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My 3 Years  Journey Through Ordinary Primary One | By Olawale Sadare

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“When you have your mouth and where you have your audience, don’t allow any friend or enemy to tell your personal story…” (Sadare 2019).

I don’t know why and how I still manage to remember almost every bit of certain things that happened to me at my early stage in life. Just like the cases of every conscious adults, many people played their parts (either positive or negative) in our individual lives and these culminated in the little story of success we have got to tell for now.

I stood no good chance of acquiring the best of Western education because my both parents were unlettered and they chose to live in the same rustic Owobaale where only the adherents of Adventist Christian faith knew about when and how to enrol their children in schools. But luckily for me, we moved into the city fully in 1978 and I began a new life away from a place where a woman had been made to lacerate my face few weeks after my womb escape.

We moved into our newly built 6 room face-to-face bungalow beside the then 13 year-old Bishop Phillip’s Academy. The popular Texaco/MRS filling station in the Area now was a Sawmill at that time and a plot of land cost N500 or thereabouts. Houses with residents were clustered and most parcels of land had weeds, different tree species and palm trees on them. This was a time I would feel like a Prince after taking ‘raisi kobo meji, ewa kobo kan’ on any special day.

I was good at running errands for all and sundry while one Iya Offa (of blessed memory) would tutor me about elementary commerce with accurate calculation in money exchange. That mama was the best in making a local bean cake delicacy (Alapa elegusi ati Ede) and she would never stop giving me a small wrap as an incentive (Eeni) each time I patronized her even if it was 10 times in a particular day. She really ‘sharpened’ me with her native intelligence and compassion.

Then came 1980… Iya Offa hinted my mom that I was ripe for schooling due to her own observation. “Iya Omoo mi, Wasiu ti to bere Ile-Iwe o… Ogbon ori re koja ti opolopo awon omo ti n lo Suuku ti mo nri lojoojumo.” (Young woman, Wasiu is fit to start schooling pls… His level of intelligence is far more than most of those kids who I see everyday on their way to school). The grands told my mom one day.

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Consequently, Maami discussed it with my dad and an agreement was reached between them. The following Monday, I was enrolled in Primary One at St. James’ Anglican Primary School, Agodi Village off old Iwo Road Ibadan (the place is now part of the communities which fused to become Iyanna Church Area of Ibadan). This was located in a recluse and it was far from our home. And following about two or three reported cases of child kidnapping, I was withdrawn from the school permanently.

Therefore, I lost that first year but I felt no loss as an innocent child. Then came the beginning of another school year… An uncle who was a serving in the Nigerian Army took her daughter (a younger cousin of mine) and me to the then 3 year-old Christ Apostolic Church Primary Schools, Abaa Monatan in 1981 and I started at Primary One again. After the end of the season, I did well in the promotion exam and I was promoted to Primary Two but my cousin failed.

The only two things to be cherished in me at that time were the modicum of brilliance in me and the Khaki uniform which was well made by one ‘Boda Tailor’ (an indigene of Ilobu who died many years ago). He made a round neck with two buttons on the left shoulder (Pademilejika we used to call the style). The Knicker was with two blazers made of same uniform fabric to rule out any use of belts. The only ironing on that school uniform was done by Booda Tailor but the ‘gaitors’ he created never left their original locations until the textile material fully expired about six years after. I would not write much about how I used to clean up the blank side of my academic ‘Slate’ with my own saliva.

Going forward; on the first day of the following Session, my Uncle took me and his daughter to a new school in protest. We landed in Army Children School, Iwo Road, Ibadan in 1982 and my joy knew no bound. “Emi naa? Ni School awon Army?” (My self in a school owned by the Military?)… I did soliloquy the moment I stepped on the Mammy Market on our way to the Headteacher’s office. My Uncle was in his Army uniform with a white Chevron on each of his shoulders and he offered Salutes to every Soldier we came across until we got to our destination. This also impressed me!

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“Good morning, Madam. I bring my two children here for school… Put them for primary two”. Uncle said to the headmistress and the woman replied thus; “Good morning sir. No problem sir. Did you come with the report cards they got from their former school where they did their primary one?” She then sent for two teachers (Mr. Babalola and Mrs. Olayinka). They both came around and checked the two report cards carefully. Mr. Babalola was asked to address my Uncle… “Sir, the boy is qualified to be in Primary Two while the girl will have to start from Primary One again because she failed her last promotion exam.” He said.

“No, no, noooo! Omo mi ni awon mejeeji, nnkan ti mo fe ni mo si ti so fun yin yen…”Uncle thundered. When the Headmistress realized that Oga Soja meant business, she invited a Sargent who was passing by to intervene. At the end of the day, my Uncle ordered that the two of us should be put in Primary One class because he did not want us to be far apart. We were handed over to our new teachers and I started another fresh life in the same class for the third year. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize the quantum of time I have been made to lose as I was innocent, happy and uninformed at the same time.

Another end of the Session came… I emerged 2nd best while my cousin came 2nd from behind (32nd in a class of 33). In those days, virtually every literate person who came across primary/secondary pupils on the Vacation day would want to check your report card. People would stop you on the road and demand your Card. When they were done, they would offer handshake (or petty gifts) to the brilliant ones and sing (Olodo rabata, oju eja lo moo je) for the the academically poor ones. It was a day I was celebrated most for the first time in my life by relatively unknown people.

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We were approaching home when we met an elder cousin who was then a Form Two student of Estate High School, Bashorun, Ibadan. It was a time teachers must give Prizes to brilliant students who came 1st, 2nd and 3rd in promotion exams. Adekunle Akanfe discovered I came 2nd and I was not given any gift… He forced me to return to the school where we were told two pupils got the First position grade and it was agreed that, in that circumstance, the pupil that came second who forfeit his own gift. The same teachers gave a gift to the pupil that came third behind me though. One of the teachers was fascinated by the rare show of boldness by my Egbon and she volunteered to gift me a ruler, a sharpener, an eraser and two exercise books in compensation.

On resumption for the next academic session, my soldier Uncle returned to make a demand for his daughter to either be promoted ‘On Trial’ or his other child (Wasiu) be made to repeat Primary One again. Commotion ensued when the headmistress kicked against the request and she immediately called the like of Mr Babalola, Mrs Jegede, Mrs Sadare (not a relation at all), Mrs Ajayi, Mrs Abolade, Miss Hassan and others to come around… My Uncle didn’t wait for their convergence before leaving the woman’s office on that day.

 

To be continued…

 

Wasiu Olawale Sadare, Journalist and Media Consultant writes from Ibadan, Oyo state

 

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Opinion

Why Is Ajimobi’s Mausoleum A Subject Hypocritical Outrage? | By Maroof Asudemade

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Nigerians derive a kind of unexplainable pleasure in brazen hypocrisy. The latest in their display of mischiefs coated in feigned outrage is about the grand Mausoleum constructed by the family of the deceased former governor of Oyo state, Senator Abiola Ajimobi.

This writer must confess that he held initially that the resting place was vainly flamboyant when the video of the Mausoleum was sent to him. But after making some enquiries as to the intent and purpose of the tomb, he’s convinced that there was nothing vain about it and that it’s the best way the Ajimobi family thinks it fit to honour and keep memories of their illustrious patriarch.

Mausoleum is a phenomenon that has been embraced in all continents of the world. It was invented by Phythius and named after King Mausolus, a Persian satrap of Caria in Harlicarnassus near the modern Turkey, whose grieving widow had the Mausoleum done to immortalise him. The large Mausoleum housing the remains of King Mausolus was reputed to be one of the Seven Wonders of the world! Since its invention, mausolea have been regular features of burial and internment arrangements, cutting across continents and religions, especially among royal, political, military and economic leaders around the world.

Mausolea are monuments. Monuments represent the histories and the heritages of peoples of the world. Without monuments, histories and heritages are lost to generations who need them to develop a sense of history and to recognise past glories in which they must exude pride. But when a people choose to sneer at a monument because of flimsy consideration of vanity, then, it’s no curse that such people already have courted extinction.

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The ‘vanity’ that mausolea are tagged to be began and spread from ‘saner’ climes after which the insanity of adopting them in Nigeria afflicted us. Almost all known deceased leaders in politics, economy, royalty and military and professional endeavours had mausolea constructed over their remains in their sprawling premises. Mausolea came into the consciousness of Nigerians when the ever sagely Obafemi Awolowo died in 1987 and a mausoleum was constructed over his embalmed remains which visitors and tourists continued to troop to see even after many years before his corpses was decaying and he had to be buried appropriately. Since then, mausolea are being constructed by families of deceased eminent Nigerians as an indication of how immensely they cherish the lives and the memories of their departed loved ones.

When Mike Adenuga lost his mother, he spent several millions of naira to construct a mausoleum to house his mother’s remain. In Nigeria today, deceased eminent Nigerians who had mausolea built over their remains included Abubakar Tafawa Balewa in Bauchi, Sani Abacha in Kano, Olusola Saraki in Ilorin, Oba Okunade Sijuwade in Ile-Ife, Tayo Aderinokun in Lagos and a host of others. Even Dino Melaye built a world class Mausoleum for his mother’s remains! We can all see how vanity drives our eminent men and women to have mausolea that hold no pleasure to them built on them! Don’t Yoruba elders say ‘he who isn’t entitled to a bonus calls it unlawful’? Only a poverty of acute proportion will make one attach vanity to every luxury in life.

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If all these eminent men and women mentioned above embraced vanity for having mausolea built on their remains, let me regale you with a burial story of a sincerely altruistic and the only truly radical and activist lawyer Nigeria has ever produced, Chief Ganiyu Oyesola Fawehinmi. No one can associate an atom of corruption to the late fiery lawyer! He lived a good life despite that he was an excessively incorruptible man. Yet, he planned his burial immediately he was told of his terminal lung cancer. He instructed that he wanted to be buried in gold casket! And, yes, Gani Fawehinmi was buried in gleaming gold casket! So, Gani too was vain! If Gani did not elevate vanity while alive, why would he elevate vanity in death?

No one is justified at all to wail about the vanity of life to the families of late Senator Abiola Ajimobi. What could be more vain than having to lose a man larger than his existence, an illustrious colossus for that matter? If losing Ajimobi to the inevitable death does not define life as vanity, one wonders what else will? Senator Ajimobi lived a good life, worthy of emulation in all ramifications. Yoruba elders say, ‘a dowry paid on a bride depends on how cherished the bribe is’. Therefore, it’s also apt to conclude that ‘Ajimobi was befittingly buried based on how so much he was cherished, loved and adored by his families’.

 

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Is the word bankrolling derogatory? | By Onike Rahaman

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Subject:

Given the harsh reactions and ill-mannered responses of Femi Fani Kayode to the question asked by The Daily Trust Correspondent during the interactive session held with the journalists in the Cross River State yesterday, the action of FFK which has been largely condemned, considered as social misconduct and irrational forced me to carry out further search of the extensive meanings of the word ‘bankroll’ .

 

Up till now, I have not got any hints, tips or information on the derogatory meaning of the word bankroll to have prompted FFK outbursts of anger.Even my dictionary of insulting words didn’t include such entry.

 

Background information:

Chief Femi Fani Kayode in the past few days had been touring some states meeting the governors in those states.

He was in Calabar the capital of Cross Rivers state when he was asked by Eyo Charles the Daily Trust Correspondent in the state that who is bankrolling his tour.

Fani Kayode became livid with anger and said, ” What type of stupid question is that?

Bankrolling who? Do you know who you are talking to? I will not take any questions from this man. What type of insulting question is that? Which bankroll? To do what? Who can give me money for anything?

Who do you think you are talking to? Go and report yourself to your publisher… Don’t insult me here… I could see from your face before you got here how stupid you are. Don’t ever talk to me like that. Who do you think you are talking to?”

While some people have blamed the reporter for asking a denigrating question, others insist Fani Kayode displayed pride as it is the duty of journalists to promote accountability. Who do we blame?

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A. Eyo Charles the reporter.
B. Chief Femi Fani Kayode.

Semantics of the word that ignited the anger of Femi Fani Kayode:

Bankrolling:

1.Cambridge English Dictionary: verb. informal.
‘To support a person or activity financially’

2.Collins Dictionary:

VERB
‘To bankroll a person, organization, or project means to provide the financial resources that they need’.

[mainly US, informal]
The company has bankrolled a couple of local movies.

3. Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English:

bankroll:Informal-to provide the money that someone needs for a business,a plan etc.

4. Merriam-Webster Dictionary:
bankroll verb
bankrolled; bankrolling; bankrolls
Definition of bankroll (Entry 2 of 2)
transitive verb
: to supply money for (a business, project, or person.
5.Macmillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners:
bankroll:to provide the money for something.

My Take:

What then could have infuriated the former Minister and Lawyer with the question asked by the timid journalist for him to have acted oddly and reacted annoyingly in a way that has exposed him to public ridicule?

The whole scenario is a pointer to the fact that the man lacks emotional intelligence, maturity, decency and capacity to handle stressful situations.

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Opinion

Need for discipline in PMB’s cabinet to fight real corruption | By Abba Dukawa

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With three cardinal programs of PMB’s campaigned promises, i. e Insecurity, Corruption and Economy, Nigerians expected effective and rebut fighting of Insecurity, Corruption and improved Economy in the country.  It will be recalled that following the intense presidential campaign and the victory in the March 28 presidential poll in 2015 election.   Let me start with corruption war. For long PMB had been pontificating about his desired to fight   Corruption made Nigerians believed that he is capable to beat the previous administrations ‘efforts in anti-corruption war in the country and improved security and economy of the country.  

To the extent that even the war waged by the administration against corruption proved to be toughest and it’s fighting back each passing day because there are several alleged corruptions within the administration.

The most disturbing point of war against  corruption is becoming a subject of public scorn. There are several examples I can cite as proof of evidence but I will limit myself to a few. Nigerians may recalled less than two years  of  PMB’s administration , face  its first litmus test in fighting corruption when a court fined MTN to pay billions of dollars to the government.

The most   shocking of the administration error was the given approval of $25 billion contract awarded by NNPC without  the input of the acting president at the time of the said approval PMB was lying in a sick bed in faraway London. This cast’s serious doubt in the mind of Nigerians.

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In spite of highly celebrated profiled corrupt cases like ex petroleum minister, Diezeini Allison, Defencegate and PDP campaign funds, five years into the administration, there were no convictions of the alleged looters in this highly profiled corruption cases. The most worrying development is that the anti-graft war, which used to be his major feat, is now all over the place. Magu, the anti-graft Czar, has himself been accused of various infractions — some of them contained in reports submitted to PMB.

Did PMB heard  Prof  Pondei, NDDC acting MD, when he told a senate panel that he spent N1.5 billion as COVID-19 relief on the staff? Did you heard him brazenly told the committee that “we took care of ourselves”, he is still in office. That any of your appointees could make such a reckless statement on record shows how low they rate your anti-graft war.

There is  extraordinary chaos   going on between  President’s   power-drunk ministers and chief executive officers of the  respective departments and agencies under their watch.

Did PMB knows that as a result of these infighting among the administration’s appointees are becoming a subject of public ridicule.  Minister of labour who suspended the management of  NSITF  said he had PMB’s  approval. Former MD of the Niger Delta Development Commission vs. Minster of Niger Delta, Dr Isa Ali Pantami Vs Mrs. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, NCC Executive Vice Chairman, Minister of Power Vs MD of the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company, Minster of power Vs MD of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA)

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Another episode of indiscipline was when police officers were deployed to the house of Mrs Joi Nunieh, former MD of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), to intimidate her on a day she was supposed to testify about the massive corruption in the agency. Latest episode of indiscipline was when the minister of labour, Dr Chris Ngige Vs James Falaki on the screen of a national TV when he  called him Mushin boy and that he is VI Guy.

It is seem the government is indisposed to instill discipline within the ranks of the administration.  Many Nigerians are asking whether President Buhari is the man of dependability Nigerians saw in him some years back.  This is not the same person Nigerians  ostensible  brought into office in 2015, Buhari’s fear factor has  gone which  the corrupt people and other  had on him disappeared,  the fright  notion of If Buhari catches you, one would bear the consequence also gone and  no longer scares anybody, as we all can see even  there is   apparent lack of coordination and infighting among different agencies of government as well as key functionaries serving in the administration came to the front in the wake of the confirmation of the suspended EFCC chairman DSS, wrote to the senate to counter your choice.  

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If indeed those allegations are true, it should be a major indictment on Mr President, that right under his nose, all these things were happening and you did not act swiftly but the way the whole thing has been handled is damaging to the anti-graft war, and infighting  among the appointees are  hurtful to the administration integrity.   Nigerians never expected negative things to happen under PMB’s stewardship and voters never thought he would head a government bedeviled with boggling financial recklessness of public funds, chaos, in fighting among the administration appointees and endless things which are discrediting his administration’s  goodwill and the nation at large.

 

Dukawa can be reached at[email protected]

 

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