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HomeNewsGov. Ugwuanyi, the Math Queen and the Young Inventors

Gov. Ugwuanyi, the Math Queen and the Young Inventors

Before the Governor arrived, people were already crying and mourning as it is the tradition in such events.

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According to Sun Tzu, in The Art of War;

“There are no more than five musical notes, yet the combinations of these five give rise to more melodies than can ever be heard.

There are no more than five primary colours, yet in combination, they produce more hues than can ever be seen.

There are no more than five cardinal tastes, yet combinations of them yield more flavours than can ever be tasted.”

In the same vein, Seymour Aubrey Papert, a South African-born American Mathematician, Computer Scientist and Educator said that, “the role of the teacher is to create conditions for invention rather than provide ready-made knowledge.”

Many a person has chastised Right Honourable Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, the Executive Governor of Enugu State, following the bloodbath alleged to have been occasioned by Fulani herdsmen at Ukpabi-Nimbo in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of the State, sometime in April, 2016. The criticism was built on the alleged outburst of tears and emotions on the part of the Executive Governor when he materialized at the locus in quo and purportedly disappointed his people. Before the Governor arrived, people were already crying and mourning as it is the tradition in such events. The news that the Governor was on his way must have galvanized at least some modicum of strength and hope in the already destabilized, unslaked and irked people that at least, something would happen on the arrival of their first citizen. It was reported that on arrival, rather than calm already frayed and agitated nerves, speak hope and make remedial promises, His Excellency remobilized a fagged-out people and himself broke down in a paroxism of tears, taking them through a fresh bout and barrage of weeping. Jesus wept! The Governor disappointed his people. Or so the people felt.

It was chronicled that many who waited for Jesus Christ were disappointed when someone came as the “Suffering Servant of Yahweh”, prepared to bear their sins to the cross. Certainly, that wasn’t the people’s prospect. They expected a fighter – some sort of military or militant ruler, roundly dexterous in the show of warlordism, who would remobilize the remnants of the Jewish race and launch brutal attacks on all fronts against the Jewish calumniators and attackers. Like Jesus, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi became not just a lamb at the scene of the butchery, but a weeping one at that, instead of some dues ex machina righting the long existing wrongs and giving them Justice. It was either that the Governor didn’t understand his legal duty of protecting his people as constitutionally required, or the people were manifestly nescient. I might be inclined to come down on one side of the fence, but that will be a discussion for another session. The provisions of the Constitution of Nigeria, the misnomer of the coinage ‘Chief Security Officer of the State’, the political, ethnic and religious gestalt of this clime, the mutual chariness and dubiety among the different ethnicities/tribes and religious groups, the we-they disorder in all of these and other kindred cancerous discolorations – but like said earlier, another forum will accommodate that side of the discourse.

Who wouldn’t cry after conscionably and punctiliously taking such precautionary steps as the Governor took to forestall the catastrophe on receiving security information from the Uzo-Uwani Local Government Transition Chairman, Hon. Cornell Onwubuya. Summoning relevant persons and agencies and commencing State Security Council meeting within two hours of receiving the ugly news is certainly a no mean feat. Hear the Governor;

“In the meeting, we received assurances from the Commissioner of Police that the Area Commander of SARS was on ground in Nimbo, that the Anti-terrorism Unit is at Nimbo, that he was in touch with the Kogi State Commissioner of Police and reported suspected herdsmen grouping at Odolu in Kogi State, preparatory for an attack on Nimbo and Abi Communities, that Police Mobile Force and Conventional Police were already drafted to Nimbo and Abi Communities, that he was in touch with Area Commander, Idah, ACP Ikegwuonwu and had linked him with Area Commander, Nsukka, ACP Monday Kuryas. Both men, according to the CP, reported that there were no traces of suspected herdsmen in Nsukka or Idah.”

Why won’t any Governor cry under such situation especially when the likes of the Garrison Commander representing the GOC 82 Division, State Commissioner of Police, State Director, DSS, State Commandant, NSCDC, Representatives of the Nigerian Airforce and Nigerian Prison Service and so forth were all in the meeting and such assurances given. The fact that one can’t order, but only beg those security chiefs to act is enough to make one cry moreso when one is widely known as the Chief Security Officer of one’s State. Repeat: that is a discourse for another session.

On the 27th day of May, 2021, Daily Post Newspaper reported that His Excellency, Right Honourable Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, the Executive Governor of Enugu State rewarded the winner of the 2020 edition of the Sustainable Development Goals’ National Mathematics Competition for Girls, Miss. Chinwe Mary Onodagu, an Enugu State student of the Federal Government Girls’ College (FGGC) Lejja. The report had it that the Governor made a cash donation to the Math Queen and equally announced his intention to pay her school fees till she graduates from the College. The Nation Newspaper described the amount as “undisclosed monetary prize”. Coal City Connect also did a broadcast of it on Facebook, reporting on 20th May, 2021 at 18:07 o’clock, that Governor Ugwuanyi rewarded the Nigerian Queen of Mathematics with scholarship. The Facebook account also made reference to a cash reward by the Governor to the Queen and continued by saying that the Queen is currently in SS1. There are two curiosities here and they are to some degree, responsible for this discourse. One is the cash reward made to the Queen and the other is the awarded scholarship.

In another development, which, of course, enjoys essential similitude, Governor Ugwuanyi is said to have offered scholarship, up to University level, to Enugu and Anambra born students of the Government Technical College, Nsukka and Enugu in Enugu State, Emmanuel Maduabuchi Chukwu and Chukwuebuka Udoye, who locally manufactured an aircraft, helicopter, jet fighter, and an MP3 radio set in Enugu State. Great! The Sun newspaper of 4th August, 2021, Vanguard of 3rd August, Nigerian Tribune of 5th August and numerous other news media reported it and also alluded to the cash donations of One Million Naira and Five Hundred Thousand Naira to the Enugu and Anambra young scientists respectively. The essence of the monetary gifts, according to those mainstream new purveyors, is to enable these young inventors “advance their inventions”.

Apart from the provisions of substrata/basic amenities that should keep citizens’ going such as good road (like connecting the 36 State Capitals to Abuja with multiple-laned, solar lit autostradas in the class or near the class of Abuja-Zuba and Abuja-Airport Expressways and hooking up each State Capital to major towns in the State with standard high-calibre double-laned autobahns), constant or near-constant electricity, pipe-borne and other water, enabling environment for the acquisition of affordable housing/shelter, good medical facilities sufficiently regulated as to receive and treat both the high and mighty as well as the low and feeble equally, what else will a government do for it’s people if not the appreciation of citizens’ pertinacity and assiduity in such and similar categories? While the peculators of our common estate are called upon to discontinue such heinous and satanic crime, the good and service-oriented ones should expand their scope of performance. Their only test on the Judgment Day might just be based on their performance while occupying public offices on Earth.

His Excellency’s invitation of the young inventors and the Math Queen is commendable. His award of scholarship to them especially up to University level is awesome. But he must not stop there. The Governor should take some steps to adopt these youngsters as Special Government Teens. He should not just give them scholarship. He should monitor their education and intervene to ensure that JAMB or whatever name does not hide under the “cut off mark” excuse to deny them admissions into Universities. Infact, these inventors don’t actually need to be wizards in Physics and Chemistry of the Text Books since they have already proved their mettles in Physics and Chemistry of the mind. They only need ability to speak, read and write as requirements for further education. Infact, they should be sent to the best technical schools in France, Germany, United Kingdom or United States. Straightaway!

This brings me to what I consider a mistake in the scholarship awarded to the Math Queen. While I may not be privy to the arrangements made or being made by the Federal Government for her, the Governor of Enugu State should correct the error in the scholarship award or if it wasn’t an error, scale up that scholarship to University level to put the Queen at the same pedestal with the inventors. Offering to pay her school fees till she graduates from “the college” is laughable especially if the reference to college is a reference to Federal Government Girls’ College. The Governor cannot be saying that he will pay the SS2 and SS3 school fees and stop there. Ridiculous! Infact, the State should take steps to immediately move the Queen and the inventors out of the custody of their parents/guardians to a place specially prepared for their absolute concentration in their research and reading. This will not be asking for too much. Lee Kuan Yew would have long done it even before the press get on to the news. The Singaporean ace would have sent them to the best Institutions overseas even against the protest of their parents/guardians, insisting that for the good of Singapore, people like that should be maximally prepared for public good.

News like these should sound more reassuring and pleasing to us than the news that a sitting Governor invited a winner of Big Brother television show with his family members to Government House and the news that another State Governor appointed a winner in same show as the Youth Ambassador on Entertainment, or even the type of cash, cars and houses given out to this category of people by governments, Organizations, and even powerful individuals to the detriment of Spelling Bee Competitions, Quiz Competitions, Essay Competitions. Catch them young in boldness, vocality, inventions and the likes. Where is the Youth or Teen Ambassador on Mathematics? Where is the Youth/Teen Ambassador of Inventions? His Excellency, Right Honourable Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, the Executive Governor of Enugu State has been presented with the golden opportunity to take a thankworthy and laudable lead in this regard by appointing the first Teen Ambassadors on Mathematics and Inventions and we enjoin him not to let that opportunity slip through his fingers.

Organize Quiz, Essay, Spelling Bee, Inter-school Debating Competitions among others, and make the reward to the winners alluring and beckoning. Some proponents of Big Brother show have argued that it encourages youth empowerments. Really? Then, make the enumerated Competitions reality shows on radios and Televisions. Winners can go home with houses in the city, scholarship abroad, intervention to ensure they secure admissions into fitting/appropriate departments that will reflect and enhance their intellectual deposits and not for a natural born medical person to be told to go study Biology or a natural Biologist is given admission to study Agric. Science. No!

While I commend His Excellency, Right Honourable Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, the Executive Governor of Enugu State, for identifying and honouring these Distinguished Teens, I make ancillary recommendation as captured above and propound that he enlists the cooperation of his brother Governors in other States to think and act in that or similar regard for the good of our society.

Okey Nwafor is an Abuja based Legal Practitioner, and Commentator on Contemporary Issues.
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