What to Know About the Federal College of Education | By Oguntola 'Skrtel' Niyi

A lot has been said about the now approved Federal College of Education, FCE the Federal Government has decided to site in each zone of the Federation, with Osun state being fortunate to be the pick in South West. Expectedly, there has been agitation by almost all communities, towns and cities in the state to corner the FCE, with Iwo leading the pack. No surprises, we have always been leading the pack in almost everything anyway, except for visible and concrete development.

On this particular FCE case, our agitation has been on political grounds, equity, justice and fairness and in all sincerity, if these are the factors to be considered, every right-thinking person knows no other community deserves it more than Iwo. But we must understand that nothing is fair in war, you don’t always get justice, and I’m not sure even God, our creator, is a God of equity, there is a reason he did not make all fingers to have the same size, width and height.

Very briefly, I will like to shed light on the little I know about the FCE and how we get to this point as relayed to me by one of our community elders and political leaders. While not everything can be said on the pages of social media, it is important to say some of these things, so that we may all learn and be prepared for the future should we end up losing the FCE. In any case, however, all hope is not lost yet on the FCE.

The struggle started in 2014, the creation of FCE is a brainchild of the former President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan led administration. Upon hearing about the plan, the number one community group in Iwo, IWAC, I was told swung into action, they wrote a powerfully signed letter to the Presidency and followed it up with visitation to people that can help their cause, especially the then Minister of Education, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau.

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A research was conducted and it was discovered that Iwo and only one other Federal Constituency are the Constituencies without any form of federal presence in the entire SW region. If there is any important statistics to help their course, it was this. They were with this, and the visitation to the then Minister of Education, who fortunately was a close associate of some of the respected leaders in Iwo, able to get the words of Shekarau that should Goodluck Jonathan be returned, himself returned as Minister and the Presidency still interested in the FCE, Iwo will have it…

Goodluck Jonathan did not return, President Buhari came in to find an epileptic economy, if anything is top of his agenda, it’s definitely not FCE and since the FG is not looking into that direction, all agitation on the FCE naturally died down. IWAC, which I was told were the only group making effort then made only little effort further and soon went to bed. Unknowingly, other community had started making underground move too and they did not sleep when Iwo went to bed, they had moved as far as we’ve moved on the case.

When the Buhari administration decided to resuscitate the idea of the FCE, Osun was not being considered because Osun has the second-highest number of tertiary institutions across the federation. In Osun, we have 9 Universities alone, at least, 2 more than any other state except Ogun state that has 13. For this reason, the Federal Government was looking into the direction of other states in the region to site the FCE.

Chief Bisi Akande, using his political influence approached the President and appealed to have the FCE cited in Osun. He reportedly even offered that instead of the FG citing a new FCE in Osun, they should just upgrade the present State College of Education in Ila into an FG standard. This would mean the FG spending less in building the institution since what is needed will be just an upgrade and the FG keyed into it. It’s a win-win situation for the FG and Chief Bisi Akande and that is exactly why we find ourselves here.

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I have seen many people in Iwo castigating Chief Bisi Akande for taking the FCE to Ila and that for me is utter stupidity. For me, Baba Akande has not done anything wrong, nobody will be given a hoe and not hoe in his own direction. If Baba Akande was to be from Iwo, would we have expected him to relinquish the FCE to other community when he can bring it home? Forget the ‘Iwo is my second home’ nonsense, politicians all over Nigeria are set of people that don’t believe what they themselves say, they, therefore, don’t expect you to take it seriously either. Anything that is said by politicians during election period should be taken as a pinch of salt.

But again, I understand that some of this attack on the personality of Chief Akande for cornering the FCE are emotionally attached attacks, we have suffered too much neglect in the past, hence we must do everything this time around to get hold of the FCE. Chief Bisi Akande is just a modern-day Moremi Ajasoro who was deemed a hero by the people of Ile-Ife, but is seen, up till today, by the people of Ugbo Kingdom in Ondo state has a betrayal and a villain.

This is however where we must, as a community, sit back and reflect. We are our own enemy and until the problems are solved within, many great things will continue to elude us. As a former Deputy Governor of the old Oyo state, a former Governor and the former Interim National Chairman of the ruling APC, Chief Bisi Akande has the wherewithal to knock on the doors of Aso Rock, influence and take development home for his people. For us, such is impossible.

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Do we have anybody in the political calibre of Chief Bisi Akande in Iwo? Do we have anybody that will vibrate and make the power to trembles? We must take a break from the ‘pull him down’ norms in Iwo. We have materials, we have people who can perform impressively in any capacity, but we have a political backward mentality of ‘One-off’. Anybody that has served in any position before cannot be returned to that position regardless of performance. As long as the Lord lives, Iwo will never produce the Speaker of the House of Assembly because of our unwritten ‘One-Off’ law for our state legislators and a Speaker, no matter how clueless will always be a power broker in his state.

Don’t make the mistake, I am not canvassing for reinforcing failure, anybody that fails should be dropped, but in reality, most of our representative across board always have considerably impressive performance. What we considered as failure is the ability of the political class to bring forth infrastructural development when in reality it is most times beyond their capacities. There is a hierarchy in everything, we have political appointees and electees, but they are not always in the same hierarchical ranking with those produced by other communities and therefore has inferior voices among even their peers. We don’t have any sine qua non-politician in Iwoland.

You see, politics determines almost everything in life. Your house rent, food, transportation fee, price of cement and even the citing of the FCE is a product of political decision. To have a new lease of life in Iwo, we must build First Class political leaders, we must reinforce people, we must have second, third, fourth and even fifth timer in political positions, we must have power brokers. Check the long list of Buhari’s Ministers, they are people who rose through the political ranks, they are former Governors, Ex-Senators, former this, former that, we don’t have people of that calibre in Iwo. Nobody will pick a Ward political Champion and make him a Minister.

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Also, it seems our high level of Education, especially among the youths is a huge disadvantage for us. When it comes to writing, we can write ehn. Nobody criticises as much as we do, nobody abuse and insult as much as we do. I don’t know of anybody in Nigeria that can help our cause on FCE that has not at one time or the other been abused and destructively criticised by our youths. I understand that criticisms and insults for the political class are inevitable, but there should be a caution to this things, you don’t speak from all sides of mouth because of the day you will need the help of those you’re badmouthing.

Anyway, even if it means I’m only consoling myself, all hope is not lost on the FCE, we must all continue to push for it in our own little ways. Even if the only thing you can do is to write, please do. But when you write, be moderate about it, avoid names calling and write with convincing and true statistics. All the things we write on the pages of media get to our leaders, it gets to even the Presidency and therefore you never can tell.

But, either we are able to catch up with the train of the FCE that has left the station or not, we must fix our fundamental problems as a community.

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