ENCYCLOPAEDIA OF CORRUPTION: Witch-Hunting Africa, Truth or fallacy?

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I am particularly provoked to write this piece as a direct response to the well articulated but not totally acceptable by me the article ” Witch- Hunting Africa by Rees”. Initially I wanted to simply post a comment but what I have to say is too voluminous to be restricted to the four walls of comment page. Therefore I finally decided to put up my thought in writing for everyone to see and read since it touches on something very sensitive that I am passionate about. While I agree to a large extent with the writer that the Western world has deployed its well orchestrated propaganda machinery to ‘hype’ the evil in Africa, I totally disagree with his assertion that allude to the fact that Africa is simply being demonised in relation to corruption.Contrary to his assertion, the reality on ground is even worse than what the media has said about us especially Nigeria. As readers will see in my write-up, the Western media may be vindicated afterall in their perceived not-too-friendly opinion about Nigeria.

I have lived all my life in Nigeria but have close relations, family members and family friends who have traversed the length and breadth of the globe and they have shared with me their experiences. Corruption in Nigerian context in my view is borne out of the triad- poverty, frustration and greed. All three may not apply to everyone at he same time but every Nigerian that is corrupt is a product of at least one of them, and the others may be a catalyst.

To be frank Western nations will cease to do business with Nigeria and Africa at large if they know the depth of corruption in our system. International watchdogs like Transparency International will reserve the top spot of most corrupt nation for Nigeria forever if they have the opportunity to witness first-hand the magnitude of corruption here in all facets of our life.If I were to describe the extent of corruption in my country in epidemilogical jargon I would say it is pandemic and hyperendemic: it is beyond being endemic. It is ubiquitous, pervasive and affecting all. In the coming weeks I have taken it upon myself to catalogue corruption in our society including education, finance/banking, economy, oil and gas, immigration/customs, inland revenue, contract award, religious organisations, security, civil service, politics etc.

For this week my focus will be on education. It is often too common to hear leaders, elite and older generation talk about falling standard of education. You hear statements like: ‘education is falling or failing’, ‘we had better education’, ‘my children will never go to public schools’, ‘half-baked graduates’, ‘a first class graduate who cannot make simple grammatically correct statement’, ‘graduates who cannot write their names’ etc. I must disabuse the mind of my critics that I am not a paid puppet of Western propaganda neither am I an extension of the stereotyped pessimist that the propagandist wants us to believe. I have to open the can of worm so that those who want to sympathize with the theory of the sycophant politicians that we are deliberately targeted by Anglo-American media hype will have a re-think.

Corruption in the education sector originates from the cradle of primary school to the highly cerebral doctorate degree which should be the beacon of educational achievement. Here are a few:
1. You have to pay or know somebody to secure a place in public primary school .
2. A relative who was teacher in a private school once said that teachers give extra attention to the children of parents who flood teachers with gifts.
3. Many private schools no longer allow their pupils to buy their textbooks/ notebooks themselves outside the school as they insist that the pupil must get their branded books from the school at exorbitant rates.
4. Recommended textbooks are no longer selected on quality basis but based on how far the writer, publisher or promoter can lobby government officials heading the curriculum department. I will not be surprised in future to see that books written by our celebrated authors are no longer on the curriculum. I was particularly disgusted to read a novel on HIV/AIDS recommended for JSS 3 2011/2012 session, not as health education book but as an English novel. I wonder how a novel fraught with so many glaringly fundamental grammatical errors as there are correct ones could make it to the English lesson class.The author who boasts of so many degrees(including MA, currently working on PhD) in linguistic /English from reputable federal universities, can be tutored on grammar by me(who is not a linguistic expert). I am still compiling the errors to be forwarded to him.
5. Because the traditional common entrance exams into public secondary schools(except Unity colleges, special schools)have been abolished , admission is now ‘who-know-man’.
6.Students can now pay money to secure extra marks from their teacher at secondary school level. Many schools now charge ‘logistic fee’ for SS 3 students to facilitate their exam fortune at whatever level where necessary.
7. I once know a relative of mine who had to pay inducement to a government official to secure change of school(school of same status) even though she was among the best students from her class.
8. School teachers, form masters/mistresses and head teachers need to be tipped to get a slot in the highly priced science class.
9. Schools insist on supplying low quality books and poorly sewn uniform which are soon replaced by students because they do not like them and they barely survive a session.
10. UBE-branded government textbooks/notebooks end up in the open market even though the inscription ” NOT TO BE SOLD” appear on them.
11.Teachers hoard part of the class lessons only to lure parents/guardians into paying for an expensive more comprehensive extramural classes.
12. The WAEC/NECO SSCE and GCE , JAMB UTME(except lately) are all sham
–My ‘corper’ friend told me that one of the secondary schools she attended is fond of buying WAEC/NECO results for the school. In one such instances a parent while discussing with the principal offered to contribute NGN 500,000 since his daughter will be a direct beneficiary of the deal. Schools advertise these bought results as proof of academic excellence in their schools.
— In those days people could simply walk into JAMB office(which is not far from where I live) to get a new UME score of their choice for just NGN20,000.
–One time overall scorer in UME was a candidate who hired his elder brother a 500 level medical student of UNIMAID as a mercenary.
–A friend once told me of a lady who contracted a guy to secure for her a science-based GCE result for the sum of NGN20,000. She went ahead and ensured the guy had whole classroom allocated to him decked with full compliment of library(relevant books) and specially hired teachers to make the project unfailing.
–There are many ‘miracle centres’ in these exams. You need to visit those places to see the rot and desperation in exam system. Impersonation, bribe-taking and a host of many malpractices are common places.
–I had a class mate when I was at the university who confessed that he regularly makes money from these exams as a mercenary in his former secondary school. As undergraduate writing these exams his performances are usually very outstanding that the beneficiaries are scared of going for these results.
–I was told of candidates who were told to pay NGN150000 as alternative to writing post-UTME
13. Admission racketeering is no news. I have heard of a Vice Chancellor in a South-East University who openly advertises on notice board slots for admission into medicine for a sum of NGN500,000/slot. Recently(some months ago) some “students” were given eviction notice from University of Ibadan and members of staff suspended for securing admission letter unofficially for supposedly students now in 300 and 400 levels. In fact In many institutions of higher learning the slogan ‘admission time blessing time’ is true.
— I know 2 church members who were asked to pay NGN35,000 by the dean of science in 2004 when they approach him for assistance on securing admission into department of remedial sciences.
–Question papers are sold like commodities in many institutions.
—A lady was awarded 1st class in her university after inducing the lectures(whether monetarily or bodily I cannot tell) but with a proviso that on no account should she pursue higher degrees in any institution other than where she graduated from as she will be a laughing stock over there.
15. I am aware of a sitting governor in the East who sailed smoothly through my university because he was a big donor to the faculty even though he had poor attendance at lectures/tests as he was an Abuja politician and could not find time to come.
16. The certificates (O level) of Benue state governor and former Kogi state governor are in contention because of the circumstances surrounding how they got them.
17.It is the same certificate scandal that earned the possibly comatose Governor of Taraba a certificate from school of aviation in Kaduna and jet-flying licence which he used to commit possibly suicide.
18. One of my pastors on campus was asked to produce a 20 litre fuel at the peak of fuel scarcity as pre-condition for completing his MSc in education.
19. A senior church member that I used to look up to as a model disappointingly told me he had handled contracts for writing undergraduate projects in his university days.
20. A friend told me that he was asked to pay NGN50,000 to forego writing project by his coordinator, a plan which ALL his class mates bought into leaving him alone to go the full length of project writing.
21. Female sexual harassments for scores and favours are too common to be listed.
22. Private schools pay huge sum of money to be accredited even though they have met all the criteria. One of such was asked to pay NGN 2 million despite the fact that the visiting team could not fault the school submission or the facility.
23. Honorary doctorate degrees which should be a reward for academic or field excellence have become the exclusive preserve of politicians as no convocation is complete without a politician getting such an award. It is in realisation of this bastardization that the Lagos state government ordered the suspension of the award forthwith in LASU. Many governors/politicians are doctors of science and letters without any thing to justify these hallowed academic awards. corruption! corruption!! corruption!!!
24. The dean of law in a foremost university in Nigeria(name withheld) asserted that PhD means-
P-politics
h-hardwork
D-Dobale(in Yoruba meaning to ‘prostrate’ or humouriously ‘eyeservice’)
This is the correct meaning of PhD in Nigeria. He went further to say that unfortunately hardwork carries the small letter ‘h’ in PhD.In sane societies like Germany, the finance minister(also deputy chancellor touted as successor to the current chancellor) gave up his already awarded PhD on media allegation of plagiarism.

Is there any value in our education or certificate?

Witch-hunting Africa: truth of fallacy?
Dear reader please add to my list. I am tired and I want to sleep. See you tomorrow.

Comments

comments

  • Eye-opening to the deep decay in our society. It’s well thought and written in the simple truth language Nigerians should understand.