How to transfer your voter’s registration

vote02Following my Monday post about a certain protagonist’s experience while attempting to retrieve his PCV, I got some feedback. Many of us liked the story, and identified with it – thank you, always; a good number of us however did not, still do not know that it is possible for one to transfer one’s PVC from the centre where one registered to any centre in the country.

This wan no be hear-yarn, bros…I did it myself.

I registered to vote in Abia state and like the percentage of Nigerians who had relocated in four years, I was heavily vexing with INEC. Not only were they clearly intent on disenfranchising me, they were also in collabo with my village people to hinder my progress. Why else would they expect that in four years, I wouldn’t have moved to the big city?!

I was furious and made sure everyone knew who cared to listen. And it was while spreading this venom that a friend casually mentioned that one could actually transfer registration. He mentioned it very flippantly, I guffawed at it. Guy, go siddon jare, for this Naija?

But he insisted. He said that I could find the information on the official INEC website. INEC website is not as imirimious as NSCDC website nah, so I checked it out. This is what I found.

Procedure for Transfer:-

  • Step 1:

The person who intends to transfer his registration will write an application to  INEC’s Resident Electoral Commissioner of the State  where he is currently residing.

Updated (April 19, 2018)

NO APPLICATION IS REQUIRED ANY MORE. According to my sources, all you need do is go to the INEC polling center closest to your residence (which is where you’ll cast your vote on election day) and obtain the transfer form.

  • Step 2:

The applicant will attach his voters card to the application.

Updated (April 19, 2018)

My sources confirmed that even without your voters card, you can still obtain, fill and submit the form. You only need to remember the details of your card, such as your card number, registered polling unit number, etc.

You don’t know/remember your details? Easy peezy…click this INEC Voter Verification Platform link. There’s an option to Check Status using your Date of Birth, as long as you remember the state where you originally registered, your surname and first name, and your date of birth, your details will pop up. See pictures below:

  • Step 3:

The applicant must apply to the Resident Electoral Commissioner not later than 30 days before the date of an election in the constituency where he is residing.

INEC will do the rest, you just wait for the text that will tell you your voter’s card is ready for collection.

Read more at http://www.inecnigeria.org/?page_id=2051

Does it really work?

Testimonial from Oby Azubuike

Hey familia,

Today I began the process of getting my PVC, it wasn’t stressful at all, took about 30mins.

I requested a transfer because I registered about 6 years ago.

I printed my voters status from INEC’s website, took it to my local government, filled a form there and I was told to pick up my PVC in December.

It wasn’t as hard or stressful as I was expecting.

Thanks to @Chisom for sharing the post about it.

I just thought to encourage anyone here who has changed location and doesn’t know how to get their PVC. Please try it out, let’s do our best to change the status quo.

Thanks for reading 😘

Signed,
Oby Azubuike

P.S: I also got my sister to transfer hers!

 

Testimonial from yours truly: How I transferred mine in 2015

I got this information in the first week of January, right on the brink of the deadline, and I followed the instructions to the latter. I printed out a simple three-paragraph application letter, procured three passport photographs, and made photocopies of both the letter and my temporary voter’s card.

I was very meticulous with my preparation because I was not going to give ‘them’ any wriggle-room. I wanted to be able to say afterwards, that INEC really did – for censorship sake – play me.

I entered the INEC office at Sabo, Yaba at 9am and by 10:30am, I was on the bus back, my new temporary voter’s card was in my pocket and I was now one of those Lagosians waiting to collect their permanent voter’s cards. There was no hassle; the INEC officials were beautiful, jolly, young women who literally held my hand through the whole process of filling a simple form and having my bio-data captured.

If I had any idea how uninformed other people were about the existence and workability of this process, I would have written this immediately after I got back. Alas, the process was too seamless, so smooth that I was sure it was just me who did not know that transfers were possible.

P.S: I now have my permanent voter’s card, as you can see…

 

Chisom

GBI Network

Disclaimer: the tale you are about to read is not entirely fiction. Keep your internet browser close by, you might need to verify.

images(2)

“Oloshi!”

You ignore the conductor and walk right on, a crisp fifty naira note in your hand, crisper than the one you had just now refused to take from him. He curses even more as the bus zooms off, but you do not spare him a second glance – he is the least of your worries.

Your pocket is your primary worry at the moment, it is empty. Not a komkom milo kind of empty, empty tins can at least make good music; this emptiness is more of an akpa asisa kind, an abrasive kind of empty. And it is all the fault of that stupid bank.

The old man from across the street waves at you and makes to rise from his perch beneath the shade. But your wave back at him is brusque; you slip through the gate and hurry towards your door without looking back. He will be disappointed, you know. Every evening as you return for work, he is seated in the same spot beneath that tree, fanning himself with a sheet of cardboard paper. And usually, you would stop to exchange a few laughs. But not today, not while your tummy and pockets sing a duet of dearth.

It was on a day like this that you walked into that fast-food place at the corner of Sanusi Boulevard and ordered a large meal of rice, beans, plantain and cow-tail. You were washing the spirited meal down with a coke when the waiter approached, bill in hand. You didn’t even look, just waved your Naira mastercard in the air. Get your POS.

It didn’t work the first time – typical. So you tapped in your PIN again. While you waited – you and the waiter, you downed another mouthful of the chilled coke which apparently, you were sharing with somebody named Ehi.

No vex, oga, let me bring another one. And she ran off, leaving the faulty POS on the table, your card still stuck halfway in it. She returned with a grey one and an outrageously brightly coloured one in either hand. You tried again. Again. And again. Still no show, so you finished your  coke, paid in cash and left.

You were seated in the conference room, opposite the Korean investors, when the first debit alert came in, then the second, then the third, then another…and the next. Six of them in all, your account balance read just below five thousand. Sure, you were concerned, but not really worried. These things happened very often, and you were certain that you would receive six reversal alerts before close of business.

But the end of the day came, and there were no alerts. You willed them to roll in so you would not have to call customer care – they took forever to connect and always ended with more promises than fixes. Noon came the following day and you still had not seen any debit reversal SMS. You checked online and your account balance was the same – 4,998.50. So you dialed Customer Care.

They promised to fix it; you really had no choice so you waited. Then you got busy, working hard, while living off your small stash of cash, and you forgot all about it. Until earlier this afternoon when you stood in front of an ATM machine reading “Insufficient balance” on the monochrome screen. You can’t believe you had forgotten to follow up, because who goes to sleep on the comfort of a banker’s word in this country?

As you now stare at the small bag of garri sitting on your kitchen floor like a fat toddler, you realize it is your singular sure means of surviving the weekend. You are angry, angrier because you are helpless. But you are also very hungry. So you fling the tail of your tie over one shoulder and stoop to pour some of the fine yellow flour into a bowl.

Your laptop is sitting on your dining table, lid up, as you left it before going to bed last night. And the sight of it reminds you of a conversation you had with your colleague, Jide weeks ago. He is a twitter-worm and apparently, a website had been the rave at the time, where people reported their bank troubles and they got resolved at no cost.

You pour some water into it and set the bowl of garri aside – given time, the mixture will swell to a quantity that stood a better chance of sating your hunger. As the orange, red and blue colours of your internet browser flood the laptop screen, you mentally pat your own back for subscribing to the monthly plan. The state of your finances at the moment place internet way above luxury.

All you can remember about that site Jide mentioned is that its name sounded like a TV news channel; and you are not very certain but it probably had the words ‘global’ and ‘bank’ in it.

A few minutes of Google later and you are looking at a large picture of the Dubai sky-line – “Dubai is where your search ends,” it read. Wrong one. You start to glide your pointer towards the ‘go back’ button at the top-left of the screen but some words stop you.

Global Banking Issues Network – GBINetwork

‘Our bank is here to encourage all banks to be more efficient and help bank customers blah-blah-blah…

You scroll down and spend the following minutes reading through a deluge of reports sent in by dissatisfied bank customers world-wide, and the responses to them. By your rough estimate, 70-75% of all bank troubles reported here is rectified, and the erring banks even wrote personal apologies in the Comments section.

There is a ‘Click here to post your complaints’ button on the menu bar. You click.

It is loading as you reach for the bowl. The garri has ‘risen’ enough now, nearly doubling in mass and flirting with the inner rims of the large bowl. You spoon a dollop of the sodden paste into your mouth, knead it between your tongue and the roof of your mouth, and swallow.

With a grainy salt-sour taste in your mouth, you begin to type.

***

Y: “Oh boy, Jide, show first.”

Jide: “Wassup nah?”

Y: “Guy, that your link work oh.”

Jide: “Link ke? Which one?”

Y:“The bank one nah…GBIN.”

Jide: “Oh, you use am?”

Y: “Yes oh…my bank really messed up, I just use vex report them for the website.”

Jide: “Enhen…?”

Y: “They called me now to apologize oh, the bank people. I form small shaa, but the grammar just dey increase. Come see the sweet voice wey the babe use dey beg me nah: ‘We saw your report on GBIN, sir, we’re very sorry that you had to endure supri supri supri…’

“Omo, last last ehn, she asked some questions about my account details and the transaction wey cause the wahala, come talk say dem go fix am. As I dey drop phone, guy, alert dey enter my phone fia fia fia!”

Jide: “Wow, you mean am?”

Y: “Hian…see question oh. No be you show your boy the way?”

Jide: “Omo, I never used it oh. I just saw the gist on twitter, that’s how I knew about it. And I dey here since, my bank just dey misbehave…”

Y: “Oh boy, no time oh. Gee-BIN them!”

Jide: “Sharp sharp, bros”

 IMG_20150307_000052

Do not keep this one to yourself. Tell someborri!

Chisom

How to transfer your voter’s registration (updated April 19, 2018)

vote02Following my Monday post about a certain protagonist’s experience while attempting to retrieve his PCV, I got some feedback. Many of us liked the story, and identified with it – thank you, always; a good number of us however did not, still do not know that it is possible for one to transfer one’s PVC from the centre where one registered to any centre in the country.

This wan no be hear-yarn, bros…I did it myself.

I registered to vote in Abia state and like the percentage of Nigerians who had relocated in four years, I was heavily vexing with INEC. Not only were they clearly intent on disenfranchising me, they were also in collabo with my village people to hinder my progress. Why else would they expect that in four years, I wouldn’t have moved to the big city?!

I was furious and made sure everyone knew who cared to listen. And it was while spreading this venom that a friend casually mentioned that one could actually transfer registration. He mentioned it very flippantly, I guffawed at it. Guy, go siddon jare, for this Naija?

But he insisted. He said that I could find the information on the official INEC website. INEC website is not as imirimious as NSCDC website nah, so I checked it out. This is what I found.

Procedure for Transfer:-

  • Step 1:

The person who intends to transfer his registration will write an application to  INEC’s Resident Electoral Commissioner of the State  where he is currently residing.

Updated (April 19, 2018)

NO APPLICATION IS REQUIRED ANY MORE. According to my sources, all you need do is go to the INEC polling center closest to your residence (which is where you’ll cast your vote on election day) and obtain the transfer form.

  • Step 2:

The applicant will attach his voters card to the application.

Updated (April 19, 2018)

My sources confirmed that even without your voters card, you can still obtain, fill and submit the form. You only need to remember the details of your card, such as your card number, registered polling unit number, etc.

You don’t know/remember your details? Easy peezy…click this INEC Voter Verification Platform link. There’s an option to Check Status using your Date of Birth, as long as you remember the state where you originally registered, your surname and first name, and your date of birth, your details will pop up. See pictures below:

  • Step 3:

The applicant must apply to the Resident Electoral Commissioner not later than 30 days before the date of an election in the constituency where he is residing.

  • Step 4:

The Resident Electoral Commissioner will direct the Electoral Officer of the applicants Local Government Area to enter his name  in the transferred voters list.

  • Step 5:

The Electoral Officer will assign the applicant to a polling unit in his constituency.

  • Step 6:

The Electoral Officer will issue the applicant with a new voters card

  • Step 7:

The Electoral officer will retrieve the applicants previous voters card

  • Step 8:

He will then send a copy of the entry to the Electoral officer of the constituency where the person whose name has been so entered was originally registered.

  • Step 9:

Upon receipt of this entry, that Electoral Officer shall delete the name from his voters list.

Note: Apart from  State Headquarters Offices of INEC, applicants can also submit their applications at the INEC Office in their Local Government Areas. The applications will be forwarded to the Resident Electoral Commissioner for necessary action.

Read more at http://www.inecnigeria.org/?page_id=2051

How I did mine in 2015

I got this information in the first week of January, right on the brink of the deadline, and I followed the instructions to the latter. I printed out a simple three-paragraph application letter, procured three passport photographs, and made photocopies of both the letter and my temporary voter’s card.

I was very meticulous with my preparation because I was not going to give ‘them’ any wriggle-room. I wanted to be able to say afterwards, that INEC really did – for censorship sake – play me.

I entered the INEC office at Sabo, Yaba at 9am and by 10:30am, I was on the bus back, my new temporary voter’s card was in my pocket and I was now one of those Lagosians waiting to collect their permanent voter’s cards. There was no hassle; the INEC officials were beautiful, jolly, young women who literally held my hand through the whole process of filling a simple form and having my bio-data captured.

If I had any idea how uninformed other people were about the existence and workability of this process, I would have written this immediately after I got back. Alas, the process was too seamless, so smooth that I was sure it was just me who did not know that transfers were possible.

For you who registered in Abuja or Aba or Kogi, now you know how to very easily get your PVC without having to journey back to your past. Sadly, you will not be able to vote in this election but you can at least try to see for yourself that it works. You who just dey bad-mouth INEC without making any effort to get informed, oya pim!

While mulling over the ‘I Will Vote’ post with a friend yesterday, we considered a number of possible reasons for the protagonist’s hope even in the face of disappointment: Is he a die-hard fan of Professor Jega? Is he relieved – even though he might not know it – that he now has more time to deal with the weight of a PVC on his voter’s conscience? Is he a believer, or just an optimist?

The pretty lady and I agreed to agree on all options, but I daresay that if that protagonist’s TVC-collection experience was anything like mine, then his hope was not an option. It was most likely an answer.

Chisom

I WILL VOTE

vote

It’s yesterday and I am going to get my PVC today.

Walk in quietly, greet the two ladies and the man in the office with a smile, “I want to get my PVC.”

“Where’s your temporary?”

I hand it over, take the only other available seat and proceed to dig into my phone.

Man shuffles through the stacks and stacks of plastic cards…once, twice. I am counting, spying from beneath lowered eyelids. When he starts a third time, I just know. Even before he says the words, I know…

“Oga, you no get card oh”

“Huh?”

“Your own no dey here,” he says.

Disappointment. First at myself because I have just realized that I expected to be told just that. And at INEC for proving my distrust well-founded.

“Okay,” I stay seated, looking with what I believe is a deadpan expression from one INEC face to the other. “So…” I try, “what’s going to happen now?”

Madam seated at the table seems surprised by my calmness; I can’t quite define the look on her face as surprise…I don’t know what it is but it makes me feel good…proud-good.

“Errr…oya bring his card.” She takes the laminated TVC from perplexed INEC guy and begins to write on an A4 sheet.

I am itching to see what it is she is writing, but I tamp down the urge. I sit still, harassing the touch-screen of my now battery-dead phone.

“Here.”

I stand, slip a lazy foot into one slip-on and take my outstretched TVC.

“Come back in three weeks for your card,” she says with a smile.

Jega postponed for six weeks so three weeks is ample time, I quickly calculate. “Okay thanks.”

I blast one grin at the trio and shuffle out in slow deliberate steps. I caught a glimpse of the A4; she’d written down the details – name, number, address, et al – from my TVC.

I know I’ll feel better coming for my PVC in three weeks than I did coming today.

Chisom

The Love Story of a Unilag babe and Bus Conductor

I came across this story on www.storried.com, a site that is making new waves by telling stories and changing the world. They have this thing called the Storried Monthly competition and this story written by Roy Ofili won the maiden edition. They say it’s a love story…me, I think it’s a helluva lot more. A reminder too – I have to do a love story soon.

Enjoy!

 


 

Bus-Conductor unilag babe

Something interesting happened on my way to Oshodi this morning. At the park this rough mean-looking conductor also known as “agbero” in Yoruba was screaming for passengers, his vernacular oscillating between Yoruba and pidgin English.

“Oshod! Oshod!” He shouted angrily as I along with some other passengers scuttled for seats. There was this beautiful young lady who couldn’t throw caution and decorum to the wind but waited patiently until the bus was almost filled. Then she pleaded to sit by the agbero until somebody came down then she would pay for a proper seat.

The agbero didn’t even look at her pretty face, he hissed and shouted to the driver to move that why didn’t she rush when others were rushing. The girl started pleading in Yoruba and clean ‘oyinbo’ english; “please, ejó, help me out sir, I know you are a good man, never mind all this shout you have been shouting (people burst into laughter). Let me sit by your side please”.

Finally with much squeezing of face the agbero relented and she sat beside him. It was a tight squeeze but she didn’t complain but rather started praising the agbero. He in turn started teasing her, speaking (and sometimes spitting by mistake) into her face but the girl never looked away, she never let the smile leave her face. He asked her where she worked and she replied that she was a student in the University of Lagos (UNILAG) studying accounting. He teased her in Yoruba about her boyfriend and car (maybe asking why her boyfriend didn’t drop her at her destination…she laughed it off and continued to gist with the guy in Yoruba.

When she reached her junction the agbero alighted the bus for her to come down. She did and paid her transport fare, then the agbero told her to give him a peck on the cheek for being so ‘gentlemanly’.  At this point some of us became indignant, haba! He had been teasing her since, he should let her go. Another argument almost ensued between the agbero and the passengers although it was not as if the agbero was really serious, he told her to go. Then it happened! She jumped forward and gave him a peck on the cheek! We all shouted, the agbero was quiet out of surprise. She then waved bye and ran down to her street.

The driver and other people started to hail the agbero, see hailing! The guy was just forming boss, saying he knew he was irresistible etc and others were yabbing (taunting) him, some were yabbing the girl and we moved on and suddenly the bus was quiet, show over. Then the agbero put his head down and became uncharacteristically quiet. The driver soon asked the guy why he wasn’t calling out bus-stop abi the girl don do am jazz (cast a spell on him). The agbero said something in Yoruba I didn’t get and then his voice became emotional and believe it or not HE STARTED CRYING. Others were now consoling him in Yoruba. When I asked what the problem was, the lady beside me explained that the agbero said he just realised he would never be able to get a girl like that in his life because he’s an uneducated bus conductor and she was going to be a graduate. He was weeping because he knew no girl of her class might ever do to him what that girl just did, to touch a dirty person like himself; that the girl is nice and well brought-up and if he had money he would have chased after her. So the passengers were consoling him in Yoruba that he would go higher in life and be able to marry a girl like that. He should not cry because itwas not the end of the road for him.

That really touched me.

For a moment in that agbero’s life, his facade of a street thug fell away and he was a vulnerable emotional aspiring young man, just like everybody else.

 

I am @ojukwu_martin on twitter

EBOLA…STILL GOING VIRAL

Still on the hottest issue in the country right about now, Ebola which is quite literally going viral all over; the market for hand sanitizers turned lucrative overnight as the demand rose following speculations that the chemicals were adequate protection against contracting Ebola. We recently learned though that hand sanitizers are anti-bacterial, whereas the Ebola is a virus whose survival abilities are on quite a different tangent from bacteria. Hand sanitizers are not ineffective – as they are great sanitary helps – but washing your hand with soap and water is just as effective, if not more in protecting you from picking up Ebola.

So beware of people with ads like this one I caught on Google…

Ebola

The information above and even more which you will find below were made available to us here at ‘Words Are Work’ by Chika Ibeh. The lovely young lady is a final year student of the College of Medicine, University of Lagos and very recently, she sat down with me to share some of the following invaluable knowledge about Ebola.

Ebola Virus Disease is caused by four of five viruses classified in the genus Ebola virus, family Filoviridae, order Mononegavirales. These five viruses include:

  • Bundibugyo virus (BDBV),
  • Ebola virus (EBOV),
  • Sudan virus (SUDV),
  • Taï Forest virus (TAFV).
  • The fifth virus, Reston virus (RESTV), is thought not to be disease-causing in humans.

 

HOW?

Many of us have heard that Ebola is caused primarily by fruit bats, and that we ought to ostracize all manner of bush meat from our diets as a result. If like me, you have wondered about the lack of any obvious connections between the fruit bats and traditional sources of bush meat, the following is for you – How Ebola passes on from fruit bats to man:

Ebola05

“Bats drop partially eaten fruits and pulp, then terrestrial mammals such as gorillas and duikers feed on these fallen fruits. This chain of events forms a possible indirect means of transmission from the natural host to animal populations, which have led to research towards viral shedding in the saliva of bats. Fruit production, animal behavior, and other factors vary at different times and places that may trigger outbreaks among animal populations. Transmission between natural reservoirs and humans are rare, and outbreaks are usually traceable to a single index case where an individual has handled the carcass of gorilla, chimpanzee, or duiker. Fruit bats are also eaten by people in parts of West Africa where they are smoked, grilled or made into a spicy soup. The virus then spreads person-to-person, especially within families, hospitals, and during some mortuary rituals where contact among individuals becomes more likely.”

 

PREVENTIVE CARE

Preventive care against the contraction of Ebola can be split in three: Pre – care to shore up defences against catching it; Peri – to shore up defences during a suspected outbreak; Post – care around carriers and Ebola-ridden corpses.

PRE-

  • Human consumption of equatorial animals in Africa in the form of bush-meat has been linked to the transmission of diseases to people, including Ebola. Abstinence from consumption of such is hereby strongly advised.
  • Reston Ebola virus (see classification above) in domestic animals should be tested for and controlled. No animal vaccine against RESTV is available. Routine cleaning and disinfection of pig or monkey farms (with sodium hypochlorite or other detergents) should be effective in deactivating the virus.
  • If an outbreak is suspected, the premises should be quarantined immediately. Culling of infected animals, with close supervision of burial or incineration of carcasses, may be necessary to reduce the risk of animal-to-human transmission. Restricting or banning the movement of animals from infected farms to other areas can reduce the spread of the disease.
  • As RESTV outbreaks in pigs and monkeys have preceded human infections, the establishment of an active animal health surveillance system to detect new cases is essential in providing early warning for veterinary and human public health authorities.
  • Pig farms in Africa can play a role in the amplification of infection because of the presence of fruit bats on these farms. Appropriate bio-security measures should be in place to limit transmission. Gloves and other appropriate protective clothing should be worn when handling sick animals or their tissues and when slaughtering animals. In regions where RESTV has been reported in pigs, all animal products (blood, meat and milk) should be thoroughly cooked before eating.

 

PERI

  • Human-to-human transmission of the Ebola virus is primarily associated with direct or indirect contact with blood and body fluids. It is not always possible to identify patients with EBV early because initial symptoms may be non-specific. For this reason, it is important that health-care workers apply standard precautions consistently with all patients – regardless of their diagnosis – in all work practices at all times. These include basic hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene, the use of personal protective equipment (according to the risk of splashes or other contact with infected materials), safe injection practices and safe burial practices.
  • Ebola06
  • Health-care workers caring for patients with suspected or confirmed Ebola virus should apply, in addition to standard precautions, other infection control measures to avoid any exposure to the patient’s blood and body fluids and direct unprotected contact with the possibly contaminated environment. When in close contact (within 1 metre) of patients with EBV, health-care workers should wear face protection (a face shield or a medical mask and goggles), a clean, non-sterile long-sleeved gown, and gloves (sterile gloves for some procedures).
  • Laboratory workers are also at risk. Samples taken from suspected human and animal Ebola cases for diagnosis should be handled by trained staff and processed in suitably equipped laboratories.
  • Reducing the risk of human-to-human transmission in the community arising from direct or close contact with infected patients, particularly with their bodily fluids. Close physical contact with Ebola patients should be avoided. Gloves and appropriate personal protective equipment should be worn when taking care of ill patients at home. Regular hand washing is required after visiting patients in hospital, as well as after taking care of patients at home
  • As an outbreak of Ebola progresses, bodily fluids from diarrhea, vomiting, and bleeding represent a hazard. Due to lack of proper equipment and hygienic practices, large-scale epidemics occur mostly in poor, isolated areas without modern hospitals or well-educated medical staff. Many areas where the infectious reservoir exists have just these characteristics. In such environments all that can be done is to immediately cease all needle-sharing or use without adequate sterilization procedures, isolate patients, and observe strict barrier nursing procedures with the use of a medical-rated disposable face mask, gloves, goggles, and a gown at all times, strictly enforced for all medical personnel and visitors.

 

POST

Ebola08

  • Communities affected by Ebola should inform the population about the nature of the disease and about outbreak containment measures, including burial of the dead. People who have died from Ebola should be promptly and safely buried.
  • All epidemics of Ebola have occurred in sub-optimal hospital conditions, where practices of basic hygiene and sanitation are often either luxuries or unknown to caretakers and where disposable needles and autoclaves are unavailable or too expensive. In modern hospitals with disposable needles and knowledge of basic hygiene and barrier nursing techniques, Ebola has never spread on a large scale. In isolated settings such as a quarantined hospital or a remote village, most victims are infected shortly after the first case of infection is present. The quick onset of symptoms from the time the disease becomes contagious in an individual makes it easy to identify sick individuals and limits an individual’s ability to spread the disease by travelling. Because bodies of the deceased are still infectious, some doctors had to take measures to properly dispose of dead bodies in a safe manner despite local traditional burial rituals.

 Ebola07

Life is precious, and singular. Preserve yours

Mention me @ojukwu_martin on twitter

My Beef with Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola

beef02 Aregbe03

The 57-year old former commissioner of Lagos state is the present governor of the state of Osun. Getting there was no ride in the park for him; he fought a dogged battle for his mandate following the results of the April 2007 elections, a battle which lasted nearly four years as he was not sworn in as governor until October, 2010.

I remember following the legal battles as a much younger man and rooting for him partly because I admired his tenacity, but also because I believed that only a man who was convincingly justified could hang on to a fight for that long. So when the October judgment came in his favor, I sent Governor Aregbesola a pat on the back via DHL – I am still waiting for him to acknowledge receipt.

loading-please-waitold06

 

When I was posted to Osun state a few years later for the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme, it felt to me like somebody in the highest was rewarding my support for the engineer governor’s cause. But one year later as I packed my bags to leave, I was neither an admirer nor a fan of Ogbeni Aregbesola.

My beef with Engineer Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola, Executive Governor of Osun state (State of the Living Spring) is a very rare beef. It is red, juicy and meaty, laden with strips and strips of milky, stringy akwara-ndu.

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The beef is justifiable because a lot of it is based on my personal experiences during the year I lived as a khaki-wearing tenant in one of the more rustic communities of the state. Because one can only masticate so much beef in one mouthful, this beef is restricted to the governor’s mishandling of education in Osun.

My primary assignment in Osun was to teach students of a secondary school and like many of my fellow corps members, I approached the job with enthusiasm and a burning zeal to impact positively in the lives of the young ones. But that zeal was soon ruptured because I quickly saw that the system was not designed for much positivity. The educational system I met in Osun state was held high up as a brilliant executive make-over; it was heralded both within and especially outside the state as a revelation – the resurrection of a hitherto dead system. But in heart-wrenching reality, it was still a corpse, only better suited.

The following lines will explain why:

  1. Communication:

In my first class teaching Physics to the SS3 class, something very akin to the following scenario ensued.

“Did you learn about motion in your SS1 and 2 classes?” I asked.

The class nodded as one.

“And the laws of motion?” Nod again.

“Good. How about force and friction, temperature and pressure? You know them?” Nod. Nod.

I was on a roll, flowing and very happy they were following.

Then I called up a girl in the front row. “Ope, please stand up and tell us what pressure is”.

Opeyemi stood – she was a thickset light-skinned girl whose round face made me think of a happy doll with her low-cut hair and marked ample cheeks. She said nothing, just stood with her fingers splayed out, palm down on the desk before her and eyes set on me.

I thought she was shy so I tried to reassure her. “Don’t worry,” I said, “You don’t have to quote your book, just explain it to me in your own words”

Ope stared on at me for a few moments more. Then she said, “Oga, só Yoruba

“What?” I asked, lost.

“Só Yoruba” she repeated, “Só Yoruba dí è dí è”

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Beautiful people of heaven and earth, she requested that I speak Yoruba to her, or in the least interject sprinklings of the vernacular in my lessons. The reason was that she could not understand the words I was saying in English. Neither could the rest of her SS3 classmates, who were all registered for and few months away from writing the West African School Certificate Examination at the time.

It was not just SS3 students though, and not just the students in my school. In Osun state, I met students who could not write if you dictated notes to them, and when you wrote the lecture notes out on the board, they drew it into their books because they could not read.

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I kid you not.

Maybe this deficiency exists in more Nigerian states than Osun. Maybe, but for Osun state whose government swears that education is a priority…tsk tsk tsk.

 

  1. ‘Free’ education:

Knowing his beginnings and the path that led him to the pinnacle of power in Osun state, Ogbeni Aregbesola should know that nothing that turns out good in life is ever given free of charge. Not good wealth, not good friends, not good health…and definitely not good education.

Perhaps the biggest irony of the government’s policy of ‘free’ education is that when critically analyzed, the system is not even free. A much-touted dividend of the ‘free’ education policy is the common uniform for all students of government-owned schools.

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About the ‘free’ school uniforms, parents in Osun state had the following to say: “the uniform wears out too quickly and cannot be purchased elsewhere than from the State approved company. We were made to wrongly believe that the uniform would be free as part of the Free Education policy when the first batch was distributed for free. However, purchasing another one afterwards costs about N2,000” (www.9ralife.com)

While we’re on the matter of parents, another sad result of the ‘free’ education system in Osun state is a complete and conscious self-dissociation from the education of their children by parents, especially the unenlightened. In many schools, the PTA was more or less nonexistent and where it did exist, it had no purse to fund events like student socio-cultural and end-of-term gatherings because the government decreed that parents not be levied. On market days, the classrooms dried up because parents sent their children to the market with wares for sale. And on other school days, one too many parents took their children to the farms.

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No chance, no time, school can wait.

In order to avoid such indolence by parents towards the education of their wards, and in fact, for the sake of reason considering the population of children involved, subsidized education is clearly a wiser path to tow than ‘free’ education. But His Excellency’s government will not hear of it.

 

  1. Opon Imo:

According to Aregbesola, Opon Imo is ‘a virtual classroom containing 63 e-books covering 17 academic subjects for examinations, an average of 16 chapters per subject and 823 chapters in all, with about 900 minutes or 15 hours of audio voiceovers…more than 40,000 JAMB and WAEC practice questions and answers…mock tests in more than 51 subject areas, which approximates to 1,22o chapters, with roughly 29,000 questions referencing about 825 images’.

I wish I could confirm or challenge any of these claims but I cannot because in all the months I spent teaching in Osun state, I never saw an Opon Imo tablet. Neither did my students, nor for that matter, any students in my local government of primary assignment. My enquiries revealed that it was a similar case in many other local governments across the state.

I do not know which students received the 50,000 units of Opon Imo tablets that the governor supposedly ‘distributed across the state’…

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Oh, there they are.

Still, I wish more of them ended up in the hands of the younger students, more than two-thirds of whom are yet to own one. And if they eventually do get the Opon Imo, I would like to ask Governor Aregbesola questions like: ‘Are the learning materials in English or Yoruba?’, ‘Who will teach the children to use the Opon Imo? No, not all the propaganda about support centres and ambassadors…really, who will teach them?’, ‘And you say it will phase out textbooks? How? More importantly, why?’

 

  1. Re-classification of schools:

Another key point of Ogbeni Aregbesola’s education policy is re-classification of schools into elementary school (5 years), middle school (4 years) and high school (3 years), as against the national education policy of 6-3-3. In addition, the re-classification had attendant mega schools which accommodated many small schools bringing children from different religious backgrounds under the same roof to learn.

The administration claimed that this new system would give the pupils more time at the middle school so as to be “better prepared for maturity into high school”.

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From my vantage point at the grassroots, all I saw the re-classification doing was tearing apart whatever hope was left for the struggling Osun child. These children were being taught WAEC syllabus in local parlance, had very minuscule grasp of English language as a result and even less significant academic and social abilities. It was therefore very tactless, in my opinion, to force upon them the rigors of such a transformation.

Seeing as a good number of students still struggled to grasp the technicality of writing their own names, it was disorienting to learn that their class was no more JSS 2 for example, but Grade 7. Many of them quit school when their classes were moved far away from them, to one of the mega schools. And consequently religious havoc erupted in the state as Muslim schools protested against having to conform to Christian students in their midst, and vice versa.

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The re-classification activity was not just unnecessary but potentially damaging to the struggle of education in the state of Osun. It was a badly conceived move by the governor’s administration and even worse, poorly executed which explains why in many rural communities, the change was just too burdensome that it was made only on paper.

I do not think that Engineer Rauf Aregbesola is a bad man with intentions to ruin Osun state. I think he is an intelligent man – his media and publicity contraptions are so robust that to observers from outside the walls of the state, he can do no wrong; I think he is a shrewd politician who in spite of all, manages to keep both the grassroots and elite smiling for the camera; and I think he is a man whose good intentions for his people are constantly at war with – and losing to – his personal and party political ambitions.

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Come Saturday, August 9, 2014, the people of Osun state will march to the polls to cast their votes for the person who will sit in the executive seat of the state for the next four years. My beef with the man currently in that seat does not project any ill will towards him. It merely calls attention to the potentially fatal tilt of the education system which I witnessed under his leadership.

Hopefully, Engineer Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola or his successor will pay attention; because otherwise, I fear for the future of the children in the state of the living spring.

I rest my beef.

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Locate me @ojukwu_martin on twitter