Education

Nigerian Schools: When Did Our Daughters Become Sex Dolls?

Akindele, a Professor at the department of Management and Accounting at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife and Evangelist at Ife Diocese Anglican Church had since last two weeks reduced himself to social ridicule following an allegation levelled against him as regards what was described as “sex-for-mark” scandal which rented the air via an audio tape that has circulated the social media. Prof. “randy”, as called by one of my Facebook friends, shamelessly and embarrassingly made himself appear on the front-page of various Nigerian media outlets – both print and online. He was, since last two weeks, the bone of contention for many television shows and radio programmes in Nigeria.

He was allegedly and reportedly caught in a telephone conversation with a girl, said to be a student of his. Going by the conversation, it was gathered and learnt that the lady had failed a course taught by Prof. Akindele, which was (411). The girl had called the Prof. to know what her fate was in the course after scoring 33, which presumes an ‘F’. “How about the four-one-one?”, the girl quizzed. Prof., as an “animashaun” – a cheerful giver – quickly took advantage of her weakness to forcefully lure her into sex. Without sex for five times, she will have to carry the course over. After all, she was not the only one; her friends who were also in her shoes have danced to the tune of the amorous Prof. as stated by him. Alas! Unknowingly to Prof. he was on air. It was a setup! And Prof. had spilled the bean already!

Upon getting in touch with this information, what I was able to elicit from it was that, perhaps, the Prof. had hitherto requested to penetrate this girl. And the hapless girl did not see this as a reasonable alternative – upgrading mark at the expense of her “pride”. Alas, there was no other choice than to raise an alarm! Having resisted, she needs an evidence to back up the allegation. It then follows that she sets the Prof. up, which she did by recording his voice.

Now, the audio record has circulated the Nigerian society. Mixed reactions have trailed the action of the Professor. He couldn’t resist the public stigma, it then follows that he deactivates his Facebook account and as well goes into hiding. His contemporaries in the varsity alongside his church members contended that the voice in the audio tape was his. They were however shocked at the ill-fated action of this man. He has been described as gentle, meek and calm. Lo! He was a green snake under the green grass.

It is against this backdrop, this article wishes to see the scenario in a broad sense. It also aims at providing the gory consequences “sex-for-mark” phenomenon has – should it linger – on the educational sector and consequently the Nigerian society at large.

Sexual harassment in our schools: how it began?

It is not new to the knowledge of Nigerians, particularly, students, that there exists illegal sexual relationships and intimidations in our various schools. As it could be found between male students and their female counterparts, it has equally snowballed into what could be seen occuring between male teachers and female students.

Teachers, who are expected to be the embodiments of morality and of course its custodians are now the ones corrupting the society. One of the fundamentals of establishing a school is to socialise the members of the society into the do’s and don’t’s of the society and also to inculcate good mores in them. This purpose has therefore been downplayed as we have arrays of records adducing to amorous relationships between the expected custodians of morality and the ones who are to be nurtured. Zafaran, in his classical book (As you go to School) pinpointed that the cause of this was traceable to the fact that most of those who find themselves in the educational sector today are not ready and qualified for the job. They are unfit in both the academic and moral sense.

Worst still, this act has become vogue in our secondary schools today. Teachers engage in amorous relationship with minors. A typical case was reported in the book I alluded to hitherto. It was encapsulated by me as thus: Bola was a decent girl in school but has not been able to meet up with her colleagues in the academic sense. In other words, she is an average student. A teacher therefore spotted this weakness in her and hence saw it as an avenue to take advantage of her. He invited Bola for tutorials in his office. Bola too has become inclined, she barely missed the class, after all, it was an avenue to meet up with others in her class. Unknowingly to her, the teacher was up to something in his sleeves.

This man shares a single office with a colleague but the other hardly comes to school. On this fateful day, Bola came for lesson as usual. The fellow colleague had not arrived. “I am good to go now” suggested the teacher. Before Bola knew what was going on, the teacher had got her on his lap, fondling and caressing her. So unlucky, the fellow colleague entered the office. Immediately, he left the girl and was clad in a shameful regalia. What would have happened if this man did not enter?

My experience

I was sent by my “oga at the top” to the school she teaches therein. It was a public secondary school though. And she was on sabbatical. I therefore held a brief for her on that particular day. My duty was to submit a document for her. On getting there, “public schools naw”, everywhere was rowdy. I went straight to the office of the man I was directed to. I had to wait because he was in a class. Then I saw an “uncle”, as we call them, talking to a school girl, who must be in SSS 2 if not SSS1. This man was asking the girl out on Christmas Carole day. Coaxing and pestering her! The girl then responded naively by saying ” mashi ma ro” – I will ponder over it and give you a feedback. I was unable to verify if she truly accepted the offer or not. But what was near to the truth is that she accepted. A girl in secondary school!

This is the travesty of trajectory of our daughters in the school. The supposed tutors of morals too are morally decadent! This is just to tell you that sexual relationship between teachers and students does not only end in the higher institutions, it is also a characteristic of our so called secondary school today. What! How have we gone this far?

Sexual urge is natural

Of course, satiating sexual urges is typically “man”. But in order to distinguish ourselves from other animals, the path to that has been established, thus, the “marriage institution”. If one is still seen today satiating the urge through other cunning means – rape, intimidation, coercion – it translates into the fact that one is unsocial. Therefore, Akindele is not to blame in this regard, he has only chosen to answer the call of nature, I guess. Unfortunately, in an illegitimate means.

Pathway to curb this heinous act

After been established that the game is not new in our various schools in Nigeria. It is therefore necessary to suggest pathways to which we could put halt to this untenable occurrence in our schools.

No doubt, the lady in question too has goofed by approaching the Prof. for upgrade of result. It is an academic crime. You have failed, the next thing for you is to humble yourself by taking the course again. That you “were failed” is another case entirely; the matter is you “have failed”. In the academic lexicon of Nigerian students, there is distinction between “I failed” and “I was failed”. We students often hide under the guise of the latter when we perform below average but when we score an ‘A’, reverse is always the case. I scored A – showing his friends – not I was given A now. But the Prof. had also presented himself to be so naive by his response. It shows this is not the first time he would be upgrading marks for students in return for sex.

As regards the former, many of our students claim they were failed even though some of them failed on their own part. Though I am yet to confirm if it happens that students are failed when they have performed excellently. But the way to curb the issue of I was failed consequent upon the fact that the lecturer wants to intimidate me sexually is that the lecturer should not be made an hegemon or monopoly in relation to marking of examination scripts. There should be a body charged with assessing and remarking the already marked scripts so as to ensure things are going on well. Albeit, these bodies exist in some schools and institutions in Nigeria but the problem we have with them lies in their effectiveness.

Students too should monitor the way they dress to school. I can vouch for my own school – Unilorin – if you dress as if you were insane, you will be returned to your house from the gate. Some students will dress to kill, make themselves the cynosure of all eyes, yet they will be complaining that lecturers are harassing them. Are lecturers not human beings? The way you dress is the way you are addressed my sister. Learn to always dress well.

More so, ladies should at least always go with a friend whenever there is a need to visit any lecturer in his office. This “might” reduce the chance of them being intimidated and harassed. Walk in group to your lecturers’ office, don’t be a loner!

Our lecturers too should marry instead of running after “side chicks” up and down to satiate their sexual urge. “Body no be firewood”. If you have married or yet to get a wife, and you are still disturbed by libido or cannot resist the temptation, Muhammad, the seal of Prophet, had suggested fasting as a shield for you. It is better you fast than drag yourself into mud as a result of being caught in the process. A word is enough for the wise.

On this note therefore, I urge the management of Obafemi Awolowo University to carry out proper investigation into this allegation and of course ensure that justice prevails. If justice is not done, it amounts to a rape of our democracy. Lecturers will therefore be invigorated to continue this nefarious act. But once sanctioned, every one of them will think twice before venturing into this sea of no return.

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