By Timi Olubiyi, Ph.D
Youth unemployment is one of today’s big global issues. No doubt, our country Nigeria is the most populous nation in Africa and with the largest economy on the continent, however, with the prevalent youth unemployment issue.
At present, Nigeria’s population is estimated to be over 200 million, ranking seventh in the world, with young people forming a larger part of its citizenry.
The youth unemployment rate in Nigeria has reached an alarming record, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). The youths are acknowledged as the bedrock on which a society is anchored, and they should be a formidable advantage to the economy if well harnessed.
At present, hundreds of millions of young people are unable to find a meaningful job that will enable them to support themselves and their families.
More so, graduates from university have many difficulties in getting established after school. They are rarely independent, and the once without formal education who should be engaging in vocational training are not getting it as well.
Deficient school curricula are also a growing concern and a big issue in the country because it ought to address skill learning and capacity building.
Therefore, Nigerian youths need to be equipped for self-employment to achieve notable job creation and independence.
Entrepreneurship can be a powerful tool to help fight youth unemployment. Youth entrepreneurship offers innovative solutions for economic growth among young people.
Entrepreneurship will bring about self-employment, which is one of the significant ways out of this unemployment issue.
Therefore, this article looks at one of the strengths youths can leverage on productively, which is social media.
Most of the educated Nigerian youths are sociable, energetic and are very internet savvy, therefore, for the ready and willing once there is hope in capacity development and entrepreneurship after their formal education.
Once skill acquisition and adequate empowerment have been achieved through entrepreneurial development, it can be promoted on social media. Thus, a business idea can be developed, along with the technical skills acquired online.
Believe me, the internet and communication technology (ICT) sector offers huge opportunities for young Nigerians to be future entrepreneurs and small business owners: Social media the opportunity to connect in a very personal and meaningful way to customers and promotion business and services.
Social media is growing and now becoming the business hub. It will inevitably continue to shape all aspects of business opportunities across industries.
Today, 2.45 billion monthly active users are on Facebook as of the third quarter of 2019, and more than 100 million people use Instagram every month. LinkedIn has 500 million total LinkedIn users. Twitter has over 330 million monthly active users, when you add up this to the number of people using YouTube, Nairaland, Instagram, Bet9ja, Pinterest, and other social media platforms.
It is easy to conclude that this social media holds ample opportunities for would-be entrepreneurs with growing users. Nigerian Youths can take advantage of social media, which is a fast, inexpensive, and effective way to reach to promote a business and reach out to customers.
With the financial constraints of setting up a shop or office and huge advertising cost to draw customers, a prospective entrepreneur might not start-up or scale-up.
But with creating a presence on platforms like Facebook and Instagram to get direct sales from customers, the cost is low. The youths can leverage on this and on their social media networks they already have, as well as get insights from social media to improve their business ideas and market positioning.
Social media is super powerful and successful right now because of the adoption rate of technology in the world.
According to the co-founder of Alpha Brand Media, and a social media consultant, Brent Csutoras, “Any social media site can be effective for marketing if you take the time to understand what type of content performs well, who the audience is, and get creative about how you can provide your content or product in a way they would appreciate it and accept it.
However, understanding the social media audience is important and rewarding. Effective use of social media can bring great opportunities for your business but will require some thought and planning.
More youth have smartphones and computers in the home but are not open to social media business prospects. Social media can equally come with some challenges, even for currently established entrepreneurs, because there are so many social media tools and platforms it can be hard to know where to begin, however, with adequate training on social media usage.
An entrepreneur should be able to answer questions like ‘what do you hope to achieve by using social media? how much time can you devote to social media? what are the most effective platforms to use? what are you trying to achieve for your business?.’
While social media gives you the chance to build brand awareness and customer loyalty, you need to have a clear idea of how to handle negative feedback about your business. You need to ensure that what you post and how you interact with people presents a professional image to the world.
Therefore, with adequate knowledge and capacity building, a business niche can be created and nurtured. It is now easier than ever for willing prospective entrepreneurs to promote new products or services, build brand awareness, personally interact with existing and potential customers, directly target customers with marketing campaigns.
Social media provides an easy way for potential customers to express interest in your business and your products. However, the first point of call is to acquire a skill that could generate steady income and make you independent.
Social media can be an effective way to build and promote the skills and tour business reputation once the marketing campaign is right. Be sure your service/business with getting the big impact it deserves on the internet once you can deliver.
Your social media plan and strategy should contain a smart mix of engaging family and friends who can recommend your business or services to others. People can talk and positively think about your business, with good posts and service reviews.
Social media can provide a platform for customers to talk with each other and talk about their experiences with you and your services. This is called social selling, which can help a great deal on the internet; once you are consistent with staying engaged with your audiences and let them see that you are there for them when they need your service and products goes a long way in achieving results.
Source: Internet worldstats (2018) Key statistical indicators for the world’s internet, mobile and social media users
Therefore, learn how to identify, develop unique skills and develop the business that comes afterwards on social media effectively.
You can explore some of the current business opportunities that have changed the social media landscape with adequate online research. Good luck!
How may you obtain advice or further information on the article?
Dr Timi Olubiyi is an Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management expert. He is a prolific investment coach, Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI), and a financial literacy specialist. He can be reached on the twitter handle @drtimiolubiyi and via email: firstname.lastname@example.org, for any questions, reactions, and comments.
Historical Perspective to Nigeria’s Tertiary Education Challenge (2)
By Jerome-Mario Utomi
To understand more fully where this second part is headed, I will encourage readers to search and read a report titled; Scientific and Technological Innovations In Biafra (1967-1970), as it also gave a big helping hands to the first part and chiefly provided the step by step accounts of how the nation’s education sector originally/fundamentally went into ‘trouble.
With this point highlighted, let’s focus on other accounts as history further points at how successive administrations in Nigeria (military and civilian alike) defined learning too narrowly in a manner devoid of process and outcome fairness.
Beginning with the military era, there are so many accounts of how past military administrations visibly contributed to the present education sector crisis in the country. Out of many, one captures it perfectly.
The account by Former Secretary of Afenifere and NADECO, Mr Ayo Opadokun, at the University of Lagos Political Science’s Department symposium with the theme X-Raying 50 Years of Military Intervention in Nigerian Politics, held at the University of Lagos Main Auditorium on Wednesday 2, 2016.
He stated in parts; What the Nigerian State offers today as education is a deception and a fraud for which the Military must be held accountable. …..The Military has oppressed, humiliated and exhibited its contempt for education in many ways. Remember, the Ali Must Go, ABU killings, the OAU Massacre at Ife, the Ejection of University Lecturers from their Official accommodation, incessant strikes etc. The Military constituted itself into a superior class by setting up its own social services-salaries, school institutions, retirement benefits; particularly for the senior ones….They cornered Nigeria in perpetuity, he concluded.
While his position is filled with valid points, the departure of the military from the nation’s political space over two decades ago and the advent of democracy have, however, not changed the education sector fortune.
In fact, many are of the view that if the present is juxtaposed with the past, the experience of the past becomes a child’s play as the sector at the very moment is fundamentally confronted with issues that centre on the phrase ‘uneven resource distribution’, misguided priority and insensitivity of government to education need of Nigerians.
This awareness again brings to mind two separate but related commentaries as most conspicuous examples.
The first comment came a few years ago from Oby Ezekwesili, former minister of education, when she according to media reports, disclosed that Nigerian legislators and the government spent about N1 trillion since 2005.
To the critical minds, Oby’s position may to some extent not be viewed as newsy considering the fact that Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, also a former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), had earlier in a report almost said the same thing when he disclosed that 25 per cent of the nation’s budget was being sent on the federal legislators, apparently at the expense of basic social infrastructure like education.
Now, in the opinion of this piece, If 25 per cent of the nation’s budget is invested in the education sector, think about what that could do for our kids if we invest that in our schools?
‘Think of how many new schools we could build, how many great teachers we could recruit, what kind of computers and technology we could put in our classrooms. Think about how much we could invest in math and science so our kids could be prepared for the 21st-century economy. Think about how many kids we could send to college who’ve worked hard, studied hard, but just can’t afford the tuition.
Simply put, Nigeria’s education sector, which is supposed to be the major and fastest agent of change and civilization, is as a result of these failures, presently burdened and overwhelmed.
To further demonstrate this fact, with the nation’s current population of over 195.9 million, 45 per cent of which are below 15 years, there is a huge demand for learning opportunities translating into increased enrolment. This has created challenges in ensuring quality education since resources are spread more thinly, resulting in more than 100 pupils for one teacher as against the UNESCO benchmark of 35 students per teacher and culminating in students learning under trees for lack of classrooms.
Going a step further to prove how out of order the sector has turned out to be in the past few years, strong evidence abounds that in the 2017 Appropriation Act, N448.01 billion representing 6.0 per cent of the N7.30 trillion budgets was allocated to education.
Similarly, the budgetary allocation for education in 2020 is N671.07 billion constituting 6.7 per cent. Of the N671.07 billion allocated to the Federal Ministry of Education, the sum includes the statutory transfer allocated to the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), which is N111.79 billion.
UBEC intervention funds as we know are focused on collaboration with other state actors towards improving access to basic education and reducing Nigeria’s out-of-school children.
When compared with 2019, there is, however, a 44.37% increase in capital expenditure, yet, a shortfall in the UNESCO’s benchmark.
Moving away from lamentation to finding a solution to the deteriorating education sector, it is important to underline the fact that if the federal government wants progress and development for the nation, there is no reason why everything that will lead to success must not be done.
To catalyse the process, this is the time to recognise that any successful nation/leadership owe its success to certain causative factors. If it loses sight of these, the success of such a nation/leadership or survival may soon be in jeopardy.
Foresighted leader and nation don’t forget for one moment that education sector holds the keys to the success and development of any nation both socioeconomically and scientifically and I hold the opinion that it will definitely be tough to make progress as a nation with the way education sector is presently handled here in the country.
To avert the above forecast, the government at all levels must urgently commit to mind that globally; ‘the relationship between employers/employees is always strained, always headed toward conflict. It is a natural conflict built into the system. Unions do not strike on a whim or use the strike to show off their strength. They look at strikes as costly and disturbing, especially for workers and their families. Strikes are called as last resort. And any government that fails to manage this delicate relationship profitably or fails to develop a cordial relationship with the workers becomes an enemy of not just the workers but that of the open society and, such society will sooner than later find itself degenerate into chaos.
Another important point that the present administration must ponder on to help understand the need for a truce with NAU/SSANU is that university workers (academic and non-academic staff alike) not ‘only teach errant students, but they also parent them, pamper them wherever that is called for, discipline and guide them, take the worst attitude in them and turn it into something more engaging and productive, yet, they are barely acknowledged by society, let alone giving them their just rewards. Many suffer from depression, psychological trauma, and even suicidal tendency out of a sense of inadequacy at various intervals. They work so hard for so little.
Lastly, for the sector to again produce excellent graduates in different fields of human endeavours, it needs to be adequately funded; its policies reworked to meet the 21st-century demands.
Above all, as argued elsewhere, the government must find ways of returning schools created, funded and run by the regions which they forcefully took over as such venture has turned out to be negative.
Jerome-Mario Utomi is the Programme Coordinator (Media and Public Policy), Social and Economic Justice Advocacy (SEJA), Lagos. He could be reached via email@example.com/08032725374
Who Should Measure PR?
By Queen Nwabueze
In public relations, just as you and I can’t deny that PR starts and ends with research, we have agreed that Ad value equivalencies, impression counts, and clicks ALONE don’t measure awareness and other outcomes.
Therefore, unless you plan and measure in a way that matters, campaign success may not be in the cards. At least, not in the way to pass the test of a true expert.
Let’s make this straight. Are you into the hallowed communications profession in whatever form? Never underestimate the benefits of measuring your Public Relations campaigns. DON’T measure using empty or vanity metrics.
Most importantly, engage an independent PR measurement and evaluation service to do the job. Employ this trio to get insights that won’t only help you with sound strategy, but would also make future campaigns planning a walkover for you.
When we hear research, evaluation or measurement in Public Relations, it is important to carry them out the proper way. Yes, really.
It is abominable to burden the most junior member of your team or even yourself to just contact a few consumers and find out what they think about a thing.
In the agency, in the client side, we do this shoddy research, time without number. It’s just so important that we stop already. PR measurement is serious business. Anyone who must undertake any communication research whether basic or in-depth has to be trained and certified for the job.
Are you managing a client? Do you know that merely taking a simple walk to tell your client, what value Public Relations brings to him shouldn’t be your thing? You know why? You’d be biased. You don’t even know how to go about it. Pity, but you will succeed not helping yourself either. Your answers to questions would be so incomplete and jaundiced that they will lead to ill-founded programmes in all your efforts, going forward.
Wait a sec! Do we still need to beam the searchlight any further? Do we still need an answer to “Who should measure PR?” Oh no, we don’t! It’s clear: It is the job of a brand media intelligence and measurement service to do so. They are armed. You’re not. Kindly use them in e.v.e.r.y. research.
In reality, some high-end investment is needed to become competent in communications measurement and evaluation. PR measurement experts have already put in everything it takes to undertake valid research. You have not. Because of time and other resources, you may not be able to go through the drudgery, anyway.
Take for example, a strong PR measurement consultant such as P+ Measurement Services. What P+ did is exemplary. From the outset, the agency tasked itself to become a bonafide member of the International Association of Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC).
Recall that AMEC is the measurement body of our glorious profession, globally. Not every PR insights and analytics consultant in Nigeria is a member, remember?
You might be wondering: “What does this do for me?” A lot! The adoption of the measurement principles endorsed by the global measurement body is what shall help you prove your value indeed.
Objectivity in the quality of the measurement and evaluation is guaranteed. In everything in life, it is always advisable to use professionals for salutary results. Need we say more?
Sincerely, the measurement leg of the communications profession has remained knotty for a long time. Trained and certified external researchers like P+ Measurement Services should be your ally, every step of the way.
In all honesty, hyping the benefits of using independent measurement outfits can’t be too much. P+ knows the business. Just give them the specifics of your research problem and go to sleep.
Need to talk to someone immediately, kindly contact these hotlines: +234-818-1928-989. Quickly, send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and get a response in a minute.
Christianity, Epigenetics, Hunter-Gatherers, Fittest Survival and Evil
By Nneka Okumazie
There’s a good chance that in the next century, or just beyond, most of the knowledge agreed, about whom hunter-gatherers were, or were about would have changed.
Not because scientists chose to be deliberately wrong, but because it is difficult to be certain of any measurement in retrospect.
Fossil records or whatever else may seem like incontrovertible evidence, but the measure of their dating and characteristics aren’t.
This is what we know based on what we used to check.
What we know, or think we know and agree to – changes with new measures and evidence.
So, why should what has changed – in the last few centuries, albeit in a similar direction, not be subject to change in another direction in the coming centuries?
There are other questions about hunter-gatherers, but one possible error is to think that going to some isolated village, or some Amazonian tribe is reflective – or similar to hunter-gatherers.
Most likely not, though the basic existence of people in those places is fascinating to those who watch or study them – they are not like the hunter-gatherers that “evolved” to current peoples.
With the said dominance of hunter-gatherers, it is unlikely that preference for expansion would have jumped – in what became major areas, and later development.
The life was basic enough – and satisfactory [without option] that to build something new may have been support-stricken, sabotaged, abandoned and strenuous beyond their imagination.
Their default option [or say epigenetics], though breakable, would have likely crept back – letting them stick to personal survival and not survival of development.
But say nothing is impossible, and they emerged to create advancement, today’s isolated tribes, supposed to be a reflection of them, continue to protest the encroachment of civilization – in different forms, showing that in the presence of an established option, they want their stay.
For hunter-gathers, there have been studies on their religion, culture and more.
There has also been chatter about how morality came without Christianity.
How about evil?
When did evil begin?
What were the causative factors?
Asking about evil is easier than the more complex question of languages – that even in some remote places, they have their own language – established beyond what could have been possible to string together as an invention, in those times.
When did evil start and why did evil survive?
The question of evil for hunter-gatherers – is vital, because they’d have been a perfect society if they didn’t.
Or maybe evil came as they emerged to develop.
If so, was it a good tradeoff for them?
The evil [or not] of hunter-gathers society is the question in their evolution.
For now, the ubiquity if evil – everywhere, says that the only reason evil has not taken over the world is not morality, or good always triumphs locution, but because of the Possessor of All.
There are often small and major stories of bitterness, hate, evil, wickedness, greed, lust, crime, envy, deception, etc. with some victories, but since many hearts think these, and often hurt about some disadvantage, it should have been a world – by far of evil, wiping out good.
But the Creator has not allowed – even though evil is substantially present.
So, why this world, why this suffering, why not just nothing, or care, or selfish pampering as wished?
Questioning the Creator – because no one alive has the full picture of everything – is like accepting that the laws of physics can’t just be broken, but seeking to break the laws of an immeasurable realm.
God is a spirit.
There are things in this world that just work – to conquer evil, some kind of triumph that would have made it impossible if it passed that time.
There is the Almighty – Jehovah, the force that keeps the good.
[Psalm 106:2, Who can utter the Mighty acts of the Lord? who can shew forth all His praise?]
Russia’s Lavrov and Togo’s Dussey Share Views on Bilateral Economic Cooperation
By Kester Kenn Klomegah
In order to strengthen political dialogue and promote economic relations, Professor Robert Dussey, Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Integration and Togolese Abroad, held diplomatic talks on February 16, 2021, with his Russian counterpart Minister Sergey Lavrov in St. Petersburg.
According to reports, Professor Dussey’s visit was on the invitation by Moscow, and came on exactly one year after their last meeting on February 15, 2020, in Munich, the third-largest city in Germany.
After their closed-door discussion, Lavrov told the joint news conference that there is a mutual interest in intensifying and deepening the entire scope of bilateral ties, including trade, the economy and investment, and have agreed to look for specific opportunities for joint projects in areas such as energy, natural resources, infrastructure, transport, and agriculture.
Regarding issues on the African continent, Lavrov re-emphasized that African problems (of which there are many) require African solutions.
“We strongly support the African Union, the G5 Sahel, and the sub-regional organizations in Africa, in their efforts to resolve numerous local conflicts and crises. We specifically focus on supporting the fight against terrorism, which poses a real threat, including for our friends in Togo and other coastal countries in the region of the Gulf of Guinea,” he said.
In fact and as always, Lavrov reiterated Russia’s commitment to continue to act actively in pursuing peace and, to this end, called for the peaceful settlement of all kinds of differences, and reaffirmed support for sustainable development there in Africa.
Regarding issues from the last summit held in Sochi, Lavrov stressed: “We are interested in developing the resolutions of the Russia-Africa summit. We spoke in detail about the implementation of these agreements. The coronavirus pandemic has required adjustments. Nevertheless, the results of implementing the Sochi agreements are obvious. This year we will actively continue these efforts.”
The Association for Economic Cooperation with the African States was created in Russia following the 2019 Sochi summit. It includes representatives from the related departments and major Russian companies. The Russia-Africa Partnership Forum, which is a political association, was created, its secretariat is located at the Russian Foreign Ministry. The primary tasks of the Russia-Africa Partnership Forum include the preparation and organization of the next Russia-Africa summit scheduled for 2022. The venue to be chosen by African leaders.
“We are still slightly behind other states, but trade between Russia and the African countries has been growing quite rapidly lately. I think we will soon make up for the time we lost in the years when, at the dawn of the new Russian statehood, we were too busy to maintain proper ties with Africa. A very strong foundation was laid in Soviet times, though,” Lavrov said further at the news conference about the current situation with relations between Russia and Africa.
It has always been the wish of both Russia and Africa to have an excellent quality of cooperation and partnership relations between the two regions and to diversify and deepen them as best as possible in order to provide an appreciable geopolitical influence and strategic power balance in Africa.
Russia and Togo, as with many other African countries, have had long time-tested relations over the years. The most recent high-level meetings were between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Togolese President Faure Gnassingbe during a sidelined bilateral meeting in October 2019, when Gnassingbe participated in the Russia-Africa summit in Sochi, and on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in Johannesburg in July 2018.
With an estimated population of about 7.9 million, Togo is among the smallest countries in Africa. Its economy depends highly on agriculture. Togo pursues an active foreign policy and participates in many international organizations. Relations between Togo and neighbouring states are generally good. It is particularly active in West African regional affairs and in the African Union.
Kester Kenn Klomegah is a versatile researcher and a passionate contributor, most of his well-resourced articles are reprinted elsewhere in a number of reputable foreign media
The UNILAG’s Post UTME Crisis
By Jerome-Mario Utomi
Similar to every new invention which comes with opportunities and challenges, when candidates preparing for the University of Lagos Post UTME, got the news about the university’s management decision to allow candidates write the test from any location of their choice, it elicited two sets of reactions.
For a better understanding of the piece, UTME stands for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), a computer-based standardized examination for prospective undergraduates in Nigeria, designed to assess the problem-solving, critical thinking knowledge of each of the students.
For some, joy flashed on their faces. They and their parents were particularly happy because such a development will assist in saving both time and resources for the student that resides outside Lagos state.
Chiefly, It will save parents from inherent discomforts and risks associated with travelling on Nigerian roads which includes but not limited to; road mishaps, armed robbery attacks and kidnapping.
To the rest, the development was viewed with scepticism and fears. The crux of their fears is that the well thought out programme and intention will be destroyed by what they called ‘the Nigerian factor’. These worries were given a boost and further fed by arguments which bothered on lackadaisical and nonchalant attitude to work by an average Nigerian civil servant-and inability of regulators to go extra miles to ensure that the given assignments are perfectly executed.
But looking at the gamut of complaints within few days into the exercise, of how unreliable, inefficient/effective the UNILAG online portal has become as it randomly shut out students without prompting or recourse to stipulated time, coupled with highhandedness, lackadaisical and nonchalant attitude of the staff, and other instincts coming from the candidates, the fears raised earlier by some can no longer be described as unfounded but a word made flesh and now dwells among us.
For those that hitherto praised the initiative, such eulogy has like light faded, and jeer has since overtaken the cheers while hatred for the initiative, and fears about what becomes the admission fate of their children looms. They have come to the conclusion that as an unchained and uncontrolled torrent of water submerges whole countrysides and devastates crops, even so, has the UNILAG online post-UTME serves but to destroy student’s ambition, serve them with bleak admission opportunity and cause dropping spirits among parents.
As a matter of fact, each passing day at the university brings more evidence that the school is facing serious administrative emergencies-that demand immediate actions.
Out of many, this piece will accommodate ‘testimonies’ from three affected candidates to assist the university management look inward, reflect critically on their own role, and identify the ways they often advertently or inadvertently contribute to the problems and then change how they act by addressing the present debacle.
Going by their accounts, at about 11.a.m on Tuesday, February 15, 2021, one of the candidates, a male, (name withheld) arrived at a business centre located somewhere around Ketu part of Lagos. He got connected via the system to the UNILAG portal as a signal was established.
After the preliminary protocols, the system electronically generated the first subject. And he gladly and promptly attempted questions one and two. As he was expecting the number three question, what he got to his greatest surprise was a message from the portal signalling that he exited the examination page/sheet.
The experience of the second candidate was not quite different from the first. Everything started very fine but at about the 7th minute into the journey, the portal for inexplicable reason got him disconnected.
But if these accounts are considered a challenge, the experience of the third candidate is a crisis.
First, he successfully logged in to the school portal and just immediately, he got a message ordering him to remove his earpiece which he promptly complied with. And in a matter of seconds, another instruction popped at the portal directing him to remove his face cap. As he raised his right hand to comply with this second directive, the next message that followed to his greatest dismay was that he has exited the examination port. These are verifiable facts.
This discomforting accounts aside being a reality Nigeria and Nigerian must worry about, it will necessitate the posers as to; how many of the youths in Nigeria would be affected? Who will stop UNILAG from this disappointing arrangement? And who will be the judge? Or must we allow this injustice like good and evil go on together allowing our nation to reap whatever fruit that comes in the nearest future?
Certainly, it is our collective responsibility to ensure that our schools work and our children properly educated at the right time. But in this particular case, if the University of Lagos management and other concerned arms of government fail to do the needful, it will again dispatch another sign of a nation unmindful of the fact that our children enjoy the right to education as recognized by a number of international conventions, including the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights which recognizes a compulsory primary education for all, an obligation to develop secondary education accessible to all, as well as the progressive introduction of free higher education/obligation to develop equitable access to higher education.
We must not also fail to remember that very recently, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in line with its mandate to promote and protect human rights has established the right to education as a thematic area of focus to drive its vision of having all children enrolled in school as well as to ensure that the culture of human rights is promoted and maintained in schools.
Certainly, this piece holds the opinion that they (candidates) reserve the right to hold the nation and leaders alike accountable if they (government) fail to provide this traditional but universal responsibility to the citizenry which the instrumentality of participatory democracy and the election of leaders confer on them particularly now that their future/ civilization is hanging in the balance as a result of such failures.
Another urgent reason why the school authority and of course the Federal Ministry of Education must reassess this process and address the present injustice are the threat that keeping brilliant children on the waiting list for university admission for too long could pose to the nation. Idleness could make them take to the street.
As we know, the streets are known for breeding all sorts of criminals and other social misfits who constitute the real threat such as armed robbers, thugs, drug abusers, drunkards, prostitutes and all other social ills that give a bad name to the society.
Ideally, this is not the best time to glut over the cost implication of organizing fresh examination for these candidates as no amount of investment in the education sector will be considered too much. We also need to face the fact that the traditional progressive solution to societal problems is to redouble emphasis on education.
This fact has made education an extremely valuable strategy for solving many of society’s ills. In an age where information has more economic value than ever before, it is obvious that education should have a higher national priority.
As Nigerians and the watching world await UNILAG’s decision, If we do nothing about this, it simply means our youths/nation by extension are faced with a bleak future. But then, one point to remember is that bringing a radical improvement or achieving sustainable development in a way that both protects the rights and opportunities of coming generations is overwhelmingly urgent. These teaming students are knowledge-hungry. What they innocently ask for is another opportunity for examination delivered in an environment that works.
Jerome-Mario Utomi is the Programme Coordinator (Media and Policy), Social and Economic Justice Advocacy (SEJA), Lagos. He could be reached via; email@example.com/08032725374
New EFCC Boss Abdulrasheed Bawa: A Fair and Thorough Professional
By Sunday Adebayo
It is no longer news that Abdulrasheed Bawa is on his way to becoming the new chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFFC) as nominated by President Muhammadu Buhari, pending the Senate’s approval.
This relatively unknown young man appears to be the perfect match for the country’s fight against corruption, both in the low and high places, going by his antecedents.
This was contained in a letter by President Buhari on Tuesday, February 16 to the upper chamber of the House of Assembly, as a matter of constitutional urgency, to confirm Bawa in accordance with Paragraph 2(3) of Part 1, CAP E 1 of the EFCC Act 2004.
A lot of controversies have surrounded the office of the anti-graft agency over various tenures, from preferential treatment to not following due process, unfair judgment in its investigations, cherry-picking who to take to the slaughter, and the likes. That seems to be the very ‘vices’ Bawa has come to nip in the bud.
For the first time in history, after so much drama surrounding the sack of the immediate past chairman, Ibrahim Magu, an officer who rose through the cadet of the agency is going to be leading the war against corruption. This is vital as he already knows and understands the terrain, which is going to be key in its leadership operating style going forward.
So, age and youthfulness are not just the things that stand Bawa out in this highly revered position. Bawa, who rose from being the pioneer cadet of the commission, is a maven when it comes to financial crimes investigations, having gone through several pieces of training in the agency institution in addition to his first degree in Economics, Masters in International Relations and Diplomacy while currently pursuing another degree in Law.
Those who know him well tell tales of his bravery, dedication, fairness, and balance in his investigation expertise and well known for seeing through any case he hits with his teeth.
His thorough stand for the truth, interest in hearing both sides before taking a stand are some of the features that distinguish him in his wealth of experience in the institution.
The 40-year-old was the brave brain behind the famous Deziani crude oil swap, Atlantic Energy, and petroleum subsidy fraud investigations by the country’s formidable anti-corruption institution, recovering millions of dollars worth of properties in the UK, Switzerland, U.K., U.A.E., U.S.A., Canada including 92 of such assets in Nigeria and billions of naira, prosecuting many companies.
The former Ibadan-zonal head of the EFCC was said to have run the notorious yahoo boys in the area out of town, before moving to Port Harcourt to wage war against oil bunkers.
He has also been part of the prosecution of advance fee fraud, bank fraud, official corruption, money laundering, and other economic and financial-related crimes.
Bawa, who has been in the anti-corruption fight for about 17 years now, is also said to be putting to bed the impression that some people are untouchables as he is said to be taking the war to the house of ‘the bouillon chief’, former governor of Lagos and a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, Bola Ahmed Tinubu. He is also chesting the investigations against the former governor of Niger State, Muazu Babaginda Aliyu, who is currently facing trial.
Prior to his appointment, Bawa, who is the youngest ever to lead the EFFC, the commission has been without a substantive chairman since Ibrahim Lamorde in 2015. The immediate past chairman, Ibrahim Magu, operated in an acting capacity from 2015 to 2020, after the Senate failed to confirm him and was later removed in controversial circumstances.
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