By Mohammed Adamu.
When the prospect of an Obi-Kwankwaso Labor ticket was still on the bunsen burner, Obi’s supporters were at their Obidiotic best praising the governance credentials of Kwankwaso to high heavens and saying that like Obi, the former Kano State governor was a Saint Vitus too -infallibly umblemished. A ticket of the duo of Obi and he they said would be DA BOMB!
But when Kwankwaso mocked the idea of running behind a ‘weightless’ Obi, he suffered the ‘fall’ of Lucifer, -from the grace of unmerited approbation to the obloquy of their bitterest condemnation. How dared he to denigrate their Patron Saint of righteousness? And to douse this uncharitable Kwankwaso heresy the Party had soon announced a former NASS member and Baze University owner, Datti Yusuf Baba Ahmed, as Obi’s running mate.
Whether or not Datti was the ‘best or ‘only’ game in time’, many Obidients never previously even knew him, let alone that he was a younger sibling of one of S. East’s most dis-approbated Northern gadflies, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed -the academician turned bureaucrat, now Publicity Director of Northern Elders Forum whose occasional trouble shooting draws the ire of Eastern grandstanders, and who miss no opportunity to remind the Ahmeds about their alien origin and especially Dr. Hakeem, about the futility of his anti-Igbo posturing!
Well, now that an ‘infallible’ Obi had already announced Datti, needles to cry over spilled milk. And so Obidients had rather barefacedly sanctified the choice, insisting it was masterstroke! Soon even that once bandied persona non grata status of the Baba-Ahmeds, was hushed not with the usual mock-heroic of anti Northern angst, but now with the mumbo-jumbo of a distinguishing that tags one a patriot and the other ‘enemy of state’!
‘USE-FULL’ OR ‘YUS-FOOL’?
In just a few days, the Baba-Ahmeds had moved from ‘low’ of persona non grata Mauritanians to the acme of ‘trustees of state’ fit to preside over the affairs of Nigeria. And to borrow the words of Shakespeare, Datti was now “the theme of Honor’s tongue, sweet Fortune’s minion and her pride”. He, and not even his former university-lecturer-brother Hakeem, is now the Socratic ‘educationist, and among the groove of private university-owners, he again, is the plum-mest shrub.
And so as Obi, without due diligence, chose Datti, Obidients without scepter enthroned him the ‘leading light’ of tertiary education, citing his ‘expensively exclusive’ University as proof of his ‘charitable’ intellectualism. And soon they played pun around his name (Yusuf), to create what they say is homophonic for the adjective ‘Useful’; and that to be ‘Obidiently Useful’ is the new measure of ‘patriotism’.
In all they said, Datti’s ‘excellent’ legislative ‘past’ and his ‘charitable’ academic ‘present’, together with Obi’s ‘unblemished’ political past plus his ‘excellent’ merchandising present, are now the veritable guarantees of the new Nigeria of our dream.
And as this theatre of the absurd went on, Datti himself had stepped in with the dissembling of ‘Brother Jero’, the beach-side fake ‘divine’ in Soyinka’s play ‘The Trials Of Brother Jero’. In drama every ‘acting’ hopes to achieve what is termed ‘suspension of disbelief’ -that point when an ‘act’ is so real that we subconsciously forget it is ‘make-belief’. It is what Datti now demonstrates: the uncanny gift of that theatrical garb for the ‘suspension of disbelief’.
Once, on Channels Tv when Datti was asked how rewarding his Baze University ‘business’ was, he said something as shocking for its falsehood and as insulting for its be-fooling: that he makes no money running Baze, and that in fact his ‘charitable’ passion for education, (not desire to make money), drives the initiative! The ‘conniving’ interviewer should’ve asked if in all honestly Datti wanted to be believed as running the most expensive private university on ‘charity’?
And when, in another interview, Datti was asked about his Party’s plan for security, to conceal his inability to be both off the cuff and spontaneous, he resorted to the ‘argumentum escapium’ of repeating the claim: “we do….yes we do” And because the Obi-Datti mob has also learnt to pick dramatic cues from both its bumbling statistician candidate and its dissembling actor-running mate, we were told: ‘only a foolish candidate would reveal his plans on security before coming into office’.
In another interview, Datti had broken down in tears over what he said was an abuse of his 35 year-long dead father. And I thought that the interviewer, if he wasn’t probably lost in ‘suspended disbelief’ and fighting back tears of empathy, should’ve asked Datti what the likes of Buhari’s and Tinubu’s children should do, whose fathers are totems of ‘per-second’ abuse mostly by the ObiDatti mob that neither he nor Obi is willing to call to order?’
Yet in another, Obi was asked how he would handle university strikes, and he said that he would ask Datti how he managed to run a strike-free Baze University all these years; and I realized that we are actually dealing with a ‘crook’ who wants us to believe he ‘charitably’ runs the most ‘expensive’ private university’, and an ignoramus who does not even know the difference between ASUU-affiliated universities and non ASUU-affiliated ones!
A GALE OF ILLEGALITIES
After I watched Datti lying on Tv about running his Baze more as ‘charity’ than business, I imaginarilly said to him that truth sung by Bob Marley: ‘you can fool some people sometimes, but you can’t fool all the people all the Time’! Or at least ‘you cannot fool the parents of your Baze students who have known both the avidity of your greed and your penchant for operating on the fringes of the law. And where do I begin from?
Is it from the allegedly illegally-run tri-SEMESTER system in breach of the NUC’s guidelines, and secretly operated with an all inclusive N2mill (or N6mill annually) per student, per semester? Or is it the allegedly illegally-run 3-monthly ADMISSION racket again in breach of the NUC’s yearly circle under JAMB? Or is it again the allegedly triple GRADUATION system operated per semester and also in breach of the NUC regulation? Or again is it the allegedly illegal over-admission for slots-regulated courses (especially law, in excess of the Law School’s allocated slots)?
Because law students too were allegedly admitted per semester and usually in excess of the ‘annual’ slot allocated to Baze by the Law School, the queue of LLB graduates from who wait unend to take their turns to go to Law School, had not grown only annually, but with every passing semester. By the time I was removing and transferring my daughter to the American University of Nigeria, AUN in Yola, about a third generation of Baze University’s law graduates were allegedly still on the queue at home, waiting!
And, because of the multiplicity of semesters (three in all), and the multiplicity of admission timings (per semester, 3 times yearly) and the multiplicity of graduation periods (also per semester and 3 times yearly), even seniority between sets was no longer the yearly affair; at Baze it was semester-ly.
And so how ‘money making’ is not the short and long term objective of such illegally-run and desperately operated programs, leaves you wondering. If you ask me, as a father of an erstwhile law student of that institution, Baze University was or maybe still is, like a bitch in an all-year-round heat season, ovulating monthly, malingering daily, and mating with every ‘Bob’, ‘Bobby’ and ‘Boster’; and after every three months, inevitably it is back to the roost to litter in the morning, litter in the afternoon and litter at night, for eight weeks non-stop!
And you tell me that Baze University prostituting around the systems and numbers of semesters, admissions and graduations, is all about the sex and not about the puppies, or all about the puppies and not about the sex? No, with the Baze University that I know, it is about everything! But most importantly it is about the buck! Fast bucks!
IN THE BEGINNING
In fairness to my daughter, right from her 100 Level at Baze she had alerted her mother allegedly about sundry unsavory rumblings of unethical practices perpetrated at the highest policy level of the University. She said that she wanted to be transferred out! But when I sat her down to get the hang of it, my daughter was either not sufficiently seized of the facts then or maybe she was not persuasive enough.
And because I knew my daughter to hate class-mentally exclusive environments (like she did at secondary with El-Amin International), I dismissed her alarm possibly as a smock screen for that. By the way, unlike her going to El-Amin, the choice of Baze University for my daughter was informed more by the exigencies of the prolonged and unending ASUU strike then, than it was by the abundance of means. True. All my other three children attend the regular schools.
But I started believing my daughter after the Dino Melayes’ controversial graduation from the same Law Faculty, and the lurid hoopla in the Media about the goings-on at Baze -including especially the allegation of shorter course duration, which also is one of the many natural consequences of secretly operating a tri-semester system -you are bound to graduate students earlier. There’s a limit to how long a pregnancy can be hid. If you operate tri-semester-ly you round up your course works earlier than those who operate bi-semester-ly.
Plus, students are exposed to a mental and physical stress levels different from those of other universities where the two semester system operates. The longest holiday my daughter ever had was two weeks. And as they were always on the pell-mell, so were their (especially their averagely endowed) parents also on the go-go, looking for N2mill every three months. I must confess it was crazy!
At Baze University, normal conventional five year programs were allegedly rounded at four, and four year-programs at three. But now I had to sit and listen to my daughter even with keener interest. And I realized that the poor girl was right. And I was wrong. She was only trying to avoid graduating from Baze and having to join the queue of waiters for Law School.
And although I did nothing immediately, at my daughter’s 3rd semester of 200 level something happened (apparently from the Media exposé on the Melayes’ graduation). My daughter called to say that the School had just informed them external investigators were coming, and that they (students) were being coached on what to and what not to say if they were talked to. I guessed it was either (or both of) Council for Legal Education CLE (to investigate over-admission and multiple graduation of law students), and the National Universities Commission NUC, (to investigate especially the illegal tri-semester program).
This was all I needed to remove my daughter from Baze! If a university that is supposed to impart in its students ‘character’ and ‘learning’, now begins to teach them how to lie to cover up crime by being parties to, or accessories before the facts of, crime, then my daughter should not be there!
And while processing her transcript, I had met one of the law graduate-victims, who (on noticing my request), could not help starting a conversation. I soon found out that as I was curious to know more about the rot, the poor guy only needed a shoulder to cry on. His own set he said had just been lucky to make it to Law School after a long wait, but that only a few days ago, after starting class, here in Bwari, admission was suspended . Can anything be more horribly frustrating?
But he still was honest enough to confess that he was not surprised; because he said, the indications that the sins of the University had ripened and that it was about to come under serious investigation by the government, had ominously been all over the place since after the graduation of the Melayes. This only confirmed what my daughter had said.
This was (or maybe still is) the Baze University that I knew. Datti’s Baze. Yes, Peter Obi’s Datti, of the ‘ObiDatti fame’!