Posted in governance, Politics, Prose

Sobering reflections by Noel Ihebuzor


1 It is sad when people and nations choose foolishly and then blame fate or the gods for the consequences of their choices.
2. Experience is the best teacher but Nigerians are resistant to its teaching.
3. Huge traces of masochism must be embedded in the DNA of large portions of our populace when it comes to making political choices.
4. One bitten, twice seduced, thrice perpetually confused!
5. Rational Choice Theory (RCT) can explain anything including the worst forms of irrationality and that is its core flaw!

Posted in Politics

A fitting response to a bile driven obituary

Everyone’s obituary is inevitable.

Chuks Iloegbunam tells Sam Omatseye to cleanse his journalism

Some have called you foolish, dear Sam Omatseye. Others insist that you are plain stupid. There are those who hold you to be beneath contempt. Their howls of execration upon you are in reaction to your August 1, 2022 article entitled Obi-tuary (https://thenationonlineng.net/obi-tuary/). For me, however, you are a dear friend. Our friendship started in the 1980s at Newswatch magazine where both of us practiced journalism before you travelled to the United States for further studies. It continued upon your return and strengthened to the point that, sometimes, you get the producers of your TV Continental programme to connect me to field questions live. Besides, living in different states, we often chat by telephone. I demonstrated our amity again last May when I was in Nigeria’s commercial capital for the Lagos International Book Fair. I phoned you and, within the hour, you were at my stand where we spent quality time reminiscing about the good old days and prognosticating on the future of our dear fatherland.

Armed with this handle of friendship, I have just the one advice for you: Be careful. It is in elaboration of this counsel that I write all that you read hereon. Please look back to the time of the Nigeria-Biafra war of 1967 to 1970. You will find that, military or civilian, none of the political actors of that era is still in a position to fight elections today. The final curtain long fell for most of them. Of the lot that remains, some have become vegetables, or are propped up with a suffusion of drugs or would not find their way to the loo unless hired attendants or swearing relatives point it out. Together with the handful that is still blessed with something close to robust health, they have one thing in common. They are seated, restless or restive, in various existential departure halls, clutching fitfully at their boarding passes and waiting for that inevitable voice that cannot be disobeyed, to announce their flights into past tense.

In a broad sense, the departed leave their legacies, good, bad or ugly, for those standing in line and waiting their turns to also check out. What legacies, dear Sam, are you and I feverishly working day and night to leave for those coming in our wake? When you write an article that denigrates the Igbo nation of over 50 million people, and make nonsense of some of those things that mean the most to them, do you really believe that your disposition is justified by the pay and perquisites that accrue to you at Ahmed Bola Tinubu’s The Nation newspapers?

This is you: “The Biafran babblers are alive and well. They just swapped icons, rechristened the shrines and rewrote the rites. They left the prophet for a secular priest. They have had a switch of battle gear.” This clearly is a perfidious way of sentencing Ndigbo to the status of the bat that is neither bird nor mammal. Their fight for Biafra five decades ago was stopped. Their fight now for democratic integration impels you to call them babblers, i.e., people who are no more than endless talkers of nonsense. One would think that the bat sobriquet aptly becomes your Bola Ahmed Tinubu whose initials provide the BAT acrostic that he wears like a badge. I will sooner return to the BAT.

This, again, is your characterisation of the Igbo: “They can say they have a legitimate tribe and rhetoric. They may pretend to love Nigeria. They may claim to embrace INEC, cling to a political party no one in the police or DSS will harangue.”

Isn’t this the height of Igbophobia? We may go back in history. Before Tinubu, there were other Yoruba presidential candidates, including Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Chief M. K. O. Abiola, General Olusegun Obasanjo, Chief Gani Fawehinmi and Chief Olu Falae. None of these personages indexed their presidential ambition on stoking inter-tribal animosity between the Yoruba and the Igbo. As a matter of fact, Chief Philip Ezebuilo Umeadi, Igbo and one of the oldest Senior Advocates of Nigeria, was Papa Awolowo’s running mate in the 1979 presidential election.

Why does it make sense to you and to your principal that the only route to his vaulting presidential ambition must be one that sunders two ethnic groups that have since before the amalgamation been living together in amity, harmony and peace, two peoples that have always, in peace or in peril, lent each other a helping hand?

At the height of the Western Nigeria political crisis of the mid 1960s that pitted Chief Awolowo against Chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola, the former’s Action Group (AG) and Dr. M. I. Okpara’s National Convention of Nigerian Citizens (NCNC) entered into a coalition that birthed the United Progressives Grand Alliance (UPGA). We have it on Wole Soyinka’s authority – see page 73 of his autobiographical You Must Set Forth At Dawn (Bookcraft, Ibadan 2006) that Dr. Okpara lent the then incarcerated Awo a voice by dispatching Mazi Anyogu Elekwachi Ukonu and a complement of seasoned broadcasters that installed a transmitter right inside Awolowo’s Ibadan home.

Ndigbo were not a part of Awolowo’s treason trial and his imprisonment for ten years. Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe even said that he was the one that insisted on Awolowo being imprisoned in Calabar, rather than in Northern Nigeria where the chief feared that poisoning could end his life.

It was not the Igbo that nullified Chief Abiola’s victory in the 1993 presidential election. Rather, Ndigbo were in the forefront of the NADECO (National Democratic Coalition) struggle against the gross injustice. At least a third of those that formed the NADECO were Igbo, according to a list in Battlelines: Adventures in Journalism and Politics, Chief Segun Osoba’s autobiography published in 2020 by Diamond Publications Limited, Lagos. They included Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe, the late Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu, Okwadike (Dr.) Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Prof Anya O. Anya, Chief Ralph Obioha, Chief Empire Kanu, Chief Michael Anyiam, Chief E. Duru, Chief Vincent Nwizugbo and Dr. Uma Eleazu.

NADECO had an international arm. In the United Kingdom, its meetings were held in the late Raph Uwechue’s Africa Books Limited offices in Hammersmith London. Chief Uwechue was Igbo. Dear Sam, I do not know exactly where you were at the time, and I concede that, among Nigerian politicians, there is something known as selective amnesia. If, therefore, your Tinubu, who lived in London for a portion of his exile, does not remember Uwechue’s role in NADECO, I am sure that none of General Alani Akinrinade, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi and Professor Sylvester Monye will ever forget. All the Igbo fighters for June 12 were not dissuaded by the fact that their struggle was to actualise the electoral mandate of Chief Abiola, a Yoruba politician. Apart from incarceration, harassment by security operatives and the alienation of exile, some of these men paid heavily in other ways for their commitment to cause of justice. Chief Bobo Nwosisi died in exile in London. Chief Obioha lost his bank, the First African Trust Bank Limited.

In the light of the above, readers would have to judge for themselves whether or not it is right for you, Sam, to say the following of Ndigbo: “They have transferred the temperament of their former master into the new. And they have not spared any incoherence, any lack of finesse, and threats and tantrums, any show of rabid, primitive cants, or any ululations. They have abused, cursed, thrown imprecations. They have hugged lies about their candidate. They have pelted lies about others. They have distorted material. Obi has turned out to be an excuse for even closet Biafrans to betray open emotions about Biafra without being accused of it.”

To be sure, your writing is not an aberrant occurrence. On July 17, 2022, an Adedamola Adetayo posted on the Internet an anti-Igbo diatribe in which he said, among other things that “They have a POLITICAL ZIONISM already in play. It is in the thing they deceptively call Obidients. That Movement is going to RALLY the Igbos of Lagos in a way that they haven’t ever been rallied. THEY ARE SET TO DETERMINE THE LEADERSHIP OF LAGOS. The priority is to remove Tinubu first. In future they will call the shot. This is what Peter Obi is all about. He has no plans for any Presidency. I can imagine that the ZIONISTS already have their IPOB/UGM all over the places in Lagos, in the Garrisons called Markets, under cover, masquerading as Igbo traders.”

Years before this ranting Adedamola Adetayo, John Femi Kusa, who had been a script editor at The Guardian in Lagos, also showed his claws. In March 2019, he published an article on the Internet with this sentence of a title: Okota: The Igbo Question, Jimi Agbaje, Afenifere And The Rest Of Us. In it, he claimed that, “The major problem, in my opinion, is the Igbo penchant to wish to take over another person’s land…Lagos was either a colony or a part of Western Nigeria. But because of the generosity of Yorubas and the foresight of their forefathers which made this region the star region in West Africa, the Igbos would like the Yorubaman to believe that LAGOS IS NO MAN’S LAND. Can anyone say that of Benin without eating his pounded yam as raw yam?”

Dear Sam, your Obi-tuary piece is as incendiary as the hateful views of Kusa and Adetayo. Kusa, now well into his 70s will not physically go feeding the Igbo raw yam. But all the vitriol you guys have been pushing against the Igbo is the stuff that leads the M. C. Oluomos into mindless violence and murder and arson and brigandage. You pen pushers of evil are the ones that egg on the rabble into wielding guns and cudgels and massacring innocent people for transient political offices. Is it right to promote this permittivity simply so that Tinubu will attain his wild goose chase of the presidential crown?

Kusa schooled at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, earning a degree in Mass Communication. All through his years in the Igbo country, not once was he molested or denied his citizenship on account of his origin. Did his welcome at Nsukka lead him into believing that the town was a part of the Yoruba country? According to Facebook, the acerbic Adetayo guy schooled at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, and earned a degree there without abuse, let or hindrance. Maybe it got fixed inside his brain that Awka is an extension of Lagos, or that Azikiwe after whom the institution was named was his progenitor.

If there are Ndigbo who say that Lagos is a no man’s land, can one Igbo person be put up who simply seized a piece of land in the metropolis and converted it to his use? If Nigerians, including Tinubu’s daughters, who have being buying up choice properties in New England, United States, can own houses in Europe, North America, the Middle East and elsewhere, why must it rankle that Ndigbo own property in Lagos? Why must ownership of landed property in one’s own country lead to calumniation and physical harm? Is it not too steep a price to pay in order that Tinubu should become Nigeria’s president?

The Igbo were not responsible for the recent bloody massacre of congregants inside the St Francis Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo State. The Igbo are not among those sentenced to death by hanging for the murder of Afenifere leader Chief Reuben Fasanranti’s daughter. The herdsmen marauding, pillaging and plundering Yoruba land, looting, raping women, destroying farmlands and spreading death and destruction are not Igbo. The Igbo man did not kill a soul. He did not contest the governorship of Lagos. He hasn’t ever claimed ownership of Iga Idungaran. The Igbo always lived in peace with the Yoruba – until Tinubu surfaced with his divisive politics. Are the vociferous Igbo supporters of Tinubu no longer of the ethnic group because of their partisan predilection?

Sam, informed readers of your articles are aware that your allusions to classical Anglo-Saxon, Greek and Roman mythologies and literary divergences are no more than an egregious attempt at appropriating the intellectual centre circle. Otherwise, you would appreciate the importance of adding depth to your fulminations. Any owner of a book of quotable quotes or a glossary of literary terms can fill their verbiage with citations. But that is no scholarship, my friend. Look at you: “Obi is like Zik, Kanu like Ojukwu. One is a flair, the other a flare.” Yet, it doesn’t strike you as reasonable to accord some of Zik’s aptitude to Peter Obi, a man who earned an honours degree in Philosophy from Nigeria’s premier indigenous university that was built by the great Zik of Africa. And Ojukwu is no more than a flare. By impugning him with combustibility, you forget that in January 1967, Ojukwu went to Aburi, Ghana, not with an incendiary device, but with the sole purpose of putting out the smoldering fire that was threatening to become a national conflagration. You forget that it was not Ojukwu but those that reneged on the Aburi Accord that tossed a lit match in an ocean of gasoline.

I agree with those that have invested you with the coronet of a seasoned journalist. Except that your coronation disdains the fact that your brand of perceptive journalism is only seasonal. That explains why it bothers you that “Obi hops from church to church,” but means absolutely nothing to you that as Dele Sobowale reported in the Sunday Vanguard of July 10, 2022 “…Bola Tinubu has charged the Supreme Council for Sharia in the country to create a department of political affairs to create political awareness among the faithful towards producing a Muslim President in 2023.” Neither do you care a hoot that, as Dr. Sobowale added in the same article “Tinubu has followed up that injunction to the Supreme Council for Sharia, by making secret pledges to expand the reach of Sharia to more Southern States if elected.”

Rather, you call Peter Obi a hypocrite. But Mr. Obi gave his date of birth, the name of his parents, the town he hails from, the schools he attended and the businesses he is into. All were found to be correct. Not being at all interested in the truth, you threw Mr. Obi’s data out of the window because you must be seen to be frantically propagating a character of disputed age, of unknown pedigree, unascertained genealogy, unsubstantiated name, uncorroborated curriculum vitae, and unverified academic diplomas. You shout from the rooftops that Peter Obi is not fit to govern. But you posit as fit for the presidential palace a specimen of incontinence, tremulous lower extremities, slurred speech, unsteady gait and memory lapses. You cannot be serious, my friend.

Of course, it is your entitlement to advertise even ordure if that captures your fancy, but you may not carry on as though your readers are imbecilic. By raising the Biafran bogey, your intention was clearly to create doubt and apprehension. But your gambit only registered a calamitous failure. Jonathan was President of this country. It didn’t obliterate Niger Delta agitation. Buhari is president of this country; those of his people campaigning for the Islamic State haven’t thrust their swords in their scabbards. You have a fondness for excoriating Nnamdi Kanu. Excellent! Except that your seasonal flair for journalism has never prompted you into examining the Sunday Igboho phenomenon. You make yourself a laughing stock by encapsulating in ethnic strictures the pan-Nigerian Peter Obi Movement that is youth led. You reckon not one bit that the youths that are sick and tired of the sanguinary dreariness and aridity of your principal’s vanishing epoch.

Nonetheless, you cannot contest the truism that, in the last analysis, everything goes and turns round. All metals are bound for the anvil. We are here today – those, like Peter Obi and his equally competent and credible running mate, Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed, that wish to place a new heart in the Nigerian nation; and others like your principal and his paid battalions of blinkered acolytes that, as Pa Ayo Adebanjo finely put it, are only interested in continuing and escalating the rot they inflicted on hapless Nigerians in 2015. Whatever tomorrow brings, you must continue to ruminate over the legacy you will leave for coming generations. Every one of us will have their entrance and their exit, it being a settled fact that obituary’s certitude rings true for all comers, not just for Peter Obi as you wantonly asserted.

 Chuks Iloegbunam is the author of the upcoming book on Mr. Peter Obi entitled The Promise of a New Era.

Posted in corruption, Creative writing, hope, disappointment,, Literature, Aesthetics, Politics, Prose, Religion

Purple Hibiscus – a critique of patriarchy and misguided religiosity

By Noel Ihebuzor

Purple hibiscus is a tragic tale of lives and family destroyed by the effects of extreme religiosity, a religiosity that strays quite frequently into the irrational and the psychotic. It is also a tale on the dangers of patriarchy, of domestic violence (spousal and GBV) and what could happen when the battered acquiesce for too long in their systematic humiliation. I also see it as a critique of crude and arrogant Catholicism of the type practised in some parishes in Nigeria. The author of the novel, Chimamanda Adichie has certainly amplified that criticism in her recent address to the council of Nigeria’s, and thereby called out the church and its leaders on a public platform.

But let us go back to the story and see what it tells us – simply this – a fanatical father infected with extremes of religious belief engages in behaviors which systematically estrange from his family, his own father and his sister. In the end, he is poisoned by his wife who sees murder as the only route to end his reign of terror and her suffering.

Let us look at the characters – Papa, a Catholic and publisher of a newspaper, mama, his subdued wife who he humiliates at will, their two children, Kambili and Jaja, whom Papa terrorises and who live in total fear of his fits of temper and excesses, Aunty Ifeoma, Papa’s sister, a lecturer and a beacon of liberalism and radicalism, her two children and finally Papa Nnukwu, Papa’s dad and the children’s grandfather. Papa Nnukwu practices traditional religion and this reality creates a permanent tension between him and his son. The tension is such as that it stands permanently in the way of any demonstration of any bond of filial loyalty from our super Christian pater familias to his father.

Interwoven in this sad tale and in the lives of the characters are snippets of the social ills of Nigeria, including that of corruption, poor governance, abuse of office, wrong and aggressive policing, the corrupting and corrosive effects of a poorly examined religious life and what could happen when a young girl either falls in love with or fantasizes over her priest. The tension is intense and eventually leads to the tragic ending of the novel. The title of the novel ” Purple Hibiscus” is thus at variance with its content.

In the end papa dies from the effects of sustained poisoning by his wife but Jaja takes the rap for his mum. A family is destroyed because of the misguided religiosity of a domineering and aggressive father.

This is a troubling and troubled novel told with sensitivity and tact. One sees in it also the early signs of the author’s feminism, a feminism that has since blossomed as can seen in her positions and speeches on several social media platforms. But some questions persist. One of these is this – is papa a rounded character or a flat character? Does his characterization lean towards a single story approach? Remember that Adichie comes against single stories in one of her now famous lectures? What does the reader think?

Posted in governance, Politics, Prose

Nkemdirim by Noel Ihebuzor


The person who calls his/her child Nkemdirim is not asking for too much! The person is simply asking God to confirm and sustain his gift to him or her. He or she is also asking God to imbue that gift with utility, distinctiveness, a sense of identity, permanence and sustainability. Nkemdirim is also a prayer that the gift remains with us whatever may be the vicissitudes of life!

People advance and progress when they grow, solidify and edify what is theirs. People advance when they build on their positive values and assets. Peoples and nations advance recognizing the value of what is theirs and not by uncritical self abandonment nor by group rejection nor through the adoption of the structures that belong to others. You cannot be an Ogaranya with someone else’s wealth or structure. Charity and beauty, they say, start from home. “Eji eshi uyo mara mma fuma ama” the Owerri person would say, and correctly too!
We approach others with more confidence and with a greater sense of security when invested and vested in our uniqueness, our USP, if you like. These constitute our distinctiveness.
In such situations, our base is firm, our unit flags, our symbols and our totems are visible, unique, vibrant and distinctive.

These things give us identity. A family, a village, a town, a clan…indeed, any structure without identity is lost and will be absorbed by others in a way that degrades it and ultimately wipes it off from any serious reckoning.

As in life, so also in other spheres of life, including associating with others in politics. Which political structure is ours? Just asking! Nkemdirim.

Posted in Basic Education, governance, Politics

Towards Developing a Training Package for House Committee members on Basic Education

by

Noel Ihebuzor

Interest in increasing the effectiveness of actors and duty bearers in the public domain has continued to grow since its beginnings following the launch of the movement in new public management (Hood, 1991; Gruening, 2001). The advantages claimed for a New Public management (NPM) approach in governance include the following – greater efficiency, greater focus on performance and results as well as their objective measurement, improved use of resources, these including human, financial and material resources. Hand in hand with these developments in public sector management has been a call for greater value for money in the use of resources appropriated by governments in the provision of basic social services such as Basic Education, primary health care as well as water and environmental sanitation. Members of parliament have important roles not only in ensuring that budgets are approved and appropriated for the provision of such basic social services but also in seeing that the approved budgets are utilized in manners consistent with the best practices in public finance management (PFM). Such roles ensure that cost savings, cost efficiencies and service maximization are achieved in the use of public resources and assets.  

It is such development thinking that informs the support that development partners working through relevant ministries continue to provide to the training and sensitization of law makers in Nigeria. UNICEF, for instance, has supported the design and development of a training manual for the training and sensitization of law makers from the state houses of assembly who are members of house committee on education. The purpose is to aid in their understanding of the processes primarily around the UBE act as well as other education documents/plans as a necessary step strengthening their capacity to provide required legislation and oversight for the education sector.

The training/sensitization programme has two objectives:

  • to facilitate an enhanced understanding of the education sector and its recurring challenges.
  • to acquaint law makers on the role they should play to protect education especially at the basic level through legislation and oversight.

Basic Premises

Basic Education is the foundation of all education. If the foundation is weak, then the entire edifice risks instability and possible eventual collapse. It is therefore important that this substructure of education is solidly built. Secondly, basic education caters for the education for all at the base. It is thus the level of education with the greatest egalitarian relevance and appeal. It is the level of education that any one with an interest in inclusive education will first to need to tackle and get right. A society with an interest in stimulating economic growth through investment in education will also need to invest in basic education as it has been shown to have multiplier effects of all other aspects of education and uptake of basic social services. All the thinking above inform global interest in universal basic education as one lever for vital socio-economic transformation.

The UBE programme in Nigeria has its parentage in a number of human rights documents and development program thinking. Most human rights declarations make the important distinction between those who have rights holders and those whose custodial, constitutional and social functions are to ensure that those rights are met. Such persons are known as duty bearers. There is now evidence that the capacity and ability of duty bearers to effectively discharge their obligations to duty holders is a function of several factors  –

  • Understanding and appreciation of those rights
  • Importance and significance of those rights
  • Awareness of and Empathy with the plight of rights holder
  • Sense of Solidarity with rights holder
  • Level of Education and information of the basis of those rights
  • Knowledge of what to do and who to partner with to further those rights etc

In furthering the actualization of the rights of rights holders, duty bearers carry out a number of linked functions which include

  • Service provision
  • Procurement
  • Service supervision and monitoring,
  • Advocacy and awareness creation,
  • Alliance building and networking
  • Standards setting 
  • Compliance monitoring
  • Law making        
  • Mentoring, etc

Though all these functions are important, perhaps the most important is that of supervision. Supervision ensures compliance with agreed standards, proper resource utilisation, service provider conduct and presence, effective service delivery and waster minimisation. This is true whether we are dealing with duty bearer functions in the areas of water and sanitation, housing, leisure, recreation, nutrition or education. Indeed, in basic education, supervision by duty bearers leads to greater value for money and to ensuring that public resources set aside for or dedicated to basic education are optimally utilized.

Of all duty bearers, members of the house of representatives, especially those in committees charged with oversight functions for Basic education, have a critical role to play in the sustenance of BASIC EDUCATION.  They can carry out these roles in several ways, some of which have been mention in passing earlier in our general consideration of the roles of duty bearers in the provision of universal basic education. With specific regard to this subsector of basic social services, members of the House committee can get involved in the following ways

Advocating with the Executive for improved budgets for basic education

Insisting on improved public finance management as it concerns basic education at all levels of the value chain

Moving bills for basic education management, administration and or improvement, be these in the areas of minimum standards, Teacher hiring and firing, Teacher Incentives, Teacher Qualifications, Conditions for PRESET and INSET

Monitoring resource utilization in basic education

Lobbying, influencing and mobilizing other policy makers, the executive, the private sector and other social influencers for necessary policy changes that would advance all aspects of basic education be it Access, Retention, Quality and Completion.

To carry out these many functions, such House committee members need to equipped through exposure to a learning package which blends elements of sensitisation and guided learning experiences to acquire certain skills, affects and capacities.

The rest of this paper describes the steps taken in the design and development of this special programme for house committee members of basic education. It describes the processes adopted as well as the considerations that informed them.The development described below was carried out by a group of educators, teacher trainers, educational planners and administrators working together as a team. The emphasis here is on team work.

Step 1 – identify the essential core and content of the learning package.

To do this, the team had to answer the question – for a house member to lobby effectively for universal Basic education, to monitor Basic education provision, to provide oversight for basic education provision, to make laws for basic education, to move bills for basic education, to become an advocate for basic education, what does he or she need to know? Questions like this represent some form of indirect needs assessment. As is now well accepted, needs assessment is a necessary first step in the design of relevant learning experiences and packages.  Carried out in the form of a brain storming exercise by the design team, this exercise yielded the following three core knowledge needs/areas of vital learning

Policy framework for basic education – National   Policy   on   Education (NPE) 2013, normative framework for basic education provision

Nigeria and Universal Basic Education Programme (UBEP) – some history and Context and How UBEP works

Functions of House Committee on Education with regards to Universal Basic Education

These three core learning areas were examined and debated until consensus was achieved that they constituted the necessary, sufficient-Adequate and relevant tripod on which the learning package for House committee members could be built. It is important for us to remind ourselves here that necessity, sufficiency-adequacy and relevance are the prime determinants of correct choices in curriculum design.

Step 2 Conduct a task analysis and work breakdown of each of the elements of the legs of the tripod

The team agreed that the next step would demand that each leg of the tripod be now broken into its constituent parts. For this exercise, the writing team broke into three groups, with a group working on one of the tripods. At the end of the exercise, a plenary was conducted and the following sketch outlines were agreed upon for each of the three arms of the tripod.

Policy framework for basic education – National   Policy   on   Education (NPE) 2013, normative framework for basic education provision

  • The National Policy on Education (NPE) – policy thrust and specification and prescriptions by level
  • Normative frameworks influencing and guiding educational provosions- The Universal Declaration of Human rights, The UN Convention Rights of the Child, The African Union Charter on African Child, The UN Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), and the Ssustainable Development Goals (SDG)
  • Data speaks – the importance of data in education planning and what current data says for each state
  • Key issues in Basic Education – Access, Participation, Retention, Completion, Quality and their indicators, Net versus Gross enrolment
  • Contending issues in basic education – Equity, Inclusion, Inclusion, Gender, Costs of Basic Education, Benefit of Basic Education, Externalities of Basic education, Out of School Children;
  • Things that make for quality education – learner, instructional, administrative, school plant, and environmental factors
  • Quality indicators in basic education delivery
  • Quality versus non – quality indicators in Basic Education

Nigeria and Universal Basic Education Programme (UBEP) – some history and Context and How UBEP works

  • National and global antecedents of UPE and UBE
  • The Regions and Education Ordinances 
  • UBE Legislative framework.
  • Education indicators
  • Education plans and levels – strategic plans versus operational plans
  • Effective schools – their attributes and things to look out when monitoring basic education
  • How to make schools effective
  • Obstacles in the implementation of Basic Education and Strategies to overcome them.
  • Example of successful implementation of basic education act from a comparable country and what this means for Nigeria  

Functions of House Committee on Education with regards to Universal Basic Education

  • Committee members and their roles and responsibilities to the basic education sub-sector
  • Skills required to discharge these roles and to function effectively
  • Revisit to core indicators that would guide the discharge of the roles and responsibilities of house committee members

Step 3

Constitute each of these tripods into a learning session and develop learning outcomes for each session

SESSION 1

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this session, participants should be able to:

SESSION 2

LEARNING OUTCOMES

At the end of the session, House Committee Members should be able to:

Session 3

SESSION 3

Members of the Education Committee have among their numerous functions the responsibility of oversight of education matters.  This responsibility involves ensuring a variety of outcomes in education through monitoring, supervision, advocating, lobbying for bills and laws by consultations, communication, negotiation, consensus and relationship building. 

At the end of the session, House Committee Members should be able to:

Step 4

Develop the learning package in line with steps 1-3 above

Step 5

Subject the output of step to peer review, critique and validation.

Validation of this training document was done through a live presentation with lawmakers from four states. Reception was positive and indeed enthusiastic. The writing team however also learnt a few lessons from active engagement and participation in the process for strategic planning and Programme implementation 

Lessons learnt

Some lessons were learnt in developing the training materials. These include the following:

importance of team work

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importance of context sensitive learning materials development

importance of peer review

the sobering truth that effective curriculum building as an interactive process

the fact that effective curriculum development is an iterative process

importance of stating clear and realistic learning outcomes

Writing

      Hood C. 1991. A public management for all seasons?, Public Administration. Vol. 69. No. 1

Gruening, G (2001) Origin and theoretical basis of New Public Management, International Public Management Journal 4,  1–25

Posted in Basic Education, Politics

Communication for Development (C4D) and its relevance to development across all sectors in general and to education in particular –

Talking points for the

CABE/C4D/GEP 3 workshop April 2019

developed

By

Noel A. Ihebuzor, FSSD

  • What is C4D?
  • Fefer to processes, strategies, materials and activities conceived and executed to catalyze, galvanize, spur, support development efforts in a given polity
  • Is context sensitive and culture informed and incorporates elements of semiotics, marketing, journalism, sociology, psychology, metrics, monitoring and evaluation and business management.
  • Grew out of initial beginnings in audiovisual aids and then to IEC, through BCC and to full grown C4D
  • C4D is integrated and Deals with both the supply and demand side of development planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation 

Excerpt from Unicef

Communication for Development (C4D) is one of the most empowering ways of improving health, nutrition and other key social outcomes for children and their families.

In UNICEF, C4D is defined as a systematic, planned and evidence-based strategic process to promote positive and measurable individual behaviour and social change that is an integral part of development programmes, policy advocacy and humanitarian work.

C4D uses dialogue and consultation with, and participation of children, their families and communities. It privileges local contexts and relies on a mix of communication tools, channels and approaches. C4D is not public relations or corporate communications.

C4D seeks to accelerate achievement of key results in UNICEF’s Medium-term Strategic Plan (MTSP) for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by:

Increasing knowledge and awarenessImproving and building new skillsMaintaining and increasing demand for products and servicesImproving the performance of service providers Changing individual behaviors and collective practicesInfluencing attitudes, social norms and power relationshipsEnhancing self-esteem and promoting self-efficacyChanging national and local policies and legislation
  • Basic education needs C4D but according to the consultant C4D is under-represented in education unlike in medicine
  • And Education?
  • Education is core to development 
  • Education confers so many benefits
  • The unplanned benefits are known as externalities 
  • Externalities include increased earning ability, poverty reduction, break in intergenerational transmission of poverty, drop in fertility, rise in literacy etc
  • EDUCATION at both global and local levels is characterized by issues of gender based, social class related and location induced disparities
  • Too many kids of the poor are out of school for a host of reasons
  • Too many kids in rural areas are out of school – economics, culture, patriarchy, male child preference, parental poverty, ignorance, superstition, religious zeal?
  • Key issues in education are ACCESS, QUALITY & ACCOUNTABILITY 
  • Access issues include limited number in schools OOSCI, absence of school space, low NER and GER, NAR,  plus the distance that drive these – fees, distance to school, safety issues
  • Quality issues deal with instructional materials and teacher factors in school including teacher training, teacher numbers, and time spent on teaching, curriculum, methods and methodology and a host of CFS related issues
  • Accountability challenges relate to general governance issues, stakeholder engagement, school supervision, duty bearer failures – eg not mobilizing communities, not creating awareness, poor service delivery, rights holders not asking for their rights, the externalizing of responsibilities, ignorance, weakness, sloppiness, failures in attendance monitoring, teacher management and general incentives,
  • The general theory on which the study is designed around is that all of these are amenable to improvement through C4D
  • Is the pitch for Integrating Koranic schools a red herring? What of quality issues involved?
  • Study also looks at the mapping of current C4D interventions and suggests how synergies can be achieved through better stakeholder coordination and dialogue 
Posted in Poetry, Politics

Visions and Selections

by

Noel Ihebuzor

What you saw

You say you saw

patterns heave and dance

you say you saw them

Weave and leave

No one else says they saw

what you say you saw

just you, with your diamond

periwinkle eyes

at the three quarter corner of night

when straggler angels

flee the light of the returning day

Yours was a vision

Filled with emptiness

Where bleached blankness

Empties all other visions

New Jungles

The jungle always,

half dormant

wakes up and a new day

dawns, slowly

Sounds soon crowd out silence

prophets see dimly

but their rising voices

Soon outdo agberos

In this space,

a life is worth

three sparrows

In this place,

men combine religion and region

creed with breed in the service

of a contest fuelled need

and sustained by greed

Locked in their frenzied contest

the wrestlers have locked out sense

the present overwhelms the past

drowns the future

and yesterday’s smiles

Wakes up in today’s

tired sheets

Uncertain saints

Self beatify, uncertain of outcomes

as uncertified foul odor

floods the present

overwhelms the air pregnant with hope

nourished by dope

stunted elves dance and sway

waving a medley of signs and symbols

crescent, cross and stars

and I sensed I heard the moon howl

Predators now prance like Simba

the lion king

the story teller casts

his charmed beads around legs, heads

hips, feet and heels held by hope

but fettered by dope

Posted in Politics, Prose, Uncategorized

Scribbles on Inclusion and exclusion

By

Noel Ihebuzor

 

 

 

 

 

Societies are made up of groups. Each member has to contribute but not everyone must hold similar views. Good societies are built on the principles of

 

Some common vision

Some common bonding/cohesion

Some shared values

Some commonly agreed norms along with

a recognition of the need for individuality

a commonly agreed and shared purpose interacting

with a recognition for the importance heterogeneity and diversity

for without diversity and heterogeneity,

Uniformity would not only be stifling but also suffocating

 

These elements make up what we call social capital

 

Good societies recognize and accept all their members, on the understanding that unity is not the same as uniformity

 

Happy human societies are founded on the principle of:

 

·         Human dignity

·         Mutual respect,

·         Social justice

·         rule of law

·         equality of all before the law

·         Social responsibility

·         Equity and fairness

·         Mutual trust,

·         Cooperation and inclusiveness

 

Good societies are inclusive There is a danger in some conceptions of inclusiveness as demanding uniformity and zero diversity as sine qua non for its operation. This is a flawed view as it could lead to a loss of individual freedoms as an individual who fails to meet its flawed and narrow requirement is singled out to become a victim of exclusion. Exclusion is the opposite of inclusion. It is negative and highly destructive.

 

What are the dangers of exclusion?

 

Exclusion – why do we exclude – we exclude because of fear, prejudice, wrong information, ignorance hatred, envy, xenophobia.

features of exclusion, Exclusion as Us versus they, antagonisms, blame games ,scapegoating, hate speech, demonizing the other consequences of exclusion – physical, psychological, emotional (trauma, self-pity, fighting back),  ethnophaulisms, marginalization, intolerance, mistrust

 

the features of exclusion – Exclusion is irrational, hurtful, destructive and subtractive. It creates tensions, creates scapegoats, uses negative words, results in us-they world, leads to further incomprehension and misunderstanding, creates suspicion, can provoke conflict.

 

when people are excluded they feel self-doubt, self-pity, anger, hate, and frustration, bitter, resentful

 

a culture of tolerance for diversity.

 

difference and diversity are not enough reasons for mistrust between people

 

Tolerance is a virtue.

 

Tolerance breeds more tolerance.

 

Difference and diversity enrich, we can build on these. But to do so, we need to include others.

 

We are all unique and same at the same time different. I am like you, you are like me, but yet each one of us is different. The “Ebony and Ivory on the key board” song by Stevie Wonder brings out this enriching aspect diversity.

 

The principle of reciprocity – you accept me, I accept you.

Discrimination, bias, stereotyping make bad sense

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in corruption, hope, disappointment,, Politics, Uncategorized

Same PMB APC Administration – Two verdicts!

Social media often presents us in very succinct terms divergent views on the same phenomenon. Take the APC administration, for example. Since the 29th May, 2018, media has been swamped with claims and confutations of its successes and of its failures. This morning on Twitter, I came across two very diametrically opposed appraisals of its performance in the last three years – two views, two verdicts of its performance using broadly identical criteria and indicators! Certainly, the two views cannot be right at the same time. So, which is the correct view? Which is the more balanced appraisal?

I present both appraisals with apologies for any unintended violations of copyright to their authors!

Is it this ?

or this?

Choose your choice and state your reasons