, would be Locution. Locution. Locution. Such a title is an example of epizeuxis, I can now, thanks to this slim volume, inform you.

All of us use rhetoric, but few of us understand what it is we are doing, and therefore we don’t do it well. The only famous person in modern British public life who grasps what are called “the figures of rhetoric” is the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson. He knows their mainly Greek terms, and he knows how to deploy them. There is a strong argument for saying that it is his mastery of the subject that has got him to the top.

The author, Mark Forsyth, starts with the assertion that rhetoric can be learnt by almost anybody. But our culture is afflicted by the false concept of “genius” and by the Romantic movement’s idea that truth resides in nature: “They [the Romantics] wanted to be natural, and the figures of rhetoric are not natural.” He denies that Shakespeare was a genius: he was just a hard-working fellow who learnt Latin composition, and the figures of rhetoric, at his grammar school. (That is why grammar schools were so called, one should add, and why they were so good.) This taught him how to write. When he started to write plays, he was not all that brilliant at first, but he stuck at it, until practice made him almost literally perfect.

Another person who was jolly good at it was St Paul. His epistles contains a classic epistrophe: “When I was a child … I thought as a child.” The same passage also contains a tricolon (“faith, hope and charity, these three”).

Forsyth argues that the figures of rhetoric are like recipes for a cook. No one would cook blindfold, yet that is how most of us write and speak, throwing in the ingredients without knowing what they are and what they can do. So this is a “how to” book. Indeed, its subtitle is “How to Turn the Perfect Phrase”. This is, as the meerkats and the author say, “simples” (which is an example of enallage, a deliberate grammatical mistake). Study these 39 short chapters, 38 of which are named after different figures of rhetoric, and you can be up there with the all-time greats, Forsyth claims.

Even if this is a false promise, the book offers many pleasures. Sometimes I laughed out loud at the examples chosen. “Transferred epithets” are so common that we hardly think about them: “disabled toilet”, for instance – though one does all too often meet a public lavatory which is, itself, disabled. And only PG Wodehouse could have taken the epithet “astonished” and transferred it to the word “toast”.

Rosamond Lehmann said of Ian Fleming: “The trouble with Ian is that he gets off with women because he can’t get on with them.” That is a syllepsis. I also learnt from this book that bdelygmia, which sounds like some fell venereal disease, is the correct rhetorical term for a heap of insults.

Other devices are seriously deep and beautiful. Take paradox. God’s remark that “Before Abraham was, I am” is the ultimate paradox, a clash not only of apparent sense but of tenses.

It is interesting that some figures come more readily to human speech than others. All of us, particularly politicians, love anaphora, which means starting each sentence with the same words. Once you get going, you find it difficult to stop, especially if you are at the podium or the dispatch box: “We shall fight on the beaches. We shall fight on the landing grounds.” Churchill did 11 of these in a row.

Zeugma, on the other hand, is tricky. It is when the verb governs more than one thing in the sentence e.g. “Dick likes whisky, Dick vodka, Harry crack cocaine.” In English, the device does not come naturally. Congreve originally wrote: “Heav’n has no rage, like love to hatred turned, / Nor hell a fury, like a woman scorned.” That is a zeugma. But because it is unnatural to say, the phrase is altered in common memory to: “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.’

Behind all these rules, and the light-hearted way they are set out, lies the author’s belief that rhetoric is little more than fun. He ends his last chapter – which, with rhetorical correctness, he calls his peroration – with the following: “For though we have nothing to say, we can at least say it well.”

If he is serious in saying this, he is mistaken. Actually, I suspect he is not serious, and this is just another figure of rhetoric (whose Greek name he does not disclose) designed to win us over.

I have real difficulty with Alexander Pope’s famous lines “True wit is nature to advantage dress’d,/ What oft was thought, but ne’er so well expressed.” What, exactly, is a thought without the words? How is the expression to be distinguished absolutely from the content? Please give me an example. The analogy with nature being dressed to advantage does not work, because here we are talking about language, which has no “natural” state.

Still, we are entering into philosophical realms here, and Mark Forsyth is wise to steer clear of them. It would spoil the cheerful cynicism of his tone. His essential message is “Ask not what you can do for your language, but what your language can do for you.” (Which is an example of chiasmus.)

• Buy Mark Forsyth’s Elements of Eloquence at Telegraph Bookshop

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/bookreviews/10455908/If-you-have-nothing-to-say-at-least-say-it-well.html

NACA DISMISSES HIV CURE CLAIM BY MICHAEL OKPARA UNIVERSITY PROF

The National Agency for the Control of AIDS, NACA, has dismissed an HIV cure claim by Professor Maduike Ezeibe, a Professor of Veterinary Medicine and Clinical Virology at the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Abia State.

In a statement entitled “Re: Nigerian scientist conquers HIV/AIDS”, Director General of the Agency, Dr. Sani Aliyu, said there was no basis for a claim to the cure of AIDS as described in the study presented by Ezeibe.

Media reports had quoted Ezeibe as saying that the drug, produced with “Aluminium Magnesium Silicate” was tested on 10 persons living with HIV. It was also reported that a clinical outcome of an ability to “reach all cells” and making HIV “a conquered organism”.

Aliyu said: “The claim for a HIV/AIDS cure is not new. It is also not new to find a scientist using ambiguous scientific methods and practices to buttress this claim, and to find obscure journals increasingly prepared to publish these claims.”

Examining the facts, The NACA DG who said the study quoted by Ezeibe did not follow standard ethical protocols for clinical trials, also noted that there was no evidence from the publication that the authors obtained ethical clearance from an appropriate body in Nigeria to conduct this study, and only ambiguous evidence that informed consent was sought from the evidently vulnerable patients.

“We are concerned that the publicity given to these claims will stop patients with HIV from taking life-saving antiretrovirals and give them false hope of a cure. It will be a great disservice to this vulnerable group of patients for the media to disseminate these claims in the absence of sound scientific evidence. “There are long established, tried and tested routes for the discovery, development and validation of modern medicines before they can be registered and used for treatment in humans and animals.

He urged all academics to follow legal and scientifically acceptable methods in conducting their research and to avoid making premature claims that are capable of derailing the huge progress made in the last two decades on the war against HIV/AIDS.

Aliyu also urged media houses in Nigeria to seek comments from the leadership of the relevant government parastatals and professional bodies when it receives new research findings related to our areas of responsibility.

“We call on all patients living with HIV that are currently taking their medications to continue to do so and to see their doctors if they have any concern. The NACA helpline (6222) is available on working days from 8am-8pm for members of the public seeking more information on HIV disease,” he affirmed.

Source: NACA dismisses HIV cure claim by Michael Okpara University Prof. – Vanguard News

THINGS STUDENTS LOVE TO HEAR TEACHERS SAY

THINGS STUDENTS LOVE TO HEAR TEACHERS SAY

5 Things Students Love to Hear Teachers Say

1. “You’ve shown great improvement”
2. “I’m proud of you”
3. “You were one of my best students”-
4. “You have the ability and the potential”
5. “You can do it!”

Nancy Barile

3 Things Students Desire to Hear From Teachers

“Every child needs at least one adult who is irrationally crazy about him or her.” – Urie Bronfenbrenner

1.”I believe in you.You are going to be successful someday”
2.“You have a purpose.I see it and feel it!”
3.”Question Me.Ask me how I am. Ask me what I need. Ask me my thoughts and feelings.”

Dr. Lori Desautels
Assistant Professor in the School of Education Marian University

JAMB MEETS OTHER BODIES TO FINE-TUNE EXAMINATION SCHEDULE 

BROKEN DREAMS...JAMB AND PROFESSOR DIBU AT WORK AGAIN!

The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) says it is set to meet with heads of other public examination bodies to fine tune examination schedules in order to avoid infringement on its examinations.

The Head, Media and Information of the board, Dr Fabian Benjamin, gave the hint in a statement made available on Sunday in Lagos.

Benjamin stated that the board was determined to address “myriad of challenges confronting public examinations in the country’’.

He said that the board had yet to roll out its applications for 2017 UTME because it was working to improve on the conduct of its examination.

“You cannot do things the same way and expect different result.

“This year, we shall improve on a lot of things to get better results.

“However, we are mindful of the fact that there will be challenges accepting new directions of doing things by candidates.

“There will be improvement in our new payment platform, process of change of name; change of course; change of institution and others.

“This also applies to other difficulties that may arise in our attempt to improve on the entire process, which we have resolved to tackle.

“To make this feasible, the board had started working with other examination bodies to achieve a holistic result for the Nigerian child desirous of sound education,’’ Benjamin stated.

He stated that in view of the above, the board had slated a meeting with the Head of National Office (HNO) of WAEC, the Registrars of NECO and NABTEB, scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 17.

The meeting is expected to come out with a suitable time table that will not infringe on other examinations.

According to him, the meeting is part of the final preparations to begin sale of the 2017 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) application forms.

Benjamin stated that the board did not want candidates to be stranded during examination due to clashes in dates of their various external examinations.

He said during the meeting, there would be a harmonisation of calendar of sister examination bodies.

“We appeal to Nigerians to support our drive to ensure that the board’s matriculation examination meets international best practice,” Benjamin stated.

Source: JAMB meets other bodies to fine-tune examination schedule – Vanguard News