Oshiomhole: Feasting in Millionaires’ ‘Bowl’
By John Mayaki
What table etiquette will you exhibit on a lunch – perhaps, on the same table and in the same bowl with a millionaire? I received an invite, precisely on Saturday, from a millionaire to feast on the same bowl with himself and family – club – and my first reaction was – I can’t wait for that day to break!
As for the date of the feast, you need not worry about that. However, whenever you stumble on the Comrade Governor, Adams Oshiomhole – who announced the invitation, kindly help extend my gratitude to him – they know no bounds.
But, “day must break”, Barrister Anselm Ojesua would always encourage me on the vicissitudes of life – with that assurance, my second thought was – rehearsals and preparation towards the day and how I could enroll for a “short summer course” – if any in town – on how best, the have-nots can “feast in the same bowl” with the high and mighty.
It was at the 1st matriculation ceremony of Edo University, Iyamho, on Saturday, 11th June, 2016 – a section of billionaires’ club were present and they bear me witness, when Oshiomhole said parents of the rich should be made to pay for quality university education for their children while the government should give subvention to children of the poor for same quality education.
“The students of the poor”, according to the Governor, “who cannot afford this rate but who have what it takes to pursue a university degree, Edo State Government should be able and should provide such students grants so that they don’t deny them access”.
To underscore his commitment, he said, “I have already encouraged the management to set up a panel to identify such students, if there are, among the current students, and to make sure that it does not involve any influence or corruption”, to enjoy this benefit.
What! A billionaire would query. “Why should they eat from our bowl? Let them eat in their bowl and we will feast in ours”, the billionaire was heard thinking aloud the day after.
Isn’t this not the dichotomy, socio-economic disorder and the Berlin Wall in our society today – between the rich and the poor that Governor Oshiomhole wants the Federal Government to review its policy on university education with a view to subsidizing tuition fees for indigent students while emphasizing that intelligent but indigent students should be encouraged to acquire quality university education?
But this billionaire protester won’t stop there – he argued further as in a ‘state’ of billionaire cronyism – “the families of the rich are just as hardworking as that of the poor, please let them be Mr. Comrade Governor”, he stressed.
But Oshiomhole is not in the mood to listen to such anti-poor, anti-masses cronyism – he wants to put a kibosh on the discrimination – “the system seems to have collapsed. Governments at all levels simply do not have the capacity to provide the level of funding which universities require to produce first class graduates”, Oshiomhole reasoned.
“Right now”, Oshiomhole told his audience, “Nigeria is running a system which is highly deceptive and is not sustainable, a system that I like to describe as a generalized system of suffering, a system that subsidizes the children of the rich just as they subsidize the children of the poor. For God’s sake, my dear friend who works in an oil sector, why should his son or his daughter go to the university and enjoy subsidy when they can afford to pay $20,000 or $30,000 for his son in Canada or in the UK or in the US? But if they are here in Nigerian universities, they pay N40,000 or N50,000, and we know that is not sustainable”.
According to him, today, people find individual solutions to a matter that requires a national policy, adding that while some University lecturers send their children to foreign universities for quality education, some Nigerian doctors also go to India for medical treatment, saying it is not a sustainable practice.
Oshiomhole said: “I think the way to go is to have the courage to find a way to identify students whose parents can afford to pay school fees, to pay economic fees for their university degrees. But the ones who cannot afford, but have what it takes for university education, those ones can also be identified and granted government scholarship so that they are not denied access to quality education.”
The point made by Governor Oshiomhole is germane and the idiocy of the selfish billionaire must be ignored.
We must dismiss the hate speech by these privileged few against the less-privileged crowd – because, it is not a good or healthy thing for the have-nots to have their sense of self-worth determined by the hate of a few-privileged others on the benefits and heights we – the masses – can reach because of social stratification, more so, on this ‘bowl’ – Edo State University, Iyamho.
The University which has been accredited by the Nigerian Universities Commission is to run degree programmes in arts, social sciences and management sciences commenced. It commenced academic activities in April 2016 with the admission of 500 students, and plans were under way to start other programmes in the future.
The first session of the University will end on 18th November while a new 2016/2017 academic session is expected to start with the admission of new students in November 2016.
On this bowl, the son of the cassava farmer must feast – courtesy – the pro-masses Governor – but not without due preparedness – for the opportunity will surely come.