Misguided missiles: A professor who didn’t do his research! (2)
CONTINUED FROM TUESDAY
THE Foundation’s mission statement makes it crystal clear that it is not politically motivated. It is imperative that this salient point is understood. MOSWEF was in existence before Sen. Sunmonu ventured into politics and I am sure her prayer (and those of its beneficiaries) is that it will be in existence long after she leaves politics. That a public figures name is attached to a Foundation should never detract from the good work it does. In fact, having such a prominent name attached would only aid a Foundation to secure more funding and support which is a blessing. It is my hope that the Foundation will grow to be recognised across borders, simply because I am aware of the work it does.
To the JAMB forms, MOSWEF recently made JAMB forms available for students in a “Quest for Excellence”. Students were enjoined to write an application letter detailing why they require the assistance, what they want to study, their passion and were requested to attach copies of their school certificates and contact details. It is definitely not a “lottery” as jibed by Oyeniyi. You see, we who have seen MOSWEF at work over the years know that MOSWEF doesn’t do things the archetypal Nigerian way and this is where Oyeniyi is misdirected.
Oyeniyi posed the question as to whether there is a measure of the contributions these “alms” have made to the growth and development of Nigeria. Well, my good friend Kafayat Salam studies Anatomy at LAUTEC, Ogbomosho, Oyo State and has her tuition sponsored by MOSWEF. I also know Ayantola Alayande who was a beneficiary of MOSWEFs lesson programme and he is now in his 3rd year of Classic Studies at the University of Ibadan, he is the current PRO of the student union. Mr Olufemi Ogundipe was a beneficiary in 2002 and now works with in the Nigerian Immigration. These are products of the “alms/aid” Oyeniyi smirks at. I wonder if Kafayat, ‘Tola and Olufemi would agree with Oyeniyi that MOSWEF’s programmes were organised “by advisers who suggested these projects in their corrupt enrichment scheme”.
Unapologetically and quite wrongly he has paraded the efforts of an NGO unfairly. There is a clear misconception because the “Quest for Excellence Challenge” is an effort to encourage students to excel knowing that there is an organisation that cares and a helping hand will be offered. It is undoubtedly human capital development. I have detailed above some of the work MOSWEF has done. What else could be better than investing in the best of today in order to ensure a better tomorrow?
The premise of Oyeniyi’s essay is one that smacks of ridicule of the work done by NGOs around the world that carry out acts of humanity without profit, but Oyeniyi describes the work they do as an alleged “devious culture of alms and aid”. I must say that I was very disturbed to read Oyeniyi allege that competition over the location of aid-induced projects has intensified civil conflicts and social unrest, as though he had come across any evidence whatsoever to indicate that the work done by MOSWEF had caused such in the recent or distant past.
The reference to the hurricanes in New Orleans and Haiti actually have no place in his discourse, neither does the reference or figures in relation to aid given to Africa or Nigeria. Moreover, the attempt to make a very watery connection between aid given to Africa and link it to Nigeria and then to Oyo State though valiant seriously lacks cohesion. All he does is invite an attack on the party/government that ruled Nigeria between 1999-2015. Personally, I was not a member of or supporter of the party/government and it is very clear from MOSWEF’s mission statement that it is not politically motivated. Therefore, no further comment on this is needed.
I will however address the poignant issue raised calling for a Bill to be sent to the National Assembly “abrogating all fees” in educational matters. This is definitely something that the senator representing Oyo central should avert her mind to. In view of this I decided to read the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and found that as a consequence of the provisions therein the National Assembly (NASS) cannot legislate on all levels of education. The NASS is however empowered to legislate on tertiary education and above.
If Mr Oyeniyi would like for the NASS to make university education free for all entrants that would definitely be an unprecedented step. At a moment where Mr President is openly stating that the Nigerian economy is in dire straits, regardless of how desirable, I am not convinced that free university education is the way to go, particularly when you consider tuition fees in comparison to Ghana and South Africa. In fact, the recent trend across the world has been an increase in tuition fees because the revenue is needed. My stance is particularly fortified by live examples in the United Kingdom and parts of the United States where Oyeniyi himself is resident.
Lastly, it is extremely unfortunate that a Professor in the form of Oyenyi proffers that a senator is “voted into office to solely make law”. Such an assertion suggests that even those of us who considered being intellectuals need more educating as to the role of the legislature. The Constitution provides that the role of the legislature is not only law-making but includes executive oversight, a quasi-judicial role, representation and deliberation of national issues. This information is available on the NASS website!
The only logical conclusion from reading Oyeniyi’s essay is that not only has he did not do his research, but, he has made the mistake of not being able to differentiate between a senator’s personality and an NGO created before she entered politics. The question to be asked is would this attack have been made before she entered politics? Was his attack politically motivated- he will tell you no, the evidence suggests otherwise.
•Olaniyan, is a student and indigene of Surulere local government, Oyo state