Browsing: Prof. M.K. Othman

Senegal has over 30 languages, but Wolof is the most widely spoken one, with 80% of the population speaking it as a first or second language, and it acts as Senegal’s lingua franca alongside French. Unlike other immigrants, the Senegalese people are restless and hardworking, earning a living from multiple jobs in France but hardly seen in crimes.

The legislature is the most influential and powerful compared to the other two. The legislative arm is the heart and brain of government, as it can make and unmake the two different arms because it can have an overbearing influence on them, even though the judiciary is always a judge in a tussle between the executive and legislature. The executive formulates, implements, and funds government policies, projects, and programs in line with constitutional provisions, while the legislature regulates and oversees the executive and judiciary.

Nigeria, as a developing country, has a pocket of rotten eggs but is endowed with kindhearted people who give a helping hand to people in need. Hajia Salamatu Garba is a benevolent personality who founded the Women Farmers Advancement Network (WOFAN) to provide hope to the hopeless. The story of WOFAN creation is a heartwarming and motivational tale of how an act of kindness from one person can spark a lifetime dedication to helping the unfortunate and rescuing those in need.

On Saturday, February 14th, 2015, my phone repeatedly rang in the middle of my lovely squash game. I cursed myself for not putting the phone on silent mode. I hesitatingly answered it. The distance caller said, “Prof, you are in the court playing, so you didn’t hear that Malam Falaki (as we fondly called him) is dead; he was assassinated.” Shockingly, my phone fleetingly fell out of my hand, momentarily confused. After confirmation, I witnessed Falaki’s burial in Kano on the same day. Today, Wednesday, February 14th, 2024, marked the ninth year since we lost Professor Mustapha Ahmad Falaki through cruel and gruesome murder in cold blood by yet-to-be-identified assailants. My esteemed readers, I am dedicating my column this week to pay tribute to my excellent mentor, teacher, and farmers’ General, Prof. Falaki, again. I am paraphrasing my earlier tribute, which was written some years ago.       

As time ticks, our university system’s perilous situation is deepening, creating an unpleasant scenario. The current administration seems irresponsive to the happenings on our university campuses. Apart from the sweet-coated but unfulfilling statements, award of 25/35% salary increase, presidential amnesty to release four months withheld salaries of the striking workers, approval to remove payment of university workers from IPPIS, etc, the hopes of the university workers for a brighter tomorrow are dashed. The students are oblivious to the flight of their teachers; they are only interested in graduating even if they will be “half-baked” and join the labour market. Why is society unconcerned about the deteriorating quality of Nigerian university graduates? The academics are under exacerbating economic pain, and their Union, ASUU, cowed by the past administration through a judicial technicality, is confused about deciding on the following line of action. ASUU’s rhetoric is in limbo. Is there an alternative to industrial action – strike? Can the university workers embark on another strike with the entrenched government policy of “no work, no pay”? Should they continue to teach their students under unbearable conditions with a peanut as a monthly pay?   

In 2001, during my postgraduate program in Montpellier, South France, one of the most observable features of banks in France was the sparse population in banking halls. You can hardly see ten people in the banking halls, comprising bank workers and customers. The only reason for a customer to be in the banking hall is to open a new account or negotiate a loan, not to withdraw cash or make a deposit. ATMs perfectly serve these functions. Even when you need a bank statement, a printing machine is poised at the gate for the customer’s self-service. Then, banking operations in France were about 70% digital. I am happy today in Nigeria; we are almost reaching where developed countries like France were over twenty years ago in banking operations. The advent of ICT has globalized all developmental sectors and made banking services effective, efficient, and timely. Nigeria has the potential and wherewithal to be on par with any nation in ICT and innovative technologies for the nation’s development. However, we still face poor infrastructure, human resistance against change, sabotage by the beneficiaries of the old order, and other mundane and archaic reasons to slow down progress. The plan to relocate the Central Bank of Nigeria from Abuja to Lagos can be viewed within this context.