4000 hours, Ede, Osun State
Ademola Adeleke woke up from sleep in his private suite in the palatial family home. He pressed hard on the pillow as he lifted his weight off the 2-seater sofa in his room.
The Senator could hear the voice of his Personal Assistant in the adjoining living room in what appeared to be a discussion with his chief security officer about the change of plans on the time of movement, and the route, to the polling booth where oga (their principal) will cast his vote.
Mr Adeleke immediately falls on his knees, begging God for the third time since he retired to his room at 2.30 am: “My Father, my Father, please give me victory today. Let not my enemy triumph over me. Let not Oyetola or any other candidate triumph over me. Let affliction never arise in my life the second time. Let me dance the dance of victory today. Make me the Governor today. Baba, demi lade Governor leni…”
4030 hours, Near Munhaye Village, Tsafe LGA, Zamfara State
Adamu Aleru opened his eyes and scanned his moonlit room. He rolled his body aside, reaching under his pillow for his sidearm. He could hear the voices of women and girls in the courtyard. He heard the frantic bleating of the rams about to be slaughtered, the thuds of cows marching to their deaths, all donated by Ali Zakwai, Bello Turji, Danboko, Sanata, Isuhu Yelo, Damina, and Mai Shamuwa Bello, and other notable bandits for the day’s celebration.
He paused to reflect as he reached for his kettle, “Since 2019, I have been declared WANTED BY THE POLICE; today, I am WANTED BY THE PALACE. Before, they wanted to attack and arrest me; today, they want to appoint me Sarkin Fulani and adorn my head with the royal Turban….”
Adamu was jolted back to consciousness by the voice of Ayuba cutting through the somnolence of dawn as he called the people to the fajr prayers.
“Allahu Akbar”, Aleru reechoed the Muezzin’s chant. “Allahu Akbar”, he repeated all the way as he filled his kettle with water for the ablution. “Wanda Allah ba ya gafartawa babu shi”, he muttered as he stepped out to join his lieutenants for the congregational prayer.
5000 hours, Duchess International Hospital, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos State
“You are all good, Sir”, the Physician assured the inpatient in Duke Suite. “We will return at noon for the preparations.”
“Please rest the leg, Sir. We’ll need it just as calm for the procedure”, the Orthopaedic surgeon counselled.
“Thank you, Doc. Campaigns have ended. I won’t be trekking today,” Yemi Osinbajo quipped. The two clinicians laughed as they escorted Nigeria’s Vice President out of the suite’s private examination room into the living room.
Four cold-faced security details nodded at the doctors as they made for the door out of the suite.
Then the VP attempted a slow and steady stride into his cosy room.
Sitting on his bed, the patient no. INP2 reached for his iPad on the bedside drawer, the table lamp guiding his hand. He then retires his legs slowly in the plum eiderdown and opens his Bible app.
He scans Psalm 23 and highlights two lines that read, “though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for thou art with me”.
He slid fully into the downs, lying on his side, and continued to read the Psalm on the iPad. And he read on even when the iPad screen had timed out.
History pessimistic, Humans Optimistic
By the time the sun set on Saturday 16th July 2022, three Nigerians had made history.
One, by the name of Ademola Adeleke, had been voted to topple the incumbent governor of his State. The other, Adamu Aleru, a notorious serial killer declared wanted by the Nigerian Police, had been decorated with a turban as an exemplary community leader in the presence of Nigerian State officials. The third, Yemi Oshinbajo, became the first incumbent Vice President to be an inpatient or placed on anaesthesia in a hospital in Nigeria since 1999.
Recent events highlight the emerging prospects for free and fair elections and the youth’s growing disgust for entitled and irresponsible leaders. On the other side, one sees the ruling elite’s effort to arrest the chaos encircling the country and their own imminent overthrow – by the youths’ ballot or the terrorists’ bullet.
For instance, President Buhari suddenly found his voice on the closure of Universities for the umpteenth time during his administration. Suddenly, Vice President Oshinbajo now appears empathetic with the state of healthcare in the country by submitting himself to the scalpel in Nigeria, even if it had to be in a highbrow Lagos hospital built only for Dukes like him.
Toppling an incumbent party and its governor through the people’s ballot and Turbaning a mass-murderer who kills his own people for a living prefigures the dual path to political leadership in Nigeria come 2023 – a steep double lane of vice and violence that leads backward side by side the double lane of vision and virtue that leads forward.
Indeed, the lead-up to the 2023 elections appears to be another watershed moment in the 30-year cycle of the nation’s political history of recurring misery, following the aborted progress in 1963 and a political stillbirth in 1993. Yet, while history is pessimistic, humans are optimistic.
Adeleke and the Nigerian Education Curriculum
Senator Ademola Adeleke’s election as the Governor of Osun State is a story of fame, failure and fortitude. But his election story began with his education.
Born in Enugu into the aristocratic family of Adeleke in Ede, he was nursed by both cleavages of fame and fortune. He waltzed through 4 missionary primary and secondary schools but emerged as a classic case of academic failure. It appeared he was destined to learn directly from life rather than be coached about it in a classroom.
Mr Adeleke is not alone. He belongs to a dynasty of accomplished merchants, manufacturers, and entrepreneurs who did not have a great time in formal school. Two cases in point are Tony Elumelu and Peter Obi, who excelled in the corporate world far above what they ever did in the classroom.
Also, beyond the public exhibition of politicians like Tinubu and Adeleke as ethical deviants, the duplicity that trails their certificates compared with the distinction in their careers calls into question the means and meaning of education in Nigeria.
Is it time for Nigeria’s curriculum planners to revisit why some students do well outside the classroom rather than within it? Is it time to introduce those real-world dynamics into our educational settings? If learning becomes hands-on, will Nigeria’s arts, management, science and technology students become more productive to the economy?
Should the country’s educational curriculum still reward rote learning and not practical, real-life application? Should private firms and government agencies continue prioritising (fake) certificates over (actual) individual competence?
These questions should shape the conversation on Nigeria’s educational policy going into the 2023 elections.
For Mr Adeleke, what he missed in Montessori he now compensates for in music and dance. And though he evaded intellectual exertion, he embraced the industrial experience. Top of that, the people just employed him as the Governor of Osun State.
Agenda 2023 on Education
Senator Ademola Adeleke attended public primary and secondary schools in Nigeria, even though he came from an upper-class family. That period was when the public school was a leveller between the rich and the poor. A period when government officials could not afford to let the quality of education slide because it would affect their children too.
Howbeit, Governor El Rufai currently shared this belief when he enrolled his son in a public primary school in Kaduna State. A major shake-up in the State’s Ministry of Education followed, resulting in the purge of misfits from the State’s teaching service.
Many believe that if all elected, appointed, and career government officials are mandated to train their wards in Nigerian public schools at the primary, secondary, and undergraduate levels, only then can they become responsible stakeholders in the public service project, and only then can the educational sector of the country be salvaged.
In its March report, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) stated that Nigerians spent $28.65 billion for their wards to study abroad between 2010 and 2020. “Today, a sizeable amount of the foreign exchange request Nigerian banks receive for school fees are for primary and secondary school education, some of which are for neighbouring African countries”, the report indicated.
Yet, according to UNICEF, “One in every five of the world’s out-of-school children is in Nigeria. Even though primary education is officially free and compulsory, about 10.5 million of the country’s children aged 5-14 years are not in school. Only 61 per cent of 6-11 year-olds regularly attend primary school, and only 35.6 per cent of children aged 36-59 months receive early childhood education.”
Besides this considerable patronage of foreign primary and secondary schools, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, spoke the government’s mind concerning tertiary institutions as well:
“Nigerians now go to school shamefully in some of our neighbouring West African countries, and they pay dollars.
I do understand the feelings of ASUU, the feelings of our lecturers, but they need also to know that by keeping these children at home, their parents, looking at them, it is a dangerous trend…But again, I must say that I’m happy that there are very strong private universities that have sprung up in Nigeria.”
Mr Emefiele’s statement exposes the ruling class’ unwillingness to restore the lost glory of public tertiary institutions in Nigeria by quickly pointing toward private universities in the country as the government’s sole option to lower the demand for dollars to pay for school fees outside the country.
Are there any political parties fielding presidential candidates in the 2023 elections that can commit that if voted into power, every Federal and State government official, whether elected, appointed, or a career civil servant, must send their wards to public schools or resign?
Definitely, this commitment may be difficult if the federal government and each state government do not commit to increasing their investment in education at the elementary, senior secondary and tertiary levels.
And it is best to state it clearly: “On education, I will start by reversing allocation to the educational sector in 2024 to the 10.8% or more that it was in 2015.” Such a number-driven commitment would do.
Alero: Is the Deep State Directing the State?
“Katsina Police Commissioner, Buba Sanusi, said, “Recall that on June 9, 2020, at about 7pm, a group of bandits numbering over 200 on motorbikes armed with sophisticated weapons and led by a notorious bandit, one Adamu Aliero Yankuzo, in collaboration with other gang leaders carried out an organised attack on Kadisau village in which 20 persons were killed while many others were injured.
In the course of investigation, a suspect, Bello Usman, confessed to having participated in the attacks and killings at Kadisau village of Faskari and others at Musawa, Matazu, Karaduwa and Yantumaki. The suspect also stated that the attack was masterminded by a notorious gang leader of bandits, one Adamu Aliero Yankuzo, in protest of the arrest of his son, one Sulaiman Adamu Aliero, 24.
Consequently, the command hereby wish [sic] to declare Adamu Aliero Yankuzo, 45, of Yankuzo village of Tsafe Local Government Area of Zamfara State, a notorious leader of groups of bandits terrorising Katsina and Zamfara states wanted and has placed a bounty of N5m on his head – dead or alive” a Punch Newspaper review of notable terrorists reported.
When the news broke that this presumed fugitive was to be turbaned (crowned) as a community leader by the Emir of his town, it startled not a few. Of course, it made the victims of his alleged crimes, civilians and security officers, feel entirely powerless.
Worse still, Premium Times subsequently reported that “The ceremony was attended by the Zamfara State Commissioner for Security and Home Affairs, Mamman Tsafe; security advisor to the governor, Abubakar Dauran; Tsafe Local Government Chairman, Aminu Mudi, and representatives of the information commissioner, district heads and other traditional title holders and government officials.”
The Zamfara State’s government latter efforts to dissociate itself from the turbaning ceremony by mouthing a suspension of the Emir, after it had sent its delegates to celebrate and validate a famous terrorist when it could locate and apprehend him and his murderous gang, reveal that there is more to the architecture of terrorism and banditry in Nigeria than meets the public eye.
It was reported that the Palace Secretary, Mr Yusuf, said the decision to turban the wanted terrorist was communicated to the Tsafe Local Government Area and Zamfara State government:
“We couldn’t have done that without approval from the state government. We did it with the best of intentions and because we’ve seen the commitment so far. Our people can now go to the farm, and nothing happens to them. It used to be very difficult for everyone. Nobody was safe from the bandits’ attacks, but we hope that the peace we are enjoying now will continue,” he said.
Anyways, Chief Adamu Alero Yankuzo, the newly installed Sarkin Fulani of Yandoton Daji Emirate himself, has assured the Emir and the people that “he would do whatever it takes to prevent attacks on communities in the emirate.”
One can only wish the people of Zamfara (and Katsina) well as Mr Adamu Alero joins his forces with the Nigerian Armed Forces and the Nigerian Police Force to reduce the number of people killed by armed groups in Zamfara State from 1,317 persons in 2021 to 5 persons as it was in 2017?
Osinbajo and APC’s Health Agenda
Vice President Oshinbajo, who presumably doubles as the vice leader of his party, the All Progressive Congress, just successfully underwent surgery at the Duchess International Hospital, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos.
And again, the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, said we need to do ”everything that needs to be done to improve the level of health care and education in Nigeria. We should all put our hands on deck to get this done. But I repeat your [sic] selfish interest of CBN here is that we need to stop medical and educational tourism in Nigeria.”
To this end, he thanked the Vice-President for undergoing surgery at the Private hospital as this “proves that world-class hospitals exist in the country”, maintaining that what Mr Oshinbajo had done “is to set an exemplary example to say that in Nigeria, you can go to a hospital and get treated no matter how highly placed that you are.”
Actually, Mr Emefiele had accompanied the Vice President when he opened that same hospital, The Duchess International Hospital, Ikeja, 9 months ago.
Thus, Mr Emefiele upbraided the APC leader, a ranking medical tourist abroad, on the “need to stop medical and educational tourism” and praised the APC vice leader’s patronage of Duchess Hospital as the solution to medical tourism in Nigeria instead.
What he did not say is that of the less than 400 orthopaedic surgeons serving Nigeria’s 170 million population as of 2017, 3 were pulled out in addition to 3 other specialists to attend to the Vice President’s fracture, which he sustained while playing squash.
The number of orthopaedic surgeons in Nigeria might be fewer now, owing to the mass exodus of doctors from the country in the last seven years.
Mr Emefiele thought that building more private hospitals like Duchess Hospital would discourage Nigerians from reaching out of the country for medical treatments.
Obviously, he did not consider that people leave the country with CBN’s precious dollars in search of doctors because their doctors, too, had left them behind.
The National Bureau of Statistics data showed that about 44% of the doctors in Nigeria in 2018 were no longer around by 2019. Of the 44,021 doctors in 2018, 19,381 had left, leaving 24,640 behind.
Mr Emefiele worries because the March CBN balance of payment (BoP) report revealed that Nigerians paid $11.01bn for healthcare-related services in foreign countries.
In fact, the $39.66bn spent on foreign education and healthcare-related services between 2010 and 2020 is almost equivalent to the current value of the country’s foreign reserves, which stood at $39.51bn as of March 23. This has economic consequences, as more naira chases fewer dollars and drives up the price of the dollar, that is, the foreign exchange rate.
The Presidential candidates for the 2023 election may need to see beyond what Messrs Oshinbajo and Emefiele are painting and prescribing as the solution to the medical tourism in the country and its economic toll on the price of the dollar and other foreign currencies in Nigeria.
They must state how they want to retain and return exiled medical doctors. And it begins by saying, “I will reverse the 44% decrease in the population of Medical doctors in 2019 by increasing the current 2022 figure by 44% by 2025, and this is how I intend to achieve it.”
Till the next episode of Agenda 2023, we wish Senator Ademola Adeleke success as the governor of Osun State, the Emir of Yandoton Daji a long reign and peaceful coexistence with the terrorists in his Emirate, and Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Oshinbajo a speedy recovery in Lagos.