By Noel Ihebuzor and Susan Daniels
my chi is a muse, impish
invisible fellow lurking
behind my ears and my tongue
whispering when I am not ready
sauntering away when I am
mine whispers words in woven gold flights
spiraling from blood to my ears
as my eyes open; dream-writing, I call it
and the words melt in daylight like mist
before I have reached for my pen
unpredictable, nagging like a stubborn dream
on those days when fresh minty words stream
down my running fingers
and then only to turn off the faucet
when incipient joy in showering in the deluge
of singing is huge
they gift us in fragments, suggestions.
if they gave us the keyed music
of the harp strung underneath particles
always vibrating, could our ears
hold the whole song?
then those days when in mischief
it fills me with words in riot
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Revisiting Nigeria’s past to better its future. History series101 – Businessday NG
— Read on businessday.ng/columnist/article/revisiting-nigerias-past-to-better-its-future-history-series101/
The evidence is inconclusive.
Talking points for the CABE/C4D/GEP 3 workshop by Noel A, Ihebuzor
Some researches are better than others in influencing policy. Such researches have certain qualities. Such researches usually possess the following qualities
- Have good sampling base
- Respond to social needs
- Easily applicable
- Easy to read
- Not marred by complex statistics
- Address pressing problems
- Propose plausible and credible solutions
- Solutions are drawn from the research
- Their findings have a broad appeal
- Their findings appeal to agenda setters and social influencers
- Their finding appeal to important constituencies and influencers
- Their findings appeal to the press
The 7 curses that cause research to policy failures
- defective methodology
- limited sample size
- atypical sample
- unwarranted conclusions and extrapolations
- outdated-ness of topic
- limited adaptability
Why policies fail
- No sponsor
- No champion
- Limited policy appeal
- Limited scope for policy adaption or adaptation
- Attempting too much
- Attempting too little
- Tissue rejection
- Cultural unsuitability
- No evidence base or skimpy evidence
- Hostile environment
- No effort to prepare the ground
Three terms are vital for an effective coverage of the topic – these are – Local Government Authorities, Quality and Basic education. Let us look at each in turn, starting from Quality
- Quality involves standards
- It means fit for purpose
- It means meeting some basic criteria and norms,
- It means good and imbued with attributes that bring are associated functionality
- It means desirable and something of value
Quality does not simply happen, it does not fall from the sky – it is the result of human action.
- Quality requires planning, it requires work, it requires sweat, but that sweat produces sweet results
- Quality comes around when good and relevant processes, policies, strategies are combined with the tactics and activities
Basic Education – education in the first nine years of formal schooling,
- Foundation for all further education
- Covers primary, pre-primary, ECD, NFE, Alternative education such as IQE
- It is the base on which all other education efforts are built on.
- It is the foundation of all other education
- Important are for national development.
- It is also important for personal development – benefits include learning new things – (literacy and numeracy + emotional and social literacies), preparing the mind to learn new things and socializing.
- Completion of basic offers a whole array social benefits, these benefits including social, health, Nutrition, workforce development.
LGAE- this the level of administration closest the people. We have 774 of thee in Nigeria
In Nigeria, Basic education is the responsibility of the state and local government levels of administration.
Responsibility for the day to day management of Basic education rests however with Local governments.
Such responsibility includes the responsibility for quality in basic education Planning, Research, Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation – PRIME
Good operational plans are realistic, participatory in their design, inclusive in their design, equity and disparity reduction in their intentions, processes and strategies. Their indicative budgets are realistic, competitive and build on established industry bencmarksThey are evidence based, context sensitive and implementable. They have reliable baselines and indicators for measuring progress
Quality in Basic Education results from the interaction four factors. They also have reliable and relevant midlines and end lines.
Quality in BASIC EDCATION
In any educational system quality results from te interaction of four variables – these are learner, instructional, socio-cultural and administrative factors – LISA. These factors interact and influence one another
Each of these factors is turn made up of several factors –
Learner factors are made up of the age, sex, socio-economic status, family background, achievement orientation, interest, intelligence, aptitude, attitude, character etc.
Some of these are beyond the capacity of LGAE authorities to determine. Some they can influence, some they can control. Which ones from the listing above are within the control and influence of the LGAE?
Instructional factors include teacher qualification, teacher certification, teacher conditions of employment, sex of teacher, age, experience, degree of motivation of teachers, curriculum, syllabus, books, school materials, school toilets, classroom size, desks, chairs, writing materials, lesson notes, length of lesson, type of shift in school – single or double shift? Can you list some more?
Which of these are within the control and influence of the LGAE?
Socio-cultural factors include cultural and social norm, gender norms, attitude to life. Attitude to education, cultural orientation, cultural beliefs etc. Are any if these under the direct influence of the LGEA.
Administrative factors include school buildings, school resources, blackboards, storage facilities, toilet facilities, school policies, regulations, procurement policies, Procurement practices, maintenance policies, employment and HR policies, teachers’ salaries, training policies, financing, school budgets, fund allocation, school census, school mapping, school plant size management, school design, classroom design, ventilation, lighting, school Inspection and support services, etc.
For an educational system to effective, efficient and successful, all the four factors of LISA must be in harmony. They must all agree. They must also support one another.
Let me give an example – if you provide enough budgets and use them transparently and in keeping with procurement policies, you will build more classroom; if you build more classrooms, your pupil classroom ratio will improve, if this improves, learners will be more comfortable, if learners are more comfortable, then more learning will likely take place
Another example, if teachers’ salaries are paid regularly, teachers will be more motivated, if teachers are more motivated, they will teach more effectively, if they teach more effectively, many more learners will learn.
Try your hands now with working out such relationships between instructional factors and learner factors. Do same for learner factors and admin factors. Ditto for socio-cultural factors and admin factors.
You will soon begin to see the links between these different elements. You will soon begin to appreciate that what you as LGAE can influence the quality of Basic Education in your LGA.
Remind yourself this – what is it that we want as accountable, professional and effective LGEA workers are the following
- More children are going through our basic education system and passing well
- Less and less repetition and wastage is noted in our schools
- More and more children move from one year to another and pass each grade
- More teachers are employed in our basic education system and teaching well and inculcating positive values
- More teachers in our LGA are being supported through regular and supportive inspection, monitoring and mentoring visits
- More and more teachers in our LGAE are supported through value adding In-Service Teacher training and continuous Professional Development
- More relevant teaching learning materials are availed to all learners in our school schools and the pupils are using these to learn, survive and thrive in and out and of school
- More resources are being spent in schools and our spending and funds use are rational, transparent, procedures compliant and achieve high returns on our investment
- More school building and school facilities are availed
- More gender equity is achieved in our schools because of good planning
- More girls are in school, completing school and passing well because our teachers have been taught to be gender friendly and responsive in their pedagogic practices
- More and more schools are gender friendly with toilet facilities and water and sanitation access
- Schools are more efficient because school planning is based on correct evidence and on very up to date statistics
Resources are in schools and are optimally being used and the LGA is achieving value for money through realistic spending and costing
Some of the above are the benefits of good planning and are some of the indicators of quality in Basic education. Your state need quality in Basic Education. And you can make it happen. Be the change. Remember the power of one!
Noel Ihebuzor, LC, FoL
Remember Okigbo’ come Thunder as you read this missive.
I have pasted a clip from that prophetic poem below. Please read it before you read OBJ’s letter
“Come Thunder” by Okigbo on
Now that the triumphant march has entered the last street corners,
Remember, O dancers, the thunder among the clouds …
Now that laughter, broken in two, hangs tremulous between the teeth,
Remember, O dancers, the lightning beyond the earth …
Obasanjo writes PMB open letter
Dear President and General Buhari,
OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT, GENERAL MUHAMMADU BUHARI
I am constrained to write to you this open letter. I decided to make it an open letter because the issue is very weighty and must be greatly worrisome to all concerned Nigerians and that means all right-thinking Nigerians and those resident in Nigeria. Since the issue is of momentous concern to all well-meaning and all right-thinking Nigerians, it must be of great concern to you, and collective thinking and dialoguing is the best way of finding an appropriate and adequate solution to the problem. The contents of this letter, therefore, should be available to all those who can help in proffering effective solutions for the problem of insecurity in the land.
One of the spinoffs and accelerants is the misinformation and disinformation through the use of fake news. A number of articles, in recent days, have been attributed to me by some people who I believe may be seeking added credence and an attentive audience for their opinions and view-points. As you know very well, I will always boldly own what I say and disown what is put into my mouth. But the issue I am addressing here is very serious; it is the issue of life and death for all of us and for our dear country, Nigeria. This issue can no longer be ignored, treated with nonchalance, swept under the carpet or treated with cuddling glove. The issue is hitting at the foundation of our existence as Nigerians and fast eroding the root of our Nigerian community. I am very much worried and afraid that we are on the precipice and dangerously reaching a tipping point where it may no longer be possible to hold danger at bay. Without being immodest, as a Nigerian who still bears the scar of the Nigerian civil war on my body and with a son who bears the scar of fighting Boko Haram on his body, you can understand, I hope, why I am so concerned. When people are desperate and feel that they cannot have confidence in the ability of government to provide security for their lives and properties, they will take recourse to anything and everything that can guarantee their security individually and collectively.
For over ten years, for four of which you have been the captain of the ship, Boko Haram has menacingly ravaged the land and in spite of government’s claim of victory over Boko Haram, the potency and the activities of Boko Haram, where they are active, remain undiminished, putting lie to government’s claim. The recent explanation of the Chief of Army Staff for non-victory due to lack of commitment and lack of motivation on the part of troops bordering on sabotage speaks for itself. Say what you will, Boko Haram is still a daily issue of insecurity for those who are victimised, killed, maimed, kidnapped, raped, sold into slavery and forced into marriage and for children forcibly recruited into carrying bombs on them to detonate among crowds of people to cause maximum destructions and damage. And Boko Haram will not go away on the basis of sticks alone, carrots must overweigh sticks. How else do you deal with issues such as only about 50% literacy in North-East with over 70% unemployment?
Herdsmen/farmers crises and menace started with government treating the issue with cuddling glove instead of hammer. It has festered and spread. Today, it has developed into banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery and killings all over the country. The unfortunate situation is that the criminality is being perceived as a ‘Fulani’ menace unleashed by Fulani elite in the different parts of the country for a number of reasons but even more unfortunately, many Nigerians and non-Nigerians who are friends of Nigeria attach vicarious responsibility to you as a Fulani elite and the current captain of the Nigeria ship. Perception may be as potent as reality at times. Whatever may be the grievances of Fulanis, if any, they need to be put out in the open and their grievances, if legitimate, be addressed; and if other ethnic groups have grievances, let them also be brought out in the open and addressed through debate and dialogue.
The main issue, if I may dare say, is poor management or mismanagement of diversity which, on the other hand, is one of our greatest and most important assets. As a result, very onerous cloud is gathering. And rain of destruction, violence, disaster and disunity can only be the outcome. Nothing should be taken for granted, the clock is ticking with the cacophony of dissatisfaction and disaffection everywhere in and outside the country. The Presidency and the Congress in the US have signalled to us to put our house in order. The House of Lords in the UK had debated the Nigerian security situation. We must understand and appreciate the significance, implication and likely consequences of such concerns and deliberations.
No one can stop hate speech, violent agitation and smouldering violent agitation if he fans the embers of hatred, disaffection and violence. It will continue to snowball until it is out of control. A stich in time saves nine, goes the old wise saying.
With the death of Funke, Chief Fasoranti’s daughter, some sympathetic Nigerian groups are saying “enough is enough”. Prof. Anya, a distinguished Nigerian merit Laureate, has this to say “We can no longer say with certainty that we have a nation”. Niger-Delta leaders, South-Eastern leaders, Middle-Belt leaders and Northern Elders Forum have not remained quiet. Different ordinary Nigerians at home and abroad are calling for different measures to address or ameliorate the situation. All the calls and cries can only continue to be ignored at the expense of Nigerian unity, if not its continued existence.
To be explicit and without equivocation, Mr. President and General, I am deeply worried about four avoidable calamities:
1. abandoning Nigeria into the hands of criminals who are all being suspected, rightly or wrongly, as Fulanis and terrorists of Boko Haram type;
2. spontaneous or planned reprisal attacks against Fulanis which may inadvertently or advertently mushroom into pogrom or Rwanda-type genocide that we did not believe could happen and yet it happened.
3. similar attacks against any other tribe or ethnic group anywhere in the country initiated by rumours, fears, intimidation and revenge capable of leading to pogrom;
4. violent uprising beginning from one section of the country and spreading quickly to other areas and leading to dismemberment of the country.
It happened to Yugoslavia not too long ago. If we do not act now, one or all of these scenarios may happen. We must pray and take effective actions at the same time. The initiative is in the hands of the President of the nation, but he cannot do it alone. In my part of the world, if you are sharpening your cutlass and a mad man comes from behind to take the cutlass from you, you need other people’s assistance to have your cutlass back without being harmed. The mad men with serious criminal intent and terrorism as core value have taken cutlass of security. The need for assistance to regain control is obviously compelling and must be embraced now.
A couple of weeks ago at a public lecture, I had said, among other things, that:
“In all these issues of mobilisation for national unity, stability, security, cooperation, development, growth and progress, there is no consensus. Like in the issue of security, government should open up discussion, debate and dialogue as part of consultation at different levels and the outcome of such deliberations should be collated to form inputs into a national conference to come up with the solution that will effectively deal with the issues and lead to rapid development, growth and progress which will give us a wholesome society and enhanced living standard and livelihood in an inclusive and shared society. It will be a national programme. We need unity of purpose and nationally accepted strategic roadmap that will not change with whims and caprices of any government. It must be owned by the citizens, people’s policy and strategy implemented by the government no matter its colour and leaning.
Some of the groups that I will suggest to be contacted are: traditional rulers, past heads of service (no matter how competent or incompetent they have been and how much they have contributed to the mess we are in), past heads of para-military organisations, private sector, civil society, community leaders particularly in the most affected areas, present and past governors, present and past local government leaders, religious leaders, past Heads of State, past intelligence chiefs, past Heads of Civil Service and relevant current and retired diplomats, members of opposition and any groups that may be deemed relevant.”
The President must be seen to be addressing this issue with utmost seriousness and with maximum dispatch and getting all hands on deck to help. If there is failure, the principal responsibility will be that of the President and no one else. We need cohesion and concentration of effort and maximum force – political, economic, social, psychological and military – to deal successfully with the menace of criminality and terrorism separately and together. Blame game among own forces must be avoided. It is debilitating and only helpful to our adversary. We cannot dither anymore. It is time to confront this threat headlong and in a manner that is holistic, inclusive and purposeful.
For the sake of Nigeria and Nigerians, I pray that God may grant you, as our President, the wisdom, the understanding, the political will and the courage to do what is right when it is right and without fear or favour. May God save, secure, protect and bless Nigeria. May He open to us a window of opportunity that we can still use to prevent the worst happening. As we say in my village, “May God forbid bad thing”.
July 15, 2019
Special Assistant Media.