ColumnsEducationOpinionAnambra Education Commissioner’s Outburst: The Many ‘Normal’ But Absurd Things in Nigeria


The Anambra State Commissioner for Education, Prof. Ngozi Chuma Udeh is currently being ripped apart by the public on social media, for calling a job seeker “an idiot” “filthy thing”, etc, all in a few seconds call which unbeknownst to her, was recorded by the caller. The commissioner was wrong for using abusive words on an applicant, but that is not all. Many people in power use far more abusive words regularly on their staffers and subordinates, how much more a job seeker. Nigeria, sadly, has a deep-rooted culture of abuse in which those at the top of the chain per time have no respect for the humanity of others. But the problem is even deeper. There is perhaps a feeling of superiority by some of these people, over others who are less fortunate and this is ‘normal’ for the most part. Hence, it is difficult to tame impunity and instill decency in Nigeria’s public and private spaces.

The other aspect of this development is the fact that the caller recorded the commissioner without her approval or knowledge. Many Nigerians will not see anything wrong with this, it’s a cultural thing. But that still does not excuse the fact that it is wrong and smacks of criminal intent to record a phone conversation without the knowledge of the call receiver. But, well, in Nigeria, not many people care about these details. The general rule for Nigeria is that if the commissioner can go all out to abuse a job seeker, whose eventual monthly pay may not be enough to transport her to and fro work for the entire month, well, it serves her right to be blackmailed.

That’s it. But then, if the commissioner had not used those words, well, might just be her lucky day or she is among the handful of Nigerians in place of authority that does not use such abusive words on subordinates. Worst still, the use of abusive words by the commissioner has overshadowed the discussion. No one is wondering why ordinary recruitment of teachers in Anambra state has to generate such a fuse.

For well over two weeks, the recruitment of teachers in Anambra state has been on the news with a lot of controversies. The fact remains that the greatest error of the Anambra Ministry of Education in this exercise is to try to manage the recruitment process by itself or bring in an inexperienced consultant to manage that process. Matter of fact, the personal and direct involvement of the commissioner in the recruitment exercise is not professional and by so doing, she set herself up for failure and blackmail. The commissioner posts about the recruitment exercise on her Facebook page, thereby drawing needless attention to herself as the recruiter.

The caller who called her has no reason to call her directly for whatever complaints that concerns the recruitment, but not when she is at the centre of the process. If she has managed the exercise professionally as it should, there is no way she will be in the current muddle. Prof. Ngozi’s conduct in this exercise has little to do with her suitability for the job as commissioner for education. It is about her ability to stay in her position and bring in good and capable hands that she delegates duties to, instead of trying to do it all and be seen to be involved in everything.

While there are no excuses for the commissioner’s outburst, there is no justification for recording a private call and using it to one’s end. But the fact is that you have to be really careless to throw abusive words around over the phone, especially while talking to someone you do not know. However, the commissioner and indeed, government appointees must learn to seek how to discharge their duties professionally. Commissioners must remain commissioners and delegate duties. That call for instance, ought to have been placed to the ministry’s PRO or consultant handling the exercise. Why should the commissioner be answering calls on recruitment, to the point of answering thousands of calls? It’s preposterous! The updates from the commissioner on facebook ought to be coming from the Ministry’s Media or the media consultant hired by the ministry. If these are not addressed, many appointees of Prof. Soludo will get into more messy controversy.

Ebuka Onyekwelu (Staff Writer)
Follow me

One comment

  • Avatar
    Ifeatu Onubogu

    June 29, 2022 at 12:24 pm

    You seem to be defending evil. There is nothing wrong with recording a conversation you are part of. Please note that there was no confidentiality agreement between them. No one forced the Commissioner of Education to mouth off. You should stop making excuses for a woman who did her job badly and acted with impunity.

    Discipline comes with the job, the Commissioner did not exercise restraint and no one is blackmailing her.

    You are right that people in positions of power in Nigeria 🇳🇬 use abuse language on their staff. You did not mention those in power that physically abused the staff such as slapping government employees. For example, the former First Lady of Anambra State Mrs Obiano, who is now running for Senator, regularly slapped staff members. She even slapped the deputy Governor’s wife. She had an altercation with Bianca Ojukwu.

    I think you should have addressed what has to be done legally to protect government staff from such abusive conduct? May be enacted legislation against such behavior.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

WP2Social Auto Publish Powered By :