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Fact Check(2): Against Premium Times' Report... 98% Of The Textbooks Produced In Offa Poly Are Standard And Registered With ISBN

_Hammed J Suleiman Reveals_

In a quest to know the reality and cross examine myriad acussations against the polytechnic academic staff, I have taken my time for the second time to visit the campus and investigate the allegations and fact check the level of veracity inherent in the report on Premium Times

 Students' Reactions And Responses

The investigation by Alfred Olufemi titled: "How lecturers fleece Offa Poly Students Through Sale Of Substandard, Unregistered Textbooks" was published on Premium Times on Dec, 17, 2019 but this investigation is subject to cross examination and verification. Since journalism is an art and science, one is entitled to carry out his/her investigation/research while it is never a crime to actually check out the level of veracity and authenticity of such investigation. Journalism is about fairness and balance.

In the report, Mr. Alfred said many of the textbooks produced by the polytechnic lecturers are without ISBN.  According to him: "an investigation by this newspaper shows that many of the so-called textbooks are without International Standard Book Number (ISBN)"

Contrarily, the investigation carried out to fact check shows that the above claim by Mr. Alfred is not real. A student from Mass Communication Department, Odeniyi Mayowa was interviewed as regards to whether their textbooks are registered with International Standard Book Number ( ISBN ) or not, he said: " Our textbooks here are registered with ISBN, they are standard and easy to comprehend. In fact, I always keep them in my own personal library." Another student, Olawale from the same department said: "I was shocked when I read the report on Premium Times. I don't believe in that report because our textbooks are registered and the International Standard Book Number is always on the second page or on the cover page at the back below the author's note and more so, we have never been compelled to buy them. You buy at your own will."

Further more, in Alfred Olufemi's report, it was included that the students are being denied to write test or exams because they didn't buy textbooks. According to his report: "An HND 1 student of Mass Communication (name withheld) said, “All lecturers will tell you “my handout is not compulsory but necessary”
"When they give you test, you may not be able to submit. It cuts across all courses.”
He added that sometimes when students get to the test hall, the names of those who have paid will be read out and those whose names are missing will not be allowed to write tests or exams"

Without saying this out, one needs to ask himself that, is it really possible for a particular institution to deprive students their eligible right to write examination because of not buying textbooks: Salaudeen Rotimi, an ex-student reacted to this claim, he said: "One does not need to stress himself to identify lies. The above assertion is not possible anywhere in Nigeria and I doubt if the reporter ever interviewed any student. Personally, I don't buy textbooks and I have never failed nor denied access to write test/examination before. During my last semester, I submitted my kit after my examination. So, if an institution can allow students who have not paid school fees to write exams, how is it now possible to deny them access to examination because of textbooks. For instance, if a lecturer says his textbook is not compulsory but necessary, how could one be fleeced for what is not made compulsory? During my stay in school, I only bought textbooks that are necessary."

Another student, Adeyemo Ismail from Engineering department said: "Since Premium Times' report premised on textbooks without ISBN, here, I cannot say all the textbooks produced in a particular institution by lecturers from different departments are registered with ISBN but if 98% of the textbooks produced are standard and registered with ISBN, picking on the remaining 2% as the basis for investigation is as useless as sanitary pads. We have bookshop here in the School of Engineering where we get textbooks and all the textbooks there are registered. As a matter of fact, no lecturer has the right to produce or sell textbooks individually, textbooks are produced collectively and at the same time being sold generally at the School of Engineering's bookshop. Therefore, it is not possible for any lecturer to write down the names of those that get the textbooks in exchange for mark or to unleash any punishment on them. It  is not done that way here."

More so, a graduate of the institution, Olabanji Usman when interviewed about his experience on textbooks while in school said: "I don't joke with textbooks when I was in school; not because I will fail if I didn't buy them but because I consider them valuable. No single lecturer can impose textbooks on students because during marking, I know they can not withstand the stress of checking the list of those that bought the textbooks before marking a script. They have many booklets to mark within short period of time. So we do buy textbooks that are necessary and ignore many. Let me tell you another confidential but necessary gist, last week, one of the lecturers sent me to one of the prestigious Universities in Nigeria to deliver his textbooks ordered from a department in that institution. Similarly, when you  get to U.I bookshop, you will see textbooks produced by Offa Poly lecturers there. If a textbook is not standard, no one would order for it."

Notable Contradictory Statement Made By Premium Times' Reporter, Alfred Olufemi

In the report, Alfred Olufemi made it known that he had a telephone interview with the former HOD of Mass Communication, Dr. David Binta Oloyede but Mr. Alfred was not certain of the HOD's gender. It is not possible for two persons to engage in a telephone conversation without knowing each other's gender through the voice.  Adressing Dr. Binta Oloyede of Mass Communication as "She" in the Premium Times' report exposed the investigation to ineptitude and unprofessional. The 'Binta' amidst the names of former HOD confused this reporter and this made him to address the HOD as 'SHE'. An excerpt from Mr. Alfred's report shows the contradiction here:
"The Head of Mass Communication department, Binta Oloyede, said the school has called for the withdrawal of some textbooks without ISBN.
“In the last meeting, we have said they should be withdrawn. And we said that in subsequent sessions, textbooks should be submitted for scrutiny. A committee has also been set up to look into publications in various departments,” 'SHE' said.

The above contradiction can make one to conclude that all the interviews claimed by Mr.  Alfred Olufemi never happened. And if the interviews claimed in the report was a coinage, what would be the motive behind the investigations? An attempt to disrepute the polytechnic or its officials?

Similarly, during fact checking, I have found out that the textbooks uploaded by Mr. Alfred Olufemi in his report were registered with International Standard Book Number but only the cover page was shown. ISBN is always written after the first two pages or at the back cover of the textbooks.

Scholars' Recommendations Against Fake News/Reports

Recently, the Head of  Mass Communication Department, University of Lagos, Prof. Abigail Ngwezzy-Ndisika called on media practitioners to avoid publishing their news materials in a haste without proper verification. She gave this advice recently during the graduation ceremony of Batch C, basic course trainees of National Broadcast Academy in Lagos. According to Prof. Ndisika, publication without verification leads to destruction. “Rush to publish, rush to perish” she said.

Also, Director of National Broadcast Academy in Lagos State, Engr Ajibola Abiola stressed that: "Fake news and hate speech must be condemned by all. It stokes violence and insecurity. It brings about hate and disunity and encouraged all to stay away from spreading information that have the tendency to threaten our peaceful co-existence."

Fact Checker's Recommendations

Premium Times should stick to its credibility as known and never allow any journalist embarking on personal interest mission to discredit the noble platform.

The instigative arms of the organization should rather be handled by professionals who obtained first degree or equivalent in Mass Communication in order to discharge their duties as professionals.

Media should not only be focused on negative reports about an organization, institution but also report good tidings that revolves around such institution.

Hammed -J- Suleiman is a fact checking journalist, Law Student and President of African Students For Liberty, Usmanu Danfodio University, Sokoto State.


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