By Ozumi Aliu Abdul
The more I choose to adopt “simple” restraint in writing on issues of critical topicality because of the abhorrence and the penchant of some of us in this part of the world (Nigeria) towards constructive criticisms, then the more I meet the brick-wall of restraint from the other side which doesn’t want me to stop writing. It is my punchy and repugnant pen which wouldn’t allow me rest, at night during deep sleep, it is right lying beside me on my bed, even during my occasional siesta to ward off some hectic moments. It thus becomes my perpetual nightmare and renders me restless, frequently reminding me on the need not to shy away from the truth even in the face of heavy criticisms by those whose horses are gore; it wants me to right the wrongs with itself (my pen). However, I am only praying it wouldn’t desert me when the reverse becomes the case, leaving me to fight the solitary war it champions.
In fact, if insults, curses and derogatory remarks kill, by now I my rotten cadaver should be lying below the clayey mother-earth of catacomb. Though, I remain unfazed irrespective of whose horse is gored, I will continue writing and the source of my mental ink shall not dry off, my dazzling pen shall continue dancing on the reflective paper of performance appraisal by those we elect to lead and represent us both in this micro and macro societies; I shall not be swerved away from writing because of their ill-logical criticisms that doesn’t have any pragmatic bearing because falling cheaply to their criticisms is akin to retiring the present two world football greats of CR7 and EL- PUGA prematurely from the round leather game simply because their goals haunt and hurt opponents on weekly basis; how is that possible?
Notwithstanding, there are some exceptions where there so many to write and nothing to write, where one’s hands are tied with rope to the back of his waist; what a paradox! I wish we are allowed to clutch the seemingly air of the “fragilefree journalism” our colleagues (journalists) enjoy in the larger society on the campus. Surely, I am not the only one bemoaning this lack of opportunity among our several writers. If we are given a quarter of freedom to write issues that border on systemic problems generally on the campus compared to our colleagues in the larger society, the apex students’ association (I no mention name oo) in this school would have felt the wrath and ire of our pens, students would have known what they cooked overnight in that their administrative secretariat that get burnt under the scorch sun during the day. But what can one do? Nothing one can do because I personally don’t want to graduate before and after my graduation, I want to graduate with these my wonderful classmates, I want to savour the last moment with them, I want to dance the “shoki” dance or whichever dance that may be in vogue then come August during our final year dinner; it’s an honour being amongst this group of young but precocious minds, I don’t want to miss every bit of the final year razzmatazz, I don’t want to be the sacrificial lamb; so the humongous and gluttonous looters of our association treasury can have free days in the office with their sleazy predilections, I sempe for the Jigabus and Jigatresses of the pseudo Aluta struggle; the heir apparent to the oil Empress, the Mama Finance and the Papa arms dealer that all served in the marketed shoeless of the last administration which has at its top the shoeless emperor who labored to tutor us then when he held sway at the top of the languorous and languid administration the different between “corruption and stealing”, there is God.
Please permit me to switch gear quickly to the more pressing issue of concern in my domain in Mass Communication and her umbrella students’ association MACOSA.
Growing up as a young lad in the south west, the Yoruba speaking extraction of the country had in a very large chunk endear me to their rich culture, oral media and most especially their proverbs laden with grandeur which can be perfectly used alternatively to express any social, economic, political and cultural issues in the society. One of their rich among numerous proverbs which over the years remains my guide and watch word especially when it appears that I have been condemned to the fate of “non-achiever or under achiever” by the cynics is eni won rope koleko ago, tiowakolealajagogoro; which translates to mean in English language as thus: someone who has already been condemned to be under dog who couldn’t even build a thatch hut but later becomes a proud owner of a castle. In my opinion, Comrade Abbas, the MACOSA President ought to have logically borrowes a leaf from this wise-saying looking at the events that trailed his election last year as the department number one student, especially after Comrade Eedris declined his candidature to run for the Presidential post of the department, setting the stage for political direct duel between him (Comrade Abbas) and Comrade Promise. Comrade Abbas made a lot of promise which he pledged his administration will commit it to if given the opportunity to serve in a pamphlet entitled “MACOSA RE-ECHO” which was more of a kind of “ambush campaign” tactics to contain and curtail the then moving train of the Comrade Promise strategically defined political tactics, one which is the pamphlet entitled MACOSA ECHO, which chronicled his visionary aspiration for the department in the next one year during his campaign.
Well, making promises is to politicians, a tactics they cannot indispensably do without just like mind games in the world of football; ask the legendary Sir Alex Fergurson and Jose Mourinho, they will tell you. Politicians both in school politics and larger society politics are birds of a feather, they are a rear breed of people that if they see light at the end of the tunnel they will go back to buy more tunnel. Politics is to them like the Machiavellian principles where political actors in their jaundiced perception of politics believe that “the end justifies the means”
While Comrade Abbas both “confrontational and written promise” continued and lasted till on the election day then, some Mass Communication Students still considered those promises as mare rhetoric, as nothing but what is today regarded as a “wash” in our local parlance. Heavy electoral apartheid was experienced among the students. The crux of their denial or refusal to commit their thumbs (votes) then to the Comrade Abbas’ presidential bid was borne out of their perceived premonition of corruption, ineptitude and incompetence of the then set to be sworn-in administration of Comrade Abbas. I could even remember persuading an aggrieved Macosite during the dusk of the Election Day when the election dust was gradually settling down and a rumor had it that comrade Abbas was already coasting home to victory to give him a chance, convincing him that he (Comrade Abbas) will not falter in his avowed promise. In fact, I shouted my voice hoax; I stood lock, stock and bare with his bid then because of nothing but his maturity posture.
Now, if the predictions and premonition of these individuals then, (precisely last year) are coming to poke us right in our eyes now, will I then be wrong if I call them the Nicodemuses of not only our class, but our time? I wonder how after a year they were able to nick their predictions right in the bud; perhaps their vast knowledge of theory helped greatly to that effect since theory don’t only analyze and explain phenomena but also predict the future.
I don’t have anything against the personality of Comrade Abbas. In fact, he is a good friend, a humble and matured gentle man. During the embryonic stage of his administration, I had always have my reservation for him; I had cut him and his coterie a lot of slacks, but now I decide to bring to the fore the holistic critique of his administration since all Macosites are full-fledged stakeholders in the Macosa project.
If it is true that experience doesn’t lie, then my close to a decade romance with the department tells me that the present MACOSA administration heralded by Comrade Abbas ranks the lowest in terms of performance to the previous administrations I have experienced so far looking at fact that the administration is already at its autumn which will be handing over in a month or two to the new one. Honestly I can’t think of the magic this administration can wand within this short frame to redeem its calamitous stint for getting close to a year now.
Never has any Macosa President be persuaded or kowtow by a writer to organize a PICNIC or Orientation before breaking his earlier bullish promise of “not to ever organize a PICNIC” (from what ireliably gathered) for new 100 level and diploma one Students. Comrade Abbas would have been in the MACOSA history book (for wrong reasons) if he had stuck by his earlier alleged promise “not to ever organize” a PICNIC. So sorry that Mass Communication which used to be the vanguard of social event in the campus is now fast taking the back seat in this regard.
Honestly, I still struggle to know how this administration has dispensed the N1, 000 per student (totaled up to 161 students) accrued from the new 100 level students, the N500 each from 200 level students of over 210, N500 each from diploma II who are over 170 students, N1, 000 each from diploma 1 students which according to the estimate of its class representative are over 200 (though staggering) N500 each from 300 level students who also according to their class representative are up to 211, and our own class which is not spared in the collection of the departmental due. By the estimate of our amiable class representative, we are up to 223; we as well paid N500 each.
What project has this administration been able to lay down? I know they will not hesitate to point at the wireless internet service which its band width can’t even on several occasions open my facebook page. They will also point at the three new chairs in the departmental garden which according to my reliable investigation, from someone that is ‘in the know’ within the administration goes for N12, 000 per one, while the president declared N15, 000 per one. If we go by the claim of the president, that will be N45, 000 for the three chairs. The president handed a meager amount of N17, 000 to the Director of Social (Questionnaire) to execute the MASSLAF program in the first semester, N2, 000 for street Jamz, where the exuberant DOS ended up expending up to N12, 000 in the program to the extent that he even got indebted in the process and N45, 000 for the execution of the earlier alleged botched PICNIC. These are the readily known (at least for now) the breakdown of how this administration has disbursed the association fund. It is so worse that the HOD walked into the department one night and saw the entire department enveloped with darkness, he then promptly called on the available EXCO member to as a matter of urgency call on the President to proffer solution to the problem, but I was surprised to learn that the president directed the EXCO member to tell the HOD he wasn’t around where he (HOD) had to part with N2, 000 on the night to light up the department. This in no small measure demonstrated the fact that the President is shying away from his responsibilities. Also, his administration did not deem it right or deem the entire students of the department worthy of deserved owners of common 40 leaves note books as take away for the either N1, 000 or N500 they pay as dues to the association, the gesture which has been the ritual of the successive administrations. Then how did this administration dispense these several thousands of naira, if not up to a million? I humbly implore all the level advisers starting from Mallam Hashim who will no doubt read this piece to as a matter of urgency swing into action to probe how every kobo accrued by this administration is spent since they were the ones that mandated us to pay our dues to the association so that we can be served better, even though some of us had to pay through our noses especially during this “change era” before our course forms can be signed.
Macosa secretariat is now fast degenerating into nuisance without any sense of decorum; it now plays host to all manner of visitors, jam-parked, with some having to lap themselves, bereft of any frugal administrative activity. Seriously speaking, I am not being inapt here, no any serious-minded association or administration which its secretariat will post that kind of relics. I was tempted to ask a friend one day if our secretariat is now the new “love garden” or the popular “Sodom and Gomorrah” because I know these two to be somewhere around Ribadu hostel.
While all these last, I am only befuddled that despite the fact that our class boast of prolific writers in The Abels of this world, the Promises, the NTAs, The SagirMohs ,the Yunusas, the Suleimans, the Mobolajis, The Eedris, and The Baseets to mention but a few, none of these individuals could grab the horse by the scruff of the horn to question these rampaging impurity in the system, unless recently that Omolaoye led the chorus of the criticism of the unbearing attitudes of the administration with his article entitled “Open letter to the President” which I feel it woke the President from his night long slumber and decided to give N45, 000 to the D.O.S to organize an impromptu PICNIC; an event he allegedly vowed “not to ever organize”. Never have I ever seen a letter tagged “from the Editor’s desk” by our Chief Editor, a position held by my very good friend and namesake Abdulkadir (Kafawy) during the entire rein of this administration spanning up to a year now; instead he is a “super active” participant of our class WHATSAPP group chat (U12MM/U13DE) where he post and copy-paste some mundane, frivolous and least intelligent contents, a vocal voice and PRO of the factional group in our class; an energy he ought to be dissipating in writing articles about the problem, progress and prospects of the association. Though, there is no doubting his super rich writing prowess especially this diction, grammatical constructions and poetry. These lacks of sensitivities of this administration towards their basic and fundamental responsibilities usually leave me without a choice but to wonder whether these individuals were only avariciously thirsty for power, got the power at expense of more capable and competent people and now become clueless and languorous with what to do with the power. Perhaps they want to be identified as the former Macosa president, for Sec. Gen., or former Chief editor and so on, but unfortunately to the detriment of Macosa and the teeming Macosites. Least they forget freedom without responsibilities is dangerous; the tenets and strands of social responsibility theory will perfectly justify that.
One thing that is actually befuddling me more is how this certain coterie has been successfully spiraling we the majority downward into an oblivion silence, something the German Elizabeth Noelle Neumann refers to as a “Spiral of Silence”. Here, they are the minority while we (the entire Macosites) are the majority, how have they been able to perform this magic? We all maintain tight lips while they run the association amok to the dictates of their whims and caprices. In my opinion, I think this practically form a solid critic against the German Elizabeth Noelle Neumann who decided to generalize the research she conducted in the then West Germany which its basis today form the assumptions of spiral of science theory. Minority group at times can have voice over the majority, a study of this present Macosa EXCO.
So annoying enough, as reprehensible as the murky water of Nigerian politics, which the SRC and Macosa are inherently part of, it still retains the platform where some political actors adjudged themselves as saints and sit on the judgment of others. Such self proclaimed saints (like our associations’ officials in ABU here) confer on themselves the authority to condemn those they perceive as sinners, like the Dasukis, the Okonjo Iwelas, the Diezanis, Maduekwes etc, and compete for celestial predilection to canonize those they perceive to have merited sainthood.
In as much as I am not a pessimist, I believe no magic this EXCO can perform to put any laudable project on the ground before the expiration of their tenure in a few months time from now; while I am not also completely nailing them because perhaps they must have piled down funds for the next incoming EXCO to execute projects. The questions therefore begging for million answers are, with the “non achiever” tag currently hanging around the neck of this administration, if they equally fail to leave a reasonable amount of money in the association’s treasury, can they anytime issues bordering on corruption are raised for debate in the national discourse, for instance, the Dasukigate, have the moral freedom to call Dasuki a thief given that Dasuki was given over 2 billion US$ Dollar to procure arms during the last administration for troops in the North East to execute their onslaught on the deadly Boko Haram and he couldn’t, the same way Macosites paid their dues to this EXCO to serve them better? Won’t that amount to arrant hypocrisy and double standard, or people talking from the both sides of their mouths? As I drop my pen here, I challenge the EXCO to in a face-saving gobbledgook write a rejoinder to counter some of these issues raised in a statistically fact-finding manner.
On behalf of all the members of 400level class and the entire Macosites, heartily condole with Sadiq Dutsinma, the Macosa Sec. Gen who only last week lost his father,may Allah make Janatul Firdaus his final abode.