As beautiful as journalism, it has been facing serious setback with the advent of the new media that gives opportunity to anyone to compose bogus messages from his/her comfort zone and feed the masses. Unlike law and medicine that do grant license to their members before they would be eligible to practice, journalism embraces quackery and ineptitude. Many out of today’s journalists have never been to journalism class room before, they are rather students of English, Literature, Biochemistry, Agric etc who hide under the shield of campus reporters to cause havoc
Pitiably, one of the ineptitude and unprofessional reports/investigation have just been displayed by one Alfred Olufemi of Premium Times. This investigation titled: “Offa Poly Students Groan As School Officials, Associations Impose Illegal Fees.” It’s highly appalling that a leading online platform like Premium Times could allow such report to feature under investigation, rather, it would have been better on witch-hunting page.
Past Media Efforts To Direspute The Polytechnic And its Officials
Surprisingly, The Federal Polytechnic Offa management had witnessed and survived countless numbers of witch haunting and negative media reports in the past. For instance, there was a reports on suicide published on one mainstream media. Even though suicide was at its highest level that happens intermittently among undergraduates of different school then. What was reported as a reason behind the suide mission was totally different from what really happened.
After much investigation, this same media published another story to deny its negative reports published earlier. Another negative reports to direspute the school and officials surfaced on another platform accusing the Rector and Dean of Students’ Affairs. This same platform published another story to deny the negative reports published earlier when the students denied the allegations.
Here, I recall the Yoruba adage that says: “kokoro tin jegba, idi igba lowa” meaning a bug that consumes locust tree stays within the tree”. With numbers of fake and unprofessional reportage targeted to direspute the polytechnic and its officials, one would agree with me that there are likely to be an internal sources fueling different negative reports via different channels.
Well, either internal or external : ” ti aba ran omo ni ise eru, afi ti omo je ni” meaning if one is sent an errand as a slave, one needs to deliver it as a freeborn. professionalism is highly required in any field. Most especially in journalism where fake and negative reports always gain a larger audience within short range of time.
Good Tidings About the Federal Polytechnic Offa That Never See The Light Of The Media
It surpises me that despite the numbers of good tidings that had happened and still happening in the Federal Polytechnic Offa, none has ever been published by the media. For instance, when the Polytechnic ranked 8th among the best polytechnics in Nigeria, no media reportage on this feat. Similarly, when the students of the polytechnic won the quiz competition organized for the tertiary institutions in North Central at University of Ilorin.
No media reports about this feat. Also, when the Federal Polytechnic Offa management staged online #SayNoToSuicide campaign. It’s worthy to note that, The Governor of Osun State, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola joined this campaign, A senator representing Kwara South, Arc Lola Ashiru joined online campaign staged by Fedpoffa management. Member of Kwara State House of Assembly, Prince Saheed Popoola joined the campaign. The campaign also captured the institutions in South West, South South, North Central, North East.
This campaign definitely stem down the high spate of suicide among undergraduates. Despite the fact that, Offa Poly happens to be the only institution in Nigeria that staged a campaign against suicide among undergraduates, no media reports on this feat. Why would these media only focus on negative reportage in order to damage the school unsullied reputation.
Why Alfred Olufemi Investigation About Offa Poly On Premium Times Was Tagged As Fake
In Alfred Olufemi’s investigation, The following points were wrongly analysed as regards to the polytechnic. According to him: “However, an investigation by PREMIUM TIMES over weeks revealed the reality to be the opposite of Mr Iroye’s words. Students are still being compelled to buy handouts among other corrupt practices”
The above was culled from the reports by Alfred Olufemi that the students are still being compelled to buy handouts among other corrupt practices. Contrarily, the investigation conducted revealed that no lecturer has ever compelled students to buy textbook. According to a student who graduated with distinction from the school, Alafara Damilare expressed shock when he was asked whether lecturers from his department do force students to buy text book. He said: ” I’m a fresh graduate with distinction and I have never been compelled to buy textbook before. Lecturers don’t force students to buy handouts”
Another students who is in ND 2 Mass Communication Department, Barakat Morenikeji contradicts Alfred Olufemi claims. She said: ” I don’t think there is any lecturer that compells students to buy textbooks” it has never happened before since I gained admission into the Federal Polytechnic Offa and nothing like debarring students from signing kit because of receipt.
Furthermore, Olatunji, a student from the polytechnic said, he has never been compelled to do anything against his own wish before. He only buys the one he thinks is relevant to his course and he always maintains his good results even without buying many textbooks.
Also, Alfred Olufemi accused the Polytechnic for imposing and collecting illegal levies where by tagging the departmental and faculty, religion bodies levies as illegal. According to him: “An average student in FEDPOFFA pays levies in their double figures annually. Such payments include; departmental student associations’ fees, faculty students’ associations’ fees, departmental levy, faculty levy, maintenance of some facilities, religious groups’ fees, indigenous association fees, general course fees and many more”
In order to fact check the above claim as investigated by Mr. Alfred, questions have been put to students of other Federal schools including Universities and Polytechnics.
Adeleke Fatima from one of the Federal polytechnics in Nigeria was asked whether their school collect departmental,falculty and other levies and was asked how much they pay for school fees and acceptance fees. She said: ” we do obtain receipts but it depends on department by department and our school fees is around #50 thousand naira while the acceptance fees is #20 thousand naira as Federal school. I was surprised that there are Federal institutions that charge more than the Federal Polytechnic Offa and never investigated.
Another students from one of the Federal Universities in Nigeria, Abiodun Opeyemi said, they paid for these levies as part of the registration. He said you will obtain the receipt from either departmental excos or SUG excos. Another student from other institution asserts that school will help the department and faculty to collect the levies but later disburse the money to the departments unlike fedpoffa that gives autonomous to each department to obtain their levies. This shows that, what was tagged as illegal by Alfred Olufemi occurs in other federal institutions. Mr. Alfred’s investigation is more or less like a mission to damage.
Another worthless and non factual points raised by Alfred here was about the amounts of levy paid by students. He made reference to mass communication student. According to him: “This reporter also sighted receipts of payment made by a ND1 student of Mass Communication Department for the 2018/2019 session. The sum of the payments amounts to N13,000 paid at various points”
“A breakdown of the 12 receipts shows that N700 is for School of Communication and Information Technology (SCIT), N1,000 for National Association of Mass Communication Students, N200 for bus maintenance, N1,500 for book reading levy, N1,500 for practical manual, N1,000 for National Association of Communication and Information Technology Students (NACITS), N200 for Joint Christian Campus Mission, N500 for National Association of Kwara State Students (NAKSS), N200 for the Departmental Christian Fellowship and N500 for biodata form at the Directorate of Students’ Affairs”
From the above breakdown, Alfred revealed that, the sum of #13,000 was paid at different points as levies after school fees. Meanwhile, the total amount of money if the breakdown is calculated properly doesn’t amount to #13,000. Let’s calculate it here…( 700+1000+200+1500+1500+1000+200+500+200+500 = #7,300 ). The total amount of money against the #13,000 figure indicated by Alfred Olufemi is #7,300. Why would Mr. Alfred increased the money by #6,300 naira just to discredit the school ?
Furthermore, during the fact checking by visiting some premises in school, it was revealed that these levies charged by faculty and departmental associations are being used for physical projects like resting stands, recreation centre, and also being used to do incentives for the students including orientation programs. Can any student schooling in any of the Federal institutions in Nigeria come out to tell us they don’t pay school fees, acceptance levy, faculty levy , departmental levy, SUG levy, MSSN levy…etc in their schools. So why these levies amount to illegal and imposition in the Federal Polytechnic Offa as claimed by Alfred Olufemi?
Also, Mr Alfred claimed there are three receipts converted to one. According to him: “When I got to the registration officer’s office, some receipts like three were converted into one for reasons best known to them because they have similar specifications”
“He even sent some students out because of these students’ association receipts”
Someone with numb skull will easily notice the lies from above assertions. Why is it that Mr Alfred didn’t obtain the three receipts converted into one? For Alfred Olufemi to have claimed in his investigation that students are not allowed to write test, or sent out or stopped from submitting their kits because of any receipt or textbooks, everything falls under falacy as proclaimed by investigated students.
The fact checking investigation done to cross examine Mr. Alfred’s report shows that, most of the investigations were not professionally carried out. Rather, it was done to disrepute the polytechnic and its officials. And as said by the polytechnic spokesman, Mr Olayinka Iroye, the school management frowned sternly against any misconduct either from the staff or the students.
If other Federal Polytechnics, Universities in Nigeria can also charge students for school fees, acceptance fees, faculty levy , departmental levy, religion levy, SUG/SRC levy, like fedpoffa, I will humbly tell Mr. Alfred Olufemi to start the investigation from his own institution instead of taking Fedpoffa as centre piece of witch haunting.
Premium Times should stick to its credibility as known and never allow any journalist embarking on personal interest mission to discredit the noble platform
The inestigative arms of the organization should rather be handled by professionals who obtained first degree or equivalent in Mass Communication in order to discharge their duty as professional rather than as campus journalists
The media should not only be focused on negative reports about an organization, institution, but also report good tidings that revolves around such institution.
Hamme J Suleiman is a president of Students for Liberty Association in Usmanu Danfodio University, Sokoto State. His works had featured on the Nation newspaper, Republican newspaper, theinformant247 newspaper. He visited Offa Poly on 09, Dec, 2019 for fact checking and conducted telephone interview with students from other federal institutions during the course of investigation