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08042018 - Education in free fall! •Sector gets paltry N3.9 trillion out of N55.19 trillion in 10 years

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PAGE 36—SUNDAY VANGUARD, APRIL 8, 2018 rexmarinus@hotmail.com Winnie Mandela, Mama Africa: And so it goes… She was beautiful in that ethereal and ex quisitely African way: fierce, plump, straightbacked, and unbent by adversity or struggle. There was both fire and love in her eyes. You could see that in all her pictures. The bold lioness. The daring twinkle. The changing cloud of her face that could either gather with the rain, or open with the sun. Prickly and hot. Calm and seductive. She was the fire in that burning spear that was hauled against apartheid, and her voice traveled far, like a javelin and pierced the armor of the most powerful white supremacist regime ever established anywhere in the world. No shield was proof against her. She was the cornerstone of the struggle for the liberation of the land, which people like me grew up to call “Azania” – South Africa. At the end of the struggle she became that stone which the builders of the new South Africa rejected, but which remains the capstone of its temple to all intents and purposes because history may be unkind in one generation, but does not forget. The great heroes of today, might become in the passage of time, the villains of tomorrow. In the fullness of time, a true measure of her life will be rendered, but today, Winnie Madikizela Mandela passes on. Two women from South Africa embodied the image, for my generation, of the dimensions of the South African struggle: Miriam Makeba – whose musical genius spawned of the Shebeens of Soweto gave idiom to the South African struggle much like the mournful and insouciant jazz of her former spouse, the now equally late Hugh Maskela. When Makeba sang “Pata-Pata,” you heard the calming balm on the spirits of men and women who have gone to battle; when she sang, “Aluta Continua,” you heard the thundering feet of the revolutionaries in Africa gathering in the street, defiant, and proud and sworn to liberty: My people, my people open your eyes And answer the call of the drums Frelimo, Frelimo – Samora Machel has come – Maputo, Maputo, home of the brave, Our nation soon shall be one. Frelimo, Frelimo – Samora Machel has won. In Mozambique – Aluta continua, Aluta continua, continua… It was a song which like Bob Marley’s “Zimbabwe” written for that moment, and the powerful, almost elegiac song, “Babylon System,” with its defiant refrain, “We’ve been trodding on the wine press for much too long…rebel” broke walls, and the backs of apartheid and colonialism. But it was Winnie Mandela who embodied these songs, and the spirit of the land, and her struggles. The heave of protests which had swollen from when her husband, the much eulogized Nelson Mandela stood trial, and defiantly refused to denounce or reject armed struggle as an alternative to the negotiations for the full rights of Africans in South Africa held under the thrall of settler colonialism and apartheid. Nelson Mandela was jailed with his comrades, condemned to death following the Rivonia trials. Let me point here as an aside, that it took the back channel diplomacy of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, pressuring the British and the Americans, to force South-Africa to commute the death sentence on Mandela and his cohorts. Indeed, the decision to return to South Africa from Lagos, through London, and make the Mandela trial a political and international issue was taken in Lagos, where Mandela had fled, under the protection of Azikiwe and the NCNC was made, I understand, in Lagos in 1962 between Zik, his principal secretary Adisa K. Disu, Jaja Wachukwu and Mandela. Mbazulike Amechi with whom he lived in Yaba had given just a hint of this and the partnership between the NCNC and the ANC in an interview with me in 1996 published in the Sunday Vanguard, but not much has been known publicly yet of the efforts by Dr. Jaja Wachukwu, Nigeria’s first republic Foreign Minister and Dr. Azikiwe in internationalizing the Mandela situation, in the years when Nigeria mattered in the world and carried weight in When people saw Winnie Mandela they saw Nelson Mandela. Winnie bore the brunt of his long absence; she was already a widow for the struggle; and like all passionate humans, she sought consolation in the arms of passionate men, in the absence of her husband international affairs before she became a laughing stock of the world. I hope that soon, someday, the vast papers of Dr. Wachukwu kept in his Mbawsi Home could be acquired, indexed, and preserved by the National Archives in Enugu, or by the Special Collections Section of the Nnamdi Azikiwe Library at the University of Nigeria Nsukka, or the proposed Archive of Igbo Life and Letters in Owerri when it is fully established and operational. But the flame had been lit, that will light the path of the anti-apartheid struggle: it was in the voice and soul of Mandela’s young wife. Nelson Mandela’s wife was much younger than he. Winnie was his second wife. From the moment in 1962, when her husband was taken to the Roben Islands, Winnie Mandela took on the role of the voice of the struggle. Many fled South Africa. But she stood, unflinching, and fearless. She led marches on the streets. She campaigned vigorously and relentlessly. She was beaten and tortured. She was banished and confined to solitary house arrest in rural Banfort. But she kept the “Free Mandela movement” alive and active. Her power-salute thrown defiantly in the air became the symbol of that defiance, not only of the African, but of that species of the Black woman – mother, lover, wife, and image of the goddess of the land. Great men like Oliver Tambo left for exile, and kept the international pressure on apartheid alive in their lives of restless exile. Oliver Thambo in a sense was like Moses of the Jews. He led the ANC and South Africa through the Forty-year wilderness, saw the glimpse of the Promised Land, but died just on the eve of the postapartheid elections that would have symbolized the culmination of his struggles. Tambo was blamed for the Church Street massacres, during the Truth and Reconciliation tribunals. Winnie Mandela stayed on in South Africa and kept the ANC struggle at home fierce and resolute. There would have been no Mandela without Winnie Mandela, because she it was who stoked his legend; turned his from an ordinary man of the struggle, to the spirit of the struggle. When people saw Winnie Mandela they saw Nelson Mandela. Winnie bore the brunt of his long absence; she was already a widow for the struggle; and like all passionate humans, she sought consolation in the arms of passionate men, in the absence of her husband. It was not what broke their marriage. It was that time and the cruelty of that separation had sundered their relationship. Nelson Mandela returned from prison an old, sagely man. Winnie, still at the height of her power longed for familiar consolations, the kind which Mr. Mandela could no longer provide. She too had been shaped by the contradictions of the struggle. She was accused of being an accessory after the fact of murder in the now legendary Stompie case. She was later acquitted. She was accused of corruption as a government minister. It was later overturned by a judge who established that the transactions involving Winnie Mandela were not conducted for “personal gain.” Her divorce from Nelson Mandela must be counted as one of the most obvious blights in what should have been a symbolic and model union. It has been said that Winnie Mandela’s “infidelity” was the primary cause of the divorce. But it is clear that Winnie Mandela was one of the sacrifices Nelson Mandela had to offer to the gods of “reconciliation,” if he had to ascend to power in South Africa. Winnie’s abrasive involvement in the struggle; the threat of her personality and popularity; and the pan-African vision that animated her, threatened the balance of forces in the “new South Africa.” She had to be sacrificed. But she remained popular among ordinary folk. She criticized her ex-husband’s postapartheid stances, particularly in her defence of the ordinary folk, who have never benefited from the struggle to end apartheid. Mama Africa: her soul marches on. Good Night, My Blood, My Brother other, , Yemm emmy There is no comfort for the heart when it is broken. There is no comfort for the eyes when the tears come in torrents. And there is never a comfort for tomorrow when today looks like the end of the road. Where is the comfort when all around you there are sorrowful faces that demand answers to sad questions on their minds? Where is the comfort when the world is upside down, and you have to pick existence out of the rubbles? Where is the comfort when at every step you take it feels as if you are treading on your own heart and the pain is unbearable? How do you seek comfort when the heart is “knocking” wildly and threatening to burst out? You cannot give up. In this state, there are people who are clinging on to you for direction, for a new beginning and purpose. You are as lost and directionless as anyone could get. The pain becomes unbearable when you are asked the way forward when Diaspora Matters, with Morak Babajide-Alabi http://www.babajidealabi.com all you want to do is walk back into the past. Sadness overwhelms you, but you cannot say this. You are clueless, yet you have to pretend you are in control. People with heavy hearts gather around you, yet you cannot offer any comfort because you are struggling to hide your own grief. You advise people not to cry anymore, yet at every opportunity, you lock yourself up in the closet to cry your heart out. You can not do it in public, because you will break people you should be a tower for. This is life! It is a misery which no one has been able to explain. This past week I asked many questions in my bid to understand life’s mysteries. All to no avail. I gave up because I realised that no matter how hard the wisest of human beings try, no one can crack it. You may think you understand it right now but turn around in a second and you will be confused what it is all about. The mysteries belong to God, the Almighty. In my reflection, I realise that in life, one minute your laughter might be the loudest in a hall, and in a twinkle of an eye your pain may become the “deepest”. Sometimes it takes just a phone call, or the door to open inwards and life brings a new meaning. Who can explain this? For me, for us, the laughter boomed and boomed, the hearts were merry, songs of joy, until that moment when all changed. It was a dream that we prayed we should When we said goodbye a few days ago, it was not to be last. When we hugged as he set out for London the thought that it could be the last never crossed my mind wake up from on time. So as we rang each other up, there was a consensus that we were networking in our various dreams and when we wake up we would all heave sighs of relief and pick up the laughter where we left off. Dreams do become reality. While reality also sometimes sends us into trances. Last week was the longest of my life. It was the most tor- •Yemmy tuous week of my adult existence and definitely will take a while for the inflicted wound to heal. The week typified the scenario I painted above, from the highest height of joy to the lowest depth of pain and sadness. Ironically yesterday was my birthday, incidentally, a week after the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. It was a week I had to repeatedly say the words - “we lost him” - to closest relations, while to some I could not even bear the courage to say anything. I had to let the sobs and tears convey the message. How do you explain the mystery? I lost Yemmy a few months to his 50th birthday. It sounds so unreal. Is this how death play the game? Dirty! A man full of life, hopes, plans and dreams and had to go just like that. Death is indeed shameless. If it is not, why will it take Yemmy when all he wanted to do was go and visit his family in Abuja? He loved his wife, his children and anyone that ever came in contact with him will testify of his large heart. Death, where is thy sting? You waited for Yemmy where we least expected. He walked into Heathrow Airport, checked in his luggage, got his boarding passes, and with a smile waved goodbye to his good friend, Simon, who had accompanied him to the airport, as he walked through the security barrier. Yemmy was a few metres from boarding his flight to see his family before he slumped and was rushed to the Harefield Hospital where he passed on a day after. When we said goodbye a few days ago, it was not to be last. When we hugged as he set out for London the thought that it could be the last never crossed my mind. I would have held tightly to him, and pushed my heart into his. As we chatted on the way to the airport on this fateful day, if I had an inkling, I would have told him how much fun he brought into my life these past three months. But he never gave any clue that he was nearing the end of his journey. As I spent some time with him at the Chapel of Rest, Harefield Hospital, a while after passing on, he looked so peaceful like someone at sleep. This was my first reality of death. I was lost for words as I starred through teary eyes at a brother I admired so much. Yemmy was gone. His lips were curled as if to say: “Jide, it’s okay. Stop crying, I have done my bit. Be strong for Bukky, the children and sisters.” As I walked into the outer room the words of God hit me like fresh air. Revelations 4:11 - “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honour and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed and were created.” And I realised Yemmy had gone to a better place. This is not a tribute. I will write one later. But I must say Yemmy was a gentleman, good husband, father, friend, brother, colleague, etc anyone could have wished for. He was above all, a Christian. His kindness will live forever in the hearts of all he came in contact with. He loved life and he made it a duty to put smiles on people’s faces. With Yemmy, there was never a downtime. His laughter was infectious as it always came from his heart, and with him, you knew where you stood. Yemmy was a pioneer, a brilliant individual who excelled in all he laid his hands on. He was a First Class graduate of Surveying and Geomatics from University of Lagos and a British Chevening Scholar of the University of Edinburgh with distinction in Masters in Geographical Information Sciences. He consulted for many UK local councils and shared his expertise with many individuals and businesses. Perhaps he knew his time was short that was why he did all these fast. It is still incomprehensible but we have accepted the sovereignty of God. I am so happy you chose to spend your last three months on earth with me and my family. We miss you. Your nephews and niece still knock on the door to your room, as a habit, before they leave for college. It will take a long while for us to adjust. Good night, Yemmy, my blood, my brother.

How prepared are you to rise above challenges? Today’s edition is still about the essence of Easter and today’s Christian. Our evidence that Christ is risen is not in doubt. Our authority is found in Matthew 28 vs. 5 & 6, which tells us what happened when Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to the tomb of Jesus. “ And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay”. Christ rose that we might have eternal life. For a moment let’s look at the behavior of some of the people around our Lord Jesus at the peak of his trial and crucifixion and how this may be crucial to our breakthrough. The character being considered here is Pontius Pilate. Luke 23 vs. 1-6 but for this purpose we’ll quote only verse 4 “ Then said Pilate to the chief priests and to the people, I find no fault in this man”. Note- That Pilate was The art of giving a gift shows your ability to be generous appreciative and kind. It takes more than just going to buy or acquire a gift for someone. There are different reasons for giving gifts all year round, depending on a festive occasion or a personal one. Gifts are usually a delight to receive, the joy, excitement and surprise one experiences when it comes to opening the gift is great. However today receiving gifts comes with a lot of caution, at times there are legal implications bound by giving and receiving gifts. It is important to be knowledgeable about the protocol of giving and receiving gifts as it applies to varying geographical locations. I have a few etiquette strategies you may want to consider as you are buying a gift for someone in the near future. Gift Giving Taboo. Professional Vs Private Buying a gift for a friend is quite different from buying for a colleague, team mate or sure Jesus wasn’t guilty of any of these accusations, not even one. Matthew 27 vs. 17-20. Let’s see what happened when Pilate asked the protesters who he should release, Jesus or Barabbas? Verses 19 &20 is our reference here “ When he ( Pilate) set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him. But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas and destroy Jesus”. Note the Divine revelation to the wife of Pilate. How do you respond to Divine revelation given to you directly or to a friend and he/ she comes to tell you? Do you act prayerfully on it or just dismiss it? . From our Biblical studies, we find that these two reasons might be the reason Pilate symbolically washed his hands off the case of Jesus. Was that the best he could do? Matthew 27 vs. 24 “ When Gift Giving Taboos supervisor not to mention your boss. If your gift is within the office space it is official, either to mark a national celebration or an internal personal celebration, your gift should have no hidden or underlying message that suggests anything unethical. In the office setting, gifts are better presented jointly as a team, department or group. Private gifts in the office may connote a negative message or implication. It is wrong to give a gift that appears personal, fancy or exorbitant in price, avoid breaching the office policy by recognizing what is acceptable or not. In receiving a professional gift it is sensible to recognize who and where it is from. If it comes from an organization that has just put in a bid or a business transaction of interest and the gift is likely given to influence your decision, such a gift should be refused and returned, this is considered unethical work practice. Sensitivity Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it”. Before this, act of Pilate, let’s see another action of Pilate. According to Holy Bible, Luke 23 vs. 7 “ And as soon as he knew that he belonged unto Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who himself also was at Jerusalem at that time”. Note what happened in verse 12 of Luke 23 “ And the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together: for before they were at enmity between themselves”. Brethren, did you get the message. Two men who used to be enemies suddenly became friends, because they found a common threat in Jesus who must be dealt with. In the light of this, can one really say that Pilate was sincere when he washed his hands off the case of Jesus? Or did he decide to wash his hands off the case because of the dream his wife had? The issue here is, can you and I stand for the truth in the midst of pressure? Will you as a sister in law stand for the truth in a family meeting where your brother’s wife is being accused of unfriendly attitude, pride and all sorts of accusations? Have you not been attending family meetings where people are planning to use whatever means to force your brother’s wife out of her matrimonial Proper thought needs to be applied when deciding what to buy as a gift for anyone. Group consultation is advised when going for professional gifts while for personal gift it is safer to buy what will be of value to the user. Sensitive gifts should be avoided, they are considered gifts like underwear, perfume from a superior to a subordinate, or sharp items like knifes cutters or glass items. Gifts that have no relevance to the receiver is considered blindly insensitive. They may appear to be awkward to the receiver, at times quite embarrassing. The implication is that he gifts will be abandoned and unused, forfeiting the gift objective altogether. Culture As much as gift are common worldwide, culture plays a big part in choosing what to buy. There are many cultures that are color specific, certain colors do not go down well home because she is yet to have a child? Are you not plotting to put your colleague in the office in trouble because you want to take his post? Yet you claim to be a Christian? After all that Pilate did, he could not escape the pressure of his conscience. According to John 19 vs. 19 “ And Pilate wrote a title, and What do we say to a Christian girl who for the love of money abandoned her faith to become a second wife to a married man of another religion? put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS”. Still troubled by his conscience, let’s see another action of Pilate as recorded in John 19 vs. 38 “ And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus”. Brethren, you could see that Pilate was never free from his conscience but was not bold enough to set Jesus free. Did I hear you say, his action was to fulfill what has been written about our Lord Jesus? What about you? You know with them. Purple flowers in Brazil are a sign of bad luck, black and dark colors in Indian is a NO NO when buying a gift. Some cultures do not allow you to buy a gift for a woman who is not your wife. Some cultures insist you buy a gift for the host of an event regardless of the size, just something to appreciate the invitation gesture. A gift in Asia should be well wrapped with care. It is expected that at times the gift be refused a couple of times before finally being accepted, this is normal cultural behavior. It is also not out of place to open a gift in the presence of the giver in some countires, it is not the size but the kind gesture that matters. Religion & Beliefs Yes. it is a must that you be religion sensitive when buying a gift whether it is for professional or personal reasons. Many religions are against certain practices that SUNDAY VANGUARD, APRIL 8, 2018, PAGE 37 what is true but you are not bold enough to stand up for it? You know that as a Christian, you have no business with cultism, visiting herbalists or sorcerers but you still do . All because someone has told you that it is taking too long for God to answer your prayers. Therefore as a single lady, you take all steps to force yourself on a married man just to have a child. You may not realize what you have done but within a short time, you will find that your so-called short cut to that challenge is the fast track to everlasting pain. God remains a miracle worker and not a magician. Or are you like Joseph of Arimathaea, as a rich man, you must not been seen reading your Bible. You don’t even want to seen dancing too much in the church. Or you don’t even have time to attend church services. Your attitude is, whenever the church asks for donation, I will send it. Brethren, donations, offerings are not the keys to the salvation of souls. Christ expects more from us. Do you in anyway identify with Christ? I’ll share with you, the story told by a Reverend at Anglican Church, Ikosi. He said a Christian young man went to another part of the country for the introduction and engagement ceremony for his fiancée. The lady’s family produced a list that included alcoholic drinks. The groom insisted he would not use his money to buy such drinks. The can be reflected in some gifts. Smoking and alcohol consumption are common religious objections. A bottle of drink is also a favoured gift but act with caution. Some clothing items may not be appropriate among certain people due to their style, exposure and nature of acceptability. There is no point in buying a skirt or dress for someone who is bound by religion to covering fully from head to toe. In receiving gifts too there are some beliefs that say collecting your gift with your left hand is bad, it is a superstition and considered quite rude. Follow the general practice to avoid being In breach of protocol. There is also a belief in the African continent that it is better to gift physical cash that is money instead of the physical item. Money they feel is more valuable and has its own versatile usages. Be mindful though as the amount you gift may tell or read meaning into the value you have of that person you are gifting. The larger the amount the valuable or worth of your giving. Symbolization It is not uncommon that certain objects have different symbolized meanings in different cultures and countries. There are gifts that symbolize life, death, goodluck, badluck, wealth, lady’s family insisted he must buy the drinks. After about two days of deadlock, the groom told the lady’s family that he would rather call off the ceremony. He stood his ground. When the family saw that he was ready to leave, they then asked him to convert every bottle of hot drink to two cartoons of malt drink. The groom agreed and the ceremony eventually took place. Brethren, do you and I have the courage to uphold our Christian values at all times? Do we not quickly give in to pressure in the name of culture even when we know that such an action could have serious implications for our Christian life? What do we say to a Christian girl who for the love of money abandoned her faith to become a second wife to a married man of another religion? Initially, she seemed to be enjoying every bit of it but today as I write, the man is languishing in jail for defrauding his company and our former Christian lady and her children are experiencing the worst form of poverty. Our prayer is that she retraces her steps back to Christ who is ready to save every sinner. However, the issue is how prepared are you to rise above challenges? Do you believe that with Christ you will be victorious? Hold on firmly to Jesus and your break thorough will surprise even you. Shalom! happiness and more. Try to recognize if there are any hidden meanings behind certain gifts. Also tie your gift to the religion, culture and ideology of where the gift is coming from, the country you are in and the hidden messages they may hold. Cost The cost of the gift is sensitive and subjective. How affordable it is to the giver plays am important role. However, if the gift is expensive there could be an underlying ulterior motive behind it. Some people weigh the level of relationship based on the cost of the gift. Some people also look down the gift just because it appears cheap. Alternatively some people react to an expensive gift because it may imply that the return of an equally expensive gift. The personality, character, style and status makes all the difference when choosing a gift for anyone. It is wrong to leave the price tag on a gift just to be recognized or validated. Ensure the price tag is removed especially before wrapping. Regifting it is poor conduct regifting a gift that you receive from someone else. Never regift a gift that is outdated, expired, old, tattered or obsolete. Good luck as you buy your next gift janetadetu@gmail.com Gov Okowa assures Delta HOSTCOM of support Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State,a has reassured the state chapter of Host Communities of Nigeria ( HOSTCOM) of adequate support to ensure lasting peace and development to the oil producing communities and areas in the state. Governor Okowa, who was represented by the Chief of Staff, Hon. Tam Brisibe, at the inauguration of Delta State Executives of HOSTCOM, at PTI, Effurun, Delta State, also charged HOSTCOM to ensure implementation of the Local Content Act by multinationals operating in the communities to engage indigenes profitably. Also, the immediate past Delta State Chairman of HOSTCOM, Dr. Peter Kelly Edegegbe, called on HOSTCOM and Deltans to support the re-election of Governor Okowa in 2019, saying the Governor has contributed immensely to the growth and welfare of HOSTCOM in the state. Meanwhile, the new state chairman of HOSTCOM, Evang. Gabriel Isibeluo, in his speech after the inauguration of the executives assured Delta State government, traditional rulers, leaders of host communities, that HOSTCOM will continue to provide enabling environment for increased oil production. Isibeluo was sworn in with other 31-man state executive of HOSTCOM by the acting national chairman of HOSTCOM, High Chief Benjamin Style Tamaranebi. By Festus Ahon A chieftain of the People's Democratic Party, PDP, in Delta State, Chief Emmanuel Okumagba, has told politicians, especially those seeking for elective positions not to see politics as a do-ordie, insisting that only God gives power. Okumagba who stated this when Mr George Eburu, an aspirant for Delta State House of Assembly in Warri South constituency II, paid him a consultative visit, told them to go about their electoral campaigns peacefully. 2019: Politics is not do-or-die affair, Okumagba tells aspirants He said "politics of bitterness promotes acrimony and creates hatred and disunity". Chief Okumagba charged Mr Eburu to go about his campaigns peacefully and "leave the rest for God; there is time for everyone to occupy the position God has destined for him or her". Speaking earlier, Eburu who was accompanied by his supporters' group, Grassroot Mobilization, told Chief Emmanuel Okumagba that he was in the House of Assembly race to impact positively on his people. He said he was inspired to contest for the position to enable his people get the dividends of democracy in all ramifications, adding that "I am ready to put smiles on the faces of my people". To this end, Eburu called on the people to support him, promising not disappoint them when elected.