The Inspirational Story Of Success Adegor
An eight-year old pupil of a hitherto unknown primary school in Sapele, Delta State has forced us to take a fresh look at ourselves and our public institutions and the pretentions that have become part of our behaviour.
Little Success Adegor, in a trending viral video, opened our eyes to some of the things that are wrong with us, with our education, and with governance. In that very brief amateur video, done merely to poke fun at the vexation and temper of an-eight year old, we could see so much about our dear country.
To refresh the content of the video: Success, in her over-size uniform and a school bag hanging precariously on her shoulder, laments that she was asked to go home for non-payment of examination fees. She was angry because going home meant missing studies and with grave implications for her examination if she would eventually be allowed back in class.
Success said in typically Warri rebel’s accent: “Every time them go dey pursue person; no be say I no go pay. Instead them go flog person; dem go dey pursue person”. Success rather wished to be flogged because, “dem go flog, flog dem go tire”.
Quite comical. But it showed that this pupil is not afraid of the cane perhaps because her handlers had abused the whip with their frivolous demands and lost its purpose as a corrective measure.
And the reactions to the video from various quarters have been telling.
One: Some public spirited persons hearing of Success’ grumble in the internet promised to pay the fees and fund her education. The Delta State government fresh from the re-election run of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, suspended the Headmistress of the school, Mrs. Vero Igbigwe for what has been described as an illegal levy end extortion.
The incident also exposed the poor condition of the Okotie Eboh Primary School 1, Sapele. To be sure; the school was an eye-sore that could erode the goodwill of the governor in the education sector. It was a ‘Kpako’ School typically found in rural areas where government amenities are commissioned in the media.. The State Government has immediately commenced the renovation of the school, according to reports.
Two: Courtesy of Nigerians’ philanthropy, money has visited the Adegors and they have expressed their gratitude. But the largesse did not trickle down to the amateur videographer, Stephanie Idoor, an unemployed graduate who feels entitled to a share in the spotlight of the Adegor household. Stephanie has complained about and the need for compensation for the story we have come to love. She wants to be remembered for her gesture with a financial reward.
Three: The suspension of Mrs Vero Igbigwe, the Headmistress of Success’ primary school has brought further complication to the matter as the Warri South Local Government chapter of Nigeria Union of Teachers have cautioned against treating her as a scape goat. They do not want an isolationist treatment of the incident as just one extortionist gambit; they want it seen as an ongoing passion for illegalities that are promoted by a very wide circle of public officials.
The NUT chairman, Comrade Confidence Ikuejawa, said the illegal collection of fees was done by the Head teacher in collaboration or approval of some education officials at various levels of government. He said, “The Ministry of Education is involved, the management of the school authority is involved, the Local Education Authority is involved. When you see the way they design the money, everybody has his own part. This woman should not be dealt with in isolation because she didn’t act on her own”.
Methinks investigation is still on and we should await the outcome believing that the exercise will not be frustrated and aborted afterall.
The issue of illegal levies is not news really. What is news probably is the reaction of the Delta State Government who seemed not to know the state of their schools or the conduct of their staff. Of a fact, extortion or forceful collection of illegal monies from pupils and students under one guise or the other is commonplace. If teachers are not asking for money to buy chalk, they are asking pupils to pay for napkin. In private schools, pupils are extorted through compulsory lesson fees or purchase of toiletries and books from the school stores. The universities are not different as students virtually have to contribute for the upkeep of their lecturers if they must be in good standing academically.
Indeed, extortion and illegal payments have assumed the toga of normalcy because we are wonderful actors who can remain silent in the face of adversity. Unlike Success Adegor, almost all the pupils in that decrepit back-water school had paid the illegal fees because they want to get education. However, many parents might have borrowed to pay or simply bemoan their fate. This is the tragedy that stalks us.
The oppressors and their likes always have their way because we are willing to endure them rather than speak out against their criminalities. Pupils should be encouraged to speak boldly and confidently just as children at home and in the streets should not be intimidated into servitude. As adult citizens, we can do better than keep silent when our rights are impugned.
Little Success has put everybody on edge but her courage and confidence, and the reward it has generated is an inspiration that we should behold if we must get to the next level.