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In a lighter mood: A festival of oddities

When I released my earth-shaking prophecies and predictions for 2021, I noted that the environment was so tensed up and filled with deadly, fearsome, coronised and unsavoury news. I therefore promised to lighten our moods by taking time off these dreary issues. Unfortunately, the doomful developments (economical, insecurity, coro) have been so pervasive that one cannot but revert to them. Indeed, apart from the unveiling of my world-class coro-dictionary, (Introducing muoigbo Dictionary of Coro, 28/1/21) everything written so far this year has been damn serious. When I reviewed the sitrep within the week, I decided to redeem my image by keeping my promises and here we are celebrating a festival of oddities. I must warn upfront that as Osadebe philosophised years back, it may well be ‘osondi-owendi’ (what pleases some may infuriate others): some people may find the stories ‘laafious’ while some may not. Also note that some of the odd news did not occur just yesterday and as charity begins at home, I wish to start from my territory.

The best graduating student of Vuwani Secondary School in Soweto, South Africa, Thabelo Mudau, has been awarded with a cow for his success. I wanted to laugh but I noted that a cow costs as much as N250,000 and then I looked at the situation in Nigeria and I did not know whether to laugh or cry. In 2017, Best Somadina, the best graduating student of MassCom in Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University (COOU), was gifted with a tuber of yam, a fowl and a certificate. But I think he was luckier than Bamiseye TT, best graduating student, Civil Engineering, Ekiti State University who was gifted with N100, boldly written in words and figure, and advised to undertake the stress of chasing the money at the Bursary Department. It reminds me of a lady who had the best result since her department was created and was offered N500 prize. I advised the lady to collect the letter of award but to donate the N500 to the university’s endowment fund. This happened in a first generation university in the South-West of Nigeria.

In Niger State, a committee set up by the Universal Basic Education Board discovered, amongst others, some 1000 teachers who could neither read nor write, thereby confirming a statement by the governor that about 60% of the teachers in the state were not qualified. You see the harm we do to ourselves? And I am not sure that anything happened to the ‘HR experts’ who employed those fellows.

In our days, there were jobs to be taken and we did not regard teaching as a job. The reply then was ‘I don’t have a job; I am just teaching’.

Today, it is obvious that the essence of education is no longer to get a job but to equip people with the knowledge, skills, attitudes and other traits to navigate through our treacherous environment. However, some people are yet to appreciate that reality or react in some odd ways to it. One Joseph Ochie a Lion (graduate of UNN) has advertised his certificate for sale as he could not secure a job with. This was exactly what an unknown South-African lady (@mthethwa_faith) did when she advertised her social work degree for sale because she could not secure job with it, asking those who knew what to do with it to apply. I don’t know whether she learnt from Joseph or he learnt from her. And then, Usman Abubakar from Kastina State reportedly burnt all his certificates ( NYSC, degree, WAEC) because they were of no use to him. This trio appear to agree with the Kenyan Socialite Huddah Monroe who had declared (in her own warped mind) that degrees were no longer useful or some of our monied men who ask: what is the worth of a degree.

Moose, an 8-year-old therapy dog at the Cook Counseling Center has bagged a doctorate degree in Veterinary Medicine, from the university where he had worked since 2014. His citation reads something like this ‘Along with attending football games, club events, and new student orientations, Moose also helps students cope with anxiety, trauma and other mental health issues. He has helped thousands of students and assisted in more than 7,500 counseling sessions’. But Moose is not alone in this news-making business as Wilbur, a 6month old French bulldog was recently elected the Mayor Rabbit Hash, Kentucky. The puppy ‘is dealing with the stress of being the mayor quite well. ‘He’s done a lot of interviews locally,’ a lot of belly scratches and a lot of ear rubs.’

Early this month, the UBE Junior Secondary School in Makurdi, sent the female students home after 7 of them were afflicted by spiritual attack in a space of 4 days. Under the spiritual attack, called “Iyorgenen” the students would experience seizures and chest pain after which they will fall down and some others would be running around.”

However, the festival of oddities is not limited to the realms of education. In Kenya, a 49 year old sex worker, Sarah Mutero recently retired after 22 years of ‘active service’ during which she serviced 28,000 men. As her retirement package, she received a parcel of land worth Sh120,000 in Makuyu, Murang’a County.

Just the other day, there was celebrations in Democratic Republic of Congo when the JACK Sanctuary welcomed 20 rare-specie monkey to a ceremonious home-coming. The monkeys had been rescued from traffickers in Zimbabwe and it took months of coordinated international effort for them to return home. It was around the same time that Sowore, a former presidential candidate, stormed the court with a native-doctor. It is noteworthy that he was being tried for leading a protest at a time when the government was negotiating with bandits and other non-state actors, who are the key players in the kidnap-ransom circuit. I did not say that the government had given them money!

In a new valentines day celebration method, Viktoria Pustovitova, 28, and Alexander Kudlay, 33, decided to begin an experimental coupling by chaining themselves together, something that was planned to last till May 14 (3 months). While chained together, they had mastered going to the toilet, washing dishes, cooking food, doing their online business and driving their car until they ended up in the hospital from the wounds caused by the chains. Guess what led to this? The girl always stormed out after every minute quarrel and the young man felt that the best way would be to chain themselves together. One of them needed medical attention. I hope I have succeeded in lightening your mood for the upcoming weekend.

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