Why this dehumanization? Why must Nigerian students suffer like refugees in their motherland just to purchase Direct Entry Form? Why do we progress only to retrogress? Why a step forward but two steps backward? Why is JAMB undoing what it has perfectly done and for which it has received several commendations? It is a pity that Nigerian students suddenly become homeless not due to the inability of their parents to pay house rent. It is not due to flood, hurricane, bandit attack, or war. But due to their eagerness to seek admission into higher schools. Is that a crime?
We have many people at the helms of affairs who are completely bereft of human feelings. Thus, they cannot sympathise, nor can they empathise. When Joint Admissions Matriculation Board JAMB’s Head of Media and Information, Dr Fabian Benjamin was asked about Nigerians (admission seekers) sleeping outside JAMB office in Lagos, his response struck me as if by a lightning—I was struck dumb. He coldly said: “I am not aware”, “Nobody has slept there.” JAMB’s information officer denied the reality of admission-seekers-turned-‘refugees’? This is a blatant lie, and, of course, a callous lie.
What is the genesis of this unfortunate suffering? JAMB insists on physical registration, thus, cancelling online registration which it had done successfully over the years. Are we progressing or retrogressing? From digital to analogue!? Understandably, JAMB allegedly reverted to physical registration to curb malpractices like result falsification, fraudulent registration etc. Are there no ways to do it seamlessly? JAMB designated some accredited centres for the purpose of registration which includes getting their biometrics done and all that. What happened to these centres? If these centres are not trusted anymore, then JAMB should do away with Direct Entry registration deadline. After all, Direct Entry is not an examination. It should be allowed through out the year. It is very obvious that registering thousands of applicants at a single office in every state is too herculean for JAMB to undertake seamlessly with a stipulated deadline.
Did I say Direct Entry is not an examination? I just read, as I was writing this article, that henceforth Direct Entry applicants will start writing examination. This, in my understanding, is a subtle way to say certificates awarded by colleges of education, polytechnics, and other A Level examination bodies in Nigeria are not to be trusted anymore. Why not cancel these institutions if certificates they award are disdained and deficient in the eyes of JAMB? In this same JAMB examination, all you need to score is F9 (140 or 120 out of 400) to gain admission into universities. I am afraid, one day, university graduates in Nigeria will be asked to take exams and pass before participating in the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) because some useless Nigerians forge degree certificates. I hope we can refocus our thinking to address other salient issues.
JAMB should tread with care lest admission seekers, out of anger and frustration, behave like Seun Kuti (the chief slapper). JAMB staff may not escape our youths’ slaps. JAMB should know that a policeman was recently slapped. It is true that Nigerians have an axe to grind with Nigerian police because of their highhandedness. Yet, when composure is lost and one is taken over by emotion, what follows is madness. Seun Kuti is obviously not mad, he exhibited madness—he behaved recklessly and madly—no doubt.
Supposedly educated and urbane, he behaved like agbero (I mean Lagos thugs) in that viral video where he physically assaulted a police officer.
As if he was an illiterate. Even some illiterates will definitely cringe at Seun’s rascality. Though an activist and a radical, but radicalism is not synonymous with madness. Though a celebrity known beyond the shores of Nigeria, but celebrity does not make one irresponsible. It is true that many Nigerians, if not most, do not hide their hatred for Nigerian police; yet Nigerian police are humans and should be treated as such. It is true that brutalism is one of the major characteristics of Nigerian police, so when ordinary citizen, like Seun, becomes brutal why then do we blame the police? The wings of some of these celebrities need to be clipped.
Though politicians are at the centre of lawlessness in Nigeria, one only needs some social capital, acquired wrongly of rightly, to trample upon the law.
Lawlessness in Nigeria is already a norm, government is advised to wake up to her responsibility before the Country gets enmeshed in a full scale chaos. Grudges against Nigerian police over the years account for this kind of thoughtless outburst. It is not clear to me what the policeman who was slapped did (or fail to do) to merit Seun’s slaps.
What is clear is that the police was slapped by an ordinary citizen in a way a teacher in public school could not dare slap a school boy. If law exists in Nigeria, I mean its relic, Seun should be made to feel its existence. And if justice will be allowed to swing into action, not only Seun’s brutality against this policeman in question needs be addressed, this is the right time to address the brutality Nigerians suffer—on daily basis—in the hands of Nigerian police. Enough is enough!
It is ironical that Seun, a purportedly human right activist, slapped a policeman which, in that social context, is an undergod. By his action, many rights were abused. Whatever it is that the policeman must have done wrong—at least in what we saw in the video—he does not deserve that public humiliation. If the senior Kuti’s song is anything to go by, the assaulted police officer should seize this opportunity to get money. Seun’s father, Fela Anikulapo Kuti (also known as abami eda—the mysterious creature), sang a song then in the 1970s Gba mi leti ki n dolowo (slap me make I get money) to address the class system in Nigeria where the rich are the lords and the poor are degraded slaves.
Though I don’t believe a musician can, by virtue of their music, be a philosopher. Philosophers are way greater people in intelligence, advocacy, and character. But if a musician could actually be a philosopher, then Fela is. I know Fela had many encounters with Nigerian police. I don’t know if he was ever slapped to get money.
However, here is his son (Seun), after almost five decades, slapped a policeman. Obviously Seun was not born when his father sang that song, he has ironically grown up to slap a policeman. He acted arrogantly and paradoxically—in reverse order—to his father’s song to be the slapper rather than being the slapped. He acted as a promoter of classism but his father sang against classism. In other words, Fela is an egalitarianist and stood for that through out his life, while Seun, though not necessarily a classist, behaved like a classist in that encounter with—or rather humiliation of—police officer. This life no balance!
Nigerian Police! Let the law take his course on Seun for his disgraceful act but that must be within the ambit of the law. I have seen some grandstanding by Nigerian police. This might be counter productive.
JAMB’s registrar, Professor Ishaq Olarewaju Oloyede! You started well and have achieved a lot, please end well. May God help you to relieve Nigerian admission seekers from this unnecessary pain. May we all end well.