Discipline in schools: Adopting Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s model

Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the former premier of the Western Region and the presidential candidate of the defunct Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) in the 1979 election was a legend and a model in many aspects of human endeavours.

As a parent, he set an example of what ideal parenthood should depict. History has it that his daughter came home one day to report her teacher. Chief Awolowo was then the political-administrative leader of all the south-western states that include Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ondo, and Ekiti.

He was more than what we have today as state governors. He was the number citizen of the entire region.

Guess what, when Chief Awolowo’s lovely daughter came back home crying for being disciplined by her teacher, her father escorted her back to the school and asked the teacher to flog her properly.

The daughter was flabbergasted but it taught her the lesson of her life that the daughter of the premier of the whole Western Region must also subject herself to discipline in school.

This is in sharp contrast to the behaviour of today’s parents. Just recently, it was reported that a secondary school student, Joshua Joseph, and his parents, allegedly hired thugs and invaded the Toyon High School, Ere, Ado-Odo, in the Ado-Odo/Ota Local Government Area of Ogun State.

It was gathered that three teachers were brutalised by the hoodlums, who also vandalised a vehicle in the school.

On October 27, 2021, a teacher was beaten up by students for attempting to stop the attack on a female student at the Itori Comprehensive High School, Itori, Ogun State.

In Ibadan, Oyo State, a mother, Mercy Johnson, allegedly took thugs to the school on November 26, 2021, to beat up teachers

Similarly, a student of Senior Secondary School 3, identified as Michael Ogbeise, was reported to have beaten his teacher, Ezeugo Joseph, to death in Delta State for flogging his younger sister.

The incident happened in a private school in the university community of Delta State University, Abraka. Unable to bear his sister being beaten by the teacher, Ogbeisei went after the teacher and gave him some beatings that eventually led to his death.

Students these days have become too daring going by the reports of attacks on teachers in various schools of the federation. And it is shameful that parents are even the ones indulging their children and pampering them in the face of their recklessness.

This goes to buttress the words of Ishaq Akintola, director of Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), who recently stated that Nigerians must embrace loco parents because of these unfortunate developments at homes and in education circles.

“We must realise that every Nigerian home has become a training base for all the evils of the world; immorality, indecency, corruption, laziness, excessive materialism, acrobatic impunity, articulated spirituality, and gymnastic religiosity. Parents must up their game in loco parentis,” Akintola noted.

Loco parentis as a matter of fact is a system of parenting that allows parents to delegate authority to ‘responsible others’. For example, teachers and coaches are responsible for the health, safety, and welfare of all children left within their care once their parents are not present. By law, these adults must behave as any “reasonable” parent would.

It is, however, quite unfortunate that today we see parents questioning disciplinary actions taken by school authorities on their children. It is no longer news that some parents hire people who write examinations for their children and wards.

Read also: Where have the parents gone?

Most Nigerian parents will see their children dress in schools, places of worship among others like comedians, hoodlums, and strippers. Yet they pretend as if all is well. Parents do not seem to care even if their daughters go out in nudity.

Nigerians seem to have forgotten where they coming from and have shut their eyes to our destination. Nigerian parents are losing focus of their value system and becoming reckless. There is impunity everywhere.

Going by Chief Awolowo’s philosophy that life is, from the cradle to the grave, a series of unbroken risks. And that those who desire to reach, and keep their places at the top in any calling must be prepared to do so the hard way.

Nigerians must be ready to pay the price of having a healthy society right from our homes by upholding discipline in our schools and embracing loco parentis in its totality.

Many teachers are leaving the profession and few others are coming into the profession. This is scary and unpleasant news, especially for our children and the next generation.

All hands must be on deck to ensure that there is a change of attitudes towards teachers, the profession, and discipline in our schools, or it will spell doom should we allow the trend to continue. Let us learn from the wisdom of late Pa Awo!