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A Frontline Nigerian Politician and Proprietor
Rochas Foundation College

To fully capture the mood of the moment, this keynote address would look at this topic in following ways:

Taking the concepts as unitary, the Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary defines 'Universal' to mean “existent or operative everywhere or under all conditions”, Basic' means “of, relating to, or forming the bases or essence: fundamental: constituting or serving as the basis or starting point”; Educate (for education) means “to provide schooling for; to train by formal instruction and supervised practice especially in a skill, trade, or profession…”
A coalescence of these definitions would be instructive as it promptly shows that Universal Basic Education is the provision of schooling, training instruction and supervision for skill, trade, professional acquisition taken as fundamental or starting point for all Nigerians without restrictions of any kind.
No one can usefully discuss UBE without mentioning the Universal Primary Education (UPE). It is not the duty of this presenter to go into the histories of education in Nigeria but permit us to note that at the early days of the Nigerian independence, the East, taking cue from Chief Obafemi Awolowo's free education system, paved the way for the UPE scheme. Not too long afterwards, the Federal Government discovered the shortcomings in the implementation of the UPE against the need to train more persons of school age who are not enrolled in educational institutions. It was at this point then that the educational planners suggested the 6-3-3-4 educational system.
The UBE was started by the present Obasanjo administration to take care of the “6-3” of the 6-3-3-4 plan: which is a design to ensure that “Primary through Junior Secondary” years were made free and compulsory for pupils in Nigeria. Before this understanding, there was the nomadic education; adult education of the adult literacy campaign; educationally advantaged project for the riverine communities, etc. All these were efforts to bring education to our doorsteps; to the grassroots; to turn around the literacy level of Nigerians, by government. The basic argument here is that, since education is one strong index for measuring development, every effort must be geared towards the eradication of illiteracy by improved schools enrolment by reason of free tuition. The problem of basic education was manifested nationwide: as the Igbo area left organized schools for business; the Almajiris of the North could not register and attend formal classes due to their nomadic lifestyle: the riverine people preferred other occupations to the rigours of formal instructions; and even in the Yoruba West, the story was not different. So when the Obasanjo Administration started this mega project, all progress-minded persons heaved a sigh of life. It is a good project, which if well pursued would give the greatest advantage to this country in the nearest future. Francis Bacon confirms this when he said: “Information is Power”. UBE for the nation is good in line with Thomas Jefferson's argument that: “ the people are capable of governing themselves if they have adequate education and if they have adequate information”

The Oxford Dictionary defines “Democracy” as “the government of the people by the people and for the people.” Notwithstanding that the above definition is the requirement, the Nigerian environment has not provided for true democracy. Not with very many years of military rule that nearly crippled
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every aspect of the society. Under the military, for instance, there was no room for democracy. This impediment would be highlighted later but we should not forget that the conflagration of culture is inimical to a general (nationwide) appreciation of democracy as democracy under Islamic and Western cultures are at variance. Aguwa (1993:25) noted this when he stated that in Iran, the Ulama has assumed clergy status and become a ruling class, they have tended to experiment on extreme theocratic forms. Extracts from Khomeni's book, Islamic Government, a collection of lectures given in Iran in 1970 reveal the tendency:

in our day… the government, authority and management over the people, as well as the collection and expenditure of revenues has been entrusted to the religious experts, God will punish anyone who disputes their authority.

Government in Islam … is constitutional … in the sense that those in power are bound by a group of conditions and principles made clear in the Koran and by example of the Prophet Muhammed … Thus Islamic government is a government of divine law …
The actual authority to legislate belongs exclusively to God.

Since Islamic government is a government of law, it is the religious expert and no one else who should occupy himself with the affairs of government. It is he who should function in all these areas in which the Prophet functioned… there is no room for opinions or feelings in the system of Islamic Government: rather the Prophet and the Imams and the people all follow the will of God and his laws(Laffin 1979: 162).

In comparison of Islamic and Western democracies, Mawdudi thereby offers the synopsis of the Islamic theocratic principles:

What distinguishes Islamic democracy from Western democracy is that while the latter is based on the concept of popular sovereignty the former rests on the principle of popular Khalifa (leadership). In western democracy, the people are sovereign, in Islam sovereignty is vested in God and the people are His caliphs or representatives. In the former the people make their own laws, in the latter they have to follow and obey the laws given by God through His prophet. In one, the government undertakes to fulfill the will of the people; in the other the government and the people have to fulfill all the purposes of God… Islamic democracy is subservient to the Divine law and exercises its authority in accordance with the injunction of God and within the limits prescribed by Him (Laffin 1979:91).

The Igbo tradition insists on the political independence where democratic principles are upheld albeit at individual levels; we are not going to discount (enhance) the monarchical system of Western Nigeria: all these peculiarities have implications for democracy and the true realization of the gains of the Universal Basic Education (UBE).

This is the turning point, the anticlimax of this presentation. When we discuss democracy, a lot of intervening variables are sure to surface. Nnamani (2001 : 32) may have taken the matter to a pedestrian level when he stated that “Of course, those who take the issue of 'garri', 'akpu','tuwo', and other basic staple meals too highly in their rating of complex democracy have good points in declaring that first, we must settle the democracy of the belly “ We are discussing a nation where the military (an un-democratic type of governance), held sway for more than 30 years since Independence. It would not be the position of this paper to discuss the tiny details of governance under the military except to state that it is public opinion that the nation suffered severely under the
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military. Health, the economy, infrastructures, life support services and education (of the masses) were totally frustrated during that era.
When therefore the experiment to return to democracy seemed to have worked for real in 1999, every one heaved a sigh of life. So, the UBE as enunciated by the president, FRN, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo is a good gift to all well meaning Nigerians. Our problem though may well be that we may wait a bit longer to reap the gains of UBE. Reasons may be what Newswatch Editorial (1999:21) summed up:

NIGERIA HAS BEATEN THE ODDS. OUR COUNT- try has returned to civil rule after 15 years of military rule… The process of exorcising the military from our national psyche is not going to be an easy task.. To change this, to re-train our national psyche in accordance with democratic norms, is the challenge all of us face as Nigerians. It helps to know that nothing now will be accomplished “with immediate effect.” All government decisions must now go through bills submitted to the legislative houses; contracts will be awarded through competitive tenders; decisions will no longer be taken arbitrarily by the president and the governors.

All of us would agree that our kind of democracy would yet mature and ripen to meet the standards of say the civilized West. That is where the Universal Basic Education (UBE) becomes relevant, Nigerians reserve the right and deserve free basic education . That National Post (2000:6) told us that the national coordinator of UBE, professor P. Obanya said the scheme needed N120 billion to effectively take off is interesting. We are also aware that apart from the budgetary provisions of the government at all levels, the UBE is expected to draw funds from the Educational Tax Fund as well as other donor agencies such as World Bank, UNESCO and USAID. You must know that no matter the provisions made for this project, it requires the implementers to make it work.
Having made these points, remember that this is only a keynote address; a kind of speech to move you on. So, you people are now gathered (professionals from various branches of endeavors), we expect you to critically look at the UBE, not forgetting our present level of democracy and working out ways of how the UBE scheme will be implemented to support democracy. You must remember that education is a mix: that is you cannot overlook the language or the culture of a people while ensuring their education especially in Nigeria where tongues and culture are not the same. Also, the systems of traditional governance are not the same due to our peculiar religious beliefs. Therefore, as you deliberate on this issue of “ LANGUAGE, CULTURE, AND UNIVERSAL BASIC EDUCATION (UBE) IN NIGERIA:, we expect that you will come to far-reaching decisions that would assist us in this millennial duty of properly educating ourselves.
Once more, I thank the Organizers for giving me the honour to be here and wish you, the Conferees a happy and memorable time in your assignment.


· Aguwa, J.C.U. (1993) “Theocratic Traditions and the Igbo Experience”. In U.D, Anyanwu and J.C.U Aguwa, The Igbo And the Tradition of Politics. Enugu: Fourth Dimention, p. 25

· Laffin,. J. (1979). The Daggers of Islam. London: Sphere Books. P. 91, 162.

· National Post. “UBE and Infrastructure., Opinion. May 25, 2000. P.6.

· Newswatch. “Nnamani's Path for the Press And our new Democracy”. June4, 2001. P. 32.

· Newswatch. “One Step Forward”, Editorial. June 7, 1999. P. 21.

· Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary. Massachusetts: Merriam Webster Inc., 1990.


Professor of English
MJC Echeruo Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences
Abia State University Uturu.

At a time when the mother-tongue has little or no value outside its speech community, when it confers no special advantage to its user, particularly in employment terms, when those who write in it enjoy no celebrity status, to speak of making a case for it before one who has earned some Western education, or even to one who has not gone to school at all is to sound bizarre. The failure of the mystique of the mother-tongue is due to the fact that it is learnt and understood without the strain and stress associated with say, the English language. Learning to be an effective speaker in one's Mother-tongue certainly does not require that formalized anxiety which the mastery of English demands. In Nigeria people respect only their own mother-tongue and show little or no interest or empathy when another is using his or her L1. Furthermore, Nigerian MTs are not officially required for job placement, nor does the profound knowledge of a person's MT attract any special honour and respect to him or her. What attracts awe to a person is his /her proficiency in oral and written English, especially when it is spoken or read from a script. As a matter of fact English language in Nigeria has had its uses and advantages. Who could have imagined what Nigeria could have been without the communication bridge. More directly, it is proper to say that without English there would have been no Nigeria, considering that she is a typical multilingual space within which are spoken some 394 languages (Hansford et al 1976). We are aware that the 'uniting influence' of English in Nigeria has been derided by Ayo Bamgbose whose credentials to question such a claim for or by English are unassailable. According to him, “The so-called 'uniting influence' of English tends to exist only at the superficial level since the language of solidarity remains largely the shared Nigeria Language” Bamgbose 1963:3). We agree with Professor Bamgbose that the English Language in Nigeria is neither a language of culture nor a language capable of expressing a deep and enduring personal or even national emotion. But which language other than English should have been able to establish the administrative and political structures which later gave rise to Nigeria in 1914? Which language of inter-ethnic communication? Which Language other than English may be said to be politically neutral internally, that is and so acceptable to all the ethnic groups at the time we started to use it? In other words, it seems to us that in psychic terms, it enjoys special acceptability and spread. The English language enjoys an exclusive elaborate code system which no Nigerian language at the moment may boast of. The truth is that as a metropolitan language, English itself has been an instigator of certain dimensions of modernity which no Nigerian language can currently lay claim to. The elaborate code system in English is constantly reinforced by the publication of numerous books used at all levels of education in this country., not to lose sight of daily news casts, and news commentaries, newspapers and magazines, debates in the various houses of Assembly, public lectures, official meetings, and even public rallies.
The service that has been offered by English as probably the most effective language of international interaction will likely remain unsurpassed for a long time to come. It is to English that Nigeria owes the fact that her nationals in search of better life are found in large aggregations in virtually all countries of the world where English is spoken, and even beyond. The economic potentials of this international exposure has been largely ensured by our long-standing contact with the English Language whose baffling spread across the globe was celebrated in the 15th November 1982 issue of Newsweek. The essay in Newsweek entitled rather hilariously as “English, English everywhere” Introduces the enormity of the influence of the English language in the world in the following manner.

Today, like it or curse it, English is the closest thing to lingua franca around the globe. Roughly 700 million people speak it, an increase of 40 per cent in the last twenty years and a total that represents more than one seventh of the world's population. It has replaced French in the world of diplomacy and German in the field of science. It is the dominant language of medicine, electronics and space technology, of international business and advertising, of radio, television and film (Treen 1982).

To a world tied to one capitalist node, in a world where 'globalization' has become a roaring catch-phrase even as it is intended to further marginalize the weak economies of the Third World, not to be equipped with a functional knowledge of English is to return to the age of the Roman gladiators.
Having recognized the relevance of English in Nigeria, and in international transactions, we should be accused of complacency if we convince ourselves that all is well with national development once English is known to perform all the functions we have so far tried to assume for it. In other words, we shall be guilty of carelessness if we should think that with the popularity of English in Nigeria we have had in our grasp a language sufficiently imbued with the ability to convey our culture, to bear and express our psychic manifestations, personally and nationally, a language to foster national integration, maintain mutual equilibrium among the ethnic groups, and perhaps the various socio-economic classes, and thus ensure national development. Such functions as highlighted above are better realized in one of the national languages, not in English.

What kind of 'development' are we referring to ? For the developed world the notion of development is equated with “modernization” even where they mean ' westernization. None of these two concepts - modernization, and or westernization - is desirable for Nigeria at this stage. It is our love for these two development notions that has in turn encouraged us to embrace the myth of 'technological transfer' when in fact there is no such thing or at best if it ever exists, the routs to it is yet to be recognized. It is the mistaken notion of 'technological transfer' that has set African Nations on the path of importation which has in turn turned them into the dumping ground for western goods.
The kind of development which should be beneficial to us is the one which signifies 'growth'. To develop is no doubt to grow, and to grow requires that we do so according to our personal /individual capabilities, potentialities and endowments, needs and environments. In other words, we grow according to our nature, and the nurture we receive, according to the preparation which our own circumstance has allowed us. A seed grows in consonance with its genesiology, the type of soil, space, sunshine and water available to it at the point of germination. An Udara seed will not grow into an orange tree, nor an orange seed into an Iroko no matter what we may do or give it.
Thus if the above scenario is applied to 'development, it can then be seen why we are still where we have been' we can see why, like the proverbial bird that leaves the land and perches on an anthill, we are still to take off in concrete terms. For too long we have tended to equate development with edifices, paved roads, bridges, industries etc. These are indeed indices of Western Development which cannot take root here as long as we think that development is an exogamic fillip, as long as we think that it is a push from outside. Genuine growth is unleashed from within, slowly and painfully nurtured from the polity through appropriate planning . It is the position of this presenter that national development in terms of the provision of infrastructure, provision of water, electricity and roads, the raising of standard of living; or what is generally referred to as economic development satisfies the development criteria of the so-called historic nations who have overcome the substantial strata of the Need Theory. These states Britain, France, Germany, Italy etc have been nations for upwards of 300 years. Integration in these nations has been complete and total; the concept of citizenship is well-defined; rights and obligations are well-known, implemented and implement able; The language in use is not only indigenous, it is metropolitan, well developed and enjoys respect at home and abroad; education, job, good health, water, light and good roads are more or less
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6 a given; security needs in all their ramification are well under control etc. If their notion of 'development stops at either the maintenance of a particular living standard or its promotion, such is to be understood.
However, for the non-historic nations such as Nigeria where several nationalities have been forcibly brought together on the basis of imposed fiats and decrees, where the national emotive forces of the various ethnic groups have been crudely suppressed since 1914, integration hardly occurs. These ethnic nationalities have been compelled to live together willy nilly, without one of the nations having conquered and subjected the others to be able to evolve a single bonded polity. The situation we currently have in Nigeria is what Rabushka and Shepale (1972) call 'competitive configuration' in which there are three or more contending groups, and where none of them is powerful enough to impose its will on the others. As a consequence, none of these nationalities is likely to concede a major advantage to the others with whom she contends for leadership or power. Thus rather than talk of ‘development' in the manner historic nations use it, let us aim at 'nation-building' first. “Nation-building,” contends Bamgbose, involves a lot more than physical structures. It involves a change in the individual, a re-orientation towards national goals and the harnessing of resources for the development of the nation and the welfare of its citizen” (1994: 1-2).
Since total integration in Nigeria is a long way from now, how shall we utilize language to foster nation-building? In other words, what t functions should language perform in our polity so that Nigeria can be counted as a grown or growing nation since we have shown that ‘development' is a relative term which ought not apply to us now?. P. L. Garvin, writing in 1973, identifies four functions of language as those of unifying, separating, participating and image-making (prestige). Michael Haliday (1978) categorises language functions into three broad levels: ideational, interpersonal and textual. However, M. A. Adekunle (1995) identifies seven roles and functions of languages in Nigeria as those of cultural identity, inter-ethnic communicationt, science and technology, education, literary expression and art, official transactions and mass media, national identity and international communication. With respect to the participatory function (as pointed out by Garvin), The Ideational ( Halliday) and cultural / national identity (Adekunle), would we in all seriousness claim that English can really achieve those? If as Halliday remarks the ideational function of language has to do with its transactional medium for the encoder of language to articulate his or her experience of the real world, could we be right to say that the English Language in Nigeria is fulfilling this role
On the contrary, while we admit that the English Language is the only extant language used in Nigeria which serves the unique social function of inter-ethnic and international communication, it remains an exclusionist language in the Nigerian polity. We shall return to this assertion in due course. Meanwhile it is necessary to say that language is such an intimate human essence that quite a number of well-known philosophers who have proferred views on language had often insisted that language as well as its structure determined human consciousness (Adekunle 1995). According to Oyelaran (1990) It will amount to “ultimate treachery to omit consciously to exploit language in the promotion of societal well-being” just as it is an “uncanny abuse of language” to deploy it for “purposes of exclusion with consequent impoverishment of Nigeria's Socio-economic well-being”.
When one says that the English language in Nigeria is excluding, one is saying that it denies full and meaningful participation to persons who otherwise have a stake at nation-building. The denial we are referring to here may not connote the physical barring of someone from participating in nation-building; instead we mean the lack of preparation to participate as in the case of total illiterates or to the foisting of inferiority on an individual who has been poorly equipped linguistically to participate in the nation-building process. It is good to remind us that in recent time in Nigeria, no one without a productive knowledge of the English language has ever been heard nationally. For instance, the making of the various Nigerian Constitutions in the last several years has been the exclusive preserve of the thorough breed in the use of English. In historic nations with integrating and integrated languages native to them, the notion of back - bencher refers not to those who do not understand the language used in the conduct of parliament / congress, whereas in Nigeria ' back-benchers' are largely constituted by illiterate representatives of certain Nigeria political
constituencies, (Agheyisi1971).
In the last two decades or so, we are beginning to have in our midst young men and women who, although they have seen the four walls of the secondary school, have no functional knowledge of the English language. Although these people are found within the vibrant population of the country, they were products of the poorly and hastily executed Universal Primary Education of the late 1970s before they were herded into high schools, also hastily built to accommodate them, and to whom were unleashed hastily prepared teachers whose conditions of service were hardly implemented. With this scenario, there emerged a generation of Nigerians who although they are young and active, they neither speak nor write the English language, settling in most cases for 'Engligbo' in disproportionate code-mixes of English, Igbo and Pidgin as well as slanguage. However, they are comfortable in their mother-tongues and Nigerian pidgin but they have the misfortune of being constantly assessed on the basis of their proficiency in English. The instructions for would-be drivers in Highway code is in English; traffic instructions on the highway are in English; instructions on how one may apply fertilizer to one's crops should one venture into agriculture, instructions on how to live a healthy life or even to apply for jobs meant for particular categories can only be issued in English.
To speak of the English language in Nigeria as being exclusionist is to say that it cannot fulfill the role of a national language. M.A. Adekunle's tabulation of the role and functions of languages in Nigeria scores English poorly on the question of cultural and national identity. A national language is not only the language of culture, it is the best language for expressing one's culture. A national language easily elicits the energies of those who use it far more than English can ever hope to achieve. However, by a national language, one is not advocating the adoption of a single local language, as doing that will be resisted by the rest of the none users of the language. . What is rather advocated is the adoption of the three major Nigerian languages as national languages in the first instance, and the promotion of the others in their speech communities relative to the tiers of government where they hold sway.

The sympathy for Nigerina pidgin (NP) as a medium for education and for literary expression has continued to be on the increase. More attention is also being paid to its study.Notable among these studies are those of Mafeni(1971),Agheyisi (1971&1983), (Egbe 1980), Nwachukwu-Agbada (1986 & 1987),Omamor (1990), Gan-Ikilama (1990),Eligbe and Omamor (1991), Elugbe 1995, Jubril (1995), Faraclas (1996) and Egbokhare (2001). Elugbe (1995:291) mentions some advantages of Nigerian pidgin as it has to do with the integrating function of language as follows: it is ethnically neutral; it is spoken throughout the country;: it is useful as language of education in those parts of Nigeria where the multiplicity of languages will make it difficult to implement the directive of the national policy on mother-tongue education; and it is a bridge language in the process of English teaching. However, Nigerian Pidgin suffers a prejudice which has remained difficult to be erased should it be suggested that it be used in the schools. The educated will oppose it. Even the uneducated who have been brainwashed to believe that Pidgin is a malformed language and who are so desirous that their children obtain modern education which they, their parents, missed in their youth, tend to be the first to condemn the use of pidgin in teaching. The reason is that Nigerian Pidgin sounds like poor English, the preponderance of its linguistic items having been borrowed from English. There is also the fact that for the moment a standardized form of Nigerian Pidgin is yet to emerge. But more crucially, Nigerian Pidgin as of now has no acceptable orthography (Ayheyisi: 1983). It is also necessary to point out that those for whom NP is their L1 are indeed a small, scattered population, often politically marginal, economically deprived and socially disadvantaged. Furthermore, the point still needs to be made that Nigerian Pidgin, although spoken by a vast part of the population, remains an L2 in other words, before its imbibement by most Nigerians an L1 had already taken its rightful place in their human consciousness. Thus the mother-tongue deserves to be used in the Nigerian child's early education.
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There have been arguments for the adoption of one Nigerian language as the national language (Bangbose 1994). However, such proposals are yet to capture the popular imagination because of the emotional attachment human beings have for their L1. No human entity will easily jettison her own language unless compelled otherwise by sheer force to do so. For each human being, his/her first language constitutes his/her very humanity. Therefore, to ask one to negotiate it away is akin to asking one to give up one's life. As already pointed out in an earlier paragraph of this paper, except by coercion or sheer military conquest 'integration' of the Nigerian linguistic polity is far-fetched, if not an outright impossibility. This is ever more unlikely now when the world easily intervenes once a bigger, stronger human bloc wants to lord it over a weaker one. However, while 'integration' is playing itself out, how do we harness the enormous energy, the enormous human input into the economy, which the English language while performing some other crucial functions in the polity, has denied emergence?
The answer is both the mother-tongue and the mother-tongue literatures. This is where the present Universal Basic Education (UBE) comes into our discourse. There accrue advantages from using the mother-tongue in learning and in the writing of stories for the consumption of children. Before we visit these advantages it needs to be pointed out that we are not here calling for the abrogation of the use of the English language. As already stated, the merits of its use in Nigeria cannot for now be easily repudiated by any extant Nigerian language. At best, English needs to flower side by side with the mother-tongue if there is to be the real change/growth which issues from within rather than from without.
By 'mother-tongue' we are referring to any L1 spoken in Nigeria. This MT is to be taught and to be used in the teaching of children, depending on its prominence and acceptability in a specific geographical area of usage. We are not in the least interested in any artificial language or esperento, the type which was rumoured to have been 'manufactured' a few years ago by one Mr. Alex Igbineweka. This 'language' called Guosa, is a hodge-podge of linguistic items from various Nigerian mother-tongue. Thus one who needs to say 'Thank you very much' would have to say Nagode pupa (hausa and Yoruba combined); if one needed to say, Give me a three month holiday' one would have to say ('nami hutu uki meta') ( a combination of Efik, Hausa, Edo and Yoruba). As professor Bamgbose humourously puts it, one of the obvious problems with this kind of strange language is that “we will have to look for Mr. Igbineweka each time we need to form a new sentence (in Guosa), since we may not know which selections should be made from the multilingual pool of words” (1994:7).
For a child to fully grasp early concepts in life, he needs the mother-tongue. Thought and conceptualization are usually the provenance of language. The mother-tongue, being the child's L1 is most qualified to bear the psychological burden of an infant grappling with new ideas for the first time. It is heartening to know that the National Language centre of the Federal Ministry of Education has developed terminology in primary school Mathematics, and Science in Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, Tiv, Edo, Ijaw, Kanuri, Fulfulde, Ibibio and Efik. The Universal Baisc Education can build on this development. Mother-tongue literatures are the best carriers of societal values, and usually they issue from the local environment. Exposed to MT literature at an early stage of life, the morality and consciousness provoked by such works remain with the child for the rest of his life. Themes are usually such that are relevant to children's lives while the vignettes used in MT works are those the children have heard about in their ordinary day-to-day living. Early immersion of children in their L1 literatures will aid them to begin to develop very healthy respect for some other things issuing from their own cultures - songs, dance, fashion, games, festivals, customs and tradition. Thus MT in education will generally foster a profound and emotional relationship between a child and his cultural environment. Language is related to the culture that bred it, it is an expression of the common cultural experiences of the members of the linguistic community who use it.
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9 The use of the mother-tongue in a child's education ensures continuity in the child's learning process, he having moved from the informal background of the home to the formal setting of the primary school. This way the child's intellectual development is greatly enhanced while his psychological and socio-cultural spaces are further firmly established. The truth is that the language he is conversant with at home, and which makes no special demand from him, is also the language in which new tasks are given to him. It is not the same situation when the language of the home is L1 and that used in the school is L2, a new language which is not only foreign, but is a bearer of foreign cultural precepts and principles which are likely being heard by the child for the first time in his life.
It should be observed that at the age of five or six when a Nigerian child finds himself in the primary school, he has certainly acquired sufficient knowledge in his L1aids him when certain difficult tasks as addition and subtraction are presented to him in his MT. Of course he is better prepared to face such tasks than one who is yet to understand the new language in which these arithmetical problems are set. The fact remains that rather than build on the knowledge the child has already acquired relying solely on his L1, he is compelled to start afresh to battle with concepts and principles in the new and foreign language.
Furthermore, it must be borne in mind that education in MT even for the adult is more permeating, more retainable and more permanent in one's consciousness. For instance, the education of the rural populace in the mother tongue has been found to be necessary if the people are to contribute meaningfully to nation-building strategies. Ngugi Wa Thiongo's people's theatre in Kamiriithu in which his cast was made up entirely of rural women using L1 was so successful in arousing their consciousness on the state of their lives that it was stopped in March, 1982 by the Kenyan government. The Wasan theatre of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria also in the 80s modeled after the Kamiriithu experiment was reported to have been very effective too. The reason is that an experience earned out of one's MT is often psychologically affective and emotionally reflexive. Thus instructions on arable farming, fishing, smithery, carving and wood-work, timber exploitation, health education, road safety, family planning, alcoholism et cetera are usually better understood and carried out if they are in MT.
Yet it is not as if one is not aware of the arguments in favour of the continued emphasis placed on English while virtually ignoring mother-tongue in education, which perhaps accounts for the reason, although mother-tongue in education projects across the globe had been known to have been successful - Philippines, Mexico, Canada, Nigeria (the Ife project in the 70) et cetera “many countries of Africa have been reluctant to discard the practice of using the language of the colonial masters in the (early) school system” (Chumbow 1990:62).

We are aware that there exists a mother-tongue policy in Nigerian education which envisages that every child shall have to be taught in a mother-tongue medium at the pre-primary level and during his/ her first three years of primary schooling. Our view is that after the first three years, both the MT and English should be used simultaneously in teaching the Nigerian child up to the last year of the primary school. The reason is that it will enable those of the children who may not go beyond the primary school level of education to acquire reading and writing skills in their MT for a fuller participation in the political, social and economic life of the country. However, we do hope that Nigerian educational planners are aware that the current directives of the National Policy on Education (1981) on the use of MT in pre-primary school up to the first three years of primary schooling are being regularly violated by most proprietors of private schools in Nigeria. At a time when these schools are in every nook and cranny of this country, their spread encouraged of course by the non-payment of primary school teachers leading to constant strikes and lock-outs for most part of the year, the violation and vitiation of these directives are quite substantial.
We wish to observe also that so far it does appear that the UBE project, like its ancestor, the UPE scheme, is not a well thought-out programme. Certainly its proponents are patriots but one doubts if they had done their homework before its take-off. Even as we speak, the bill on it has not been passed into law. However, its weaknesses are no different from those of the erstwhile UPE scheme. Its philosophy and target-objectives are neither clear nor distinctive. Children's environment of learning has not changed for the better before, and since the introduction of the UBE project. Teachers have not been carefully trained. What we see is a hastily devised teacher 'training' programme which hastily leads to the dishing out of TC2 and NCE to ill-prepared, erstwhile seamstresses, okada riders, salon keepers, barrow-pushers, housemaids, stall keepers and daily savings collectors (isusu collectors). In weeks they acquire certificates as teachers to teach pupils who come to school hungry and whose teachers no longer can say they have 'conditions of service'.
We should be quite conscious of the fact that investments into language planning, into language teaching, into language engineering take some time to yield results. We should be aware that language projects are financially enervating, but which project is not? What we should focus on is the outcome, the benefits even if long-term-derivable from these projects. We should be prepared for long-term benefits after all a nation lives on, much longer than her nationals. Furthermore, it is only by integrating our people linguistically that democracy can really serve its purpose in Nigeria.

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Omodia, S. M.
Department of Political Science,
Nasarawa State University, Keffi, Nasarawa State.

The major problem facing emergent and new states of Africa has to do with the problem of nation-building and national integration. The balkanization of the African continent, no doubt created artificial boundary problem which has manifested in the fight for national survival and integration.
This paper therefore, unfolded the divergent strategies for national integration in Nigeria from 1960 to date. It also synthesized through the unobtrusive method the role of UBE in eliminating mutual political-economic suspicion between the North and South of Nigeria, the indispensability of education in enhancing social mobility, ethnic inter-marriages and lingual cultural integration among the divergent ethnic nationalities that make-up the Nigerian nation-state.

Nigeria in the past four decades has persistently been in search of national rebirth. The problem of geographical, political, economic and educational imbalance has no doubt created obstacles to the integrative devices of national integration in the past four decades of nationhood.
These imbalances were a creation of colonialism a political process designed for economic exploitation of Nigeria's resources by British colonialist through a divisionary method. The divide and rule system vis-à-vis the introduction of federalism in the Nigerian body politics further enhanced educational imbalance in Nigeria with the introduction of Universal Primary Education (UPE) in the west in 1955, in the East in 1957, and by the respective regional governments. Central to the issue of educational imbalance, is the disparity that exists even within geo-political zones, which has created an elitist system where the uneducated, pseudo-conscious adults serve as tools for elitist manipulations and settlement of intra-class disputes because of lack of awareness.
The resultant effect of pseudo-consciousness arising from educational disparity within and between the North and South of Nigeria, has led to divergent communal and ethnic clashes, the Nigerian civil war, ethnic politics which is now more pronounced in rotational presidency. It is worthy to note that the Nigerian government, especially the Federal Government, since the attainment of political independence has adopted divergent strategies for national integration in Nigeria, some of which are education oriented like the establishment of federal universities, unity secondary schools, the NYSC etc, in enhancing nationhood in Nigeria.
This paper therefore, unfolds the divergent integrative mechanisms of the Nigerian government, the implication of colonialism on educational disparity in Nigeria and the role of UBE in national integration.

The different sub-themes of this conference: UBE and National Development in Nigeria; UBE and Ethnic Politics in Nigeria; Democracy and UBE, to mention a few, indicate that UBE could best be defined as a process for attaining an egalitarian society. The acronym 'U.B.E.' means Universal Basic Education. In Nigeria it emphasizes free and compulsory education for the Nigeria child up to junior secondary school.
Sambo and Nok (2002: 97), identified the objectives of UBE in Nigeria as:
I. Developing in the entire citizenry a strong consciousness for educating and strong commitment for its vigorous promotion.

II. The provision of free, universal basic education for every Nigerian child of school age.
III. Reducing drastically the incidences of drop-outs.
IV. Catering for young persons who have had to interrupt their secondary as well as others out of school/adolescents through appropriate form of complementary approaches to the provision and promotion of basic education.
V. Ensuring the acquisition of appropriate levels of literacy, numeracy, manipulative communicative and life skills as well as the ethical, moral and civic value needed for laying a sound foundation for life-long learning.
These objectives will no doubt create a positive consciousness and commitment on the part of Nigerians which will be channelled to the goal of national integration.
National integration is the process of “nationally welding together both vertically and horizontally, the component entities of the nation, and the promotion of a subjective awareness of a common national identity” Akpata (2000:162). This definition no doubt indicates that in an independent state there are component entities which must be nationally welded together to create a sense of national identity.
Vertically, national integration accentuates more on elite-mass integration through which a sense of national consciousness could be created and pseudo-consciousness terminated or curtailed through the process of education. Horizontally, the Nigerian state can be integrated through value integration. That is, by inculcating into Nigerians (different ethnic nationalities that make the Nigerian state), a sense of national identity and nationhood through value orientation and education.

The pattern of colonial administration in Nigeria is known as the indirect rule system. The system was embedded in the traditional administrative system which was well established in the north when compared to the western and eastern traditional system. The purpose of colonialism in Nigeria was mainly for economic exploitation and not for developmental purpose. In order for the British to effectively achieve the purpose of economic exploitation in the North, because of the centralized administrative system, coupled with the well established taxation system in the North, the British placed restrictions on external influence, especially from the missionaries. Crowder (1968:377) stressed that the British conviction was that if missionaries were allowed to establish themselves in the North, the northerners may believe that the Christian teachers were part of British administration.
Conversely to the situation in the North, the missionaries' activities were unrestricted in the south, as evangelism became proportionate to the rate of educational growth and expansion, this no doubt was the beginning of educational disparity between the North and South. For instance, Onwueme (1994:436) stated that in 1943 while 17.7 percent of school age children were in school in southern Nigeria, only 1.7 percent of school age were in school in northern Nigeria.
This ugly situation persisted with the birth of the 1946, 1951 and 1954 constitution which injected federalism, into the Nigerian body-politics. For instance, in the 1951 constitution, education featured in the concurrent list. That is, it fell under the jurisdiction of both the federal and regional government. The implication of this system was that the regional governments could device educational policies that could either be complementary or differ from the federal government. As a result, on 17 January 1955, the western region under the Action Group (AG) government introduced the Universal Primary Education (UPE) scheme for all children of schooling age in the region. Between 1954 and 1955 when the system was introduced, there was an increase in primary school population in the western region from 446, 600 to 811, 432. By 1958, Ukeje et al (1992:14) stated that primary school population in the west had reached one million marks, while the number of teachers increased from 17,000 in 1954 to 27,000 in 1955. And by 1960, the primary school population in the western region rose to about 1,100,000, representing 90% of school age group in the region.
In the eastern region, the N.C.N.C government introduced the UPE scheme in 1957.

Although the programme did not last more than a session because of inadequate planning by the government, the programme however created positive awareness on the need for education. This no doubt increases the rate of school enrolment in the East, an increase which cannot be compared to the West. In the North, the UPE scheme was not introduced until 1976, and when it was introduced by the federal military government it was done with the conscious vision of bridging educational gap in the country.


The educational imbalance between the North and South and within the geographical entities has created threats to the Nigerian nation-state through military incursion in the Nigerian body-politics, the Nigerian civil war, ethno-religious crises etc. This unfortunate situation has persisted because of mutual suspicion amongst the geo-political zones which is vividly being manifested in the call for a sovereign national conference and rotational presidency.
However, the federal government in order to create a sense of nationhood in the Nigerian people has adopted diverse mechanisms for national integration since the attainment of political independence in 1960. This ranges from federalism, the federal character principle, state and local government creation, the establishment of federal universities, the secondary unity schools, the NYSC scheme, and the Universal Primary Education (UPE) in 1976 to mention a few.
Federalism in Nigeria has its history far back in 1946 Richards constitution and the system was briefly terminated in favour of unitarism by the Aguiyi-Ironsi short lived regime in 1966. The crux of this integrative mechanism in Nigeria, is embedded in unity in diversity. The federal character principle on the other hand, was injected into the 1979, 1989 and 1999 constitution of Nigeria. The vision is to have a sense of representation and identification by the ethnic groups in Nigeria in federal establishment through their state of origin. It is important to stress that presently, a body known as the federal character commission is charged with the purpose of realizing that objective.
State and local government has also featured prominently in ensuring national integration in Nigeria. The factor for state creation was visualized as a factor that could eschew secession following the secession war of the Eastern region in 1967. But, it is important to emphasize that, state creation in the present dispensation has rather assisted in emphasizing ethnic sentiments rather than national integration.
Other factors such as the NYSC scheme, the establishment of federal universities, secondary unity schools, and the UPE programme in 1976, fall under the classification of educational mechanism. This no doubt stresses the importance of education in enhancing national integration through inter-marriages, social and geographical mobility in search of jobs etc. Although these educational mechanisms unity schools, federal universities, the NYSC scheme, have made positive impact on national integration in Nigeria. It was the conviction of the government and Nigerians that the goal of national integration by bridging the gap in Nigeria's educational imbalance could best be achieved by creating a positive orientation and consciousness of nationhood through education in the child's formative or early years. Hence, the introduction of universal primary education in 1976. It is also believed that admission into unity secondary schools, universities, the NYSC programme can only be made possible by laying a solid foundation for educational development. However, the UPE could not achieve much in this regard because of the problem of politicization, inadequate planning, mismanagement of funds, improper budgeting to mention a few. (Agang 2002: 356-359; Ukeje, 1992: 33 36).
At this point, the questions that puzzle ones mind are: Can UBE serve as a transformational process through which conscious Nigerians could be realized or attained and such positive consciousness committed to the goal of national integration? How is UBE programme to cope with
the problem of politicization, funding, poor management, and indifference on the part of the people? Can national integration in Nigeria be achieved by the multiplications of formal institutions?.
In answering these questions, Obanya (2000:5) stresses that basic education should not be considered as a static term, but as a process that should be conditioned by developmental needs. The UBE scheme should therefore be seen as an embracing scheme which encompasses both formal and non-formal education. According to Obanya (2000:6), UBE in its inclusiveness encompasses the followings:
i Programmes/ initiative for early childhood care and socialization.
ii. Education programmes for the acquisition of functional literacy numeracy and life- skills; especially for adults (persons aged 15 and above).
iii. Special programmes for nomadic populations.
iv. Out of school, non-formal programmes for updating the knowledge and skills of persons who left school before acquiring the basics needed for life-long learning
v. The formal school system from the beginning of primary education to the end of the junior secondary school.

It should therefore not be seen as the multiplication of formal institutions rather it should be seen as the solid foundation needed for shaping the consciousness and perception of the Nigerian child towards ethical and national values. It should be viewed as an indispensable input needed for the realization of other national integration strategies.
On coping with the challenges of politicization, funding, poor management and many more, Obanya (2000: 8-9) in a tabular form indicates how UBE intends to cope with these challenges and its manifestations:
1. The people should be made to believe that the UBE Scheme is a baby of the people rather than the government, and that it is geared towards their developmental needs. This is to ensure the continuity of the programmes even when the government or party in power is no more in power.

2. Educational empowerment for the purpose of national integration should also go with political empowerment. As a result, the UBE programme should be expanded to cover both primary and the entire secondary education. This is because, limiting the programme to just Junior Secondary School is creating unconsciously a class of people that can only vote and not be voted for.

3. Appointment of teachers should not be influenced by their state of origin. As a matter of fact, teachers should be trained, motivated and posted to states other than their state of origin. This will not only improve the quality of education, but will also help in curtailing ethnic prejudice.

4. Books and literature emphasizing African identity and nationalism should also be made affordable and accessible to students. Students should be encouraged to visit places of national interest outside their state of origin at least twice before the expiration of their basic education programme.

The UBE Scheme may not end up creating educational equality in terms of the number of educated people among the diverse ethnic nationalities that constitute the Nigerian nation-state. But, it is believed that, it will create a functional level of nationalism and unity in the Nigerian people based on reasoning and consciousness if the above recommendations are implemented.

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Akpata, T. (2000). In pursuit of Nationhood: Selected writing on politics in Nigeria.
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Crowder, M. (1968). West Africa Under Colonial Rule. London: Hutchison and Company Publishers.

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Onwueme, M.S. (1995). “The Politics of Education: Primary, Secondary and Tertiary”
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Fourth Dimension Publishers.


Ogu Sunny Enemaku,
Lecturer, Department of Mass Communication,
University of Lagos, Akoka

According to Kasoma (2002:23) community radio is a sound broadcasting station that serves a specific section of society known as community. This method of broadcasting has been used to support various forms of development, including educational development, in the technologically advanced nations of the world. Recently, some Southern African nations, particularly Zambia, discovered its benefit and have embraced it. But Nigeria is yet to exploit the immense opportunities tenable in community radio.
This paper examines the use of community radio for educational purposes and suggests ways in which it can be utilised in Nigeria to facilitate the Universal Basic Education (UBE) Programme which is a grassroots-focussed educational development programme.
Obstacles and challenges are identified and addressed to make the concept workable and achievable in the Nigerian context.

The Universal Basic Education (UBE) Programme has attracted considerable intellectual interest in recent time. While some writers have made suggestions on how to make it work (e.g. Obashoro, 2001: 154-165) others (such as Adewale (2001:1-14) have prescribed alternatives to the UBE. The central focus of the present paper is to propose the use of community radio as a vehicle to support the delivery of UBE. The main questions that will engage the attention of the paper are:
(a) What is community radio, and how can it be used to support UBE in Nigeria?
(b) Is radio, as a medium of communication, associated with education?
(c) What challenges and opportunities are inherent in the use of community radio to support UBE in Nigeria?

The paper is divided into three broad sections, coinciding roughly with the three identified areas of focus.

Community Radio: What Is It All About?
Simply put, community radio refers to community-based radio stations run by communities to meet the needs of such communities. Kasoma (2002: 24-25) lists three conditions for identifying community radio stations. According to him, these are:
(i) The station is set up for the community to be an instrument of the community's communication needs.
(ii) The station broadcasts news and other information, entertainment and advertisements which are about and concern the community
(iii) The station is managed by and for the community, although not necessarily started by it.

Ideally, community radio is set up by a community that has recognised the need for it and that can mobilize the required resources to operate it. But sometimes, external parties such as non-governmental organizations or sometimes the government, may establish such a station for the people, but everything relating to the running of the station, programming and other decisions, are taken by the community involved. It must be emphasised that if an external body establishes a radio station in a community and runs it, the station does not qualify as community radio. True community radio is the property of the community, and it is operated by the community to satisfy its perceived need.
In countries where they flourish, community radio stations are recognized as authentic instruments for grassroots communication. They are part and parcel of the community's agenda for promoting grassroots development, information dissemination and entertainment.

Overview of Radio's Involvement in Education
Oyedeji (1991:6-8) explores various concepts of education and concludes that education is “a cultivation of the human mind and a development of personality culminating in the attainment of some wisdom”. According to him, equating schooling with education is an error. Schooling, he argues, is not all there is to education but a valuable component of it. This position is in tandem with that of Dewey (1979) who argues that all genuine education comes about through experience.
By their nature, broadcasting stations have the capacity to reach large numbers of people simultaneously, and in the process they expose the audience to various experiences. Onabajo (2000:3-5) argues that educational broadcasting is as old as the emergence of the broadcast industry and goes on to trace the advent of educational broadcasting in Nigeria to October 31, 1959 when the Western Nigeria Television (WNTV) was established. Education, he says, was seen as one of the main reasons for introducing television in Nigeria. Radio had entered Nigeria much earlier.
Opubor (1985:188) explains that mass communication is the process of sharing experience in which a large number of people are involved simultaneously or almost so. He goes ahead to advocate the decentralisation of broadcasting and using it collaboratively (with the people) as a two-way mechanism for circulating knowledge.
Wedell and Pilsworth (1973) identify three critical problems associated with educational broadcasting in Nigeria (with particular reference to instructional broadcasting.) Folarin (2000:109-110) reports these to be:
(a) Decision-making in an information vacuum; that is, from a position of ignorance. (The four kinds of ignorance reported by Folarin include ignorance of the cost of broadcasting services, ignorance of training requirements, ignorance of teachers' attitudes to broadcast instructions and ignorance of the audience of educational programmes).
(b) Lack of co-ordination between the Ministries of Education and Information which had a jurisdiction on educational problems in the Nigerian system.
(c) Lack of co-ordination programme producers and end-users.

Taking the analysis further, Folarin reports that most developing nations have re-assessed the roles of broadcasting, and one of the specific roles under the general role of socio-economic modernization is involvement (whether as an agent or as a subject) in the efforts to wipe out illiteracy, etc. He observes that although broadcasting establishments in Nigeria, in collaboration with other pertinent institutions have made recognizable efforts in this area, such efforts have been rather sporadic, depending on who and who are in government, and on the state of the economy.
To Kasoma (2002:11-12) the colonial broadcasting system which African nations inherited did not optimally utilise radio for educating Africans. According to him

Colonial government radio did not provide Africans with formal education opportunities. In other words, radio was not used as an extension of the formal education system. What radio did was to provide Africans with both informal and non-formal education.
Uche (1989:52) is, however, of the view that as at the time of writing the book, educational broadcasting enjoyed the pride of place on Radio Nigeria's programme schedule. In his words,

Educational broadcasting is among the leading services the FRCN provides. About 11% of its weekly hours used to be devoted to the broadcasting of school subjects “to supplement classroom teaching of syllabus-oriented subjects”. There is also a limited programme on adult education. But recently, a new channel that is entirely devoted to educational broadcasting was inaugurated. It has been functioning effectively. The suspended National Open University utilised it for a series of inaugural lectures. This channel was then on the air from 5.30 am to 12.00 midnight.

The fulcrum of the foregoing review is that there exists a great depth of potential on radio which can be used to support or prosecute the UBE programme in Nigeria. More specifically, grassroots radio, or community radio, owned and operated by communities, can be used to support the UBE programme in such communities.

Why Community Radio and Not the Conventional Radio?
By conventional radio here, we mean radio stations owned by the government or private entrepreneurs. One of the advantages of community radio is that it belongs to the communities which the UBE programme is meant to reach, and therefore, it is more likely to be able to understand the needs of the communities and respond more appropriately. Studies by Uche (1989), Uyo (1977) among others, indicate that government-owned media tend to approach issues from their owners' perspective, thereby creating a distance between the media and their audience. On the other hand, private-owned media houses are profit-oriented and are therefore more concerned with maximizing profits and minimizing losses rather than promoting education. Consequently, community radio appears to provide a more appropriate forum for promoting education.
Nigeria, like many other modern societies, has embraced democracy, and in a true democracy, power resides in the people, and the people make up the communities. It may therefore be more appropriate to democratise and decentralise the media by encouraging communities to own them and operate them in a way that education, including democratic education, can be promoted at the grassroots. This is in tandem with the view of Uche (1999) that:

(1) Democracy would remain a sham in Africa unless African youths and children are exposed to learning about democratic values, principles and systems from early childhood in primary, post primary and tertiary institutions.
(2) Mass communication or mass media have a major role to play in the curriculum for theeducation for democratic form of governance and politics of the African youth and children.

One of the ways to promote democratic education would of course, be to be educated via a democratised media, based in the people's community, owned by the people of the community, for the benefit of the people in the community.
Opubor (in Nwuneli ed. 1985:144) reports that “we know that most Nigerians obtain most of their information from radio, which is the most widespread and accessible medium, especially in the rural areas”. Since the UBE programme is designed to reach all Nigerians, including the majority who live in the rural areas, radio stations based in such rural areas would create a double advantage as they are both accessible and acceptable to the communities that own them.
Kasoma's (2002:31) view on this subject is that a community radio station gives members of the community a sense of mutual trust and responsibility. In his words,… Because they own the station, they feel responsible to it for any benefits it provides as well as any bad effects it may generate in the community. If the station is not providing the services it is supposed to provide, the community would not blame anybody but itself. Conversely, if the station is doing everything to the people's satisfaction, members of the community would congratulate one another for having a good station.
Kasoma goes on to add that:
This is not possible with regard to a national radio station where citizens hardly feel any sense of belonging and mutual togetherness. In case of a national radio station, the people usually refer to it as “them” and to community they belong as “us”. What the (national) station does is “its own business” for which the people do not feel responsible. (parenthesis mine).

An argument may be advanced that state government owned media which are located in various communities across the federation may play the role of community radio, but this is faulted by the findings of Enemaku (2002) that most times, the agenda of state government owned media houses are at variance with the wishes and aspirations of the “silent majority”. This is further corroborated by Kasoma's (2002:34) logic that “A radio station owned by government cannot be a community radio station because of the fact that the government is not the community”.

Community Radio in Nigeria: What is the Situation?
In the real sense of the expression, community radio cannot be said to exist in Nigeria. Although the government pretends to be promoting grassroots broadcasting through the establishment of a multitude of radio stations in different communities across Nigeria, such stations are firmly in the grips of the government and cannot be described as community-owned.
Some religious bodies in the past attempted using community-based but church-owned radio stations to propagate religious convictions at the grassroots level. A good example is Radio ELWA (Eternal Love Winning Africa) which used to broadcast from Igbaja in the former Kwara State. Religious radio stations, though based in communities, may not qualify as community radio because they are neither owned nor operated by the community. Their primary goals are evangelism and not community development per se, although some of them may try to build community interest into their programmes.
Recently, the University of Lagos got a licence to operate an FM radio station, and some commentators have referred to this as community radio. But the University of Lagos itself is owned by the Federal Government of Nigeria, and by extension, the radio station (when it becomes operational) will be a government-owned radio station. The University of Lagos community (made up of students, staff, their families, etc.) may not be in control of the station as it is likely to be under the control of the university authorities appointed by and paid by the Federal Government of Nigeria. It may not be appropriate, therefore to refer to UNILAG FM as community radio.
The long and short of it is that community radio stations do not exist in Nigeria in the real sense. But they need to be encouraged in the long-term interest of the communities, and for the purpose of making the UBE programme popular among Nigeria's many rural communities.

Factors That Could Militate Against the Use of Community Radio to Promote UBE in Nigeria

The first factor that could be identified here is the fact that true community radio broadcasting does not yet exist in Nigeria. With the alarming rate of poverty and ignorance in Nigeria, especially among the rural communities, it may not be easy to have such stations very soon. But this should not stop us from discussing the possibility of using them when they come on stream. Instead, those behind the UBE programme should look ahead and encourage well-to-do communities to begin to think of establishing their own radio stations that could be used to support the UBE.
From Nigeria's experience with the Universal Primary Education (UPE) of the 1970's and similar development-oriented programmes, it is evident that as soon as the government which initiates a programme is out of office, the prosecution of such a programme dies or at best becomes half-hearted until it finally ends. If the UBE programme dies off before community radio stations come on stream in Nigeria (God forbid!) then there will no longer be UBE programme for community radio stations to support.
However, experience from the suspended National Open University Programme shows that sweeping a desired programme under the carpet will not stop the clamour for it. Indeed, sweeping it under the carpet will not remove the need, and people will look for alternative means (desirable as well as undesirable) to meet their need or satisfy their hunger. The fact that many illegal and subterranean study centres still flourish in Nigeria after the official ban on them, and the fact that the Nigerian government is working towards establishing a viable Distance Learning system are pointers to the fact that there is a hunger for education in the land. Even with discontinuity in government programme, the hunger will persist; the UBE will remain relevant; and community radio broadcasting will not remain under the carpet.

Summary and Recommendations
The foregoing pages have attempted to show that community radio is a facilitative tool for the actualisation of the UBE programme in Nigeria. Unfortunately however, such stations do not seem to exist in Nigeria yet. Some radio stations which claim to be “community radio”, are in reality, not community radio, when one applies the criteria of ownership, management and control, agenda, etc. The fact that they have not fully come on stream is a challenge to the brains behind the UBE, and it is pertinent to being to think of how to encourage the emergence of true community radio stations so that they can be used to support the UBE programme.

Based on the foregoing, the following recommendations are hereby made:
(i) The operating agency for the UBE programme should commission further studies into the operation of community radio and how it can be used to support the UBE programme.

(ii) Experts in community broadcasting should be co-opted into the national planning/implementation committee of the UBE so that their knowledge and skill could be used to enrich the strategic and operational framework of the UBE programme.

(iii) Scholarly fora for sharing ideas (such as the present one) should be encouraged as a way of pooling intellectual resources in support of the UBE.

The UBE appears to be a viable programme for the education of the Nigerian child, and community radio, by its very nature and character, lends itself as a viable instrument for enhancing both efficiency and effectiveness. The UBE programme should therefore make it a priority to stimulate further dialogue on how community radio can be encouraged, and how it can be used to support the UBE programme in Nigeria.


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The Educational Policy in Nigeria has suffered a lot of changes up to the extent of being in danger of lacking direction. The UBE Project is one of such policies currently in the works.
The Project in trying to emerge as a policy is coming with problems among others as those not only common to plural societies but also noticeable in backward communities such as Nigeria, the problem of Ethnicity.
Right from the point of independence this factor has held a lot of policies away from realising their actual purposes. The Emergency UBE policy, this study reveals, has proved not to be an exception to the rule. What are the options available?

The greatest asset a Nation can boast of possessing is to have a highly literate citizenry and to obtain an all round high literacy level. The leadership of such a nation requires to put in place a workable, acceptable and durable policy of educating its people. It is only by so doing that a nation can get to achieve high literacy level and by extension have a governable citizenry. It is only with this that such a nation can guarantee well rounded development and a durable peace and stability within the system.
Countries of the North i.e. the developed nations of the world as Onwueme (1995; 434) explained depended on Science and technology as evidenced in efficient transportation and communications systems by land, air and satellite, broad thoroughfares and bridges, prolonged life span brought about by scientific break through in curative and preventive medicine, mechanized agriculture that ensures availability of food at affordable prices and storage facilities among other numerous break throughs recorded as a result of a consciously planned and organized educational system which was anchored in top-level technological break throughs that were geared towards ensuring the well being of man. The whole of the exploits in the areas mentioned here along with numerous others are only made possible by the prevalence of a well enumerated educational system which such developed nations have put in place from their fore bearers through to the current generations and is expected to be sustained by their children and their children's children.
In Nigeria however, the need is very glaring and seriously begging for superior intervention. The educational system right from the colonial period had been jaundiced with minimum commitment from the British to pursue education as a means of not only civilizing the people of the colonized territories but also as a means of making the area better governed through awareness. The following comment of a French historian caught the essence of the British sourjourn in Nigeria rather succinctly.
'When the French colonized a country they built schools, when the Portuguese colonized a country, they built churches, but when the British colonized a country, they built trading station' (Ibid; 435)
The foregoing suggest that the British government actually concerned themselves more with the trade and exploitation of the raw materials and mineral resources they found cheaply on the land than educating the people and consequently developing the country. Little wonder, they were only able to set up structures that were good enough for the training of Marketing board clerks and language interpreters who will mainly be used for the business transactions alone.
As bad as the picture looks during the colonial period, the post colonial experience was not any better. Instead, the seed of division sowed by the colonialist in the form of divide and rule was now to germinate and present itself in the form of ethnicity reflecting the diversed nature and set up of the Nigerian State. This diversity within the Federation called Nigeria has over time frustrated and inhibited the growth and development of the country over the years rather than being used as an asset. Therefore policies that were intended for application or use in the Nigeria State is normally faced with the problem of ethnic interpretations and Misinterpretations, and the UBE programme which is the latest in the line of Educational policies in Nigeria is no exception to the rule.

Ethnicity refers to a social phenomenon which has to do with interactions among members of different ethnic groups, Nnoli (1978; 5). Ethnic groups here are social formations which are distinguished by such communal factors as language and/or culture. These groups may not be culturally and linguistically homogeneous owing to the existence of differences that provide the basis for the delineation of sub-ethnic arrangements. Nnoli (Ibid) explains further that ethnicity is a more universal concept for understanding the phenomenon which colonial racism called tribalism. A more encapsulating understanding of the definitions given above shows that ethnicity only thrives where ethnic groups come in contact with each other and are moved by competing desire to out do each other in the course of their interactions. It is also necessary to give a sociological understanding of ethnicity as referring to such differences in socially acquired characteristics such as language, religion, national origins and culture.
Since the 1940s this country started witnessing the upsurge of communal associations within and around urban centres of Nigeria. These were to be expected considering the then lack of intent on the part of the colonial government to provide employment and other forms of welfare packages that were good enough to ameliorate the difficulties encountered within the period. Consequently, communal associations who were then carrying out their activities at the Urban centres became ready tools in the hands of the elites as vehicles for obtaining employment and achieving their welfare needs. The success of these caused more loyalty to the communal associations at the expense of the government.
This event also got support when the NYM was given a slot in the 1938 and the 1941 legislative councils. Since then, some of the celebrated nationalists also recognized the role of the ethnic groups and began to use them as tools of competition of ascension to power among themselves. Equally, relevant was the creations of ethnic based political bodies within the Political system by some of the Nationalists. The Egbe-Omo-Oduduwa was created by Chief Obafemi Awolowo while the Jamni'iyan Mutanin Arewa was created by the Northerners. These bodies were to at a latter point be transformed to become full fledge political parties. This shows the level to which ethnicity became entrenched right from time. The Igbo State Union also played a leading role in the formation of the NCNC which Nnamdi Azikwe used later. Mbah (2001; 138-139).
Okwudiba Nnoli was to point in clearer terms events that aided the strength of ethnicity in Nigeria. They were given as follows:

a) Intensive Mobilization of members of ethnic homeland
b) Widening of the Political base from ethnic homeland to include the whole regions entirely.
c) Winning elections in the regions of ethnic supremacy and consequently controlling the regional governmental power
d) Use of governmental power in the region of the leaders control to eliminate all forms of opposition and to ensure maximum support in the regions populations of the parties during elections to the Federal legislature.
e) Encouraging agitation by minority ethnic groups in regions under the control of rival political parties against their government and in support of regional creations. (Nnoli 1978)

Policies normally have their roots and so does the Universal Basic Education. It derives its inspiration from the efforts of the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo through the Action Group (AG) who introduced free and compulsory education in the form of the UPE in the 1950s. Mamman and Mamman (2002; 247). In 1976, the UPE was re-launched but this time around for the whole country. As a result of this the nation witnessed increased enrolment of pupils and more teachers were trained in the process.
The current Presidential initiative to operate the Universal Basic Education as launched in September 30, 1999 in Sokoto seems to be revisiting old experiences. The idea borrowed a lot if not all from the experiences of the 1950s and 1976 which introduced the Universal Primary Education in the Western and Eastern regions and at the national level respectively. All of these experiences were the same in philosophy and planning.
The Universal Basic Education that came in the late 90s and started operation in the year 2000 also presented a similar thinking but only in a broader perspective. The new programme was designed to be Universal as in keeping with the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution (1999) which stated in Section 18, as follows:
“…..Government shall direct its policy towards ensuring that there are equal and adequate educational opportunities at all levels.”
It added further that:
“….Government shall eradicate illiteracy; and to this end Government shall as and when practible provide:
a) Free, compulsory and Universal Primary Education;
b) Free Secondary Education;
c) Free University Education; and
d) Free adult literacy programmes”. (See UBE implementation guidelines, 2000;2-3)

Consequent upon the above provisions of the Constitution, the implementation guidelines of the programme shows that the UBE seeks to realize the following objectives:
· Developing in the citizenry a strong consciousness for Education and strong commitment to its vigorous promotion.
· The provision of free, Universal basic education for every Nigerian child of School going age.
· Reducing drastically the incidence of drop out from the formal school system (through improved relevance, quality and efficiency)
· Catering for the learning needs of young persons who, for one reason or another, have had to interrupt their schooling through appropriate forms of complementary approaches to the provision and promotion of basic education.
· Ensuring the acquisition of the appropriate levels of literacy, numeracy, manipulative, communicative and life skills as well as the ethical, moral and civic values needed for laying a solid foundation for life long learning.

The implementation guidelines further revealed that the Basic Education here is seen in its inclusive sense and it encompasses
- Early childhood care socialization
- Acquisition of functional literacy numeracy and life-skills; especially for adults (persons aged 15 and above).
- Special programmes for nomadic populations;
- Non formal programmes of skills acquisition for persons who left shool before acquiring the basics needed for life long learning;
- Apprenticeship training for adolescents and Youths; and
- The formal school system from the Primary education to the end of the Junior Secondary School.
The foregoing insight into the UBE Programme as precise as it seems demonstrates intent to be broad based and qualitative too. It shows that the thinking was well intended and geared towards surpassing the achievements of UPE in the 1950s and 70s.

It is interesting to know that in spite of the progress being made so far, the UBE as a pet project of the present Civilian democratic government that has already taken a home stretch towards ending its first tenure had not yet obtained a legal status. In an attempt for the Federal government to acquire this, the UBE in a document tagged THE UBE PROCESS SO FAR indicated that it has consulted widely and deeply in order to carry everybody along. It claimed to have carried out the following activities which were aimed at concretizing the UBE Project and they include:

i) Reinforcing Political Consensus: Where 36 State Governors with the Vice President as the Chairman were constituted into a Council that is designated the apex policy making body for the UBE.

This body reviewed the second draft of the bill seeking legal status for the UBE after it has been circulated to all the State Governments and the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) made their own inputs.

ii) Articulating the Content and Orientation of the Programme: The UBE also consulted with all the stake holders in the Education sub-sector the country and deliberated on the implementation guidelines. Such included:

- All Commissioners of Education
- All Chairmen of State Primary Education Boards (SPEBs)
- Agencies of UN Systems represented in Nigeria
- Other parastatals of the Federal Ministry of Education
- The Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT)
- National Parent Teachers Association of Nigeria, and
- A joint workshop with NIEPA (National Institute for Educational Planning and Administration).

iii) Enlargement of Partnership: The UBE enhanced its relationship with the Press such as the NTA, NOA and other bodies. This gave rise to the 30 minutes Bi-monthly TV Programme UBE in Focus among other developments.

iv) Giving a concrete kick start to the UBE project: the UBE did this by carrying out State level policy dialogues, advocacy working visits to carry out grass root mobilization, where the following states were visited: Akwa Ibom, Bauchi, Benue, Delta, Edo Enugu, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kwara, Kebbi, Kogi, Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger, Plateau, Sokoto and Zamfara.
- Professional and Academic conferences were equally held at various levels with stakeholders
in the area.
- At the end of the day, the 774 Local governments in the country had 2 blocks each of 3 Classrooms, with Office Store and VIP toilets. In the whole 4464 individual Classrooms were made available for use of 178,560 pupils. The construction project was estimated to cost N7,097 billion.

V) Development of support Activities: The UBE embarked on this and bodies like the NTI (National Teachers Institute), NERDC (Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council) and NIEPA (National Institute for Educational Planning and Administration) were invited and they contributed accordingly.

vi) External Assistance: The UBE enlisted the support of World Bank, UNICEF, UNESCO, WFP (World Food Programme) and Japanese Aid were all negotiating support for the UBE as at the year 2001. (The UBE Process So far 2001: 4 15)

As comprehensive, thorough, broad based and indepth the above consultations may seem, certain rather very conspicuous aspects of diversities have been left out. This aspect is the ethnic question within the Nigerian Plural Society. A very important factor that always has a hand in the shaping of all policies in the country. We have already discussed how this ethnic divide came to be entrenched in the country. Efforts by succeeding regimes in the country to create more States and Local Governments only end up in further breaking down of the frontiers of ethnic rivalries. Today, argued Onyeocha (1994: 89) the question of who should rule the country, of who should get which post, of how and where industries are to be sited, has always remained a matter of acrimonious debate. Every one seems displeased with the running of things and every one seems to feel cheated by the way things are run.
At the level of the UBE implementation, the philosophy itself, the way it was brought was branded as being a fall out of ethnicity. Its being a policy initiated by the people of the Western region and of Yoruba descent. Today, the chauvinists claimed, the same idea is being brought in by an Oduduwa descendant with virtually the same philosophy and name. Perhaps the issue would have been milder if a different name were used for the policy. This might have explained the luck lustre attitude of the far north towards the policy which was associated then with the AG and later the UPN. It was on record that States of the far north did not register as many pupils in the commencement of the UBE in the year 2000 as was witnessed in the West and the East.
Since the Nigerian setting was a heterogeneous one, we had account of communities that complained on the location of the new classroom structures being built or renovated in other ethnic communities other than theirs. This tend to reopen old acrimonies in some areas and starts fresh ones in others. Records had it that supervising Consultants for some of these projects did not have it easy as they ended up becoming peace makers rather than structural supervisors.
The recent ethno-religious violence that engulfed and is still raging on in Plateau State makes the construction of blocks of 3 bedrooms difficult, as security is no longer guaranteed of lives and properties at the various sites. This may not only be happening in Plateau State alone but all States with skirmishes of ethnic hostilities.
Ethnic chauvinists who normally are seen around as elites who have lacked one thing or the other in the divide of the so-called “National Cake” will always want to implore ethnicity in the interpretations of the policy. For instance, contracts for the construction of the blocks of 3 Classrooms, office, store and VIP Toilets were criticized for not being given to the elites of the benefiting communities. Even though a look at this arrangement in Plateau State revealed that five (5) out of the initial 17 sites were abandoned and of this only one (1) of the contractors is a non-indigene. The argument therefore failed here.
At the official circles, ethnicity or the diversity is reflected as statism or regionalism, still in Plateau State, the government of the State which was PDP controlled enjoyed a free hand to award for the balance of an additional 17 sites. The State claimed that they could achieve more blocks with this and so they awarded contracts for 34 blocks of classrooms only, no toilet, no office and no store. Of the whole of these, no block was handed over as being completed as at April when I handed over as the Secretary of the State Supervising Consultants in Plateau State. I may not be in the position to know what is happening in other States but I do know that Lagos State indicated that the proto-type drawings given by the UBE was not acceptable to them as they would prefer to have storey buildings as they claimed that they may not have the space to erect such structures. Sokoto and Kebbi States did not commence this construction at the same time other States did, the reasons were not immediately known to me but all of these were evidences of demonstrations of ethnic and other forms of diversed biases and prejudices regarding the UBE projects. Perhaps at the level of furnishing of the classes and training of teachers, we shall witness more of such prejudices.

The project as it is so far have come a long way, the ethnic and diversed dimensions being expressed will continue to linger on and this is likely to be the bane of the policy just like the other policies that preceeded this. What effort can we make in order to arrest the trend?
We have to accept at this point that we are a nation-State with several sub-national identities. We assumed that with the mere proclamation of independence we should jettison our cultural identities and embrace unity. The Country has so far turned a full circle in its search for unity including the payment of the Supreme price. Ikara (1995) observed that:
All our nation building efforts should have been directed at the recognition of our cultural pluralism and our attachment to our local cultures and institutions as typified even by the development of various unions or associations of our own people outside their homelands. Linguistic Scaffolding such as 'nation; nation-building; unity-in-diversity,” etc, have been mere illusions in the absence of a common political culture. Some lessons should be learned from the Eastern block as all the States built on the forced amalgamation of ethnic nationalities by one party totalitarian regimes have now collapsed.
As a consequence of the above, the following options may be considered as options for the UBE project and other subsequent policies

(a) The Policy design need to be localized to meet the exact demand of the immediate communities as against a national generalization.

b) Mobilization should preceed the design of the policy but not after the policy. Benefitting communities must make their own in-put into the policy in a Bottom Top design rather than the other way round.

c) Benefitting Communities should be deeply involved in the implementation of the policies which they are a part in its creation.

These ways mentioned above will ensure a recognition of the diversities either in ethnic, religious or other forms without necessarily jeopardizing the essence of the Policy.


There is no doubt that the UBE programme as against the previous other similar policies is richly endowed in terms of Policy content, Political will to implement and the material support for a prolong sustenance. It has equally enjoyed immense consultations and contacts with all stakeholders in the education sub-sector, which can qualify it to record a high degree of success but for issues relating to the diversities that normally characterize our nation. Rather than enforcing an integration process that may not be achieved in the implementation of the policy if the recognition of the diversity by way of working with it will enable us to achieve our goals as a nation-State, please, so be it.


1. Ikara, Bashir A (1995): Cultural Geopolitical Considerations. In
Oladapo Fafowora et al eds: (1995) Nigeria in Search of Leadership

2. Implementation Guidelines for the Universal Basic Education (UBE)
Programme, Federal Ministry of Education, Abuja, February, 2000

3. Mamman, Ayuba & Mamman Grace A. (2002), Universal Basic Education and Self

In Gidan Waya Journal of Education, Kaduna state College of Education, Gidan Waya, Kafanchan

4. Mbah, Mazi C. C., (2001) Government and Politics in Modern Nigeria: The search For An Orderly Society. Joanee Educational Publishers Ltd., Onitsha, Anambra State.

5. Nnoli, Okwudiba, (1978): Ethnic Politics in Nigeria (Enugu: Fourth Dimension Publishing Co. Ltd.)

6. Onwueme, M. S. (1995): The Politics of Education Primary, Secondary and Tertiary. In R. F. Ola eds Nigerian Political System: Imputs, Outputs and Environment

7. Onyeocha, I. M. (1994): Idealism, Politics and Nation Building: The Nigerian Experience,
Published under the auspices of the Council for Research in Values and Philosophy, Washington D. C.

8. Universal Basic Education (UBE) Programme (March 2002) THE UBE PROCESS SO FAR




OKU, O. O. (MRS.)

The Nigerian educational system has witnessed several deliberate and sustained changes as it responds to societal changes and seeks to improve practices. Such changes come in form of policies, edicts, ordinances etc which are promulgated from time to time. It is, however, worrisome to note that several policies have been formulated to guide Nigerian educational system yet it is still bedeviled with a lot of problems.
It is in the unbiased opinion of this writer that the Nigerian educational policies do not often make the intended impact because the necessary conditions for successful implementation are not met. In most cases necessary steps are not taken in policy decision either because of pressure from interest groups or political reasons thus lacking the dynamism to sustain such decisions.
It is the light of the above background that this paper seeks to discuss the issues involved in the current Universal Basic Education (UBE) programme introduced and launched by the Federal Government of Nigeria on September 30, 1999 at Sokoto.


The UBE programme aims to achieve the following specific objectives:
i. Developing in the entire citizenry a strong consciousness for Education and strong commitment to its vigorous promotion.
ii. The provision of free, universal basic education of to every Nigeria child of school going age.
iii. Reducing drastically the incidence of dropout from the formal school system through improved relevance, quality and efficiency)
iv. Catering for the learning needs of the young persons who, for one reason or another, have had to interrupt their schooling through appropriate forms of complementary approaches to the provision and promotion of basic education.
v. Ensuring the acquisition of the appropriate level of literacy, numeracy, manipulative, communicative and life skills as well as the ethical, moral and civic values needed for laying a social foundation for life-long learning. (Obanya 2000:6)

The fact that the UBE is to be Universal, free and Compulsory according to Mchivga (2000:4) “presupposes that it should offer a variety of learning experience which will not only provide for variety of clientele that it will have, but also cater for the uniqueness of the features that it must encompass to be able to attract and retain all categories of learners in its course offerings. The objectives of UBE leave nobody in doubt, about its comprehensiveness. Its scope includes:
i. Programmes/initiatives for early childhood care and socialization.
ii. Education programmes for the acquisition of functional literacy, numeracy and life skill, especially for adults (persons aged 15 and above);
iii. Special programmes for nomadic population.
iv. Out of school, non-formal programmes for up-dating the knowledge and skills of persons who left school before acquiring the basics needed for life-long learning;
v. Non-formal skills and apprenticeship training for adolescents and youths who have not had the 4 benefit of formal education.
vi. The formal school system from the beginning of primary education to the end of the junior secondary school.
(Didan 2000 : 3).

Two major questions tend to agitate the minds of Nigerians as regards to the success of the UBE programme. These are:

i. It is certainly a laudable programme, but what about the problems of implementation?
ii. We all know why the 1975 76 UPE failed; how would the UBE avoid the pitfalls of the earlier programme?
It is the opinion of this writer that the above questions also bordered the minds of the designers of the UBE programme as indicated in the table below. Table 1 (Column 1) shows the problem encountered with UPE, column 2 shows how these problems affected the UPE programme, while column 3 highlights UBE'S responses to each of the problems.
v. Non-formal skills and apprenticeship training for adolescents and youths who have not had the 4 benefit of formal education.
vi. The formal school system from the beginning of primary education to the end of the junior secondary school.
(Didan 2000 : 3).

It is however, worthy to note that the UBE, contrary to the well-spelt out means of meeting the challenges of its implementation has already started showing signs of improper implementation. It seems that UBE plan has already started taking a reverse order, which no longer reflects the original proposals. A random survey of the primary schools in Okiwge educational zone of Imo State revealed the following implementation constraints.

1. Lack of popular will: the UBE programme is seen by some people (parents and teachers) as government business. There is an apparent lack of people's involvement. Most of the primary school teachers are yet to understand the issues involved in the UBE programme. This is really worrisome because they are the very people expected to implement the programme in the schools. This is a clear manifestation of lack of people's involvement in planning which will invariably lead to a variety of unforeseens and unpredictable that might ruin the UBE programme .

2. In most primary ratio of 1;50 against 1:30 ratio recommended in the National Policy on Education. Related to this, is the problem of poor quality teachers. The recent closing down of Teacher Training Colleges where primary school teachers are trained after their secondary school education and replacing it with the National Teachers Institutes (NTI) organized weekend teacher education programme is to the best knowledge of the writer a most unfortunate situation especially in this era of UBE. This is because the intellectual and scholastic background as well as caliber of the recruits into the NTI programme is most questionable. Most of these recruits were dropouts from secondary schools while some did not even have secondary education that will give then the necessary background needed to fit into the programme and to be qualified to teach.
Also the low teacher motivation in terms of regular payment of salaries and arrears because of inadequate funding ahs continued to attract less capable recruits into primary school teaching. This ugly trend must be revised if the UBE must meet up with its challenges of responding to the nation's educational ills because “no educational system can rise above the quality of its teachers”. (NPE 1992:8).
Also a reflection of the poor funding of the programme is the lack of the basic facilities and materials needed to actualize the UBE dreams. Some pupils still sit on the floor, under trees and uncompleted buildings to have their lessons. Textbooks are scarce and expensive with the result that only few parents can afford them.

3. Statistical Deficiencies: Most of the difficulties being experienced by the implementation of the UBE programme three years after its inception is a pointer to the fact that it is not based on reliable and up-to-date data. The introduction of party, ethnic and religious politics into national census enumeration and falsification of data is a major impediment that might negatively affect the UBE programme. The lack of resources for effective implementation of the programme might be a reflection of ignorance of present conditions and the likely future rates of expansion.
Similarly the absence of an effective supervision machinery mighty hinder effective implementation of the programme. There are some schools that have not been visited by supervisors and inspectors for the past five years. This is counter-productive because it is possible to use the inspectors in a positive way as resource persons and as agents for plan implementation.

Most of the ideas that featured in this paper seem to border on the obvious about the current UBE programme. Barely, three years into the launching of the UBE programme, it has started showing the signs of those implementation constraints that led to the premature demise of it's antecedent; the UPE programme.
The writer is therefore proffering the following recommendations that will help to effectively implement and sustain the UBE programme.
a. Government should increase its budget allocation to education and also ensure its appropriate utilization.
b. The issue of teacher-education must be viewed with greater seriousness. More attention should be given to strategies for recruiting and training and re-training of teachers.
c. Conferences, workshops and seminars should be organized regularly to enlighten the public including the teachers on the issues involved in the UBE programme and also enlist their support in its proper implementation.
d. Strategies such as effective supervision and inspection should be developed to ensure the prudent management of educational resources.
e. The media i.e. the modern electronic and print media should be used to the fullest tighter with traditional media to ensure grassroot participation.
Finally, the executive and the legislative arms of government must close ranks to ensure the full implementation of the strategies outlined for the effective implementation of the UBE pprogramme. It must be admitted that it is an obligation for us to succeed but success is never assured; we could fail, not for want of potentials, but for being casual about its nurturing.
This! We must resist.


Didan, C. (2000) “Implementation Guide lines of the Universal Basic Education” Paper presented at the Kaduna State UBE Local Level Policy Dialogue Ahmadu Bello Stadium, Kaduna.

Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999) National Policy on Education Abuja: Federal Ministry of Education. 3rd Edition.

Federal Republic of Nigeria (2000) “Implementation Guidelines for the Universal Basic Education (UBE) programme” Abuja: Federal Ministry of Education.

Obanya, Pai (2000) “Sustainability stability and continuity: The UBE Response”. Workshop on Universal Basic Education. Faculty of Education, University of Nigeria, Nsukka 4 17th July.



Universal basic education in Nigeria today resembles the free education programme of the Action Group in the late fifties and early sixties. But the times, the morale and the general economic conditions in the Nigerian polity are different.
In the Eastern Region in those days we had no free education. Instead we had abundant food supplies mostly local more natural and nutritious food. We depended mostly on 'Azama', 'Ndudu' plantain for its natural iron, bread-fruit and various leguminous plant seeds. Of course, yams, cassava, maize and millets were common place as a source of carbohydrates needed for hard work. We trekked upwards of two miles to get to our primary schools. There were very smooth level rural roads provided by the activities of the public works Department (PWD) of the Ministry of Works.
School children were happy, grateful to their teachers and parents, looked bright, clean and pleasurable on the way to schools. They were the cynosure of all eyes.
Nigeria now is at its nadir of despondency. We must return to the conditions in the sixties if the UBE programme will be of any use. We need an aggressive agricultural revolution for the production of enough food for our school children. This can happen via a well articulated agricultural insurance programme to return us to our former position in food production so we can have healthy happy children of school age and not a hungry horde. We will have brilliant chaps who can grasp academic concepts at first introduction by the teachers and look forward to seeing more concepts. You know, the brain is the first to suffer once the stomach is empty.
Adequate food is necessary for UBE to succeed and will be achieved through a careful packaged agricultural programme to support the farmers.
Nigeria on the West Coast of Africa is bounded on the South by the gulf of Guinea (formerly bight of Biafra) and on the landward sides by the Republic of Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Benin. About as large as California Arizona and Nevada combined, it has a hot humid coastal belt of mangrove swamp, a belt of tropical rain forest, a high, dry central plateau of open woodland and savannah and in the far North , semi-desert.
Two seasons, dry and wet, are well marked through most of Nigeria. Annual rainfall ranges between 150 inches in the East and less than 25 inches in the extreme North.
With a size of 924625 sq. km and a population of 80 to 104 million Nigeria is the third largest countries of Africa after Libya and the Democratic Republic of Congo DRC, in terms of land mass. It has 250 ethnic groupings and a range of distinct languages of up to 4000. The major dominant ethnic groups are Hausa of the North, Igbo of the East and Yoruba of the West.
Nigeria has a vast array of natural resources apart from oil and gas. These abound in all the states of the federation. They include inter alia; coal, zinc, iron ore, gemstone, marble, feldspar, gum Arabic, gypsum, gold, mica, kaolin, bitumen just to mention very little (SEGUN ABIFARIN 2001).
These are found in one way or the other in almost all the states of the federation. With these, one would expect a strong growing economy but lo and behold, ours is a sinking system the surplus manpower to tap and process the resources notwithstanding. No industries are established and the ones done by the private sector do not have the necessary infrastructure- electricity and water to run to full capacity.
There is a great dearth of good roads for transportation, haulage vehicles most of the time breakdown as a result and traffic tie ups (a.k.a. go slow) which always abound. I took these pains to point out what would be achieved in food production and considering the types of vegetation and food crops that can be produced in Nigeria.

Looking at the health sector of the country we get a result that is deserved by a nation with 25% literacy-standards of public health is yet to reach those enjoyed by developed nations. Medical and health services can hardly be tagged the responsibility of either the state governments or the federal government. From the look of things it is difficult to determine which government has upper hand in the maintenance of public health in the states. The over concentration of power in the federal government resulting from prolonged military presence has left everything in confusion. We no longer can tell whether we are a federation or a unitary dictatorship.
There is dire shortage of medical facilities especially in rural areas. Medical personnel, doctors and drugs are very scarce. Population concentration in cities like Lagos, Ibadan, Kano and other preindustrial towns have created enormous sanitation problems, sewage disposal, water shortages and poor drainage. This is complicated by poor knowledge of basic hygiene principles. Intestinal diseases, malaria, typhoid, guinea worm abound. With adequate infrastructural provisions, our economy will be second to none and food more abundant.
By 1999, when this government came into power, Nigeria was left a debris of development, health, education, roads, transport, power, telecommunications, agriculture and industry had collapsed.
We expect a thorough cleansing in those sectors so that other aspects of development especially in education programmes would commence. We will return to this later but meanwhile lets have a look at the existing agricultural policies the world over and then analyse the ones suitable for application in Nigeria particularly Eastern States.
In most countries of the world, there are various risk coverages to agric-crop yields. In the United States for example, we have the “hail” “fire Lightening and wind”. For citrus we have the “frost and hail coverage in Spain, Greece and Yugoslavia. In the Indian Ocean Island of Mauritius protection against cyclone and drought” had been the practice since 1946 in the protection of sugar cane used in sugar production.
Sri-Lanka, Pueto Rico, Japan and Chile have insurance coverage against “excess rain”. In Sri-Lanka, the agricultural insurance law no 27 of 1973 was passed by parliament and provide for every person who has an interest in the production of these crops that grow in swamps e.g Rice.
Coverages for crop insurance are as varied as the crops themselves. Classified according to the hazard or hazards insured against. It can be a
(1) Specific risk or specified peril
(2) Combined risk or all-risk insurance which also is called multi-risk in Japan, a country that has the largest programme. We wouldn't bother much about the Knitty-Gritty of the Agric-insurance techniques of underwriting, Rating and claims in foreign countries but can say little about those as they concern Nigeria.
Having returned our infrastructural facilities- Roads, Bridges, Farm settlement's buildings to the early sixties stages we are then ready to discuss how agricultural insurance can achieve its sole aim or objective of boosting production by reducing the impact of risks and uncertainty facing the farmers to the barest acceptable minimum and increase total production in all kinds of food, poultry and livestock.
The Nigerian Agricultural insurance company (NAIC) was established on the 15th of December 1987. It has its head office at NICON house, 5, Customes Street Lagos, and operates through 5 zonal offices located at Abeokuta, Bauchi, Katsina, Minna and OWERRI. Now the company has established offices in all states of the federation. At the grass roots the company activities is enhanced by two types of technical committees in each State and Local Government Areas. These are:
(1) Agricultural Insurance Company State Co-ordinating Committee
(2) Local Government Agricultural Committee (LGAIC)
The State co-ordinating committee advises the company on the operations of the scheme and make recommendations to enhance the activities at the state level while the LGAIC is responsible for loss assessment and claims settlement at the local level. Both committees serve as advertising conduits of the company.

Beneficiaries to the scheme include all categories of farmers, small, medium, and large scale holders either in groups or as individuals. Groups are in the form of agricultural co-operative societies the equivalent of which in Japan is the agricultural mutual Relief Association.
Cover is also provided for self-financed farmers and I personally advocate cover for all forms of farmers if the return of kwashiorkor will be averted in our society.

Maize and rice are the main crops covered and I also recommend coverage for plantain plantations. By the time we establish plantain plantations along the banks of Imo River that ran through the length of the state, the minimum insurable acreage of .4 hectare must be reached. In advanced countries, Japan, US, other, the minimum is .8 hectares. In livestock insurance, coverage exist for.
Broilers 250 birds
Cockerels 250 “
Turkeys 100 “
Layers 500 “
Breeding birds 500 ”

Dairy cattle (Milking Cows) herd of 5
Work bulls “ 2
Bull Calves, heifers and fattners
(Beef cattle) “ 10
Exotic breed (each class) “ 2
Cross breed each class “ 5

Minimum loss to attract claims and qualify for indemnity under poultry insurance are as follows:

Broiler above 5% total stock
Covered/Turkey above 5% total stock
Day old to 8 weeks above 5%total stock
Breeding birds above 5% total stock

In Japan, the premium rate for gains is 4.2% of total acreage and here in Nigeria, it averages between 5% and 8%. The rate for livestock in Nigeria is 3.5% - 7.5%.

The period of effective cover for crops in Nigeria ranges from germination to physiological maturity. However, land preparation or land clearing costs are covered retrospectively for accepted proposals. In poultry production duration is from one day old to 72 weeks for layers and breeding birds and from one day to 10 weeks for broilers. Insurance policy for cattle is operational for period of in year only at a time and can be renewed annually. Short term rates are applicable to cattle insurance terminated before the end of the year due to sale of an animal or for any other reason.
The same duration applies in other parts of the world. Except for hardwoods and conifers which can take equal to a human generation. Cattle mature at three years of age and the worlds most important cereal crops take up to eleven months to mature. Here in Nigeria beans, Melon seed, Plantain, Rice and many others do not take more than between nine months to eleven months to mature too.

Now, we have seen the conditions that exist in Nigeria and elsewhere in the world. We also have examined the climatic vagaries to which these countries are exposed that do not exist here.
We have gone these extra miles to illustrate how Agric insurance can return our food abundance and help us feed the children of school age to face school applying the Igbo culture of working hard even at difficult circumstances. Well fed children will go to school and achieve as it was done in the sixties when all kinds of foods were in full supply. Today, Agric insurance is needed to serve as a morale booster to farmers to enhance supply because of the increase in the population of children of school age. No child can remain in school and follow the teachings when he is hungry. This issue of adequate feeding must be settled otherwise, UBE will be one of those White Elephant Projects for which Nigeria is well known.
Cynics may attack the agric insurance programme here on the grounds that insurance companies do not pay claims. Appendix two above is here to illustrated and counter these critics. The sums shown in the appendix represent payment by various insurance companies only for the year 1998.
Nigeria in general and the East in particular do not have to grapple with the same harsh climatic conditions as other countries. If for no other thing, there is no hail, frost, cyclone or typhoon that can ruin our crops.
All we need is determined manpower to irrigate from our numerous rivers and cultivate whatever natural tropical food crops we require. Cover these farms and poultry with Agricultural insurance policies and our farmers will work with the highest morale ever observed anywhere in the world.
Surplus food will return to the region as at 1957 to 1967. Children will eat, have their fill and go to school happy. It is then that the UBE will serve the purpose for which it is intended. Otherwise, the UBE outing this time will be an equivalent of the “education for all by the year 2000” since the brain is the first to suffer when the stomach is empty.


Annual Report of the Minister Under Crop Insurance 1975/1976 :Ministry of Agriculture Canada PP.2-3.

Conference on Crop Insurance, European Region (FAO) Tel Aviv 19-25 October 1072 P. 59.

National Agricultural Insurance Scheme Operational Guidelines April, 1989 PP. 6,7,8,& 25.

Personal Experience Primary School Years 1957- 1963

Seminar On Crop and Livestock, FAIR Cairo Egypt 1974.

Takeshi Togawa, Director, National Agric Insurance Association Tokyo Japan.

US Department of labour Bureau of International Labour Affairs 1980.


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