Success Adegor Story: The Bigger Picture
It was perhaps the innocent outspokenness of the seven year old Success Adegor that intensified attention to the social malaise of illegal fees collected by what has been branded Tuition free institutions in Nigeria.
Recently, a seven year old girl, Success Adegor from Sapele, Delta State through a video recording furiously told a girl in her neighbourhood, Miss Stephanie Idolor, who recorded her that she would have preferred to be flogged by the teacher to being sent out of school. This video recording went viral and that little frank talk by this little girl may well have exposed the ‘greek gift’ termed free education in Nigeria.
While most Educational Institutions pride themselves as been tuition free, the several incidental fees melted on the students, belies the earlier assertion. To a very large extent, one is forced to agree that in the real sense, the sum total of all these incidental fees amounts to the tuition fee (and even beyond), earlier branded to be ‘free of charge.’
As expected, certain persons have risen in defence of the school authorities, stating that monies recovered from these levies are used in providing basic teaching items in the school for learning. At this point, one is forced to ask whether or not, these government owned schools are not being funded by the Government?
Indeed, the spontaneous reactions by kind Nigerians showed how pitiable the predicament of falling victim of the greek gift. Reports of several cash donations and tales of how she (Success Adegoke) was enrolled in another school on scholarship is commendable. However, it further brings to the fur the problem which desperately begs for a lasting solution.
One is therefore forced to imagine how many other students go through the same ordeal as the young Success Adegor in other institutions.
The young girl whose angry outburst is receiving the full dose of Nigerian’s generous attention now says her ambition is to become a lawyer and a pastor. “I want to be a pastor so that I can preach the gospel and I also want to be a lawyer because I love everything about them. I love their dressing and I hope to become a judge someday,” said Success. A dream which would have been thwarted by the unprintable occurrence.
It is in the light of this, that a more proactive step by the Government in curbing this malaise is urgently needed. Indeed, there are several public schools in Nigeria where illegal extortion in the name of fees or levies are being squeezed from parents and the Government must step to the beat in nipping this anomaly in the bud through stiff sanctions.
From a legal standpoint, ‘Free Education’ which is contained in Chapter 2, Section 18 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as forming one of the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy is not justiciable. It nevertheless remains a responsibility of the Government of the day to drive it’s policy towards eradicating illiteracy; and when practicable to provide free, compulsory and universal primary education; free secondary education; free university education; and free adult literacy programme.
To this end, it becomes necessary to state that it is how well a Government provides these items contained in Chapter 2 of the Constitution, that forms a basis for evaluating how of how well it has performed.