By Uche Nwosu
On Monday, July 26, 2021, the same day Mazi Nnamdi Kanu was billed to appear in court to continue with his case against the federal government over issues that bother on terrorism, and others, President Muhammadu Buhari left Nigeria to participate in the Global Education Summit on Financing Global Partnership for Education (GPE) from 2021 to 2025.
What is the essence of the summit except to discuss the failure of the musketeers in Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s abduction saga and to find a way of extricating themselves from the international shame? First, Buhari has no basis of attending the summit because his administration back home has destroyed what remains of the fabrics of the education sector.
According to reports, the summit was co hosted by the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson, President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, even as the summit was expected to bring together many Heads of State and Governments as well as stakeholders and youth leaders and also provided a platform for partners to chart a way towards transforming education systems in partner countries through exchange of best practices.
It is also expected to offer the opportunities for leaders to make a five-year pledges to support GPE’s work to help transform education systems in up to 90 countries and territories. The deliberations at the summit may have focused on: the power of education, A Conversation between Global Champion; Transforming Education for Girls; Financing for Impact and Recovery; and What Now? Priorities for Transforming Education in the Coming Five years among others?
The big question is: Is Buhari qualified to attend such a summit? Back home in Nigeria university lecturers are continually on strike as a result the poor state of the university system. Because of this ugly development, courses durations are no longer determined by the academic calendar, but by whims and caprice of the decayed system.
Just last year, all public university gates in Nigeria were locked for 10 months as the Buhari’s government failed to meet up with demands of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). The strike crippled all activities in the universities such as teaching and learning as well as research and other administrative purposes.
The federal government which Buhari leads refused to keep to its promises. ASUU was and still asking the federal government to improve facilities in the campuses, improve students welfare, revitalize the universities as agreed with government years back and rescind decisions over the use of IPPIS payment platform and pay the backlog of earned allowances spanning over seven years.
In the post primary institutions, virtually all secondary schools in the core North are under lock and key as a result of insecurity. No serious effort by his government to combat banditry and insurgency headlong in order to protect the young girls and boys attending such schools, some of whom are still in the dens of bandits, and yet the man that should protect them is on jamboree in far away United Kingdom in the camouflage 0f attending an education summit there.
Does the man attending an education summit of that nature in the UK have a certificate to show for his later day preachment on education? What happened during the submission of his credentials to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) when he wanted to vie for the office he is currently occupying? What are we even talking about?
In Kenya, President Uhuru Kenyatta has failed abysmal to provide quality education in that poverty stricken country. In Kenya, teachers are in short supply and many of them are untrained, with dilapidated classrooms in almost all nooks and crannies of that country. Over 1.2 million children of school-going age are out of school and involved in practices such as child labour to supplement family incomes and yet Uhuru Kenyatta places priorities on non basic issues like wines and coffee.
The Mr Femi Adesina, Presidential Adviser on Media who was at the meeting told uninterested Nigerians last night through the NTA that between now and the year 2021, the world’s most industrialised nations will donate $5billion (US) to poor countries to improve educational facilities in them. Soon, he said, Nigeria will receive $150million (US) for facilities development in education.
In the report, Adesina disclosed that Buhari, after the meeting that ended on Friday, July 30, 2021 went straight to keep a date with his doctors.
In the first place, Nigeria’s insincerity in advancing education is notorious. Funds that were given to Nigeria for its educational advancement were diverted. A terrorist organization, Boko Haram including bandits, makes it clear that it is opposed to western education and by that avowal, burns schools, kidnaps and kills school children and teachers as well as those who promote education in the country. Till today, the Buhari government has done no concrete thing to obliterate this group and its allies. He pampers them. He said during the GoodLuck Jonathan era, in defence of this group, that an attack on Boko Haram was an attack on the North. Besides, the government has not at any time met UNESCO standards and has not provided the enabling environment towards meeting them.
In 2013, when Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa, fell ill from a lung infection, he spent 87 days in hospital in Pretoria, the nation’s capital. He was 95 years old then. He was monitored under the nation’s best intensive care treatment. But Buhari at at 78, maintains a preference for foreign based hospitals and clinics, thus snubbing growing local option even against his pledge before he became President.
Even in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic that exposed the decades of rot in the public healthcare system and the derelict security architecture, some institutional investors backed by huge private equity commitment saw what Buhari has somehow managed to ignore and continued to pump billions into world class facilities. According to BusinessDay special report, in a world where renewed focus is placed on healthcare as an investment sector and technological advancement such as telemedicine are widening accessibility, Nigerian hospitals are stepping up with capital, equipment, manpower and the grit for sustainability.
The report says that over 20 of the best hospitals in Lagos taking the business of healthcare to global heights, shows that local options are available. Yet, Buhari ignores it for Jamboree abroad.
The point is that those that staged the so called “interception” which in real terms is abduction against Mazi Nnamdi Kanu may have run into troubled waters and are looking for a way to extricate themselves from the putrid. What is the meaning of “interception” in International Law and Diplomacy? Both Kenya and Nigeria have suddenly become an embarrassment to the international community and that is why Britain, the Big Brother, has suddenly come to the rescue.
Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s trial that should have continued on Monday, July 26, 2021 was stalled because the Department of State Security Services (DSS) refusal to produce him in court. What would the United Kingdom do to rescue Kenya (the country that initially kidnapped him against all known protocols, tortured and handed him over to Nigeria) the interceptor?
Comically, less informed Mr Abubakar Malami, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, regaled himself with the false glory of achieving a feat when Nnamdi Kanu was abducted, not knowing that he had hit a brick wall; splashed excreta on himself and the government he serves. Where to go? Release Mazi Nnamdi Kanu unconditionally and allow him to return to London. Big Brother UK: that’s the word of advice for your two erring and soon to be isolated siblings.
We all know that the education summit in the United Kingdom is a camouflage for the dramatis personae to wriggle out of the fetid of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s public shame. Men and women of good conscious expect that the Muhammadu Buhari and Abubakar Malami should swallow their pride and allow Kanu to go without attaching any condition as soon as they come back to Nigeria. Didn’t they know that the barrage of international journalists that came to Nigeria in drove to cover the Kanu’s case was here to make international show of the event?
They simply wanted to know how a man whose legal rights have been violated could be tried by the same violator. This is according to informed sources. The world is a global village and what happens in a particular country concerns others. Nigeria is a signatory to many international treaties and conventions. These treaties and conventions are not meant to be signed and dumped only, but to be obeyed to the letter. Therefore, violating any of it is akin to turning oneself into an international law breaker ie international criminal.
Therefore, Buhari, do the needful: release Mazi Nnamdi Kanu immediately.
Uche Nwosu is a two time Shell Petroleum PLC award winner in the year 2000;
He won the Shell Award on Investigative Journalism and Environmental Cleanliness.