Supplementing Nigerian Teachers' Salaries | Featured Artiste: Taye Ojei

It's no news that teachers in many countries are poorly paid, and Nigeria is no exception.  Considering that most children attend public or government-run schools, the focus of this post is actually on the public/government school system.

After school (primary and secondary), Nigerian students go for after-school lessons at a teacher's house or "lesson" or they have lesson teachers come and teach them at home.  You can call this private tutoring and it can be offered by different individuals ranging from teachers currently employed at schools to university students and even university graduates seeking employment.  For the teachers able to operate that extra "lesson"  that additional income is important to supplement whatever they make from their regular teaching jobs.  This seems to be an accepted method of supplementing teachers' salaries.  But what about buying and selling 'goods' to students?  Let me explain.

In secondary school,  it was against the school rules for teachers to sell stuff to students.  By stuff, I mean snacks (puff-puff, meat-pie, chin-chin, chewing gum, 'sweets'/candy), hair accessories, writing stationery, and just about anything they could fit into their drawers.  I mean, if students remotely needed those items, you best believe that the teachers would sell them. Except for live animals, of course because, well,you can't hide a goat or a dog in a drawer.  Okay, maybe a puppy (they're so cute ... until they start leaving 'chocolate-colored' presents for you), but not a goat.  Anyway,  in our case, one of these major 'hubs of commerce' was the Business Studies room.  Irony much? When any student sighted the principal making her un-announced rounds, they would start shouting "Princi is coming!" and that was the teachers' cue to 'return to innocence,' so to speak. *smh*  This is of course further proof that when you make something illegal, it becomes even more appealing and a black market is automatically created.

Now, I am assuming that teachers did this to supplement their income and not just to fuel innate greed.  From the perspective of the school authorities who stood against it at the time, I can see how they felt they were protecting students from being exploited.  Let's face it: Allowing teachers sell stuff to students blurs the lines between the teacher's role as an educator and as a merchant.  Sanctioning this behavior does not, however, address the underlying issue, which has given rise to so many union strikes, i.e. teachers salaries are simply inadequate to allow them enjoy a reasonable standard of living.  Hence, the need to supplement it.

So, if teachers cannot supplement their income via commerce (in school, at least), how else can they do so?  Should they even need to supplement anything if the government pays them enough?  I don't think they do.  What I do know is that for the critical role teachers play in the educational process/system, their welfare is very important.  It is certainly a factor that will steer potential teachers in the direction of other more financially rewarding careers.  And if there's anything we will always need in Nigeria, it's more teachers, especially those who are well-trained, dedicated and passionate.

And what about university and polytechnic lecturers and professors selling handouts to students?  Supplementing their income too? The jury is still out on this one.

Featured Artiste: Taye Ojei

Today's featured artiste is Taye Ojei and his song, "Pasan" is the focus of my review.

Taye Ojei / ReverbNation
Now, I have to warn you: You can't sing this type of song sitting down.  In fact, if you have ever required an excuse to burst some crazy dance moves that resemble "flogging" a person, your opportunity don come o! It's a demonstrative song and reminds me of the prayers of the Psalmist.  This is the type of song you dance to with a handkerchief in one hand and a cane in the other hand. (Side Note:  I also recommend tying a camo-style bandana on your head;  You may or may NOT tie a wrapper as well.  Your choice)  Ha! You think I am joking, ba? Oya, listen for yourself and decide:


Likes:  From the introductory beats to the "This is a declaration of war" announcement, you know something's up and you know this guy ain't playing.  The song is written in both English and Yoruba which is a plus for non-Yoruba speakers, so that they can at least understand what the song is about.  Even if you don't know what "Pasan" means (it's a Yoruba word for "whip"), by the time you've heard "Bulala" you pretty much know what's up! In case you missed it, the song is basically asking God to beat the crap out of his enemies.

In this context, Taye draws a wide circle to embrace a broader definition of enemies and he includes the following:  Bad people, Wicked spirits (Emi Osika), People who have said he will not sing or dance, People who have said he will beg/borrow to eat, etc.  From the foregoing, you pretty much know what I am going to say, i.e. one of the strengths of this song is the lyrics.  With the racy beats, the lyrics literally come alive.  You get a dose of Taye's no-nonsense "I-am-fed-up-attitude."

I love the background vocals which keep repeating "E na won!" (Beat them).  They added more color to the track and their vocals were well-blended even though they were singing high notes (for men).  The hook / chorus is pretty cool and memorable.  Thankfully, Taye did not start the song announcing what record label he's with.  However, I know he features about two other people on this track, but I don't know their names.  Even if he chose not to announce their names,  I would have appreciated at least labelling the track with their names, for recognition.

I also loved the outro.  I just ended without fizzing out, i.e the song ended abruptly on an exciting, up-beat note.  That was surprising and I liked that element of surprise.  Furthermore, the song arrangement was quite good because there was no dull moment from the beginning to the end.  But there is some 'breathing room' where Taye sings in English, and then the song continues with the same tempo as before.    

Dislikes:  The quality of the recording leaves much to be desired.  The recording sounds muddied, but that is what I would call a technical issue not a creativity issue.  The parts where two voices sing at the same time sounded off (e.g. Na where dem dey, Na who dem be, I don tell them make dem leave me).  The person who rapped sounded more like he was mumbling the words.  Again, this may be a recording issue, but I barely heard what he said even for the brief moments he used to rap. Taye himself sounded off in some parts as well (e.g. Mi o ni toro je l'aye mi) and I found it distracting.   The songwriting was okay, but it could have been better.

Recommendations:  Well, apart from dancing to this song with a handkerchief and cane or "Pasan" like Taye calls it, I would recommend the following: (1) Probably record at another studio (2) Make the rap more audible (3) Work on pronouncing the lyrics more clearly.

Now, that you've been introduced to Taye Ojei, here's some more information on him and his music:

Artiste's Stage Name: Taye Ojei

Artiste's Real Name: Taye Alex-Ojei

Connect with Taye: FaceBook

Featured Album / Song: Crimson Rain / Pasan

That's it from me.  God bless you plenty for stopping by.  Have a great weekend! Get some rest.  I plan to :-)

***Download PASAN 

Wow, I thought teachers are well paid in the western world. 
I have never really faced the situation of teachers selling stuff to students sha, maybe cos I dint go to a federal school.
And in Unilag, handouts were not allowed, at least in my days. So I can't really relate to this post. 
I know it happens in most Nigerian universities sha. Man must wack!

My school was the same and the "business" took place in staff quarters and Home economics lab plus we called our principal "princi" too (fegg babe abi?)


The lack of investment in teacher education and training is one of the tragedies of our educational system. Any nation that is serious about quality education needs to invest in one of the biggest resource you can think of in education, and that is the teachers. Good remuneration like you rightly pointed out is definitely one of them. Teaching needs to become a highly professional job in Nigeria - buying and selling in school is certainly not one of them.

Hmm, I vividly remember my government teacher selling stickers, and I was famous for buying. I'm not sure how I feel about it, but if teachers were paid right and well...would they resort to peddling wares to their student. I dunno the answer to that question.

You've said everything that needed to be said on the song. I ended abruptly. I did not like that. lol

Atilola: Compared to other professions, they are not paid much.  You're right about UNILAG.  I didn't have to pay for handouts either ... Thank God.  But like you, I know it happens in many Nigerian universities.  Survival runs, abi?

Toin: So yours was in the Staff Quarters and Home Economics lab?  I guess you guys were doing more than learning Clothing and Textiles and Food & Nutrition, shay? LOL! I think our Home Econs department was part of the conspiracy.  Not sure though.  Yes, we called our principal 'Princi' .. Emmm ... Na wetin be FEGG?  Please enlighten me :-) Is it Federal Government Girls Sometin Sometin? In that case, yes, I went to a Federal Government Girls' College.  

Naija4Life: You can say that again! It's a real tragedy when there's no incentive for intelligent and talented individuals to venture into the teaching profession because of its current state, and because they see no future in it.   Making teaching more professional is a must, like you said, and buying and selling will not contribute to professionalism amongst teachers. 

AdeOla:  Post-Graduation Confessions? Care to share more? LOL! So you were one of those who kept them in business? Well, join the club because I did too.  I don't have the answers either, but I am slowly but surely getting there.  Increasing their pay will help, but if you consider inflation, how much  of a difference will it make?

LOL at not stopping abruptly.  It's all good.  Glad to listened to the song too :-)

No Comment or sharing! Regarding inflation...tell that to the teacher who is been earning the same salary for ten years. 

Well, Teachers are very vital in the society and I think one of the ways of creating supplementary benefits is through private home tutoring which a lot of them fall back to. It's not encouraging but thats the situation and it only takes the passionate ones to remain in the profession.
God bless great teachers who moulded us.

 Yea, that was a typo. I meant Feggo

AdeOla:  No comment or sharing?  Final answer? I'll take that as a yes.

Hmmm ... The horrors of living on a fixed income sha *smh*

Michael: I say AMEN to your prayers.  We owe them many thanks.

That 'extra lesson' adds provides supplementary income, but it also adds stress to their lives.  They shouldn't need to go that route, but that's the reality on ground.  The passionate ones will remain like you said, but they're spread too thin and over-worked.  

hmm...true though. You're right on that one. Well, I have a passion to change education in Nigeria and I think problems like this only point to the many opportunities laying around.

Michael:  That's the spirit! I like your attitude jare.  When others say there is a casting down, you must say there is a lifting up.  Go after your passion with all your heart.  The rewards are far beyond the material (note to self too, by the way).


I would love to hear your thoughts. Please Share.

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