In the process of conducting the comparative assessment of education manifestos of the 18 Parties contesting the 2023 elections in Nigeria, JESAC observed that the manifestos of some Parties are verbatim copies of Manifestos of other Parties. JESAC also discovered that the plagiarism did not just stop with education manifestos. In some cases. it extended to all other sectors including health, agriculture, economy, security, etc.
419 Election Manifestos is nothing short of a brazen attempt to scam the electorate, to obtain their votes by false pretense and with intent to defraud, a criminal offense punishable under section 419 of the criminal code, the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act and the Electoral Act.
Two Parties publishing the same verbatim manifestos means that one of them stole. It also makes it a matter of urgent national importance for electoral, law enforcement and anti-corruption agencies to identify and sanction the rogue Parties in accordance with the law.
Samples of segments of education manifesto that appear verbatim (together with all grammatical errors) in more than one party manifesto are provided below. But don’t just take our word for it. As concerned stakeholder, download and compare all the manifestos of the 18 Parties as published in INEC website to see for yourself. The dotted spaces in the samples below are where the names of the Parties are inserted which are the only distinctions in the duplications.
ON PRE-PRIMARY EDUCATION (NURSERY)
“Nursery education shall be community-oriented with the curricula structured such that they shall inculcate into the children at this early stage the cultural, moral and religious values of their immediate environment. … government shall ensure easy access to nursery schools by a cross section of each community where it is located, so as to prevent nursery education from becoming an elitist institution.”_
ON PRIMARY EDUCATION
“In the view of the ….primary education is the pillar on which rests the country educational system. Therefore, primary education shall be free, and compulsory and relevant to our overall national needs. Efforts will be made to reduce the incidence of drop-out as a result of socio-economic pressures. Strengthening of the curricula shall also ensure that school graduates can become truly and functionally literate and primarily equipped for the life ahead. ….government shall ensure the provision of proper logistic and teaching facilities and instructional materials at no cost to parents.”
ON SECONDARY EDUCATION
“State-run secondary schools throughout the country shall enjoy free tuition. Adequate boarding facilities and instructional materials shall be made available to create a conducive atmosphere for effective earning Teachers’ salaries will be paid regularly and promptly to ensure their effective performance at all times.”
ON TECHNICAL EDUCATION
“….government shall accord technical education the key place deserves in Nigeria’s technological progress. Technical education shall therefore be given top priority._The curricula of the technical schools shall streamline such that a comprehensive curricula shall emerge which shall prove for the students to acquire reasonable level of scientific and technical, literacy to sustain them in their vocations.
The party shall provide
(i) Well- equipped standard workshop in all technical and vocational schools; and
(ii) Well-trained teachers sufficient in number to be posted to all schools”_
ON UNITY SCHOOL/FEDERAL GOVERNMENT COLLEGES
“The … government supports the idea of Unity School/Federal Government Colleges, and shall sustain these colleges as centres excellence and instruments of national integration. Boarding facilities and textbooks shall be provided free. Every Nigerian child shall have equal opportunity to attend them, irrespective of his or her ethnic, religious, or social background.”
ON HIGHER EDUCATION/PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION
“The … government shall
1) Give adequate financial and material support to all higher education institutions, especially the polytechnics and the universities;
2) Create effective machinery for the identification of the manpower needs of the economy, by providing guidelines or; the rationalization, planning, diversification and intensification professional academic programmes;
3) Institute machinery for the identification and evaluation of the infrastructural, bibliographic, and research needs with a view to providing adequate funds to make the institutions more conducive to teaching service, and research and development.”
ON UNIVERSITY EDUCATION
The … government shall provide
a) Improved hostel facilities conducive for effective learning
b) Free tuition to students
c) Essential books instructional materials, libraries classrooms and equipment.”
ON TEACHER EDUCATION
The …government shall
a) Guarantee accommodation to teachers both in urban and rural areas;
b) Introduce mechanisms for providing study leave:
c) Establish regular meetings with principals, teachers union and Parents/Teachers Associations on issues relating to policy formulation, review and implementation;
d) Ensuring prompt payment of pensions and gratuities to retires teachers; and
e) Ensure that teachers are provided with adequate instructional materials by the authority.”
ON CENTRES OF EXCELLENCE
“Establish six centres of excellence to address the needs of special education.”
419 Election Manifestos call for serious actions. Political Parties and their leaders confirmed to be involved in manifesto plagiarism should immediately be suspended from further participation in the electioneering process even as students and staff of educational institutions involved in committing, aiding or abetting acts of examination malpractice and plagiarism are usually subjected to sanctions that include cancellation of results, expulsion or disengagement. The matter is more dangerous in the case of Parties and Candidates that may win elections for federal and state executive and legislative positions. Should such people scam their way into power, the current level of corruption with all its existential state security implications will be child’s play.
With the prospect of every vote being made to count in 2023, it is time for the 30 million education stakeholders that include Students, Teachers, Lecturers, Principals, Parents, Unions, Association to mobilize, bond, speak and work together to rescue education moving away from being passive political watchers and commentators to being pro-active political playmakers and game changers. It is time to deploy the huge structures, networks, organizational skills, brain power and population of education stakeholders towards electing education-friendly candidates with integrity.
But the battle for the future of Education will not end with election of education-friendly political leaders. The battle will continue long after the elections end and Governments formed. Battles for new Governments to prioritize education and deliver on their promises with bold, courageous, visionary and out-of-the-box actions plans will be sustained. This is why JESAC was launched as joint action mobilization platform.
That a Party can summon the audacity to publish plagiarized manifesto on the website of the electoral umpire justifies JESAC’s online petition for Candidates to provide their detailed and signed education manifestos.
544 concerned Education Stakeholders have endorsed the online petition as at the time of signing off on this article on 28 November 2022. Please join to endorse the petition if you have not already done so and to share the link to others in your network.
The link is
GOD BLESS OUR TEACHERS!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ike Onyechere, MFR.
Founding Chairman, Exam Ethics Marshals International
& Convener, Joint Education Stakeholders Action Coalition (JESAC)
+234 803 342 5958.