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University education as mere meal ticket…

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By Bola Bolawole <> turnpot@gmail.com <>

0807 552 5533

Last week, the news went viral of a graduate of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, Oyo state who, on account of his failure to secure a job six years after graduation, returned his certificate to the school and demanded a refund of the money he paid as school fees. It is a well-known journalism parlance that when a dog bites a man, it is no news but when a man bites a dog, bedlam! So, this bad news got copious mention in both social and traditional media. Not long afterwards, the alumni association of the university in question were reported to have come to the “rescue” of the troubled jobless man with a donation of N500,000. Let us take a look at how one of the news mediums reported the story. Titled “Nigerian graduate, who returned certificate to alma mater, receives N500,000 support”, it reads: A graduate of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomosho, Oyo State, Osunleke Alaba, who recently returned his certificate to the institution requesting refund of his fees during his studentship, has received N500,000 start-up fund support from the alumni association. Mr Alaba, who graduated from the Department of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development, had complained about the “worthlessness” of his certificate following his failure to secure a job many years after his graduation. In a video that went viral, Mr Alaba caused a scene at the reception of one of the school’s administrative buildings, claiming his parents are already tired of his perpetual dependence on them. He said if he received his fees charged him throughout his five-year programme, he could spend it to develop his innate artistic talent.

“I returned the certificate because it had no impact on my existence. I asked for a refund of the fees paid in school so I could use it to build my talent and live a meaningful life. I am an entertainer and even won the MTN talent hunt award during my service year in 2016”. The father of two further said despite his efforts to improve the living condition of his family, he has continued to get advice for him to engage in ritual activities to be rich “but I can never do that. My dad is 90 years old but I continue to borrow money from him rather than give him. All I seek now is help in any form for me to pursue my entertainment career. I don’t want my career wasted.”

Less than a week after the video clip of his weird request went viral on social media, the university’s alumni association came to his aid. In a fresh post on his Facebook page, Mr. Alaba said the alumni association presented him with a cheque of N500,000. He said; “I hereby seize this medium to express my deep appreciation to the Global Body of LAUTECH Alumni as outstandingly led by the President, Hon. Onilede Solomon, popularly known as LIMO; the Board of Trustees, and the Oyo State Chapter of the Association for their presentation of the #500,000 cheque to me today. May Almighty God continue to be with you and all members of the association for their show of love and support! I thank you once again.”

The story is as pathetic as it is sad and unfortunate but not, in my view, in the pedestrian sense that many may view it; that is, that this man could not get a paid job after six years of graduation; that he still relied on his aged father for sustenance; and that he has a wife and two children to cater for. I prefer to view it from the other side of the coin: That a man passed through the university without the university passing through him; for that is the import of his declaring his years in the university as a colossal waste. If he is right, then, not only his own time was wasted but also the time of the teachers that taught him. The space he occupied, which could have gone to a worthier student, was also wasted. University education – and the university environment itself – is not only about learning to bag a certificate, it is also about character formation; about developing and forging long-lasting relationships; and about developing an independent and analytical mindset. It is a veritable ground that fertilizes one’s imagination and creates the capacity not just to face challenges in the larger society but also to explode with ideas, with creativity and innovativeness as the new graduate conquers the world, as it were. But for our man here, university education is about acquiring a certificate and the certificate is nothing but a meal ticket. Pure and simple!

I asked Goggle for the main purpose of university education and it says it “exposes students to new research and technology… Studying at university encourages creative and independent thought… University life exposes students to other cultures and backgrounds” I asked again for the benefits of university education and Goggle listed 10; namely: increased access to job opportunities; preparation for a specialized career; increased marketability; increased earning potential; economic stability; networking opportunities; a pathway to advancement; personal growth and improved self-esteem; higher job satisfaction; and positive return on investment. It would appear our man here froze at the very first benefit, which is, securing a paid employment; once that was not forthcoming, he did not bother himself to explore the other vistas that his university education could have opened up unto him. And the reasons for this may not be far to fetch.

The quality of education on offer today: Most of the curriculum is archaic; emphasis is on rote learning with little or no meaningful practicality. Teachers teach to pass or fail students; not necessarily to impart the knowledge in them that will prepare them for the challenges that await them in the larger society. Students study or cut corners to pass examinations and obtain a meal ticket. Everyone leaves the university expecting to land a white collar job and begin the upward mobility to join the privileged class. Craze for materialism is in vogue: Less work, big pay! The get-rich-quick syndrome is everywhere prevalent. Many are still nostalgic about what university education used to offer here: Instant job opportunities; job recruitments were done right on university campuses; multiple job opportunities were usually there for graduating students to pick and choose from; car loans a few months into a job, etc. I witnessed employers visiting our campus at Ife in my first and second year but it fizzled out before my final year!

I must, therefore, admit that successive administrations have mismanaged not just university education but the country as a whole. These days, only the children of the privileged get jobs. Even teaching jobs, which used to be despised, have become like gold. You must know somebody who knows somebody before you can stand a chance of landing a teaching job even in the remotest rural areas these days. But thank God for social media and globalization. Our children and youths who are not voting with their feet in search of any pasture at all abroad are increasingly learning to hook on to the global economy for survival. Many of them live here but work for companies abroad, earning cool foreign exchange. Those who may have problems are those who are not technology savvy. Can someone please tell Osunleke Alaba that it is not all our youths making cool money here that are into cultism and Yahoo-Yahoo! Many are doing genuine business and I encourage Alaba to do likewise.

For someone who read Agricultural Extension and Rural Development, it amazes me that he could go without a job for years and yet could not fathom what he could do with his hands on the farm. We have plenty of arable land: How, for God’s sake, could he not find something to do in an agrarian society like Nigeria? He said he is into entertainment and that he even won an award but did it not occur to him that no one entertains or gets entertained on empty stomach? No job; no means of livelihood; dependent on an aged father; yet, he got married and has fathered two children! What is this man’s definition of responsible behaviour?

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has been on strike for seven months: We have read stories of undergraduates who have taken advantage to learn new trades and move into new endeavours. We have read stories of two who have even written applications that have turned them into multi-millionaires. When school resumes, the likelihood is that many students already making waves in their new endeavours may choose not to return to school. So, Alaba’s problem is not in his stars or in his alma mater but in himself as a person. The alumni people that rushed to gift him some money did not think the matter through before acting hastily. It is like they were too eager to hug the limelight and benefit from the publicity elicited by Alaba’s showmanship. But, pray, how will N500,000 cure the disease of someone seemingly lacking in ideas and bereft of purpose?

*Former Editor of PUNCH newspapers, Chairman of its Editorial Board and Deputy Editor-in-chief, BOLAWOLE was also the Managing Director/ Editor-in-chief of the Westerner newsmagazine. He writes the “ON THE LORD’S DAY” column in the Sunday Tribune and “TREASURES” column in the New Telegraph newspapers. He is also a public affairs analyst on radio and television.

GidiNews is exclusively designed to cover and report Lagos, Nigeria's commercial capital city. We bring you news updates, reports, opinions and analyses in Politics, Business, Sports, Entertainment, Crime, Health and Education among others. GOT NEWS FOR US? Reach us: +2349090870065, +2348055441309

OPINIONS

Baba K. O. Latunji: The Final Bow

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By Gani Adeniran

K. O. Latunji. By his transition to the great beyond on Friday, September 16th 2022 at 92 years, Ibadan again lost one of its finest community leaders, a great coordinator of friendships and all good things, a highly cerebral lawyer and a defender of all that is noble and virtuous, Baba Karimu Oladele Latunji, popularly known as K. O. LATUNJI.

The likes of Chief Richard Akinjide, SAN, Chief Bode Akindele (Parakoyi Ibadan) and Chief Adebayo Adetunji (Baba Onisiga), being of the same age-bracket, had earlier pre-deceased Baba Latunji in the glorious payment of the debt that we all owe. They and the others still alive were the first set of Ibadan educated elites who excelled in their various chosen careers and championed the course of Ibadanland to the best of their abilities.

My earliest recollection of Baba Latunji was about 1972 through my age-mate and friend, Kola Afolabi, who was at Comprehensive High School, Aiyetoro while I was at Ilesa Grammar School. Kola usually dropped his name as if he was his biological father! Baba Latunji was his idol. Later I got to know that Kola’s mother and Chief Latunji were of the same paternal parentage. Chief Latunji hailed from Itabale Olugbode (with concurrent ties with Oranyan) both in the present Ibadan North East Local Government. My late mother being from Iyalode compound at Itabale Olugbode was also familiar with Chief Latunji being one of the earliest lawyers of the time. In 1973, my mother had won a shop at the Shopping Complex built by Ibadan City Council at Agodi Gate through competitive bidding. Chief K. O. Latunji also had his office in the area.

My mother had apparently ran foul of some of terms of tenancy agreement and she was going to be dispossessed of the shop. The person holding onto the shop for her while she was in Abidjan, Ivory Coast (where she was an itinerant trader) was playing a fast one and had sought Chief Latunji’s retainership without my mother’s consent. On a particular day in 1976, upon my return from Ilesa, I led my mother to Chief Latunji’s chamber and, lo and behold, we met that particular man in the lawyer’s office!

As the man and Baba were speaking in English and I couldn’t understand much of their conversation, my mother, sensing injustice, got impatient and left furiously! The rest is history now. I later became very close to Chief Latunji and he honoured me with his presence in all the social gatherings that I duly invited him. He would attend usually in the company of Basorun Kola Daisi. Baba has a good sense of history and I readily remember his various interventions on critical issues involving Ibadan, be it in the appointment of commissioners, chief judges, justices, including the location of important facilities, and dates of settlement of misunderstanding. He once told me of his influence in the resolution of the impasse between a military Governor and late Labanji Bolaji, a very highly respected and incorruptible journalist in the Sketch newspaper.

Being trained in the best tradition of the English Bar, justice, equity and fairness were his watchwords. About two years ago, a friend of mine had approached me about a land that belonged to Baba which he bought through a third party and a ranking lawyer but he never perfected the deal. He himself now wanted to sell the land. I led my friend to Baba Latunji who remembered the allocation very well. Chief asked him to go back to the lawyer who sold the land to him in order to perfect the deal and collect the relevant documents.

He said it would be unprofessional for him to give out copies of the document. Moreover, Baba said that the lawyer was the son of his long-standing friend and fellow lawyer (now deceased). Sensing that my friend didn’t want to go back to the lawyer to collect the document, Chief Latunji told him that he could send for the lawyer right now and he would come. My friend said that he preferred that Baba should conclude the deal for him. Baba then told my friend pointblank that he would still charge his professional fees from the ranking lawyer anytime he turned up. Baba would not have the devious way of my friend who wanted to cut corners and play one lawyer against another lawyer! As we left Baba’s house, my friend confessed that it was the fear of possible payment of additional fees that made him to seek Baba’s help in the matter.

Generally, Baba was very jovial and accommodating; he would listen patiently to you before offering a response. Just before he turned 90, he started to will his legal obligations to younger lawyers including the chamber where my daughter-in-law worked. I must not fail to add that Baba enjoyed a good social life. During one of my daughters’ wedding, I had him served with some juice and mineral drinks. He beckoned on me and asked, “what are these?” and added jovially “if you don’t have red wine, just pack them”. I supplied his taste immediately and sought forgiveness from God later. 

About six years ago on his prompting, I brought Baba Latunji to my mother’s house at Agodi Gate after a social reception at Ibadan Civic Centre. Baba couldn’t climb the staircase while my mother couldn’t come down, both due to old age. They both exchanged pleasantries from the distance and Baba sent a token to my mother. Baba Latunji still recognised a number of buildings in the area, including Baba Abondejo House, Adelakun House, Oloko House, Popoola House and Omitade House even though he had not visited the vicinity for over forty years. The last time my mother and Baba Latunji met was at the International Conference Centre, UI in 2019 during my daughter’s wedding.

I saw Baba last twice this year. First, I met with him on March 30th in company of my senior brother after the 8th Day Fidau prayer for my mother to give him a copy of the brochure, and on July 19th after my retirement from the University of Ibadan to give him a copy of my book. He was already weak, armed with the proverbial boarding pass and awaiting the take-off to the hereafter! May Allah illuminate his grave, forgive his sins and grant him Aljanah firdaus. Ire o! 

Adeniran writes from Ajangboju-Akobo, Ibadan

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How to make real money from real estate in Lagos

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It has been a little bit hard after the pandemic and Nigeria hasn’t found its feet yet. 

It’s even a lot more complicated with the constant rise in dollar and inflation which don’t seem to have any feasible solution yet.

But despite all these, the Real Estate sector in Lagos has strongly stood the test of time. Of course, we have testimonies of people investing and cashing out big from this sector. 

Lagos is currently the most populous city in Africa and alone is ranked the 5th largest economy in Africa.

Properties in Lagos can yield double the return on investment only if you are ready to play the long-term investment game and know how it works and what you are doing.

There are enough opportunities in Lagos for anyone who wants to make money in Real Estate in Lagos.

Someone like Barrister Teslim got lucky by working for a billionaire some years back. 

Instead of spending all the money carelessly and philandering, he diverted it to land investment in Lagos. 

He was part of the first set of people that saw a bigger prospect in Ibeju-Lekki and bought as many acres as he could afford many years ago. 

Do you know how valuable land property is in Ibeju-Lekki? Now imagine someone who had bought land in the location years ago!

You may be confused about how to make money from Real Estate in Lagos but that will be discussed in this article.

  1. Land flipping

Ibeju-Lekki is one of the outskirt areas being developed on Lagos Island and it has been like that for some time now which suggests that there’s no stopping soon. These features are currently going on:

-4th Mainland bridge planned to link this region

-An airport

-Golf course

-The Dangote Refinery 

And much more development is planned. 

All of these should be enough reason for getting land in this region because it’s a great investment as the prices are still minimal. 

What should a good investor do?

-A good investor can analyze upcoming regions and purchase land in bulk just like Barrister Teslim. 

-After purchase, then wait for a few years when the value has appreciated due to development in the area.

-Lastly, resell to estate developers or homeowners. 

A good land flip can return more than 500% ROI in a space of a few years if properly planned and executed.

  1. You could focus on Offsite Property Development

Developers and investors are making huge profits from this aspect of Real Estate in Lagos presently. 

How does this happen? What are the steps to take?

i.The developers spot a sizable amount of land

  1. He projects how to increase the value by building a gated estate or block of flats for direct sale to homeowners.

iii. Once the plan is good, the investor makes the initial investment for purchase and sets up the land for building. 

  1. Then the marketing team of the real estate company or developer swings into action. One of the ways to make it an easy run is to allow for payment by installment plan from the end homeowners. 

All of these are done even when the property is still being developed. And at the end of the day, the investor and developer (Real Estate Company) make a sizable profit, which they can use to repeat the cycle a second time and so it continues that way.

  1. Real Estate Investment Management

Apart from the saying that “money is made through money”, isn’t it obvious from our day-to-day activities? Normally, real estate deals with high-profit returns which require huge investments for anyone. Is there hope for an average investor? An average investor,/can join, set up, or manage a Real estate investment Management Fund. 

  1. Becoming a landlord to invest in long-term rentals

The shelter is important, so people would either need a place to stay or to do business (shops and offices). So, what do you come up with that fits into people’s demands?

 You buy or build a residential rental. This can be in blocks of apartments or even shared spaces(office) is a good way to get started.

However, this can be more favorable if you are in the right location. When it comes to Real Estate, location matters most.

This is a sure way of reaping profits for as long as possible.

  1. Home-Renovation Flipping

People are yet to pay attention to this. However, you can have a double return on investment if it’s done right. You buy or even rent an old house in a very prime location, renovate and refit it. Then put it up for sales or rent. For example, you can rent or buy a beat-up 5-bedroom duplex, refit it into separate rooms, self-con, or studio apartments, then re-rent it out and recoup your initial investment with some profit to spare.

  1. Contract Flipping

This is purposely done for distress sales. A lot of people sell their properties as distress sales. It’s important to find these people early, buy the property, add value to it or just put it at a higher sales price and wait for a buyer who will buy it from you at a more profitable deal. 

  1. Shortlist and Vacation Rentals

The shortlist business in Lagos is booming silently. The easy thing about having a short-let apartment is that you can start with a low-cash investment. For example, you can make double the profit if you invest 8 million naira at the end of the year. Although, this business is not easy neither is it for the faint-hearted because it’s not easy to manage as it requires some experience and access to pivotal information. Nonetheless, if you are on track,  your investment is sure to return big for you.

Dennis Isong helps individuals invest right in Real estate. For questions on this article or enquiring about Real estate. Follow him on Youtube https://www.youtube.com/landpropertyng , Email Dennis@Landproperty.ng or Whatsapp/Call +2348164741041

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Nigeria’s presidential flag-bearers and the road to 2023

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)-monitored party presidential primary elections have come and gone and, as the saying goes, the rest is history! With various candidates pushing private agenda, diverse groups’ interests being articulated, and differing institutional preferences already being canvassed, all eyes are now on the 2023 General Elections. In all, interesting times await Nigerians!

 

That said, it is no longer news that, no matter how difficult it is to measure the impact of religion or religious beliefs in politics in Nigeria, it remains contestable in the public domain. However, the interesting thing is that the candidates of the two foremost political parties are Muslims. As things stand, adherents of traditional and other religions may have to re-evaluate their options, and settle for a compromise. Well, it once happened in Nigeria, with an all-Muslim ticket of MKO Abiola and Babagana Kingibe in the June 12, 1993 presidential election.

 

Except we are being economical with the truth, most of the current presidential contenders have pockets deep enough to prosecute a presidential election of Nigeria’s ‘standard’. Most of them are also popular in their respective domains. So, between now and the election, what is left is for the contestants to test their national appeal and sell their visions to the electorate. Right now, long-term policy statements are redundant with the people. Rather, Nigerians will most probably embrace executive pronouncements that are effective and feasible for all to see.

 

Gone are the days when the intelligentsia would want to pin down a political party, based on ideology. The word, ‘ideology’, is no longer marketable in Nigeria’s political lexicon. As a matter of fact, some political scientists have argued that the concept is dead and buried! But, again, it’s been argued that ideologies don’t die; they may have lost their currency; yet, they still exist – maybe, in their latent forms – to help shape ideas of political parties’ manifestos.

 

Remember Edwin Madunagu and fellow comrades in the early days of the introduction of the Marxian dialectics into the academia in Nigeria. For some of these academics, as it was with their colleagues in other parts of the world, the understanding of extant ‘political ideology’ of a state determines the social development trajectory and its pace in any given society. In the national dailies, Madunagu would clinically subject government policies to the critical analysis and scrutiny eye of the postulates of ‘dialectical materialism’ of Karl Marx. Thus, he would domesticate the Marxian theory and use it to examine the social condition of living of the average Nigerian.

 

Arguably, political manifestos and government policies were adjudged good or bad, based upon the outcome of the review of these academics, irrespective of the type or mode of government: military or civilian. Unfortunately, the trend in public administration has shifted towards market economy; and emphasis on political ideology has waned overtime. When Ibrahim Babangida came, the situation gravitated toward “a little to the left and a little to the right”, with the centre becoming totally disoriented and confused. By a twist of fate, Nigerians don’t even remember the meaning of ideologies or what they are all about again. The sad side is that political parties don’t even feel compelled to come with ideology-laden manifestos again!

 

As at today, the Nigerian society has ebbed to the point of a home-grown anomie; and the only way to arrest it is to truthfully arrest it. By that, we mean a total overhaul, which starts even from the family. Impliedly, whoever wants to rule Nigeria must have a concrete, benchmarked blueprint that must be executable in four years; and must hit the ground running! We have had enough of ‘we shall’, ‘we will’ and similar stuffs which never came to fruition. So, let whoever wins not come up with the present style which thrives mostly on feigned promises. A paradigmatic shift in public administration approach is inevitable.

 

Take for instance, Nigerians will want to know what a Bola Tinubu-led government will do to improve the security situation in the first three months of his presidency. If not, his presidency will be in trouble. To avoid that, all measures that will make terrorists, bandits, kidnappers, even common thieves come to terms with the fact that there is a new sheriff in town must be explored. If he wants to “lead from the front”, let him put on the uniform and lead his troops against the enemies of our land. If Sambisa Forest is harbouring our enemies, let him put on his armour and reclaim it. If he is going to hire foreign Cosmopolitan police, or mercenaries from Sudan, let him go ahead and get them to do the job. If he is going to bring the Sunday Igbohos of this world back to Nigeria and engage them against the murderous Fulanis and killer herdsmen, let him know that there is no time to waste again. Needless to repeat that the long overdue improvement in terms of security can no longer wait!

Nigerians will want to know what a Bola Tinubu-led government will do to improve the security situation in the first three months of his presidency

No doubt about it, Nigeria is wounded and Nigerians are suffering! In an enveloping ecology of poverty, where food insecurity is highly pronounced, citizens are dying young, courtesy of preventable diseases. So, it behoves the incoming government to address the economic hardship currently driving Nigerians mad. The frightening truth is that, if the number of the children of school age currently out of school is not reduced within the first three months of such a presidency, nobody will say that the government is doing anything.

 

A time like this in the life of Nigeria does not call for external borrowings that are not tied to feasible projects. Besides, the day our leaders realize that all they need to do to have headway is managing debts, not surpluses that will end up in some people’s pockets, the better for the system. But if we continue in our old ways, then, Nigerians have a long way to go!

 

One of the greatest problems confronting Nigerians is that our youths are not only unemployed but also unemployable because they lack relevant skills. It is even unfortunate that ability to read and write among Nigerian graduates can no longer be taken for granted. And that’s a big shame!

 

Lastly, let the incoming president know that rekindling the hope of Nigerians does not reside in giving them money. Rather, it should be about vision and creativity. It is about developing people. Lee Kuan Yew has shown that there hasn’t been a developed society without control or vision. In his time, Yew made sure that an average Singaporean child must work towards being a star and useful person in the society. There are academics and ideologists in Nigeria who still share the former president’s dream. They can be of help! Those who have the skills to help us out are still available in our universities and other institutions of higher learning. We need them now to create another curriculum that will get new values inculcated in the younger generations of Nigerians. Enough of eating the crumbs that fall from the tables of our oppressors! Until we go back, fix the basics; rearrange our morals; then, give a sense of direction to generations yet unborn, it may be difficult for dear country to achieve anything.

 

May the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world, grant us peace in Nigeria!

 

KOMOLAFE wrote in from Ijebu-Jesa, Osun State (ijebujesa@yahoo.co.uk)

 

 

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