Sunday, 8 January 2017

'Not for sale' Books.

Teacher Nweze was a fair woman but from the sheen on her skin, the colours on her face and the darkness of her knuckle its easy for one to tell that her Fairness is not from birth. I can not forget this my Agricultural Science Teacher not because of her Complexion or her long weaves or her heavy Make ups but because of her 'entrepreneurial' spirit.
I was in SS2 when Teacher Nweze was introduced by our Principal to be the New Agricultural Science Teacher. And it was a custom in Public secondary schools for the Teacher to give out Rules and Expectations to students on their first Class session. From her Rules and Expectations we concluded that she's the Strict type, she asked us to get a copy of an Agricultural Science textbook written by a certain Author or else we will see the other side of her. And for non-Nigerians when a teacher says 'you will see the other side of me' it means alot either you get strokes from her whip or you are given a punishment or anything not good. We had barely one week to get the textbook so I went home that day and told my parents. The next morning I wrote down the name of the textbook & the Author and gave it to my Mother. She couldn't find the textbook in all the Bookshop she went so on Saturday my mother gave me #500 and I went in search for the textbook. I came back with the same story and that means am going to receive some strokes of the lashes but am not the only person in that category as my other classmates couldn't find the textbook too. We got to School on Monday and when it was her session to teach, she asked us to place our textbook in front of her but she was disappointed. She told us that she's going to help us get the textbook and everyone should come to school with his/her #500 for the Textbook. We came the next week and she sold the textbook to us for #500 each and we were happy. That very day when I got home I decided to have a good look on my new textbook only to discover that there's an inscription on the back that 'says 'NOT FOR SALE....DONATED BY...' and I was startled. It has never occurred to me that Teacher Nweze with all her strictness will stoop so low as to sell donated books to students and this is a Teacher that will always complain about Corrupt Leaders and unpaid Salaries. Where she got the textbooks from, I can't tell. This was not the first time I was buying 'NOT FOR SALE' Books but it's always in Bookshops and Market Place and not in School or from a Teacher.
Now fast forward to a few years later when I gained Admission into one of Nigeria's prestigious Federal University. It's a rule in Some Federal Universities that Lecturers should not sale any Material to their students. The best they can do is to give them the material to photocopy but I later discovered that my Lecturers also have the 'entrepreneurial' spirit and theirs was even more meticulous. A Lecturer will ask you to buy a certain Textbook written by him/her and he/she will tell you the Bookshop to find the Textbook and when you get the textbook, you must show him/her the textbook and he will sign on your textbook and your name will be 'noted'. Failure to do so will attract a low grade and so we have to comply and we soon discovered that most of the Bookshops that was prescribed were owned by the Lecturers or at least there are stakeholders.
These things have made me to have a re-think of what's the meaning of Corruption or a Corrupt person. To a typical Nigerian a corrupt person is always a politician or maybe a Pastor (the person must be a leader) who steals public fund and sends his or her children abroad to school. But what then can be the definition of a Teacher who sales donated books to students?  Or a Lecturer who forces students to buy his/her textbook ? Every body is always self conservative and we like to Criticise the Government and the Pastors and the Leaders but we take no time to Question ourselves.
I recently watched a Video of a Nigerian Writer that believes 'Education should be free' and he travels round the World teaching people for free because he believes in Socia-Capitalism.  His name is Onyeka Nwelue and he has alot of Eccentricities. I watched the video and I asked myself if Education will ever be free in Nigeria?  The answer is very obvious since Teachers and Lecturers who are supposed to be the pilot are busy selling donated books. After watching that video I kept on asking myself Questions that Matters. What if my Secondary school Teacher had given us that Textbook free (it was actually supposed to be free) will that make her less Rich?
About four years back I decided to organise free lectures for primary school children for free(I gave them free books and pen also) and I discovered how happy these children are willing to learn and share their opinions.
The world will be a better place if you do in your own little way what should be done.

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