Monday, September 17, 2007

I don't know what to say, right now.....every time this comes to my mind, it brings tears to my eyes, but first..I gotta introduce myself.....My name is Adewale, and thats all you need to know.
I lost a friend some days back...we hadn't spoken in years, but I still thought of him as one.
Tomi my friend committed suicide, blew his brains out........his reason, we don't know, as such, but it was apparently linked to his frustration by a man, called adewumi, a lecturer in the dept of comp sciences UNILAG, where I finished from. And also his failure to graduate.
My friend did something crazy. He could have hung on, he had a lot of other options, but he chose this way, and Im wondering why........why he cudn't just reach out , talk to someone.
He's dead now, but we his friends, have a duty right now, not to let tomi sonaikes death be in vain, and we have chosen this medium to talk about the frustrations of those devils called lecturers, and how they mess up peoples lives. I have decided to talk about one of my own experiences, to show the whole world that the Nigerian educational system needs to be sanitized from rats like these, who were frustrated, and are taking it out on others.
I was entering final year, and I had a good average, never failed a course, and so had my best buddy afam. We went to the notice board to check our names, and we were told that we werent eligible to be in final year......our names werent on the list.
We were in shock, we had to start writing letters up and down, and waiting for the department people to answer us. We were bounced from pillar to post. We remember chasing the exam officer up and down, and he not giving us any attention. Sometimes he would tell us that he was busy and didnt have time, and our futures were hanging on the line. We were told that we didnt register, or some crap like that. Thinking back I am sure they misplaced our course forms, or something, and didn't care. It got so bad we had to bring our parents. I remember asking myself what kind of system this was. I remember feeling bad, and worn out. The HOD began querying me, asking me if I had registered. I told him I did, and my parents believed me obviously. I remember the HOD telling my dad in a superior tone of voice that I "knew what to do".
My friend had to do the same thing. To cut a long story short, they found our course forms and we were registered as being in final year, after like 3 weeks. My mum later told me she felt I used to exaggerate about what they put us through in the department, but now she believed me. So this is just another example of how the system can mess you up, and frustrate young students. And how you react to the frustration is in your hands, and its a pity my friend made the wrong choice....
Well, we will fight on. RIP tomi, you live on in our hearts, but you didn't have to do this, there was a way out, if you had chosen to find it.

We're killing ourselves

I'm sitting in my office, right behind me young men and women are registering for courses for the new academic year 2007/08.

I work as a contractor (have my own company and all) for a college, Lewisham college, here in London. I'm working on improving and increasing their presence on the web.

Up until i heard about Turin passing on, i never gave a second thought to all the students i see around me, but now i take a look at them really hard. We were once like that, really young, so much hope, so many dreams. We all hard worked hard to get into university and when we did we felt fulfilled yeah, a new life begins we thought, no matter how difficult the country looked. We all felt at least we'd come this far and we could now make something of our otherwise bleak looking future.

There's no difference, i think, to our registration, students walking around with different coloured forms, looking lost, asking everybody around them which way to go, and giving you a "don't you know your job?" look, if you said you didn't know. There is one difference though, Organisation, this place is organised to a T. Every member of staff has been briefed, re-briefed than briefed again for good measure on what to expect, how to react and what to do in every single circumstance, even me, who's work has nothing to do directly with students had to attend meetings and pull some shifts to assist with the enrollment process. They know exactly how many students are enrolling this year, there are enough forms, enough staff, enough everything.
In our time it was war, i remember queing for hours on end, fighting to keep my place on the que, i remember one guy fainting from lack of oxygen in the corridor we were queing in. It was horrible.
I remember some people been sent back home because of one missing form or the other and that was the end of school for them, they had to go try again next year. Over here that cannot happen, the school will do everything it can to get you a place. As long as you've walked through the school doors and you said, "i want to study" they'll find you a place.

What would it cost the education authorities in Naija to ensure things are done properly, they all went to school, they all had some sort of training, they know their jobs (well some of them) and they can do it. But they don't, they allow student to suffer unecessarily for no reason.

After going through that horrible registration process you then had to endure 4+x years of missing results, crazy assignments and terrible living conditions. You now finally finish and some guy with a gotee says you can't graduate because of some beaf he has on how cool your accent is or some other inconsequential reason.

Please i ask our parents, teachers and leaders, this has to stop. We really need to wake up to our responsibility, we're killing ourselves....

....Killing ourselves.....

I don't know about you guys,
but I’m angry, I’m upset, this has gone far enough.
it has to stop.

I'm doing this for my friend, my brother and my twin
Oluwatomi Sonaike, who took his life because he couldn't take it anymore. Yes i agree Tomi should have hung on a bit longer and gotten some help. But he never should have been pushed at all, no young person should have to be subjected to that kind of pressure.

That hell we called school, it's time we stood up and took a stand, and burn down that system that has turned wonderful young men and women of our great country Nigeria into monsters.

Don't get me wrong, lag was fun, but we did go through hell, all of us, from the first class student to the one who had the indignity of having to wait behind to kiss some lecturers butt so he could graduate. Knowing Tomi, he wouldn't kiss anyone's butt even if it was coated with sugar. (Not so sure about that really especially if it was a chick).

I hope over the coming weeks and months to continue to highlight the many challenges faced by so many young people in Nigeria and how we are killing our future by allowing reckless men abuse power for no just reason.