Posted by News Express | 29 October 2015 | 3,207 times
In Justin Kruger’s and David Dunning’s work titled, “Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments”, the dangers of ignorance and how it stifles learning was elucidated. It is commonly called the Dunning-Kruger effect.
Essentially, the Dunning-Kruger effect talks about ignorance, which the Wikipedia, also defines as a state of being uninformed. The same Wikipedia defines the word “ignorant” as an adjective describing a person in the state of being unaware. The same word is also used to describe “individuals who deliberately ignore or disregard important information or facts.”
In fact, in the UK and the US such persons who are wilfully ignorant are commonly referred to as “ignoramus.” The Wikipedia further says that ignorance is distinguished from stupidity, although both can lead to “unwise” acts.
With that statement, the Wikipedia may just have hit the bull’s eye. Or how else would one describe a situation where an otherwise respectable Professor blindly jumps into the fray over an issue on which he is either totally uninformed or has chosen to be deliberately ignorant?
Indeed, the article titled, “Pius Adesanmi On Ibikunle Amosun’s Treatment Of Teachers,” and published on Naij.com, an online publication, on Tuesday, October 13, 2015, can only be best described as an “unwise” act.
In the said article, Adesanmi, described as a professor of English and African Studies at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada, sadly failed to conduct the simplest of research which, for instance includes a Google search, before hurrying to type expletives with which he laboured to paint Senator Ibikunle Amosun, the Ogun State governor, as a dictator over a matter in which the governor was not in any way directly connected.
So why would a supposed intellectual commit such a faux pas? Could it be because he was too lazy to research and find out that as far back as August 27, 2015, the Ogun State Civil Service Commission, which is an autonomous body created by Section 197 of the 1999 Constitution with powers to appoint persons to offices in the State civil service; and dismiss and exercise disciplinary control over persons holding such offices, had issued a statement explaining what happened in the case of Mr. Jola Adegbenro and five other officials of the state Ministry of education who were sanctioned for conducts that breached public service rules?
Or was it that he couldn’t comprehend the Commission’s explanation that it acted on petitions from concerned parents who were alarmed that statements earlier used in campaign flyers and newspaper advertorial sponsored by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in Ogun State, in the run up to the 2015 gubernatorial election, curiously found their way into comprehension passages served for their children as examination script?
Indeed, what was masqueraded as an examination question given to SS1 students in Ogun State during the June/July 2015 third term unified examination was a material containing politically-motivated falsehood that had earlier been severally published in campaign flyers and newspaper advertisements by the PDP in Ogun State, months before the 2015 general elections. The same material was published online by the PDP and its known allies.
Perhaps the challenge is that our erudite professor couldn’t grasp the explanation of the state Civil Service Commission that Mr. Adegbenro and his co-travellers were given fair hearing and an opportunity to defend themselves, both in writing and orally, before a committee set up to investigate the issue. And that they all admitted the nexus between the controversial examination passage and previously published campaign flyers of a political party. Not only that, Mr. Adegbenro also admitted having authored the previously published political material which he subsequently turned into an examination script given to school children.
Even more important is the fact that Professor Adesanmi may not know that the action of Mr. Adegbenro and his co-travellers, according to the state civil service commission, was in breach of section 04420 (1) (a) (b) and (d) of Public Service Rules.
Another thing our dear Professor may have been ignorant of but which the civil service commission had taken the pains to explain is that the said Rule 04420 of the extant Ogun State Public Service Rules, which I understand applies to public servants not just in Ogun State but all over the country, provides, among other things, that: “no Officer shall without the express permission of his Permanent Secretary/ Head of Extra-Ministerial Department, whether on duty or on leave of absence; contribute to, whether anonymously or otherwise or publish in any newspaper, magazine or periodical or otherwise publish, cause to be published in any manner anything which may reasonably be regarded as of a political or administrative nature.”
It is on the basis of this rule that the Ogun State civil service commission, without prejudice to the powers of the governor, has decided to sanction the erring officers.
Could Professor Adesanmi have been ignorant of these facts which have since been in the public domain or could he have been a victim of the desperation to want to play to the gallery?
Honestly I am still at a loss as to what may have made an otherwise respected scholar fail to also engage in a simple introspection, which should have spurred him into seeking to know why the trade unions of the affected teacher, whose rights he claimed were trampled upon by an imaginary dictator, would resort to pleading on his behalf rather than challenge the civil service commission’s decision in court. Could it be because they know that their colleague had indeed acted in breach of the civil service rules?
If only he had paused to give that aspect a second thought, Professor Adesanmi may have been saved the embarrassment of appearing like a scholar incapable of conducting simple research on a subject matter of interest.
So is Professor Adesanmi that ignorant? Methinks the answer is an emphatic no. Far from it, Professor Adesanmi, whose profile described as a widely-cited commentator on Nigerian and African affairs, is too intelligent not to know. Even if he didn’t know, he is also too intelligent not to know that he could jolly well have asked or conducted some little research.
What went wrong? I think he just chose to pretend like he didn’t know. In this particular instance, it seems knowing the facts and or choosing to present them to the reading public will not serve his purpose and that of the persons who may have sent him on this ignoble trip of travesty.
This is why I am of the opinion that Professor Adesanmi, in this particular instance, chose to appear ignorant whereas he is far more capable than he has unfortunately portrayed himself to be.
Looking beyond our dear professor and his co-travellers, the important point that needs to be made is that the teacher in question has decided, against public service rules, to play politics. That is why he was shown the way out of the system, by the civil service commission, so that he can be free to actively engage in politics rather than hide behind the chalkboard in doing so.
•Adejuwon Soyinka, a multiple award-winning journalist, is the Senior Special Assistant, Media, to Governor Ibikunle Amosun. Photo shows Prof. Adesanmi.
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