A ROUNDTABLE OF WAILERS AND HAILERS OF THE NIGERIAN SPACE: MY ROUGH NOTES – Ridwan Adeniran

It was deemed necessary because of the fast approaching 2019 elections and the importance of debating among the electorates also.


On Tuesday, 22nd of January, the senior staff club of the University of Ibadan hosted an event with audience of scholars, students and members of the public at its complex within the school premises. The event was moderated by Prof Remi Raji and it was also streamed on his Facebook wall. The panelists expected were Prof Olabode Lucas, Prof Idowu Farai, Prof Francis Egbokhare, Prof Olusegun Ajiboye, Dr Gani Adeniran, Mr Wale Akinremi and Dr Olukemi Ademola-Aremu. However, Prof Olusegun Ajiboye and Prof Francis Egbokhare were unavoidably absent while Prof Rahman Akinoso was present as one of the panelists. The event was scheduled 4pm to 6pm. 

Mr. Lanre Oladoyinbo, the president of the club, addressed the audience stating that the event was an intellectual discussion of the state of governance in the country. It was deemed necessary because of the fast approaching 2019 elections and the importance of debating among the electorates also. The participant are scholars of repute believed to be good observers of present and past administrations in the country.

Prof Lucas Olabode (Department of Agronomy, Retired)

Former Dean Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, Former Dean of Post graduate school, Former Head of Department, Former Member of Governing Council among other achievements.

  • Neither a wailer nor hailer.
  • All recent government has failed the people of Nigeria.
  • Corruption is truly endemic, if it is not killed, it would kill the country. 
  • Corruption has started since the colonial era.
  • Sad the Boko Haram has not totally been defeated.
  • Wished the ballot paper would consist of names like Aminu Kano, Obafemi Awolowo, and other past leaders he believed are true visionary leaders Nigeria needs.

Prof Idowu Farai (Department of Physics)

Former Head of Department, Former Dean of Science amongst other achievements.

  • Proclaimed himself as a proud hailer of the Buhari’s administration.
  • Presented his points in a printed 2-page document tagged “President Mohammadu Buhari (PMB): 2019 and Beyond”. He shared the document with the audience.
  • From the document, he compared who a wailer is and who a hailer is.
  • He then gave 5 sections to his points. 

1. Where we were coming from

2. The reality of the situation now 

3. Our priorities now 

4. PMB modest achievements 

5. Constraints 

Dr Gani Adeniran (Department of Veterinary Pathology)

Former Member of Governing Council among other achievements.

  • From his arguments, he was a wailer than a hailer.
  • Started by statin his name as a panellist must be due to the fact that he has been tough in putting his mouth where his money his.
  • Believed government should know that they as intellectuals are easy to rule but not to deceive. And easy to govern but not easy to enslave.
  • Pointed the fact that it’s an act of insincerity to grade altogether the 16 years of PDP and not personal administrators of each regime.
  • Presented different newspapers and read the headings in which the statements of the present government were contradictory. This included issues around party supremacy, interest of presidency in affairs of legislature, the oil cabals after the government and corruption in NNPC.
  • Stated that the present government has not done enough on its 3 major campaign promises of fighting corruption, strengthening security (boko haram insurgency and now herdsmen wahala) and reviving the economy.
  • Stated that the APC government moved the nation into recession. He considered deeply the exchange rate in Jonathan’s era and that in Buhari’s era.
  • Stated boko haram is still surviving and with their strategies, they are still very deadly.

Prof Rahman Akinoso (Department of Food Technology)

  • Described himself as a proud hailer of the present administration and described Buhari as Omo Ologo (child with glory).
  • Emphasized Buhari is a man of honour and integrity. And also a president with incomparable synergy with his vice in the history of the country.
  • Drew attention to the fact that Buhari is running a progressive government. Like Awoists (followers of Obafemi Awolowo), Like Buharists. He asked if there has been a word like Obasanjoist?
  • Said past administration depleted the nation’s reserve with their practices in government.
  • Mentioned Buhari achievements to include Niger/Delta Bridge being handled by Julius Berger, Upgrading of Port Harcourt and Abuja airports (and that other airports are also in plan).
  • Described corruption as a killer of productivity, reality and creativity. And it is rooted in politicians, civil servants and businessmen. He described Buhari as a fighter of corruption both within his party members (mentioned Dariye as an example) and within opponents.
  • Described Buhari as a disciplinarian who likes to follow due process.
  • Praised the government that has spent about 2.7 trillion on capital projects (about 800 billion in 2018), increased power from 3500MW to 7000mw, instituted 14 moribund fertilizer plants, and promoted production of local rice.
  • Stated that Buhari government is not a corrupt government that would move dollars around to buy votes.
  • Praised the idea of the social investment programs (including Npower). That the 30,000 payment has had a cushion effect on graduates employed and that will not turn beneficiaries (mainly youths) to devil’s workshop.
  • Described visitation of presidents of countries like France, Germany, Turkey, Italy, Cameroon and others as a great honour for the country. And also the invitation by Donald Trump of USA too.
  • Mentioned the countries has also won many laurels in sports and other sectors in Buhari administration.
  • Described the recognition of MKO Abiola as the winner of June 12, the conferment of GCFR and also declaration of June 12 as Democracy Day as a remarkable honour.
  • Described the Buhari government as one that stopped the bad “business as usual” mentality.
  • Mentioned that most of people against the present administration would only say they do not want Buhari without any justifiable reasons.

Mr Wale Akinremi (Former President, Senior Staff Association of Universities)

  • He is hailer turned wailer. He supported Buhari last election but very disappointed in the administration. He illustrated saying if you love a son and he did a wrong thing. You warn him, if he is not taking to correction you scold him.
  • Said politicians are fond of giving statistics that are not existing.
  • Drew attention to the fact that someone being hailed does not translate to the fact that he is doing the right thing.
  • Lamented that things he could afford in the era of the supposed corrupt government, he cannot afford them now. He said corruption is still in circulation.
  • Said there is poverty in the land – poverty of education, poverty of intellect.
  • Wondered how a professor of law would go about sharing 10,000 for business capital.
  • Felt the health challenges of the president should prompt him to ensure establishment of a good health system in the country. This he believed would reduce the medical tourism to UK, Israel and other developed country.
  • Mentioned that there many illegal routes into the country and none successfully blocked.
  • Drew attention to a clip that showed a governor of a state collecting bribe (in dollars) and president said he was not sure if the clip was doctored.
  • Said there are no political parties in the country. Political parties are established based on ideologies but in Nigeria, politicians move from one party to another for selfish interests. They always find a way to reconcile after elections.
  • Lamented on issues of nepotism, non-implementation of agreement with established bodies, corruption and no respect for rule of law.
  • Drew attention to the fact that money would still be borrowed to finance the 2019 budget.
  • Said aside Abacha government, it is the present government that has not make effort to increase workers salary. Stating that Obansanjo’s regime though increased fuel prices, but also increased workers salary.
  • Believed the country needs strong institutions not strong leaders.

Dr Olukemi Ademola-Aremu (College of Medicine, University of Ibadan)

A toxicologist. A gender activist. A communication expert (writing and broadcasting) amongst other achievements.

  • She said she wails loudly. For nursing mothers losing their babies to illnesses. For increased in numbers of children leaving schools. For men sending their wives out because they could not cater for them again. For graduates (youths) crying for jobs. For people dying quietly for lack of care. For youths that cannot marry at the right time.
  • Said the country has made same mistakes many times and more than 80% of citizens cannot even articulate their pains. 
  • Drew attention to the fact that the country has been ranked the 5th in list of countries with suicidal attempt.
  • Mentioned there is a need for revolution.
  • Wondered why citizens hail and wail the same leading class every time. 
  • Wondered the kind of leaders that sleep when salaries of worker are not paid. When women die for giving birth.
  • Described the system as oligarchy of two parties. And local governments is incapacitated by state governments.
  • Asked the big churches and mosques to establish factories for their members.
  • Asked the rich to pump back what they have stolen.
  • Lamented on issues that have been tagged “women problem” like prostitution, child marriage, gender inequality, women abandonment and criminalities that are increasing on daily basis.
  • Concluded that the country needs a support-based movement, coalition of good forces politics and politicking for good, a good government from the local level, comprehensive reforms and the PDP is not a better alternative to present APC government.
  • For a mind that knows is a mind that’s free.

Some Questions and Comments Discussed

  • Has the production of rice decrease food scarcity?
  • What solution has been made to issues of herdsmen?
  • Ganduje, Akpabio, Babachir walk freely despite having corruption cases, is that not enough to justify the corruption fight is selective?
  • Buhari campaigned against subsidy and medical tourism, is he not an ambassador of both now?
  • Has the condition of an average Nigerian improved in present administration?
  • Who is in control of the government?
  • People are wailing because they believe good people are not in power.
  • The level of poverty is a justifiable reason for the 10,000 grants to traders.
  • Discussions have focused more on Buhari than other candidates.

Dr Temitope Omotayo (Department of Adult Education, Tai Solarin University of Education)

  • A man that benefitted in coup against a civil government cannot claim civility.
  • The road networks are still in bad conditions (with special mention of roads leading to Abuja) 

Prof Tunji Olaopa (Executive Vice Chairman, Ibadan School of Government and Public Policy)

  • It is sad that the issue still is about picking a better evil.
  • It is very true that there is incredible level of corruption.
  • Nigerians bought change they did not interrogate bringing about a new brand of corruption and nepotism.
  • Has Nigeria improved? Yes
  • Competition will be more beneficial for good governance. And it is one of the reasons Lagos-Ibadan road has the attention needed.
  • Nigeria needs more (positively) aggressive electorates.
  • Nigeria problems are based on its structure. Restructuring is truly needed.

The audience included Prof Adebisi Sowunmi, Prof Ayo Oluleye, Dr Sola Olorunyomi, Members of Association of Nigerian Authors, and Dr Wale Okediran amongst other personalities. The Diamond FM crew and Nigerian Tribune were also present.

Prof Remi Raji appreciated the mutual respect panellists showed in their arguments without casting aspersions. The decorum of the audience was also appreciated. 

Dr A.O Ige, the vice president of the club, gave the closing remarks and vote of thanks. He promised such gathering will still be coming up after the elections.

The DJ threw the Fela’s Authority Stealing into the air as the audience dispersed few minutes to 7PM.

A ROUNDTABLE

This account is a simple understanding of an observer at the event. 


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