By Fr Pat Amobi Chukwuma
In primary, secondary and tertiary institutions of learning, pupils and students attend classes to listen and assimilate the subjects taught by their various classroom teachers or lecturers, as the case may be. The diligent ones pay adequate attention while the lazy ones mope beyond the blackboard. Some others sleep off. Some do something else as the teacher teaches. Some are notorious for noise making.
An English adage says that an empty vessel makes the most noise. Even some do not attend class regularly on flimsy excuses. From time to time the teacher gives the pupils or the students some academic assignments, which are to be done in the classroom or at home. When done at home it is called homework. The Germans called it ‘Hausaufgabe.’At the end of each week or month, a test is given to be done with dispatch and submitted to the teacher for marking over the weekend.
Some of the pupils or students take these academic engagements serious while some do not. Towards the end of each term or semester, the teacher does what is called general revision. A curriculum is given. Often, possible examination questions are asked. A dog that is bound to get lost ignores the hunter’s whistle. The wise pupils or students read the handwriting on the wall with utmost attention. A bent tree normally falls towards its direction. A grasshopper that is devoured by a noisy bird called ‘Okpoko’ has itself to blame.
After all the above academic exercises are done, then comes the period of decision, which is universally called Examination. It can be oral or written. Personally, I prefer written examination. Oral examination is filled with tension of the unknown. One can enter the exam hall and be asked or pick a very complex question. This can cause fixation, dizziness or high blood pressure.
On the other hand, written examination gives opportunity for choice and adequate time to think and write. If it is objective, you can choose the answer from the options given. When there is uncertainty, you make guess work which becomes a lucky or unlucky game.
When the examination period is over, the period of awaiting result begins. The fear of the unknown grabs you. In other words, tension takes over. It is a prayerful moment of expectation, which can be favourable or unfavourable. If it is a final result and you are successful, then you are promoted to the next class. If not, you have no option than to repeat the same class.
But if the result is so bad, you may be demoted to the lower class which you have passed over. Repetition is preferable to demotion. Another option is known as ‘promoted on trial.’ If it is in a higher institution of learning, your failure in any subject can be carried over, in which you must repeat the examination on the subject concerned. This may cause setback in graduating. In worst cases, it can end in dropout. Success is the goal of academic pursuit. Failure is demonic.
During pregnancy in marriage, there is also a period of awaiting result. The pregnant woman undergoes antenatal exercises in preparation for a successful birth. She takes necessary precautions and abstains from harmful food or drinks. She takes those supplements that enhance pregnancy. She goes to her doctor for medical examination from time to time.
In normal parlance the period of pregnancy lasts for nine months. When it is less, it becomes premature. When it is over nine months, it becomes over mature. A normal baby passes through the birth canal. When there is complexity, a Caesarean Section is performed by surgically cutting through the wall of the mother’s abdomen in order to bring out the child from the womb. Often, the life of the mother or the baby is at risk. When birth is successful and the baby comes out healthy, it is referred to as a bouncing baby boy or girl. A non-bouncing baby is generally abhorred.
When a couple is expecting a baby boy or a baby girl, a lot of tension arises before and during delivery. The husband stays outside the labour room doing unexpected march-past and filled with worries. The expectant mother lies on the birth table dreaming. When the result is as one or both of them envisaged, there is greater happiness.
If not, sadness follows the birth of the baby. Almost every couple in our culture prays for a mixture of male and female babies. In preference a baby boy is the choice. A certain man whose wife had already given birth to six girls was expecting the result of the seventh pregnancy to be a boy. When the nurse announced to him that his wife gave birth to a baby girl, he went and committed suicide. This is very unfortunate. Naturally, it is God who gives children, whether male or female.
Both sexes are precious. Biologically, it is the man who determines the sex of a baby. A man has XY chromosomes while a woman has XX chromosomes. During sexual intimacy, if the man supplies the woman with X chromosome, the baby results to a baby girl. On the other hand, if he supplies Y chromosome it turns into a baby boy. So, if it is a matter of blame, it is the man (husband) who is to be blamed for the sex of any baby. However, the supply of X or Y chromosome is not a voluntary act. It depends on luck. Always thank God for the children you have. What of those who are childless?
Now, I want to reach the climax of my topic today. Nigerians went to the polls to vote for the presidential candidate of their choice on 25 February 2023. The Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, promised us free, fair and credible election. In addition, he vowed on several occasions that the result would be transmitted electronically in order to avoid manual rigging.
Thus the electorates were filled with hope and progress as they cast their votes. During the voting nationwide, the pendulum was dangling towards the generally accepted and trusted candidate. After voting ended nationwide, we entered into the period of awaiting result. The final collation and announcement of result were to be done at INEC Headquarters at the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
Unfortunately, the results from polling centers and states were collated and transmitted manually. During the process, doctoring and changing of result figures followed. The end justified the means. This is totally against moral value. At the end of the manual transmission and collation of results nationwide, the presidential election result was announced in the darkness of the night. It favoured a preferred candidate, Mr. Ahmed Bola Tinubu of All Progressives Congress (APC). Mahmood Yakubu, the Chairman of INEC, who announced the nocturnal result asked the aggrieved presidential candidates to go to Court!
As the aggrieved candidates, Mr. Peter Obi of Labour Party (LP) and Alhaji AtikuAbu bakar of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), went to Court, the selected presidential candidate was sworn into office as the President and Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria. He assumed duty immediately. In essence, the swearing-in should have waited, pending the outcome of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal.
The situation now is dicey. Hence the onus lies on the Judiciary, which is the last hope of the common man, to uphold or disown justice as Nigerians anxiously await the result of the Tribunal. The result can enhance or mar our Democracy. In God we trust!