THE FIRST LADIES (AND THE LAST MAN) By Bashorun J.K. Randle - Paul Ukpabio's Blog


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Saturday, 16 October 2021


Straight after delivering my address to the Society of Women Accountants of Nigeria I walked into an ambush outside the hall. It turned out that among women chartered accountants there is a core group – those who are married to old boys of St. Gregory’s College, Obalende, Lagos. They were wearing T-shirts (Green and Purple !!) with “J K For President” boldly emblazoned. What they wanted was for me to agree to their terms for supporting my candidacy for election as the president of St. Gregory’s College Old Boys Association. They have been fiercely loyal regardless of the fact that it is their husbands who would actually vote.  They assured me that their beloved husbands would do their bidding to the last man.

They promptly informed me that they had constituted themselves into a focus group with the principal aim of taking on the cynics who have been making loud noises over the prospects of an old boy of King’s College (which I am) emerging as the President of St. Gregory’s College Old Boys’ Association.  

After all, this is Nigeria – the land of the free and home of the brave.  They particularly like my campaign slogan which is a quotation:

“If you find a path with no obstacles,

it probably doesn’t lead anywhere”

Frank A. Clark

(1860 to 1936).

What has galvanized my campaign is the bombshell announcement I made at both my nationwide broadcast and World Press Conference that within one hundred days of becoming the President of St. Gregory’s College Old Boys’ Association, I shall introduce to the letter (and the spirit) the radical views espoused by Emeritus Professor Olugbemiro Jegede when he was interviewed by Christian T. Alabi.

In bold headlines, 

“Daily Trust” newspaper delivered the message on its

  front page on September 30, 2021.


“Why the call for the abolishing of examination in schools and how can that be actualised in the Nigerian education system?


Examinations in schools have never been true tests of the learner’s full capabilities. Think of a student taking examinations at the worst emotional time of his life, probably lost his mobile phone with all information, or lost one of his parents or has been battling with malaria all week before examinations. How do you expect such a student to do well or perform to the optimum of his intellectual ability? At best, examinations and tests are good for ranking learners. But no system should exist just to rank students because learning should never be a competition.

In education, the progress of a whole class is dependent on the slowest learner. If you, therefore, rely on examination as a yardstick to measure real learning, we shall never make the comprehensive progress needed in our educational system. That is why Singapore has done away with examination and especially ranking of performance in the primary and secondary school levels and considered doing the same at the tertiary education level.

What that country and other progressive countries, especially in Asia, are doing now is using qualitative descriptors such as a learner’s discussion participation, homework, group work and other less competitive means to assess learning by individuals. At the secondary school level, even though learners may still be graded, including decimal points in any marking scheme is a waste of time. What is being done is to use the portfolio system which will contain a learner’s performance in group projects and the learner’s proficiency in demonstrating skills acquired in any learning situation.

The current century no more looks for marks grading or ranking of students to decide if learning has taken place. That is why our first-class graduates cannot perform as well as a third class graduate on the field where the use of our hands integrated with brainpower is required. It is what skills you can demonstrate with the mathematics or science or geography you have learned that employers now look for. In any case, the new development in the recognition of learning achievement is to use learning badges.

A learning badge (digital or physical) is a validated display of accomplishment, skill, quality or interest that can be earned in any learning environment. Badges can represent traditional academic achievement or the acquisition of skills such as collaboration, teamwork, leadership, and other 21st century skills.

What kind of change are we expecting when exams are abolished?

Examinations encourage unhealthy competition in our learning environment and this is an inherent threat to the total development of a child. Encourage a learner to use all his or her senses, hands and brain in an integrated fashion to demonstrate innovation and creativity.

That is why in interviews, it is no more adequate to show a certificate from a business centre that you are computer literate; they put the computer before you and ask you to word process something or do some excel spreadsheet or whatever to demonstrate your proficiency and skills in the use of the computer.

We need to abolish examinations in schools and devise other means to replace entrance and final year examinations. We must borrow a lesson from the latest developments around the world in an industry where Google, Apple and 12 other companies no longer require employees to have a university degree to be hired.

In fact, they say they will now hire accountants, historians and non-scientific qualifications and train them hands-on in computer science and information technology. Many of the world’s most popular global companies that young ones now rush out of Nigeria to work for, don’t require a university degree, and certain jobs are more likely to be filled with non-college graduates than others, as the World Economic Forum tells us with regard to the world’s most sought-after skills for the 21st century.

As reported in many pieces of literature around the world, top business executives have begun questioning whether degrees or certificates from institutions of higher learning really prepare workers for careers, while some are starting to hire more and more non-tertiary graduates.

We must rethink everything about our examination systems and what they portent for our education system in Nigeria. How come most of our youth are excelling exceptionally well outside of Nigeria than within? It is because the environment is quite conducive and there is no stress about examinations but a lot of emphasis on what you can do with your acquired skills.

In general, our examination system at all levels should have been goal-based, process-based and outcomes-based but a critical analysis of the examinations we give to learners in Nigeria shows it is not.

If we do not revise our examination systems and indeed our education system by 2030, Nigeria will be left at the train station or most probably at the motor parks.

Of course, any parent would be pleased that his son or daughter has come first or second in class or level, and in a system where our prize-giving ceremonies are traditionally to recognize student’s achievement, based on what students crammed and regurgitated for examinations. And yet, they say education is what is left in your head when all you crammed for examinations have disappeared!

If exams are abolished, by what parameters would learners be assessed in Nigeria?

For now, we must throw our archaic examination system out through the window and welcome with a broad and huge bear hug the need to use proficiency, performance badges simulations, open question, one on one sessions, online forums and discussion groups, group projects and peer-based feedbacks, and scenario-based assessment and case studies to instil self-discipline in our children to enable them to master all the skills they need to succeed in life.

The focus group (consisting of wives of old boys of St. Gregory’s College) has encouraged me to venture into tackling crucial national issues particularly drugs.

“Daily Trust” newspaper, September 25, 2021



“The principal psychologist at the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Calabar, Dr Eyo Asuquo, has disclosed that there is an increasing number of psychiatric patients arriving at their facility in recent times.

In an interview, he attributed the reason to increasing abuse of hard drugs, such as Tramadol, Nicotine, Cannabis, Indian hemp, as well as high intake of alcohol by victims.

Findings revealed that as at press time, 93 drug-related patients were accommodated at the seven wards of the hospital.

Asuquo said, “As a result of the increase in the number of patients, an emergency ward was created to receive them.  We have seven wards that accommodate different levels of psychiatric disorders.  We have a multi-disciplinary approach to their treatment.”

He said they took time to attend to individual cases and discharge those whose conditions got better than when they were admitted.

He also said the rate of recovery differed from one patient to another, depending on the degree of disorder.

He expressed gratitude to the federal government for restoring and re-equipping the facility better than when hoodlums destroyed it during the #ENDSARS protest last October.

A member of staff of the hospital, who did not want his name mentioned, said patients were brought in from different parts of the state and other places.

“At present, the facility is functioning as it should. Patients are brought in from parts of the state and outside. Our experts attend to them every working day, except Wednesday,” he disclosed.

Another member of staff said they only received 10 per cent instead of the 40 per cent hazard allowance promised them by the government.

In Anambra State, the Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Nawfia, Awka South, has many patients.

Our correspondent who visited the hospital observed that as early as 8.30am, doctors were already in their consulting offices attending to patients.

Speaking with our correspondent, a patient, who identified himself as Mike, thanked the hospital management for the care and treatment he received.

He said the journey to the facility was a long one that he did not want to share with anybody.

One of his relatives, Uche Daniel said, “We thank God for healing him. We hope he would not repeat the cause of the problem.”

One of the doctors who spoke on condition of anonymity said the hospital received an average of five patients every week.

He said most of the patients were induced by hard drugs or the popular Indian hemp, adding that the state government should pay special attention to the hospital.

On the challenges of the hospital, he said it lacked adequate funding and manpower like any other public institution in the country.”

The focus group also wants me to tackle gas flaring.

Front page headline 

“The Guardian” newspaper of September 30, 2021.




“By flaring, rather than utilising gas for power generation or other domestic needs, Nigeria and other nations involved in such act , could lose up to $82bn a year due to global gas flaring, says GlobalData report.

The report identified the biggest gas flarers, accounting for over 87 per cent of all flared gas in 2020, to include Nigeria, Algeria, Angola, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Malaysia, Mexico, Russia, the US and Venezuela.

Though the Federal Government had pledged to end the burning of gas as a by-product of oil production by 2030, under its latest climate plan submitted to the United Nations, independent sources state that Nigeria flared an average of 11.1m3/bbl of gas last year.

With 7.83bcm in 2019, up from 7.44bcm in 2018, the World Bank ranked Nigeria as having the seventh-largest volume under the Global Gas Flaring Tracker Report (GCFR), despite having a low level of energy access.

Nigeria reduced flaring by 70 per cent between 2000 and 2020, according to the International Energy Agency, as a result of tougher penalties and incentives to capture and sell the gas.

However, the Nigeria Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme (NGFCP) has loopholes, and penalties are low and weakly enforced. International oil majors report slow progress in eliminating wasteful flaring, analysts have claimed.

GlobalData notes that, even though technological solutions exist to avoid gas flaring, many countries persist with the activity – including developed countries such as the United States and Russia. Besides lost revenue, this is also an environmental issue, as gas flaring is one of the major contributors to CO2 emissions.

According to GlobalData’s report, ‘Gas Flaring-Thematic Research’ countries could make up to $82bn if they utilise this gas instead of flaring it.

Senior Oil and Gas Analyst at GlobalData, Anna Belova, said: “It would do many countries, especially in Europe and Asia where natural gas prices are setting all-time records, a lot of good if oil and gas operators found the strategy to sell this gas rather than lose it – not only for the money but for meeting their CO2 targets too.”

Belova added: “The top 12 gas-flaring countries, flared almost 13 billion cubic feet of gas per day (bcfd). To put that into context, that amount of gas could easily keep the whole of Japan well supplied for a year. All of that power has simply gone to waste.”

Many countries flare gas because of lack of access to these markets, combined with the small volumes of gas produced at individual oil sites. The situation is further complicated by low domestic gas prices in most of the top flaring countries.

The value of flared gas, when priced at domestic prices in Russia or the US for example, is often less than a quarter of what the gas could command on Europe or Asia markets.

Belova said: “Reducing global gas flaring will require a multi-prong approach due to unique regional drivers that prioritize flaring over monetization of gas. Small-scale modular technologies, aimed at converting gas into liquids or chemicals, represent a logical choice for remote and distributed flaring sites.”

At a meeting hosted by KPMG in Durban, South Africa the late charismatic Nelson Mandela who was no longer the President of South Africa beamed his gaze on the old boys of King’s College and St. Gregory’s College and proceeded to deliver the following message:

“If this meeting has been useful, I am glad.  But it will be more useful to me if you go back to Nigeria and work to give young Nigerians good education.  Teach them to value hard work and sacrifice, and discourage them from crimes which are destroying your image as a good people.  Then you have to spend a lot of your resources on education.

Educate the children of the poor, so they can get out of poverty.  Poverty does not breed confidence.  Only confident people can bring changes.  The black people of the world need Nigeria to be great as a source of pride and confidence.  Nigerians love freedom and hate oppression.  Why do you do it (keep shafting yourselves)?”

By way of digression, the women accountants who are married to old boys of St. Gregory’s College deserve a medal for their sense of humour.  They have adopted the 

The Nation” newspaper of October 2, 2021 as a collector’s item.

On its front page, it carried the following headline:



(Says he’s crap in bed; I had no choice but to look outside).

In the inside pages the sizzling story is given plenty of space to accommodate the anguish of the dejected husband, the triumph of the elated lover, and the fury of the unrepentant wife.

Having regained its poise, the focus group of ladies proceeded to remind me:

“What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

(1803 to 1882)

What followed was a trenchant complaint via WhatsApp by one of their members who had quit accountancy to venture into farming.  Along with the distress call was the front page headline of 

Daily Trust” newspaper of September 25, 2021.


Gunmen demand labour and fertiliser for own farms

Food crisis may worsen as resident desert farms.

The worsening security situation in northwestern Nigeria has since assumed alarming proportions.  Bandits are still on a killing spree, maiming or abducting people in broad daylight, forcing many to flee the rural areas and rustling their animals.  Farmers in some of the areas are also compelled to pay taxes to access their farms.  Some say by this, the bandits seem to be running a parallel government in some areas.  An investigation by Daily Trust in Danmusa, Batsari, Dandume and Dutsin-Ma local government areas in Katsina State revealed that people in villages close to forests are either forced to pay taxes to the bandits not to be harmed and to access their farms or work on the bandits’ farms and serve as their informants.

Despite taxing us, we’re not spared from their atrocities; they’d always come to your farm and seize your phone, money or motorbike, even shoes – anything valuable.  For nearly three weeks, I couldn’t go to my farm out of fear of the unknown.”

In a country where many are literarily voting with their feet, 

“The Guardian” newspaper delivered a bombshell with its front page report on September 25, 2021.



The Independent National Electoral Commission has linked its inability to expunge dead Nigerians from the nation’s voter registration to the absence of adequate data of dead people.

INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu stated this when he received chairman of the National Population Commission (NPC), Nasir Kwarra, at the headquarters of the commission in Abuja on Friday.

Currently, 84,004,084 Nigerians are registered to vote but there are fears that the INEC register is grossly inaccurate due to the failure of the commission to remove dead persons from it.

INEC and the NPC had in 2018 signed a Memorandum of Understanding that would see the NPC providing information of dead voters to the electoral umpire but not much has been achieved.

Yakubu explained that the commission had been conducting a periodical cleaning of the voter register by removing ineligible persons or multiple registrants from it using a combination of technology.

He, however, regretted that technology cannot assist the commission to identify and remove dead persons from the record.

He maintained that although INEC has the largest biometric register of citizens in Nigeria complete with photographs and fingerprint information for voter authentication, there is a need to further enhance the credibility of the voter register.

The INEC boss, therefore, called on the NPC to periodically avail the electrical umpire data of deceased Nigerians for a proper clean-up of the register.

“Perhaps you may wish to start by availing us with the list of prominent Nigerians who have passed on, civil and public servants compiled from the official records of Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies and other Nigerians from hospital and funeral records across the country,” Yakubu told Kwara.

“We appreciate that this is a herculean task but that is partly why we have a NPC. We are confident that NPC has the capacity to do so. This information is critical for INEC to enhance the credibility of the National Register of Voters,” Yakubu said.

Curiously, old boys of St. Gregory’s College love dogs.  However, their wives are not so keen on keeping dogs as pets.  Beware.  Hence, they have sent out a huge warning courtesy of the front page of 

“The Punch” newspaper of September 25, 2021.



“A dog, identified as Charlie, has bitten off a part of the private parts of a yet-to-be-identified undergraduate of the Adekunle Ajasin University, in the Akungba Akoko area of Ondo State.

City Round gathered that the student had visited a friend at the Vanilla Villa, around the Permanent Site, outside the school premises when the dog attacked him.

During the attack, the dog reportedly bit the victim’s private parts but some good Samaritans came to his rescue.

The Public Relations Officer of the institution’s Students Union Government, Oluwafemi Adegbeyeni, who confirmed the incident to our correspondent, said the undergraduate was rushed to a nearby hospital.

He said, “From what I gathered, the student went to visit a friend at Vanilla Villa, around the Permanent Site. Maybe knowingly or unknowingly he was bitten by the unguarded dog. The victim was quickly rushed to a hospital for treatment because the dog bit off part of his private parts.

He is currently being treated and still alive and that is the information I got from people who live in the area. The incident happened in the morning and from what we gathered, the dog has been a threat to people living in that area but we have been warning students to secure their dogs. The incident happened outside the school premises.”

A post on Instagram made by Instablog9ja showed when men of the Ondo State Police Command arrested the dog at a hostel where the incident occurred.

Footage attached to the post showed a man tying the dog to a patrol van. The police were later seen taking the dog away in the van.

Efforts to get a reaction from the state Police Public Relations Officer proved abortive.

The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Funmi Odulami, said the dog bit the upper thigh of the victim, adding that the impact of the attack affected the undergraduate’s scrotum.

She said, “A pit-bull dog known as Charlie, two years and three months old, owned by one Abass Olagunju, 24, a 400-level Animal Science student at the Faculty of Agriculture, Adekunle Ajasin University, attacked and bit one Sadiq Opeyemi, 18, 100-level of the same department, at their hostel in Vanilla Villa Permanent Site, Akungba.

Opeyemi Sadiq, who was running to meet the owner of the dog, was attacked by Charlie. The bite affected the skin of his scrotum. He was immediately rushed to Inland Specialist Hospital, Ikare, where he was treated and discharged.”

As evidence that human beings can be as savage as dogs, “The Punch” newspaper added the following headline:



“Fresh facts have revealed the gruesome manner in which a Chief Superintendent of Police attached to the Lagos State Police Command, Kazeem Abonde, was murdered on Thursday by hoodlums in the Ajao Estate area of the state.

Abonde, who was also a lawyer, was killed nine months to his retirement from the Nigeria Police Force and becoming a full-time legal practitioner at a chamber based in Osogbo, Osun State, City Round learnt on Friday.

He was lynched during a joint operation on the enforcement of the ban on motorcycles plying restricted routes in the state while one of the police operational vans taken to the neighbourhood was destroyed.

The raid was reportedly carried out by a tactical team comprising operatives from the Operations Department of the state police command headquarters, Ikeja, the Lagos State Environmental and Special Offences (Enforcement) Unit, Rapid Response Squad, and the Ajao Estate Police Division.

The spokesperson for the police in the state, CSP Adekunle Ajisebutu, in a statement on Friday, said the team had also raided flashpoints in the area and wanted to leave the estate when the hoodlums struck.

He said, “After the successful operations which led to the arrest of some of the suspects, other criminal elements and hoodlums in their large numbers laid siege to the exit of the estate and attacked the policemen with guns, cutlasses and other weapons. Unfortunately, during the fatal attack, CSP Kazeem Sumonu Abonde attached to the Operations Department of the command was brutally killed by the hoodlums.

“The DPO Ajao Estate, CSP Abdullahi Malla and other police officers equally sustained varying degrees of injury. The corpse of the deceased officer has been deposited at the Yaba Mainland Hospital for autopsy.”

Ajisebutu said the Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, had ordered investigation into the incident and vowed to ensure that those responsible for the dastardly act would be brought to book.

A colleague of the deceased who spoke on condition of anonymity told our correspondent on Friday that Abonde was supposed to retire from the Force in June 2022 and had planned to practise as a lawyer afterwards.

“He was already preparing for his retirement. He was a lawyer and wanted to join a chamber he co-founded in Osun after retirement. Abonde was a fine officer and we will sorely miss him,” the colleague said.

Another source close to the late Abonde said the 54-year-old slain officer was enlisted in the Nigeria Police Force in June 1987 and rose through the ranks to a CSP in June 2019, lamenting that his death was devastating.

“He studied Law at the Lagos State University. He graduated in 2014 and proceeded to the Law School. He became a barrister in law in 2016 and went back to LASU for a master’s degree. He bagged LLM (Master in Law) in 2019,” the source added.

Our correspondent learnt that Abonde, a  native of Ona Ara Local Government, Oyo State, was the Divisional Police Officer, Ilemba Hausa, Lagos, before he was posted to DOPs, his last place of assignment where he was the Operation Officer 1.

Meanwhile, the Executive Chairman, Isolo Local Council Development Area, Adebayo Olasoju, has appealed for calm by the residents of Ajao Estate and other concerned parties regarding the attack.

Olasoju in a statement on Friday by his Chief Press Secretary, Iskilu Alao, said the chairman, some officials of the council and the Area Commander, Area D Command had visited the scene of the incident.

The statement read in part, “Ajao Estate being a major entry point especially to foreigners coming into our dear nation deserves the serenity obtainable in a city of equal status in advanced countries.

While investigation into both the remote and immediate causes of the violence is being carried out, the law-abiding citizens of Ajao Estate are hereby urged to go about their lawful business as there is enough security presence to forestall resurgence.”

The Chairman, Community Development Committee, Isolo LCDA, Adesegun Olatunde, said the executive had stopped movement of Okada motor cycles on the estate as one of the immediate measures to address the violence.

He said, “No okada motor cycle is allowed on the estate for now. We are going to have a PCRC (Police Community Relations Committee) meeting today (Friday) to deliberate more on it. Some years back, they (okada motor cycle riders) had issues and they went detroyed an armoured tank.

After that incident, they were not allowed to operate in Ajao Estate. But after the #EndSARS protests, they suddenly resurfaced and started operating. On Osolo Way and 7/8 bus stop, you would see them on the road. They were not organised at all. Now, they have created problems for themselves. You cannot kill a senior police officer and go scot-free.”

The task force said on Thursday that 410 motorcycles were impounded on prohibited routes in Isolo, Ojodu-Berger, Ojota, Lagos Island, Surulere and Second Rainbow along Apapa-Oshodi Expressway.”

“The Guardian” newspaper confirmed its appetite for dodgy (or dog) stories with its front page story on September 25, 2021.




“The dog has been a human companion for more than 18,000 years, making it one of the first domesticated animals in history. However, keeping dogs as a pet comes with a lot of responsibilities. In fact, in the southeastern part of the country, there is an adage that warns thus: “The dog that laughs also bites”. Thus, as friendly as dogs are, they can also be very aggressive.

In a response to a question on why people keep pets, particularly dogs, on, one MJ Lejer wrote: “Because dogs can be a wonderful addition to someone’s family and/or themselves. Dogs are affectionate, loyal, loving, can offer an alarm system, and are the warm and cuddly nest to you if you have been kind and loving to them! But dogs are a responsibility; they require care, food, water, shelter… and some training if they are to be good pet citizens. And that responsibility can be from eight to 20+ years, depending on the breed! But their companionship and unconditional love can be a tremendous reward for taking care of them right!”

Lejer’s submission is quite apt, especially when considered against the backdrop of the incident that happened at Global Growth Academy, Amokpo, Umuanunwa, Nteje, Anambra State, last Saturday, where 11 dogs belonging to the owner of the school feasted on a two-year-old pupil.

It was reported that the school’s proprietor, Chief Chinedu Oka, is a returnee from the United Kingdom and that the victim was taken to the school for enrolment by his parent when the incident happened.

A source had said: “A parent took the child to the school for enrolment when the incident happened. The owner of the school rears dogs on the premises, despite the community’s warning against it. While the parent of the child was perfecting the documentation and registration of the child, the child wandered off.

On sighting the baby, one of the dogs rushed at him and dragged him into their pen where about 10 of them devoured the two-year-old boy without any school official on hand to rescue him.”

The development reportedly angered members of the community’s vigilante group who entered the school’s premises and killed all the dogs.

A similar incident had happened in September 2014 at 35 Adegboyega Street, Akesan, Igando, Lagos. In the incident, then four-year-old Omoniho Isaac Abraham narrowly escaped death as two dogs belonging to the caretaker of the house, Stanley Jegede, pulled out his skull. Two elder brothers to the victim also got injured while trying to evade the dogs’ attack.

Narrating the incident then, the father of the victim, Abraham Odia, said his wife went to buy something for the children, shortly after she left, the children came downstairs with their bicycles to play as he lives upstairs.

But unknown to them, the giant dogs belonging to the landlord’s brother, Jegede, were not chained.

“Immediately the kids came down, two of the dogs chased them. The third dog was chained. The children ran back upstairs, but the dogs chased them up. Three of them ran up, but the dogs still attacked them forcing the other two who were 12 and seven years old to jump down and leaving their younger one who could not jump. They sustained fractures on their legs. The dogs pounced on the boy who could not jump, tore his skull and battered his face,” he said.

What could have gone wrong with the dogs that made them turn violent? Or was it the fault of the victims? What should a household consider before choosing a dog as a pet and what kind of dog should they get?

The wives of Old Boys of St. Gregory’s College were adamant:



At King’s College, some dogs are more equal than others !!

- Bashorun J.K. Randle is a formerPresident of the Institute of the Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and former Chairman of KPMG Nigeria and Africa Region. He is currently the Chairman, JK Randle Professional Services

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