These are interesting times in Nigeria. Perhaps, it is another period that great novelist Charles Dickens would describe in the opening of his classic “A Tale of Two Cities” (1859) thus:

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degrees of comparison only.”

Our own tale of contradictions reflects the case of two recent “celebrities”, one deliberate, the other circumstantial; one relatively known, the other well-known. Ayodele achieved an academic record that no Nigerian, either alive or dead, has ever achieved. He graduated not only as the best student of the University of Lagos but also with a perfect Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 5.0. Spectacular!

What his achievement entails is that during the entire period of his four-year study, he did not score less than 70% or distinction in all his courses. This outstanding and unprecedented achievement could not have been on a platter of gold or by some stroke of good luck. It was the outcome of discipline, determination and uncommon dedication to excellence.

That not many Nigerians appreciate the feat is an indication of our collective mediocrity. Mr Dada deserves the highest national honour in the land because those who have it are not better endowed. Yet, if the feelers are anything to go by, this genius is to be evicted from his home as a result of poverty. What type of people are we that we allow our very best to suffer while the worst among us make the headlines? Are we saying our intellectual capital does not count or academic excellence is not worth the trouble?

On the contrary, virtually everyone knows about Olajumoke Orisaguna, the “Agege bread” seller. The story of how a poor mother of two was photobombed and suddenly transformed to a celebrity has been told and retold. Apart from being made a model, with emphasis on her body only, which she did not create or work for, she has become a multi-millionaire. She is now showing cleavages and trying hard to jettison her innocence, which is inconsistent with the ways of the world.

But the response of our people to the story is “interesting.” For doing nothing, not to talk of small or great, Sujimoto, a property firm, has given the lady a luxury apartment in some high-brow area of Lagos, where she was not even qualified to ply her trade before TY Bello came on the scene. There have been car donations and several other pecks including ambassadorial offers to many brands. A notable bank has made her its face, all for doing nothing. Everything happens with the speed of light. She is even being touted as a motivational speaker, all for nothing except good luck. And we all know what “good luck” only has cost Nigeria!

No one is begrudging Olajumoke for her success – far from it. I congratulate her, hoping that her instant and unbelievable worldly success is not going to lead her down the path of perdition. Success can be overwhelming and one can only wish her well while praying that her handlers are not going to drive her away from her husband or persuade her to drop what they are wont to describe later as her “funny” surname, a fear also entertained by The Nation’s Professor Olatunji Dare.

What Dada and Orisaguna stories illustrate is that we are not a serious country. We promote mediocrity and disregard excellence. Dada should meet the President and be conferred with a national honour, to start with. If we make the young man a national icon, every parent with a child in school will have a reference point. I imagine parents charging their children, wondering if Dada has two heads, and propelling them to higher academic achievements.

Let us get our bearing right: Dada, the academic genius, is the true role model, not a bread seller. Anybody with a body anywhere can hawk bread; only a rare few can ever achieve what Dada has achieved in the whole world.

JUST SHARING: BUHARI VERSUS HATRED

Like Charles Dickens’ striking contrastive exposition, I give it to Jimoh Oyekola Ajayi, who submitted as follows on the social media on “Buhari vs Hatred”, given the way some people now talk about the man trying hard to clean our mess:

“I am neither surprised nor worried by “their” hatred for Buhari…rats and a cat can never live in the same place. Too many things divide and draw heavy distinctions between PMB and his haters: He loves Nigeria, they hate it. He thinks of Nigerians, they think of themselves and their families. He is honest, they are dishonest. He has character, they lack it. He pursues the hereafter, they struggle to have the world in their armpits. He is patriotic, they are greedy and selfish. He serves, they derail and enslave. He is devoid of moral stains, they are immorality personified. His past is clean and shiny, their past haunts them. They are thieves, he catches thieves. They have stolen, he wants to get back the loots. They are insects and pests, he is a powerful and effective insecticide. Fear fears him, they are afraid. They are running, Buhari is in hot pursuit. They call for division, he works for unity. They say Boko Haram, he calls Nigeria. They want Biafra, he chooses Nigeria. They shout Niger Delta, he advocates Nigeria. They shared money for arms, he is retrieving the money and buying the arms. They sponsored insurgency, he is defeating insurgency. They are like gel, he is the fire melting them. They make the noise, Buhari does the work. They are destroyers, he is a constructor. They are wailing and weeping and crying, the man is smiling, shaking, organizing and hugging poor folks. How can they love him? The more they hate him, the more we love him. The more they fear, the more we feel secure. I cannot choose a rusted iron and leave gold. Buhari has chosen Nigeria and I have chosen him.”

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21 Responses

  1. Olayinka Olaren

    its God’s doing anyway. who can question the most high? jumoke was nobody and even has nothing to be compares to the academician. but its God’s doing. The Lord makes no way where we believe there is never going to be a way. for instance now. jumoke never dreamt of being what she is today in next 100years. contrary to the academician’s believe. with outstanding result, he should have been celebrated within and outside

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  2. Gideon Olushola, Dada

    Nigeria, a complex world of contradictions and abnormalities! God save our comatose father land. Well done, sir!

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  3. Adeyemi Roheemat Olabimpe

    Exactly what happens when u have power hungry mediocres as representatives in all tiers of government. Commonsense Vs Nonsense!

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  4. Jagunmolu Oluwadare Lasisi

    Egbon Kulikuli Vs Wailing Wailers Part One.

    “If some people are now crying that they’re in darkness, they should go and hold those who are blowing up the Gas Pipelines.”

    ~ Femi Adesina Presidential Spokeperson on #ChannelsTV

    My Take :

    It appears our friend has gone mad again with his unguarded statements to curry favour from President Perfecto.

    Power intoxicates beyond comprehension.So tragic…
    Tell him to control his tongue for the sake of tomorrow.

    What can we say about that ‘power-hungry’ opportunist and pseudo-pastor who maliciously dragged the entire Nigerians on the floor with his immortal sticky catch phrase of ‘Wailing Wailers’?

    Who is not wailing and lamenting against the hardship in the homeland?

    Baba Daura literarily tagged as the new Sheriff in town by this fella must be very careful with ‘talk-first-think-later’ brand of media advisers around him.

    President Buhari is not the problem but his arrogant advisers,career bootlickers and unrepentant ‘Worshippers’ must be checkmated by Nigerians with strong passion for the real Change!

    I rest my pen for now!Thank you!

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  5. Luqman Omo Lustrous

    Beyond the job for dada, we need to pave way for translation of his great academic mindset and likes, into workable realities that will improve our systems here. Someone like him should be able to crack the manipulative criminal systems in Nigeria. But sad in this country of ours, only media accolades are destined for the scholarly

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  6. OmoGodwin Damilola Oluwaseyi

    Wherever you find yourself, always be the best you can be. Work and pray. Only God knows what your tomorrow will breed.

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    • hamed

      Please don’t be surprised. Those people and promoting her are doing business. Not that they love her, but saw that as a tool for making quick money. This is because our society likes things like this. So there is ready made customer for there promotional business. It going to bring quick money. God forbid let the woman looses her beauty, then you will see how events will unfold. But the investment in the unilag genius will not bring quick money. It’s a long term business. This is the difference between Nigeria as a nation and the serious minded countries.

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    • hamed

      Please don’t be surprised. Those people promoting her are doing business. Not that they love her, but saw her beauty as a tool for making quick money. This is because our society likes things like this. There are ready made customers for thier promotional business. Its going to bring quick money. God forbid let the woman looses her beauty, then you will see how events will unfold. But investmens in the unilag genius will not bring quick money. It’s a long term business. This is the difference between Nigeria as a nation and the serious minded countries.

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  7. Adisa Lateefat Tosin

    A CELEBRATION OF MELANCHOLIC MEDIOCRITY Indeed, we are in a country with a warped value system; one where moral laxity cum intellectual impoverishment fetches fame and honour rather than moral per academic excellence. As W.B. Yeats aptly asserted in his poem, ‘…the best lack all convinction while the worst are full of passionate intensity.’ The sage was right afterall. And so are you my uncle. Well done sir! Mahfouz Adedimeji

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  8. Olabisi Zaynab Dere

    Let’s take it away from our leaders/rulers in power, let’s bring it closer to ourselves. The academic environment does not celebrate academic success at all. Rather than groom good students to come into the system and make a difference, they will fix in people who might not even have a flair for lecturing but since there’s no job, why reject the one gotten on a platter of gold. Such a person will just focus on writing papers and publishing since that’s wat determines promotion and then wat kind of students can we breed from that kind of system. thank God the boy is from Unilag, they will give him a job, but how many of our higher institutions groom their best brains now. It’s all politicking, even when they know these best brains are assets to improve our failing higher institutions. All a first class graduate gets is a paltry sum at this age and time. If he/she is lucky enough to travel out for postgraduate, den he has to do the same course at first degree, if not no placement in our system. At this age and time that research has gone interdisciplinary all around the world. Please sir Mahfouz Adedimeji, let’s address this issues.

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  9. Adebayo Azeez

    Really true. Have missed Dr Mahfuoz. Thank God I can reach some of his write us to compliment his wonderful oratory capabilities have missed. Well said sir!

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  10. Rasheed Hanbali

    I really pity our generation, going half nude is what we celebrate today and you say pupils will still believe in education. I pray we see a messiah that will drag us back from that pit fall

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  11. Alaya Sulayman

    Mahfouz I dropped 12-pounnds in two-weeks just by taking these dropps (y) visit this site—>www .ThatLoss. C0M

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  12. Olubunmi Taiwo-Adebisi

    I am with Dr. Adedimeji on this. Whilst I felicitate with Olajumoke and say Amen to the Dr’s prayers for her. I also hope that the Nigerian academic system will indeed rise up and promote hard work by celebrating Ayodele Dada. He is indeed uncommon!

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