Dec 5, 2018

A University for Aquatic Studies


Is Nigeria ripe for that?
Aquatic studies. Picture source

Currently, there is a bill in the Nigerian Senate that aims to establish a university for aquatic studies. 


I do not buy the idea. It is not because marine education is not desired in Nigeria. We have a long coastal line, inhabited by millions of Nigerians after all. It is just that it seems reckless to jump to the idea of setting up a university once the idea flashes in our minds one way or another. There are other considerations.  


So, why is it reckless? A university is not a playground. One has to look at the financial import of establishing and running a university. One also has to look at the performance of existing federal universities: whether or not they are getting the right attention to warrant the creation of more. 


The problem in Nigeria has always been to establish schools and leave them without the necessary resources in terms of adequate manpower and funding. Most times, the universities are established merely for political gains, after which they are left in the cold. In the end, rather than become sources of pride, they become sources of scandal, since they are established based on our own standards, rather than an international standards. In the end, the graduates fail to measure up to international ratings.


An intellectual institution ought to be backed by an intellectual force, rather than a political force. Sadly, since the universities of the 1970s, university establishments have been driven largely by political motives. Personally, I feel the bill, sponsored by Stella Odua, is a desperation that is common among senators who want to have something to tell voters when the election cycle comes round. At the moment, we do not have any pressures for professionals in the area of aquatic education and many Nigerian universities already have faculties offering such courses. 


The administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, while it lasted, felt that every state in Nigerian must have a federal university. It went on to establish universities to states that never had federal universities. You do not say, “Let every state have a federal university.” You ask, “Do we have the discipline to run many universities efficiently, especially if we have granted licenses to private bodies to help in this regard?” In addition to granting private bodies the liberty to establish universities, the states have their own universities that should cater for the educational needs of their citizens. Hence, more federal universities are wasteful for a developing country like Nigeria. 


For the past couple of decades, Nigerian universities made names for their volatility rather than for their academic distinction. The instability has stampeded hundreds of thousands of Nigerians to foreign universities, something that is gradually becoming a status symbol. The instability has also become a reason why foreign students are rare in Nigerian universities, something that takes away the international element that is a characteristic of a standard university. 


To conclude this, I will want to say that there is no need jumping to the idea of establishing a university for aquatic studies when we can empower relevant faculties in existing universities to accommodate such needs whenever they arise. It reflects vile decisions and profligacy that insult our reputation.

Jul 10, 2018

Stefanous Foundation's Report on the Barkin Ladi Attacks

We were lucky to come across the report of the attacks on Barkin Ladi Local Government Area. The report is circulated on Whatsapp, but in case you didn't get it, you can download it here.

May 13, 2018

The Economic Enslavement Many Nigerians Don’t See



Substandard electronic imports to Nigeria

I live in Bukuru town, in Jos-South of Plateau State. Through the centre of Bukuru, a major road passes. It is the Jos-Bukuru Road. This very road is the hub of economic activities in the town.  Somewhere along this road, there is the town’s branch of First Bank of Nigeria Plc. It is where I bank. Going to and from the bank each time, I see an eyesore, the inferior imports of, mostly, electronic devices that include computer mice, mobile phone chargers, USB cables, headphones, shortwave radio receivers, torchlights, mp3 players, dry cells, etc.
What makes them an eyesore? It is the fact that they are substandard –you buy today, they fail tomorrow. So, you go again to purchase the same item, ensuring the enslavement continues. 

As long as this continues, we will remain a poor nation. It is a strategy that ensures we continue to work for nations from where these imports often come. These nations, mostly in Asia, become the vampires, sucking us slowly and leaving us malnourished. Eventually, they will leave us dead. This is what strikes me, each time I walk along this road. 

Many times, I have bought computer mice that I come home to realize aren’t functioning at all. Why would someone want to manufacture and sell an item that isn’t functional? It is, clearly, to suck you and grow fat in the process. 

It is not happening only in Jos. It is happening simultaneously in Bauchi, Kano, Lagos, Enugu, Kaduna, and everywhere across the country. This is how one is able to weigh the grave dimension of the problem, i.e when seen at the national scale. 

The obvious kink is, no doubt, the unending demand for the dollar that it causes. It leads to the dollar scarcity (when it gets worse) and the subsequent devaluation of the naira, something that is inevitable when the supply of the dollar fail to meet demand. 

When the government of President Buhari came, it was confronted with the fall in the prices of oil. As a result, there weren’t enough dollars coming into the country (oil is the major source of foreign currency to the country.)  Consequently, the value of the naira crashed, from about  N197 to over N400 a dollar.  Then, painstakingly, it rose and stabilized at the current rate: N365 to a dollar. 
The government had promised, during its political campaign, that it was going to create jobs. One way was to ban the importation of agricultural products that we can produce. In view of this, the government of Buhari banned the importation of rice. It served two purposes: the creation of jobs in the agricultural division, but also helping to reduce the demand for dollars meant for the importation.  But obviously, there are “obscure” imports that are badly hurting the economy in severe degrees. They are these inferior electronic devices. 

We are told that Nigerian importers are often shown classes of goods, based on their qualities. It is said that they often opt for inferior ones, because Nigerians prefer to buy those ones, in view of their “affordability.” 

Sometimes a government needs to compel citizens to do things it is aware will benefit the citizens in the long run, despite how painful it would be to the citizens. 
The Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) is charged with the duty of ensuring such goods don’t come into the country. Clearly now, what this tells us it that SON is not serving the purpose for which it was created. It also means that there wouldn’t have been any difference if SON was non-existent. EFCC must look in their direction.

Mar 18, 2018

PLATEAU STATE ROAD MAP TO PEACE

Plateau State, since 2001, has seen recurrent cases of violent conflicts. Within this period, over 7000 lives are estimated to have been lost.


The recurrence of the conflict has, as a result, added conflict resolution into the list of campaign issues. The current administration in Plateau State, led by Barr. Simon Bako Lalong, has, in its bid to ensure an enduring peace, come up with a blueprint to lasting peace. It is known as the Plateau State Road Map to Peace. It was unveiled by President Muhammadu Buhari during his visit to Plateau State on March 8th

The Plateau State Road Map to Peace is a public document and has to be understood by the public in order to buy into it and give it the desired support. It is as a result of this that the News Tower Magazine found the document and uploaded it so the public can download and read to understand what it entails. Download

A University for Aquatic Studies

Is Nigeria ripe for that? Aquatic studies. Picture source Currently, there is a bill in the Nigerian Senate that aims to esta...