Category Archives: Education

Let’s talk about Nigeria for a minute

If you have followed my blog for a while you will know that Nigeria is one of my favorite things to write about, and these days it has been very hard to do that. But I want to overcome the difficulty and talk to you about Nigeria.

What have Nigerian politicians done for some of you that you want to kill all of us because of them? Some of you are ready to kill another person because of Nigerian politicians, people you don’t know and don’t know you? Will it kill you to admit that Jonathan was a terrible president and that Buhari, is equally as terrible?  Will you die if you admit that APC is just as selfish and evil as PDP?

Even if you can’t admit it in public because of your over-inflated ego, surely you can do that in private?  Surely you can lock yourself up in your room and admit that this country is not working. We have been in a recession for so long that recession jokes have all become dry. Surely somewhere in your heart you know that whether you believe in APC or PDP, Nigeria is not working.

These things are fact, these things are crystal clear but instead of us to work together we are bickering over politicians who do nothing for us.

As at the writing of this, there has been 226 days in 2017 and President Buhari has spent at least 152 days in the UK. As far as 2017 is concerned our president is closer to a being a British citizen than he is to being a Nigerian citizen not to talk of Nigerian president. In that time, the economy has remained in the same toilet Buhari left it in, Nnamdi Kanu, first of his name, has gained enough man power to  start an actual army down south, Boko Haram are back like they never left up north and then ASUU unleashes a mass population of idle youths into a very chaotic scene. There is not much room for excitement to be honest and it is very depressing when you think about it.

I am not trying to scare you but I need you to know that, cliche and banter aside, Nigeria is falling apart and very soon something will give. We as Nigerians are standing in a room filled with gas and instead of looking for a way out we are hoping and praying nothing ignites a spark. We will not survive like this much longer, even if we do make it passed Boko Haram, a failing economy and Nnamdi Kanu in one piece, oil is going away and it’s never coming back, our population is exploding and there will be even less opportunities than there are now.

I want you to know that your children and my children will grow up in a Nigeria that is much tougher than it is now unless we stop that from happening and we are running out of time.

If you don’t know what to do to make a big difference, start from the little things. Vote for your conscience, vote for the man or woman with the best plan even if they don’t have a political party with huge cash. Follow the activities of your state governor, your state legislature, the national assembly, ask them questions, do not compromise your integrity and if you have none, get some. Keep your loyalty for your conscience and not any politician or political party. Don’t keep quiet, let your voice be heard, don’t let sincere ignorance stand and don’t suffer fools. Let your presence be felt.

Nigeria may have done nothing for you but she needs you. She needs you more than she knows it. Stay safe, stay smart, stay woke.

 

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Failing Math Like A Boss

At some point in my life, I was pretty sure I had dyscalculia or as I like to call it, dyslexia for numbers  or better yet, the reason why I failed maths like a boss. See ehn, you just don’t fail math as many times as I did and not think you don’t have problems. 

Throughout school, my relationship with math was very abusive, it didn’t like me and it beat me very hard and very regularly. In fact the only time I was good at math was when I was solving an example someone else just finished solving. It’s not like I didn’t want to be good at it, I did, I just never was. 

In primary three my parents got me private math teachers, that didn’t end well. I remember one day, it was time for the lessons and I really wasn’t in the mood for it. So I locked the doors, went to my room and refused to open for the teacher. He knocked and knocked and knocked and I wouldn’t be bothered. Eventually he left, told my parents, who of course were livid. The only downside is that I had two lessons that week instead of one. It’s not like it helped my life anyway. 

In primary four I had to stay back two or three times a week to get private lessons from some of the teachers, which was fun because there was a male and female teacher, the female was my math teacher by the way. They were always flirting with themselves, eventually they married, had a kid and moved to US. The Nigerian dream. 

In secondary school it was not a different ball game, I was in a boarding school so I had a guardian who conincidentally was a math teacher at some point, my class teacher. She would eventually teach me math in Js 2 or Js 3, I can’t really recall, but it doesn’t matter I failed it anyway. 

The thing is, in my secondary school if you got below a certain score in math you’d have to take the entire year again. I almost always got the barest minimum score eligible for promotion, other times I’d fail it totally, but because my grades in other subjects were good enough, I’d qualify based on let my people go. And that’s how I struggled and travailed in the place of failure till I wrote WAEC. 
PS. If you’re wondering what happened in my JAMB math, well, so am I, because I passed it. 

My WAEC math exam is the most memorable exam of my life because it was literally in Chinese. I don’t care, I saw questions dealing with angles of elevations and depressions that told me to construct triangles.  My French teacher, Mrs Azubogu who knew I had problems with math was invigilating that day, she would walk up to me and see the confusion on my face, then she would try and cheer me on. That obviously didn’t help because my brain was dead to it and what is dead may never die. I failed it and only made it into University that year because my school mandated we wrote NECO, where I got a C in math. 

I actually thought WAEC was like a final break up between me and math, little did I know that rebound is a ****. First year, first semester we did statistics and what we did that year was basic further math, which meant it was quantum physics. 

That year the tech department in school made a mistake, they briefly uploaded our detailed scores on our school portals instead of just our grades. So I found out that out of a needed say, 45 marks to do let my people go I had 44. I went to file a complaint, Greek for I went to beg for my life. Carry over wasn’t my portion. As God would have it they added one more mark and I was a people let go. Downsidemy CGPA was like that team in a 4×1 relay race that started late. 

Post-school, my calculator has become a very important part of my life. I usually try to do the math in my head, but that’s not reliable. Funny enough even when we were allowed to use calculators in exams in secondary school, I was still failing. Sigh…this life is not my own. 

Failing Igbo Like A Boss

My French is better than my Igbo. I’m not proud of it, but I don’t speak Igbo very well, actually I don’t speak Igbo at all. My Dad wasn’t the biggest fan of the language so he never spoke it to us and I still don’t know why my mum never spoke it to us growing up. 

Before you think I’m blaming my parents, which I obviously am, I’ve lived most of my life around Hausa or Yoruba speakers and my French is better than my Yoruba or Hausa combined. Let’s just say,  je suis un peu fier du moi-même, juste un peu. (I can neither confirm nor deny that I checked google translate for that). 

In Primary school Igbo was never taught as a subject, we were above such tribalistic philistinism.  In secondary school however, that was a different case. 

I aced Igbo in Js 1 because the Igbo teacher gave us the exam questions before hand, so I cramed and poured. I was a boss. In Js 2, my school had no available Igbo teacher for my set so we skipped it. To be honest, I can’t really remeber much of what happened in my JS 3 when it comes to Igbo. 

In SS 2, I got the toughest Igbo teacher South East Nigeria has ever produced, she was like a hammer banging Igbo down my head by fire and force. Because of the syllabus, we were supposed to be reading Igbo literature and you have to understand that for some reason, I read Igbo fine. I just had no clue what I was saying. 

My Igbo teacher knew I was an Igbo language imbecile but, she would always ask me to interprete what I’d just read. Then when I couldn’t, she’d ask me to kneel down. She’d then go on a long monologue about how I was a ceremonial head. Apparently being the headboy meant you had to pass every subject with flying colours. This happened in every class at leat twice a week throughout my penultimate year. It happened so much that every time Igbo period came around on the time table, it meant fear and trepidation. Some of my classmates would even jeer me, asking if I was ready for the war to come and that is how the cycle would continue throughout till exams. 

It’s pretty difficult trying to pass an exam when you literally cannot understand the questions. My Igbo vocabulary at the time was limited to about 10-20 words, it has caught lingual atrophy now. If I didn’t see any of those words, it meant more blank space in my answer sheet and if I did see a word I knew, it meant chicken scratch handwriting was going in my answer sheet. 

When your exam answer sheet is filled with chicken scratched ink prints and blank spaces, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the failure that is about to hit you is gathering red biro. 

So, first term I failed, second term I failed third term I failed and each term I failed Igbo, the teacher would always call me to her office and hand me my partially marked exam script asking me to continue from where I stopped. 

I would sit down in her office, looking at the ceiling, chewing my pen and I still wouldn’t be able to form a coherent Igbo sentence. So when she got tired of seeing my face she’d send me away and when the result would come out, I would fail it. 

When I was given the option in my last year to drop Igbo, I dropped it like it was hot. Literally. The only thing that would have given me more joy, would be if I could drop mathematics.

Whenever I see that Igbo teacher now, I smile like we’re cool. Really we are, I don’t have anything against her. She was just doing her job, which included making my life miserable. I just wonder if my kids will ever learn Igbo. 🤔

A Trip To Unity high school, Kajola-Iboore, Ogun State

About a year ago, I found myself on the community development team of my school’s convocation planning committee. The broader committee was put together to create events and activities for the graduating class. Our job in the community development team was really to find something we could change around us.

We set out and soon we came across Unity high school, Kajola-Iboore/ Oke-Ore in Ogun state. Our committee staff members handled most of the formalities and eventually we were scheduled to go on a tour of the school to see what we could change.

The school was in a terrible state. The principal even told us that despite the horrid state, they would be grateful if we only managed to help build toilets. Unfortunately we couldn’t raise the money to do anything for the school.

They had a new building, with some new chairs that definitely would not service a quarter of the population. The school had filed complaints at different times to different levels of government for more assistance. All to no avail.

I will just drop the pictures here and allow you complete this post with your views on the state of our educational system in the comments section.

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The roof of this building is missing half.
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The Chairs they used. Many of them had nails sticking out or they were broken.
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More broken chairs.

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There are no windows in some parts. Only burglary bars, so, when rain falls it pours into the classrooms.
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The roofs too are nearly caved in,
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The roofs are also leaking. Rain also pours inside from them.

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The Small Boy & The Shop

His tiny slippers slap against the sand covered concrete floor. He quickens his pace and burst into a sprint, his loose shorts billow in the wind and the polythene bag in his hands dance to the beats of his footsteps.

The muscles at the back of his tiny legs contract and expand like those of a seasoned athlete. He does this a lot but not for the fun. He does it out of necessity. He slows down and brings himself to a halt as he arrives his mother’s shop.

She is not around and he must watch it for her, it is their meal ticket, his next school fees. He looks around as people his age waltz around in their school bags and uniforms, what fun they must be having he thinks to himself.

He puts his polythene bag in between his legs and continues watch over his mother’s shop. He hopes passers-by stop today to buy his mother’s Gala. Although he is hungry, possession is different from ownership.

He takes a good look around his mother’s shop. The bridge overhead provides shade from the sun, the bus stop bench provides a place to seat and to put his mother’s tray of Gala. This is his mother’s shop, an under the bridge bus stop. It’s not all bad, at least the drama of the passenger’s and bus conductors is entertaining.

“Give me 2 Gala” a man demands, shaking a hundred naira note. The boy gets excited, he’s one small step closer to his school fees despite it being so far away.

Useless Is A Country Determined To Destroy It’s Future

June 24, 2016,

 

I had been chasing the date for the past four years. It was the day I would finally finish school, have my own BSc and have all the tools needed to become my own person. I could now get a job and earn some money.  I was finally through with school (if you’re thinking masters, stop being a buzzkill)

 

So, I graduated and sat and waited, now I have to take it to the point of prayer because NYSC is broke. The dollar is biting them hard and although they serve no legitimate national purpose, and you technically can’t get employed without it, we still run the scheme, because that’s what we do in Nigeria, we run irrelevant things and bicker needlessly over the important.

 

NYSC, they say (we don’t know for sure because some numbskull decided history was not important enough to be taught in schools) was set up to promote national unity, after the civil war. Today, Nigeria still operates a federal character system because our unity is so fragile that if one ethnic group is perceived to even try and dominate the rest bombs will be going off everywhere.

 

Never mind that NYSC takes about 60%-80% (Once again I don’t know for certain since a collection of elderly people called the government decided not all gist is for the young) of our annual budget on youth development which is daft because NYSC doesn’t cover anything close to half of Nigeria’s youth on an annual basis.

 

But I digress.

 

The world economic forum says we have the worst primary education system in the world, we don’t even have half the quality of university education of Ghana. Yes, I said Ghana and it’s not okay. In case you have forgotten we sent Ghanaians packing and named cheap multipurpose bags after them just for the fun of it and now we’re the ones going to school in Ghana. We should all be crying and eating shawarma and then next year we go and set new records for mass failure but dollar is too high for that.

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So, let’s talk solutions. I wondered if the Federal Ministry of Education has a plan to fix our educational system and I checked. To my surprise, the last time the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Education had any plan for our system was when Oby Ezekwesili was minister in 2006. That was 10 years ago in case you misplaced your calendar and Obasanjo was still in power.

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Should you go through that 2006 education roadmap, you would notice where it was noted that prior to 2006, there was no plan for the primary education sector whether on paper or in someone’s imagination. As for the secondary and tertiary whatever plans that had been drafted prior to that time were still drafts. Nothing was being implemented, except the UBE.

 

To put things in perspective between 1960 and 2016, there has never been an even partially implemented long term plan for our educational sector in its entirety except for Obasanjo’s UBE scheme. What happened to Oby Ezekwesili’s plan you ask, well it went with her when she left office because we hate continuity.

 

At this point I’d like to say that if you’ve been head of state, president or prime minister of Nigeria, whether you are dead or alive, kneel down, close your eyes and raise your hands.

kneeling-down

This is so important because in a few decades we will be the 3rd largest population in the world, which means we would have the 3rd largest youth population and the 3rd highest school age demographic. This in turn means we would need the 3rd largest school system in the world.

 

Factor in today’s reality where we spend 60%-80% of our youth development budget on NYSC, and absolutely 0% on our education (just look at our schools do they look like they get money from government) how are we going to survive in the face of diminishing resources?

 

As it stands we already hold the Guinness book of records for the country with the highest number of out of school children with 10.5 million children also 40% of Nigerian children aged 6-11 do not attend any primary school. (I know this because foreign stats exist)

 

Essentially, the only active plan we have for our entire education system is Obasnjo’s 2004 UBE that was supposed to grant free education to primary and secondary school students. Problem is more than a decade later, It’s never been reviewed or improved but we’re content with using unqualified and untrained NYSC corpers to instruct the future of this country in the classrooms. This is the future 3rd most populous country in the world.

 

By the time we hit population overload, oil will be a lot less valuable than it is now, and if you think oil isn’t even valuable now, just wait till companies like Tesla starts mass producing, Uber starts using electric cars and everyone’s clean energy industries are up and running.

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And this is the really fun part, in an even fewer number of decades, the bulk of Nigeria’s political class that has been leading us since 1960, will all be gone. So they would have ruined our country while we fought over them and gave them grandiose burials.

 

Sometimes, I want to rewire my vocal cords to my chest so I can literally shout with my chest that we are sinking into deep shit, and because it’s not yet near our noses doesn’t mean it’s not going to smell.

The Day My Roommate Almost Got Raped 

Sometime in 2009, I woke up to a lot of rancor in my room in the middle of the night. It was in school and we were about 20 in the room and I was just in JSS 3 in a room that had SS 3s so I didn’t really have the authority to demand to know what was going on especially since SS 2 students were ordering us back to sleep. I looked at the bunk opposite mine that belong to an SS 2 friend of mine but I couldn’t find him. It was rare for there to be a lot of noise at that time, usually someone had stolen something but this time it wasn’t going to be so. But let me tell you what happened before I woke up.

An SS 3 in the opposite room named Ade (possibly not his real name) woke up, or possibly he never fell asleep. He must have had this plan thought out, at least he thought he did. It was a simple in and out. He didn’t look around because it was unlikely anyone would be awake. He was more concerned at not alerting anyone to his movements. He tiptoed across the long room and was somehow able to open the squeaky door without waking anyone up. In another step he silently opened the door to my room. The door fully opened shields the length of the first bunk and so it is easy to locate the second because it becomes the first bunk after the door. He closes the door.

Ade moves towards the second bunk and is able to find what side of the bunk the head lies. David sleeps on the lower bed and this makes his work all too easy. He must just be careful to make sure the bunk doesn’t shake too loudly.

He pulls down his boxers and reveals a fully erected penis and then he climbs over on all fours David who is still sleeping soundly unaware he is about to be raped. Ade is centimeters away from David’s open mouth when the lights suddenly come on.

His heart is racing and he tries to jump of David but bangs his head on bunk which in turn wakes David up. Ade realizes he’s out of explanations because his boxers are not on him and he has no explanation. He’s starring at Emmanuel (possibly not his real name) and turns to look at a still disoriented David, before he can turn back to Emmanuel, he feels a large piece of flesh and bones imprinting on his face and the all night beating that eventually wakes me up is underway.

The school would eventually secretly expel Ade. The only reason I know it happened is because it happened in my room. In 2012 after a boy and a girl nearly have sex, the school would initiate gender martial law and segregation. Classes where divided into boys and girl sides, same for the dinning hall. In Church services, newly appointed chaplains would bind and cast every spirit of “boy-friending” and “girl-friending.” So more people secretly turn to homosexuality despite their homophobia because they haven’t been taught how to manage their hormones and libidos.

WHEN YOUR SCHOOL BECOME’S GOD’S PERSONAL ASSISTANT 

WRITTEN BY: ANONYMOUS

Feature image from http://www.jobvine.co.za

The following is a phone conversation between a representative of Born Again University and the parent of a student of the university. It is a complete work of fiction and any resemblance to real life characters or institutions is a mere coincidence. It is the opinion of the writer and not necessarily the views shared by UgoTalksAlot.

Reader discretion is advised.

BAU: Good day madam.

PARENT: Yes, who is this?

BAU: I’m calling from the Born Again University about your daughter Ekeminiobong Nfrekabasi

PARENT: Yes, is she alright?

BAU: No madam, we regret to inform you that your daughter has been graciously awarded two weeks suspension for the offense of gross insubordination. As you know madam, this institution does not condone any form of indiscipline at any level.

PARENT: ABASIMBOK! What did she do, who was she rude to? This is unlike her

BAU: No one madam.

PARENT: Ahan. Did she steal anything?

BAU: No madam.

PARENT: Did she cheat in an exam?

BAU: No madam?

PARENT: So why was she suspended?

BAU: For gross insubordination madam.

PARENT: To who!

BAU: To God madam.

PARENT: To God?

BAU: Yes madam?

PARENT: Wait, wait wait. Are you God’s personal assistant.

BAU: No madam but ma…

PARENT: but what!?

BAU: That’s what I was told to tell you

PARENT: Please just send my child home abeg..

DON’T LET A BOY…

They told her, “ If a boy crosses your leg, you’ll get pregnant. Make sure you don’t allow any boy to cross your leg.” She came to class and was livid when a boy crossed her legs. She asks with grave vexation that he crosses back over her legs as if it will magically undo whatever he had done. She doesn’t know she just became pregnant with twins for making him cross twice.  
They told her, “Don’t hug a boy, bad things will happen.” So she doesn’t for many years, then one day she does hug a boy, and then another and then another. She’s still waiting for the bad things till this day.

In school they said,

Don’t share a sit with a boy,

Don’t allow a boy to hold your hands,

Don’t ever be alone with a boy,

Don’t date a boy but don’t be a lesbian either,

And she wonders whether while God was creating girls, the devil was creating boys. As she grows, she begins to understand where to put the limits with boys and not just the “don’t do’s” of a paranoid society and she begins to realize no one told her the real “don’t do’s” of boys. But that’s fine she thinks, it’s life, they probably told boys the same thing.

Then she enters University and they tell her

“Don’t go to the gym with boys, there’s boy time and there’s girl time.”

#everychildisyourchild

We live in a society where we see a lot of children suffering on the street and we go “O my God” to the point of tears but that is how far we can help. Many of us discuss ideas but very few of us have actually taken action. Wadi Ben-Hirki is one of the few people who have taken action. On the 13th June 2015 she launched her foundation for the less privileged; Wadi Ben-Hirki foundation.IMG_3661
Even though Wadi is a very young girl, she is absolutely devoted to putting a smile on the faces of less privileged children. She is a passionate humanitarian who has decided to engage selflessly in charitable activities. In her own words,_MG_3468
“You don’t have to give birth to be a mother; every child is your child
I always wondered why I go to concerts and I see huge crowds but the number reduces when it comes to donations”_MG_3499_MG_3591
She believes that every child has the right to learn, and that access to education transforms the lives of children and their families which is why she set up this organization with the objective;
“To harness and focus the potentials of the less privileged towards skills acquisition for the social and economic growth and development of Nigeria and Africa as a whole”._MG_3629
She has already visited two orphanage homes in Abuja and one in Kaduna. She is making plans to make another trip to Adamawa to visit the internally displaced children over there and other places in Nigeria. During her visit to one of the orphanage homes in Abuja, she met 6 orphan boys who were siblings. The oldest among them is 13 years old and he is the father and mother of his 5 siblings. After listening to their story, and Looking into the eyes of this young boy and his siblings Wadi could not help how much interest she took in them. It became more of a big deal to her._MG_3640
“I want to help these children because I believe they have a great future and I believe everybody can help someone”_MG_3585
Let us help Wadi offer the less privileged children a better life. It is time to support those who have taken action._MG_3512#everychildisyourchild_MG_3600
For enquiries/support/sponsorship
Please call 0909 397 7694, 0803 599 5868
Email: wadibenhirki@gmail.com