Musawwara and Chidi approach the door of the class and start pushing each other. A fight breaks out and insults are traded.
Everyday I meet with children of diverse backgrounds struggling with socialization.
Parents and teachers complain of badly behaved kids. There is a growing fear that the next generation would be worse than ours.
Children are impatient, rude, disorderly and without a guide on how to act in social situations.
Parents, teachers and other educators are at a loss on steps to take to salvage the situation.
I am interested in helping raise better behaved kids.
Learn more here:
The Curriculum Organization of Nigeria (CON) held its 30th annual conference in Zaria, with the theme: Curriculum and community development, from the 20th to 23rd September, 2017. Academic conferences of this nature are usually a forum for scholars and intellectuals to cross fertilize ideas relevant to developing human capital within the field and the society at large. I was excited when I saw the flyer and call for conference papers. I had previously only attended one conference many years ago as a reluctant observer. I looked forward to an intellectually stimulating event. I and a fellow doctorate student prepared a paper extracted from my Masters’ thesis.
The shut down of the Ahmadu Bello university, as with other government universities due to the workers strike necessitated the moving of the conference to the National Institute of Transport Technology (NITT), Bassawa, Zaria. That not withstanding, I looked forward eagerly to the conference sessions.
One of the discomforting things I noticed pre conference was the lack of publicity outside of faculty notice boards. No social media hashtags, no press release, no media chats, no adverts on print or electronic media. On further probe, I discovered that the CON has no functional website, Facebook page, twitter handle or LinkedIn account. The academic class in Nigeria needs to step up its game. When undergraduates and even those who don’t have formal education organize shows and other such events,the hype and publicity can be overwhelming. Why can’t intellectuals do better?
The conference itself began in an atmosphere of disorder. For an event that was running its 30th edition, there was a gaping hole of proper organization. Maybe it was due to the strike. None of the programs of event started on schedule, there was a rowdiness about the entrance to the venue, that gave the impression of a market. In this digital age, the programs where to manual for my liking. What’s wrong with online registration and accreditation? Due to the lack of proper management of the logistics, the technical sessions where rushed and lacked depth. Over a hundred academic papers were presented, discussed and critiqued in less than two hours!
I felt a lack of intellectual vigour during the paper presentations and discussions. I was pissed that most discussants were more interested in academic technicalities such as font size, pagination, referencing style, page layout etc. No comments on relevance of papers to society, no matching of findings with present realities. I just had my abstract read and took a bow.
Another thing that ticked my curiosity was the loud absence of any delegation or individual from state or federal ministries of education, UBEB, SUBEB, association of principals, teachers union, private schools. I felt these should be the major beneficiaries of the research papers presented at such conferences. The conference was populated by post graduate students like myself and early level university teachers looking to boost their CVs.
The media was also conspicuously absent throughout the conference. No cameras or tapes to transmit academic findings to the rest of the world. The academia needs to close ranks with the media to serve society better with their research. Scholarly works and discoveries should not be confined to the ivory towers or academic circles. The larger society needs to be given an opportunity to intercourse with academic research.
The next CON conference is scheduled for Jos in 2018. Your time starts now!
It was a cloudy and cool Monday morning in Kaduna, when I proceeded to the train station in Rigasa, to board for the first time a train of any sort. Prior to the that day, many people had given sca…
It was a cloudy and cool Monday morning in Kaduna, when I proceeded to the train station in Rigasa, to board for the first time a train of any sort. Prior to the that day, many people had given scary stories of how Rigasa is a sort of front line hell on earth. I felt I would have nothing but my naked body by the time a got to the train station from Kano road. Although it was a bumpy ride, through the very dilapidated communities on that axis of Kaduna, the people looked peaceful and happy. Images of Chimamanda’s “The Dangers of a Single Story” came to mind as we stuttered through. I believe that any community without proper basic amenities, schools, drainage and health care would produce disillusioned and criminal minds irrespective of the ethnicity or religion of the inhabitants. This is evident in slums from Rio to New York to Rigasa. When I dropped at the Rigasa junction, fear in mind, there was a kind gentleman, who made it a point of duty to get me a bike ride to the train station without exploitation. There is always another side to their story.
I arrived at the station at 9.30am, about an hour before take off time. There was a buzz of activity around the station, from mai shai, suya sellers, food vendors, hawkers to taxi and keke drivers hustling for passengers. I shoved my way through to the gate, where a friendly security guard frisked my person and scanned my bags. There was a long queue at the ticketing booth and I joined in. About 6 minutes later I was three people to the front of the queue, when I saw her. Tall, dark, gaped toothed and beautiful, she flashed a smile at me as she approached me, my heart skipped two beats. She came closer, touched my shoulder and brought her lips to my right ear; “Can you help me get one first class ticket, the line is too long”, she whispered. Do the right thing, my conscience told me, and I agreed to do justice. So I looked at her, shook my head and said, “Ok, I will help you”. I guess my heart is to soft to do the right thing, when a damsel is involved. I as approached the booth, I was informed that first class tickets finished about two hours before then. I turned to my new found girlfriend and informed her of the bad news. She shrugged and told me with her eyes; get anyone that is available. I paid for two second class tickets and while waiting for my change a middle aged man walked up to me and said: “buy one ticket for me.” My moral compass became functional again, “go and join the queue”, I snapped at him. “I don’t have money, I want you to buy for me”, he replied. For this recession, I thought to my self as I collected my change and tickets and left him standing there. Where is my baby? There she is! We walked together to the mass of people standing in front of the boarding area. There was so much disorder, we wondered what was going on. We pushed our way through to the front, where we discovered there was no waiting lounge or room! That was a shocker. Even bus stations have spaces for passengers to wait for their buses na! We had to wait outside under the scorching sun for boarding time which was about 30 minutes away, thank God, the heavens did not cry that day. My babe met some of her friends and they got into the selfie mode, while I was employed as back up photographer. I left them and strolled across the road to catch some breakfast.
The mass movement of people towards the glass doors of the boarding area hinted me it was time to move. It was chaotic, despite the best efforts of the Policemen and NRC staff, people refused to be orderly. I waited behind for the disorder to clear before I coolly walked through to the platform. I wonder when Nigerians would realize that patience is a virtue. Everyone always in a hurry and stepping on reason just to get ahead. There was another round of scanning before the boarding platform, tickets were inspected and we were directed to our appropriate coaches. As usual, some people tried to play a fast one, by going into the first class coach with economy tickets, they were bounced!
I was excited to finally be on board a train for the first time in my life The interior was neat, well arranged and cool on the eyes. There were no seat numbers on the tickets, so we sat anywhere we chose. As I walked through the aisle, I scoped and scanned for my lost girlfriend, there she was at the back, or front of the coach with her loud friends. I smiled as I approached, but she did not seem to notice me. So you did not keep a sit for me, I asked. “Sorry”, she said, casually, without looking at me. Heart break, on the train!
I walked into the next coach and grabbed a window seat. There was quite a large space for bags above the green cushioned seats. The coaches are quite spacey with ample leg room. The cushions were nice and comfy with a good recline angle. I had a talkative chappie as a seat mate.
He kept distracting me, with talk as I tried to savour the view of the passing communities. Funny enough, he was by my side again on my return trip three days later from Idu station. The Idu station is a replica of an airport, with good toilet facilities and an air-conditioned waiting room resplendent in white.
The train moved at varying speed throughout the journey, we slowed down at active stations like Rijana and Jere to pick passengers and some inactive stations like Kakakau. There were small screens high above, along the length of the aisle for entertainment. Everybody hates Chris was on show on this trip. I would have preferred some local entertainment (though I am not a fan of nollywood) than the American comedy. On my return trip it was The Avengers on show. We coasted through massive farmlands and communities along the route and I saw the wasting riches of this great country. From my vantage point at the window, I saw the back waters of Nigeria and potentials that could be harnessed for National development.
We cruised into Kubuwa station about 2 hours and 10 minutes after taking off from Rigasa The station at Kubuwa was bigger and more equipped than the Rigasa station. There were cabs, tricycles and bikes to take passengers to various destinations in town.
I checked one last time for my girlfriend, there she was, at the back seat of a car. As they drove towards me, the car slowed down, I whipped out my phone to exchange contacts. She smiled at me, blew me a kiss and said; “thanks for the help hun”. I stood, speechless, as the car left a trail of white dust as it drove off, crunching the gravel road.
Roald Dahl, the whimsical and wicked mind behind Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, and other famous children’s literature, would have turned 100 on September 13, 2016. Here are seven stories about the man behind these tales.