Environmental Conservation Education in Nigeria: An interview with Dr Lekan Adekola of York St. John University, UK

An image of Costus spectabilis, the plant on the Nigerian Coat of Arms, from the Gashaka Gumti National Park. Image by @ANI-Foundation

Today, we will be talking to Dr Olalekan Adekola, a geographer and lecturer at Young St. John University in the UK. So, Adekola will be talking to us about the impacts the Lake Chad, and the issues around environmental conservation is having on crisis in Nigeria particularly with regards to the herdsmen and the farmers’ crisis that has been kind of causing a perennial problem in Nigeria. Hi Dr Adekola!

Dr Adekola: Thank you very much, Kayode, nice talking to you today. Thank you very much for inviting me to this….

Edusounds: Thanks a lot for honoring to be our guest with the podcast. So, can we get to know you, please?

Dr Adekola:  My name is Olalekan Adekola just like you said, preferably call Lekan for easy pronunciation, yeah. I’m a geographer like you said, and at the moment I lecture at Young St. John University in the UK but before then I had my primary and secondary education in Nigeria as well as my undergraduate in Nigeria, the Federal University of Technology, Yola, to be precise. After that, I proceeded to the Netherland…for my masters in Environmental Sciences, I had a PhD in Geography from the University of Leads. Professionally, I’ve worked in different places, in South Africa, in Nigeria, in the Netherlands and in the UK.

Edusounds: All right, great! It’s interesting you said you had your degree here at Federal University of Technology, Yola.

Dr Olalekan: Yes

Edusounds: Because I think around that axis, that part of Nigeria, there seems to be a lot of conservation going on.

Dr Olalekan: Yes, there is a lot going on, it’s a pity that, in Nigeria, mostly when you meet people, we don’t really fully understand our country because we are not…we’ve not– most people don’t travel a lot – if you meet someone, they’ve either just lived half of their life or all of their life in Lagos, Abuja or wherever they are, you hardly find people see people traveling and traversing the length of Nigeria. For me, I think that’s always a plus that I’ve had the opportunity to travel, not just travel but lived both in the north and south, I did my youth corps in Benue and I interacted widely and that sometimes do give me a broad understanding of issues in Nigeria and helping not to look at it either from an ethnic or religious perspective or being quite very an addictive with the way we look at things in the Nigerian context.

Edusounds: Yes, that’s interesting because when I read your article on the conversation about the Nigerian conflicts as a result of environmental devastation and prospect of that, you brought quite a different perspective to issues surrounding the herdsmen and the farmers situation which I found quite interesting, that’s what really prompted me to even say oh let me try and see if I will be able to request an interview and if this person will be ready, would be  willing to like give the call and thankfully that’s what you’ve done for me, thanks a lot for that.

Dr Olalekan: You are welcome.

Edusounds: Yes. So, I know you emphasized a lot on impact the desertification in Sahara desert is having as well as the Lake Chad.

Dr Olalekan: hn hn.

Edusounds: So, because this podcast mail is about educational issues in Nigeria, so, I would want us to look at it from educational perspective.

Dr Olalekan: ok.

Edusounds: So let’s talk about climate change, there are denials about it, there are people that say it’s not real or some people have this funny opinion which I think is quite selfish to mean that afterwards by the land scape happens, they would have left this world…

Dr Olalekan: Yeah.

Edusounds: and they’re not really concerned about what’s going on. So, can you explain climate change in a layman’s term as well as what roles the ordinary ably person can play to avert it?

Dr Olalekan: You’ve talked on two things but I would take them one after the other, you’ve mentioned about the article and education aspect of environmental issues especially in Nigeria by trying to explain climate change to a layman. The first aspect is with regards to the article, it was a push for me, it was something I saw as a contribution to change the current narratives which I wasn’t too happy about. I’ve got a lot friends, Muslims, Christians, Traditional people from the north, from the east, from Benue and when I listen on real conversations even of educated people or even in the media, the sort of narratives I get made me write that article to say we are not really addressing the main issue, even the government are not addressing the main, what I thought were key issues, so, we are rather dwelling on ethnic/religious dimension which ignored the root cause of that challenge.

That said, probably we’d discuss that a bit more, later, with regards to climate change and in a layman’s term and how others might have perceived climate change whether it’s real, whether it’s not real, the truth of the matter is there is irrevocable scientific evidence now that proves that climate change is happening, if you look around you it’s nothing, for instance, just take flooding for example, what’s happening in Nigeria since around 2012? Flooding is now an annual event in Nigeria, we never had it that bad, every year now, there is always a flood warning, it has never been like that before 2010 and all these are issues to do around the impact of climatic change. The basic idea about climate is that the climate is changing, the temperature is rising or it’s going down depending on which part of the world you are in, and has different impact on our lives. So, either farmers, herdsmen, it has an impact on the lives of the people and their activities. So, if places that used to be…if you check the weather patterns when it rains, it’s no longer the same type probably when I went to school in Yola in the mid-90s, around February, it’s always very hot, by the time I went back, it’s no longer in February, we are now experiencing changes in the weather pattern, now happening around March, April and this is as a result of weather phenomenal that farmers, the local people used to predict when to go to farm, when not to farm, the rain fall is reducing or it’s increasing, they are changing, what do they do with the type of crop they cultivate? And these are some of the issues around climate change. How do we explain that to the local people, the laypeople using another term? Sometimes, they actually even have better understanding than us of what is happening on the ground is for us to now bring in this scientific idea to say your climate or the weather is changing at this particular time.

Edusounds: Oh! Really. That’s quite interesting, so, I mean brining the dimension of climatic change to the herdsmen-farmers’ crisis in Nigeria which has claimed, unfortunately, many, many, many lives, in short sometimes when you go on twitter, for instance, I think a lot of people are just careless when they even share images because some of the images they share are just too goring. It got to a stage I was discussing with a friend, I said, it seems twitter has a special policy with how people share images from Nigeria because it doesn’t seem like…because some of the images they have shared, you can’t share a fraction of it in the UK for instance without you being blocked or sometimes you can even…it can become a criminal case against the person. So, but taking it forward, how would this climate change…what role is it playing in this herdsmen-farmers’ crisis?

Dr Olalekan: For me, from my experience and from my professional background, I think it’s playing a lot… I mean…for me that’s the root cause of the herdsmen-famers’ crisis. I would give you an example of why I said so, I started my undergraduate, in Yola, around the mid-90s, 1996/97 to be precise and the first academic paper that I read was by someone talking about farmers and herdsmen crisis in, around Yobe, Bornu State then, around Yobe side view and it was very fair, there was a not a fighting between herdsmen and farmers, then, no one heard anything about it, it was just a research topic looking at land changes at that point, so, it’s not something. The reason why I’ve gone that far back which is with my own little knowledge and that’s talking around the 80s…70s, this crisis has always been there and if you look at it, the origin of that is that around the 1960s, Lake Chad which used to be the place with lots of water supporting agriculture, supporting the ecosystem where the herdsmen take their cattle to graze, started receding from the 1960s, at the moment, research points out that Lake chad has receded 90% of its original size, so, you can imagine…

Edusounds: wow!

Dr Olalekan: So you can imagine people that depend on Lake chad for fishing, for agriculture, the herdsmen, their cattle need water, the cattle need grazing land and it’s no longer there and it was at that point when Lake chad started receding that most of the herdsmen leaving Lake chad basin and started moving southward and that’s when they started having issues even with farmers in Boronu, in Yobe in the northern villages in the Sahara region of Nigeria. So, the conflict between the herdsmen and farmers has always been there and to me what triggered it was the issue of that Lake Chad, that’s on one side. Due to climatic changes and the changes taking place in the globally – global warming- …we know in the north of Nigeria is the Sahara but the Sahara is actually moving further southward, I think they said about 0.6km a year, you might think 0.6km is not enough but if you are losing your forest by 0.6km a year, you can imagine how many that takes and it keep moving southward, what that means is that all the grazing land that was available in the northern villages is no longer there for the cattle…for the herdsmen and what they tend to is to, I mean, they’ve their cattle, that’s their …livelihood, that’s all they know how to do and all they need to do is to look for grazing land and …the implication of that is they started moving southward and that’s when some of the challenges started, it didn’t just happen in Benue, so now we are talking about Benue, we are talking about the southern…now, as in the south-western state …the crisis is around Oyo, in Ekiti…in the east, we are just only waking up to it now because it’s happening further south, but I tell people this challenge has been there as far back as, at least, as for me, that I knew, as far back as the 1980s but because it was in the northern part, we never really tend to care much about it but now it’s moving southward and that’s the implication of environmental changes, I would like to call it environmental changes not climate changes the reason being there are lots of factors responsible for it which include the fact that the climate is changing which is causing all these changes to happen…and as that is happening, the herdsmen need water, they need grazing land for their cattle and they started moving southward and that’s the impact, I think climate change in that context fast play in getting the herdsmen moving southward and as they move southward, like you’ve read in my article, I think what then happen is they now met a lot of farming communities, again with the farming communities, one other thing we don’t talk about is that population in Nigeria is growing rapidly, so, probably years back they moved their cattle through those communities and there were still cattle routes but with population growth, some of the cattle routes are either taken over now by houses or have been taken over by farm lands and that’s also part of the challenge that sort of increased some of these crisis between the herdsmen and the farmers, so, looking at it solely and say it’s a religious or it’s an ethnic, I’m not saying they’re not…we can’t start saying ethnic-religious dimension but if you want to address an issues you need to look at the root cause  and I think the root cause has issue to do with the changing climate – climatic change.

Edusounds: Wow! Because since the narrative canters around like you said religion, ethnicity and then the issue of land ownership, land grabbing or what are view and no one is really talking about the effect of environmental degradation as you rightly highlighted. So, the issue now is how can we use education as a means to enlighten and educate the Nigerian populace about some of these issues and then how to address the problems around environmental conservation.

Dr Olalekan: Yes. Education is important, there are two dimensions to education…I would say is important, one is environmental education like you rightly mentioned, Kayode, the other is having educators that are true to their calling and allow their students to reason. One of the thing you discover…Nigeria I will always say is a unique country, both from an ethnic, religion, we are so diverse, it’s so heterogeneous. However, what you’d see is people sometimes get blinded by those sort of accusations and as an educator and as  an educationist – a teacher or a lecturer – you need to try to put some of those biases in the background if you really want to be…if you want to educate the next generation to be able to think for themselves but by the time a teacher starts…starts right in front of the class and he’s already bias the ways he or she portrays a potential problem confronting the country, it’s difficult for the students to learn the right ways. So, as educationists, as teachers, there needs to also a reorientation that we need to allow…teach in such a way that will allow the students to think and that we are not just feeding them, to allow our students to think, not being bias about the ethnic or religious dimensions. I want to point that out really because if we have…that are not teaching right, it’s as good as not having teachers at all….in terms of environmental education, I think we need that in Nigeria at the moment.

More so, with the craze for social media where people post different things just like you said earlier about people posting different type of things, so… and you know an illiterate population where anything people pick from the social media becomes the gospel flutes. We need to go not just through the formal school education but also we need to think about those that are not in the formal education. I’ll give you an example, we always band around the fact that there are Almajiri children in the northern part of Nigeria, now we talk of educating people about environmental education, most people are thinking about primary school or secondary school or university but we have seven million people that are going through the so called Almajiri education, we need to recognize that as a system of education and if we want to make some of these changes and we want to have impacts, we need to introduce aspects of environmental education across board including in all those informal systems of education, and how do we do that? The easiest way we can do that is to use insiders within those groups that are being left out at the moment, going to the primary education, I think we also need to look back at the curriculum that we are practicing now in Nigeria where I was taught things like social studies, history, we are making geography optional…

Edusounds: Yes.

Dr Olalekan: These are subjects that start teaching not in the univ…geography…aspect of geography should not be things we teach just in the secondary school, we should start having aspects of that being taught in the primary school, let the children understand caring for their environments, this should be things we start in health science, was it social science or social studies we call it in those days?

Edusounds: Social studies.

Dr Olalekan: Social studies, I mean when I was growing up, I studied in Lagos, we always had social studies, moral instruction, we had all those that teach you, you wash your hand and these are the things we inculcated in all, that’s what made us who we are. We’re told, oh you wash your hand before you eat there’re even songs, there’re songs about wash your hands before you eat, there’re songs about…you know things like that

Edusounds: we ko mon, ge ekanan re, jeun to dara lasiki ma jeun ju (Yoruba songs of moral ethics)

Dr Olalekan: Exactly, exactly. And those are things that even now you’ve grown up and you look at your nail, oh! It’s long, ekanan mi, it’s long I need to cut it. We can have that, we can build that into the education system we can get artists together, give us songs, give us songs that children can sing that talks about caring for the environments, that talks about…you know, that talks about things like that, that talks about how we can live together, how we can do things together as a society and care for the environment but if you take Social studies out and you think education is about Mathematics and English, I think that’s one of the places we’ve missed it, so, to start bringing environmental education itself in to the curriculum, we need to look again at the curriculum and see what we have in there and start bringing some these back again and see how that can help with those growing up and again environment issues, I always tell people when it comes to environment, it’s catching them young, yes, when we talk of sustainability but one of things I’ve discovered with Nigeria, in one of my papers I quoted one of our former president, that was Babangida.

Edusounds: Ok.

Dr Olalekan: Because I do a lot of research on wet lands, wet lands are my primary focus…

Edusounds: Alright.

Dr Olalekan: Yes. And I can’t remember when, they asked Babangida and said, oh! The niger-delta what should we do? We are all…and honestly from his mind as a president, “who cares about the country?” I guess that statement he made it out of genuine interest for the …and he said is oh! All the swampy area, just clear it, clear the swampy areas and create land, he’s saying it but that’s what he understand…

Edusounds: Yes.

Dr Olalekan: But the truth is the wet land, he doesn’t understand the value of the wet land…

Edusounds: Laughter…I understand.

Dr Olalekan: Pardon.

Edusounds: I said yes, I understand you.

Dr Olalekan: The point I’m making is when we talk of education in the curriculum, in the formal education, we also need to start thinking of those even in the senates, in the house of representatives, our president, our ministers. Do they understand the basics of how environmental issues worth, you can take Lagos for example, you are creating Eko Atlantic on one hand…

Edusounds: Yeah.

Dr Olalekan: And on the other hand, you say you are controlling flooding, you are just wasting your money because at the end of the day one will negate the other because what you are doing and calling Banana Island or you’re calling Atlantic this is nature, that’s wet… Banana Island is wet land, that’s wet land that has been sand filled, whether today or tomorrow or in 10 years’ time, we will pay for it because it’s nature, we can’t work against nature. The point I’m making is we need to take education beyond just the formal school system and see how we can as well run it using different approaches.

Edusounds: Yes.

Dr Olalekan: To lead diverse communities within Nigeria because every single individual is responsible for the environment, so, if you want to achieve the best in terms of environmental management, we need to involve quite a lot and that links to the northern part of Nigeria where the Sahara is, how do we encourage people to engage in afforestation? For example, the easiest way is educating it, some of the state governors, do they know what the benefit could be? If you rather than spending a lot on security vote, what is the cost benefit of using that money, for example, to create forest zones within the state, those are some of the education that we need to reutilize so that even those making policies can see the benefits of the environment to us and not just be thinking in terms of ok how many schools or how many votes they’re able to get.

Edusounds: Yes, brilliant, I think you’ve talked on…like three different areas when it comes to educating the public, you’ve talked about the use of like I would want to say maybe mass media or social media to reach out to maybe people in government and people like that and the middle class and other working class and what are view, anyway, in the society and then you talked about educating the informal sector, particularly children in the informal education system, how we need to integrate them in to the mainstream system and then you talked about the curriculum which is what most people will be thinking about when they’re talking of environmental education or something like that  which has to do with primary, secondary and higher education. So briefly, there is this paper I downloaded online, today and  I was reading through…I think the authors were Noris Irabo and Juliet Don from University of Benin, so the title of the paper is impact of environmental education on the knowledge and attitude of students towards the environments. So it was published in 2016 and under international journal of environmental and science education. So… I mean they raised some interesting issues. So their own hypothesis is…they started with their…they had this hypothesis that there is no significant relationship between the level of knowledge by the students for instance and their attitude towards the environment. So that was the hypothesis and they wanted to find out that is that true? Is the attitude right and the relationship with the students’ level of knowledge and their attitude towards the environment, so they went through that and some of the issues they highlighted was that in 1992, the National Educational Research Council in Nigeria then, presently now called the National Educational Research Development Council which is in charge of curriculum for primary and secondary education in Nigeria.

Dr Olalekan: OK.

Edusounds: They highlighted 4 goals (objectives) for environmental education, so they wanted to: 1. Enable young people to participate in decision making related to environmental issues like you rightly said about how to educate them; 2. To enable learners to develop operational understanding of some of the basic concept and processes relating to environmental issues e.g pollution, deforestation, and you’ve talked about afforestation as a means to correct deforestation. Then they talked about develop the ability to enquire into problem situations associated with the environment, and then they talked about taking into account social and cultural aspects of the people and suggesting solutions. So I know you’ve talked about some of these issues, and this was in 1992, so I don’t really know if maybe people that that schooled later in late 90s for instance were able to access this kind of educational objectives being caused to the environment. So, are you with me there? Hello! Hello! Hello! Hello!

Dr Olalekan:  The fourth point.

Edusounds: Ok. So the other point, they talked about understanding of some of the basic concepts and processes relating to environmental issues e.g pollution and deforestation, and to develop the ability to enquire into problem situations associated with the environment and taking into account social and cultural factors of the people and suggesting solutions. So the interesting is these learning objectives were said in 1992 and this is 2018, so we’re talking about almost 20 years later, what am I saying, that’s almost 30 years later isn’t it?

Dr Olalekan: Yeah, hn hn.

Edusounds: I mean, that tells you how time flies (laughing) and interestingly, it doesn’t even seem that anything like that was ever mentioned in the Nigerian educational system today…

Dr Olalekan: Yeah. You know education has not been… sorry, environment…Hello!

Edusounds: Yeah. I’m listening.

Dr Olalekan: Yeah. So if I get your question correctly, environment has not been…it has been in the front board but one thing you need to understand with the environment is that unlike other sectors, or like petroleum that brings money that the government or the policy makers can see, environment doesn’t bring you money, you know people deal with…money is the easy way to catch up with the politicians or the people governing and that’s the challenge even though there is increased environmental…should I say environmental awareness but at least  we now know a bit more about the environment in Nigeria and you’d see every government, right, we have the federal ministry of environment sine SEPAD, the days of SEPAD…

Edusounds: Yes.

Dr Olalekan: It’s always been there but is it not just becoming something very bureaucratic not having any impact, and to me the reason is because environment doesn’t bring money that people can see physically and that’s why some of my previous research is using economic instruments to communicate the values of the environment and that’s what I did with Niger Delta wetland where I looked at the economic values of the Niger Delta wetland to say this is what this wetland is worth, if we destroy the Niger Delta wetland ecosystem because of crude oil, this is what you will lose and that sort of evidence can help us to start building in the values of the environment into decision making, into policy making, and that’s why you’d see even though there have been papers like these like we’ve pointed out talking about environmental challenges for long I mean, if you go and meet people like Professor Akin Mab’ogunje who has been doing a lot on environmental issues, housing in Nigeria for only God Knows when, so we’ve always known about some of these challenges but it’s not been taken to the point where it’d be in the front burner, so to say, of decision making process, and again, we are always reactive when it comes to environmental issues in Nigeria be it issue of flooding, and for me that’s another aspect where you’d see environmental change playing a bit impact in Nigeria. Let me give you an example with folding, if it floods in Lagos today, what do you think is the next thing the government would do? They would go and clear all the chances and say there are ones causing the flood…

Edusounds: Yes.

Dr Olalekan: That’s what the government would do, they would go and clear the… take their land and give it to the rich men because that’s what…that’s sort of the power dynamics that play but if you look at it, the actual recognition that the government needs is that the cause of those issues like flooding goes beyond those settlement that they are harassing but even the decisions they are making, so if every government takes environment in to consideration in everything they do, it’s going to be positive for the society. But how do we achieve that? I think that’s the big point, how do we start bringing in environmental consideration into decision making? I think that’s the big point.

Edusounds: Yes. So, sorry for cutting in, that’s where the role of the media too is very important, isn’t it?

Dr Olalekan: Yes, the media has a role to play, a very big role to play, and the non-governmental organizations also have a role to play.

Edusounds: But there is a problem, the media will only address a problem if there is going to be, at least to an extent, some financial rewards to them, so if you want to keep talking about environmental issues or run environmental programs on TV or radio or in the mainstream and newspapers or things like that, they need money to run theirs, and without any funding then, those issues will just be kind of seasonal, occasionally when there is a crisis, they will talk about it and that’s it. So, how do we circumvent such a problem and move forward?

Dr Olalekan: Again, that’s part of the challenge in Nigeria because everything is about money and in a society, if we reduce every…a lot of things to the issue of economic and money, it’s always difficult, if you take some of the western societies for example, they’ve gone beyond that, and issues of environment is actually more of a conviction, it’s actually more of a moral issue, the way we take religion is the way they take the environment, the way we take our God, so to say, in the sort of African-Nigerian context. It’s not about money, you don’t worship God because God gives you money, even so to say you know God Protects you and all that but that’s…we need to also come to that realization and that’s why I like the question you asked about creating that awareness, changing our mentality, we need to also come the realization that the environment is so important because now there is a report that just came out yesterday that Nigeria is the fourth most polluted country in the world…

Edusounds: No, Nigeria, Nigeria is always on wrong long (laughing)

Dr Olalekan: Yes, wrong long, again, where those statistics come from is another thing but I chose something is wrong somewhere…

Edusounds: Yes.

Dr Olalekan: But the point is, even from the cost-benefit analysis, it shows you if that’s the most polluted, the more money the poor will need to spend on healthcare…

Edusounds: Sure.

Dr Olalekan: The more money the government too need to spend but if you address some of these issues before it even gets to that level, you’d save more, and that’s…that’s where the media can also come into, media need to see beyond the monetary side and take it up as a social responsibility. And I think if it’s about…if it’s all about what the media house can make out of it then, I’m not sure if…again environment is not…it doesn’t…it’s a lot but I’m not sure if there are organization that will then be able to say ok…there are fund out there, there are money out there that if the media houses want to tap into that they can tap into to say ok we want to create a desk to raise environmental issues, they can apply for such funds of funding that’s available but if the funding finishes, what happens? Will they stop or would they still take it up? So I think rather than looking from what the media can get from it, from an economic perspective, I would rather advocate that most media houses especially the mainstream should see the issues of environment as part of their own social responsibility to the society.

Edusounds: Yeah I mean…

Dr Olalekan: Because a lot of people lookout to them.

Edusounds: Hello!

Dr Olalekan: Yes.

Edusounds: Yea, have you finished?

Dr Olalekan: Yes, I’m done.

Edusounds: Ok it is. So, I mean for instance, sometimes I…sometime I think ok, I mean,  nowadays because of technology that it sort of give us the main opportunities of what to do, so, for instance, you have micro blogging tool, Facebook or twitter or Instagram, you know, all the social media outlets, and then you have, if you want to blog, like all these blog platforms like WordPress and what are view or blogger, and then you still have like, like for instance, like this podcast I’m making, so sometimes and when I look at…when I’m interacting with, for instance, Edu twitter in the UK due to the sector I’m into and Edu Twitter, or so to say, in Nigeria and I see a huge gap between how the average professional in the UK will take up interest…some of them will take up interest in their own field and explore it and the way write and do so much in-depth without being paid…without anybody supporting them just as if…,you know, to progress the society you understand what I mean.

Dr Olalekan: Hmm hmm hmm hmm.

Edusounds: And then when you go back to like maybe Edu Twitter in Nigeria, Edu Twitter Nigeria, it’s the same tune if you got…

Dr Olalekan: Hmm hmm.

Edusounds: And you will just see that people just want to do very superficial conversation help and all they want to do most times is to talk about politics…

Dr Olalekan: yeah

Edusounds: You know, substantiated and non-substantiated claims…

Dr Olalekan: Yeah. Hmm hmm

Edusounds: And that’s what people want to put out there and I started thinking ok “what if the people that have some of these knowledge are able to regularly write or find a means to just do little with these platforms, would it not help in improving things?” so for instance, like yesterday, there is a lady on twitter that I read her that she shared about Uyo and she was saying Uyo is the cleanest city in Nigeria and the way she wrote about is which I found very interesting and very positive, she was talking about the cultural practices of people in Uyo particularly she mentioned the Ibibios and their affinity for cleanliness and how they use that to make sure Uyo is a very clean city, in short, I think the title of the post was Uyo, a city of clean dwellers, so I think the lady’s twitter handle is…I think she wrote it as @mschimeze, so things like that and I think that’s what we need more because we’ve got the platform and sometimes I think the mainstream media maybe be thinking of money because they have to pay people to write for them… but if people push out a lot of…if people generate a lot of knowledge and push them out and then it might be a lot easier for the mainstream media to tap into that pull of knowledge because we’re looking at it now from social view not from the economic perspective, so I don’t know what do you think about that angle?

Dr Olalekan: Yeah I think that’s essential as well that’s very important, I mean, for people to be productive to be able to share knowledge because if there is no knowledge what would the media themselves tap into? So like you talked about that…ability to create something new looking at that…

Edusounds: Hello!

Dr Olalekan: Hello!

Edusounds: So I missed it from people sharing knowledge.

Dr Olalekan: Sorry?

Edusounds: I missed your comment from people sharing knowledge.

Dr Olalekan: Yeah I said we should be willing to share knowledge and the other point I was trying to make is I don’t think the mainstream media…so if we thought…and my understanding of mainstream media would be the newspaper, the television and billboard…

Edusounds: Yes

Dr Olalekan: If I’m correct

Edusounds: Yes

Dr Olalekan: Are doing…they are doing…I know there is a program on Channels TV that deals with environmental issues

Dr Olalekan: My point was I don’t think the mains…again I’m not sure if I still have a crack of the question you asked but I will try and (laughing) address this one, I still think the mainstream media are doing a bit, at least, better than before, I know there is a program …[not clear-00:19]…also in columns of some of the newspaper that also deals on the environment…

Edusounds: Is that is that on channels TV?

Dr Olalekan: Sorry?

Edusounds: Is the program on channels TV did you say?

Dr Olalekan: on channels, channels television, yeah.

Edusounds: Ok, Yes.

Dr Olalekan: It covers Africa anyway…

Edusounds: Yes, they do…is it the one they do with Deutsche Welle?

Dr Olalekan: Kenya, sorry?

Edusounds: They do it with Deutsche Welle, this German station.

Dr Olalekan: Yeah maybe I can, you know I used to…[not clear-01:03]…the only problem for me with some of those approach to…which is good I’m not downgrading in any form, is that we should try to…because some of the narratives, some of the explanations is at the top end you are mingling with researchers but I’m more concerned about the communities because we are talking of micro plastic or environmental issues, people in the villages, people that are not educated that are illiterate, they don’t understand the long grammars, they don’t, so even if we have all these programs of TVs, the mainstream media, if we can’t translate it in a language, in a way they will understand and these are the people we want to take actions, they are the ones we want…we want them…local communities, people in the villages to stop cutting down wood, to plant, reforest and do things like that. How can we do that if we keep speaking the languages or jargons that they cannot understand, I think that’s when the media can come in. can we start having environmental programs on TV in the local dialects? How can we use …[not clear-02:34]…

Edusounds: Sorry. You said how can we use…hello!

Part 5

Dr Olalekan: Benefits but also…start having at the back of our mind the environmental dimension or social dimension in decision making, so it is not only about oh if we construct this road, how much can the state government get as revenue but the state government should also be thinking if we clear this land to construct this road, how much bio-diversity are we losing? And that helps us to make better decisions and that’s where you are correct, we need to go into the schools, so that the next generation can have some of these hem…they can have broader mindset when they are grown up as as their….

Edusounds: Yeah. I mean, if you look at maybe the …and then is it even the Yankari game reserve, recently they’ve had more Elephant, so there was…there were these three Elephant they found somewhere in Gombe…

Dr Olalekan: Hmm hmm.

Edusounds: Within a local community…

Dr Olalekan: Hmm hmm.

Edusounds: And someone on twitter asked the world wide live observation, or so, in Nigeria about where could these elephants have emigrated from? And they said they might have been from Republic of Benin, off to that point, which for me as a non-geographer and someone that is not really in tune with how maps…map related issues work (laughing), I was thinking oh Republic of Benin, in my mind, Lagos, and I was think ha ha, Gombe, how did they get there? Which is quite interesting to even use to introduce to children. I mean, like on twitter, I’ve seen the Yankari games reserve showing the treat of head…I think I’m right, head of elephants…

Dr Olalekan: Hmm hmm.

Edusounds: Moving and the people there say about someone said something in the local language there, so the elephant moved to a different direction and then, they had to go back into the vehicle. And I was like wow! You can actually use this to teach children about conservation about the environment, about what you have in Nigeria even though those children might be in Lagos…

Dr Olalekan: Yes.

Edusounds: They might not have the means to go Yankari games, and I think there was a…there was a particular…I can’t remember, I was reading an unpublished autobiography of someone and the person said there were moving around Bida in the pre-independent Nigeria maybe around 1940, and on the road, they saw a lion, so I was like wow! You saw a lion in Bida…

Dr Olalekan: Yeah.

Edusounds: In Bida, not even…because when you say lion, the only place I can think of is Yankari…

Dr Olalekan: laughing.

Edusounds: …And that was because in the 80s, in the 80s they used to have this ehn …Lagos trade fair on the island…

Dr Olalekan: Yeah.

Edusounds: and the Yankari games reserve used to come and display some the animals’ ehn…this thing…

Dr Olalekan: Their characters.

Edusounds: Not even display the real animals but they would bring like their…like the poo of an elephant…

Dr Olalekan: Hmm hmm.

Edusounds: And wrote something about it…

Dr Olalekan: Hmm hmm.

Edusounds: That it only poos once in six months or something, so that as a child, I’ve had it in my mind about Yankari…

Dr Olalekan: My mind, yeah.

Edusounds: So…

Dr Olalekan: It is anything you…any memories you have as children…

Edusounds: Yes.

Dr Olalekan: As young as that age…and Nigeria is rich, you are only mentioning two, don’t forget that we’ve got a lot about is it 7 or…

Edusounds: Yes, 7 games reserve, yes.

Dr Olalekan: And we are not using them, we are not hem…Taraba State for example is so uniquely placed because just below the Mambila is territory where you have the Gashaka Gumti, so that’s a unique environment that we can use for tourism, for conservation…

Edusounds: Yes. I mean so many things were…Taraba is a very unique State, when I…in short, it was when I talked to Dr. Chapman, I got to know…

Dr Olalekan: Hmm hmm.

Edusounds: I got to know a lot, learned a lot about Taraba State…

Dr Olalekan: Yes, yeah.

Edusounds: …For instance, Taraba State has about 80 languages it use…

Dr Olalekan: That is the most ethnically diverse State.

Edusounds: I was like wow this State that I’ve never really considered as any…it’s a major State…

Dr Olalekan: That’s the point because…and if you remember what we started with that we don’t really understand Nigeria…a lot of people, a lot of Nigerians don’t understand Nigeria and that’s why someone will just stay in Lagos and say divide Nigeria like this, these Igbos go this way, the…

Edusounds: Laughing

Dr Olalekan: Someone that has never left Lagos that doesn’t really even understand what is happening in the neighbouring States, if you travel broad and you’ve been to places like Adamawa where you’d know that the majority of the population there are Christians and they live harmoniously with the Fulanis, you go to Taraba, you’d understand the fact that that’s the most diverse State in the country with different religions, different ethnicities. I mean, mehn, you will not just sit down in your corner and say divide Nigeria this way, divide Nigeria that way. It’s beyond that, I think it’s hem…one of the things that we need to…it’s part of the education anyway that we need to do also… and again if you’re taking out social studies and some of those subjects that helps you to understand your country from the curriculum, I don’t know how we can achieve that, so…

Edusounds: I mean, when I did my GCE, that’s WAEC in the 90s, early 90s, I mean, we in our secondary school, we were asked to choose between History, Literature and Geography…

Dr Olalekan: Hn hn.

Edusounds: So, to me…and the only thing I used to hear about Geography was map reading, map reading…

Dr Olalekan: Map…map, yeah (laughing).

Edusounds: So, because of that and then people would have this white tread and place it on this big map. So, that really cut me off from Geography…

Dr Olalekan: laughing.

Edusounds: So, Geography, automatically was a no-no…

Dr Olalekan: (laughing) it was out of it, yeah.

Edusounds: So, I picked…I…I…

Dr Olalekan: So, you see Geograpgy…the thing with Geography that it’s quite a subjects that…a discipline that helps that helps you to be dynamic…

Edusounds: Yes.

Dr Olalekan: So within the field of Geography, you can see a Geographer talking about diverse things, so…

Edusounds: Yes, I mean, it’s quite….

Dr Olalekan: Economic Geography, Politics, Physical side, we’ve got the Environmental side coming up a lot now…

Edusounds: I think is it…Dr. Nkojo Eweala, is she a specialist in…

Dr Olalekan: I think she is a development studies person, she’s into development…

Edusounds: That relate to Geography or something like that, Economic or Geography.

Dr Olalekan: Yes, development economics or something like that, I can’t remember really recall what she…

Edusounds: Yeah, yeah. I…I think I’m not sure…

Dr Olalekan: She’s got a lot of people…but yeah, that’s the essence of knowledge, you get to a point…

Edusounds: So, I mean, so like when I started where I work now in the secondary I work in the UK, and I was in one Geography lesson, and after the lesson, I was like wow! What have I been doing? Why didn’t I take Geography…?

Dr Olalekan: Laughing.

Edusounds: As a student, that why didn’t I come across someone that would teach Geography in this way that I would so much appreciate it…you know…

Dr Olalekan: Yeah.

Edusounds: And that really prompted my interest in Geography and even my son, now, my first son, I’ve been trying to ask him, what are you going to do when you start choosing between Geography and History (laughing)?

Dr Olalekan: Laughing.

Edusounds: And I’m…I’m a bit sentimental saying look… I was telling one other secondary school family friend, and I said you’ve got to choose Geography, he said no, I will prefer…Geography is boring, he will prefer History. I was like no, no, History, you can…

Dr Olalekan: It helps your mindset; it helps to have a broader mindset…

Edusounds: Yes, I was like oh you can read up History, later in life, and History is so broad but Geography needs some skills that you need to acquire, and knowledge that you really need to learn from an expert. For History, you can pick History as in interest, as an adult and read about but it doesn’t make you and expert but it enlightens you generally, you know…

Dr Olalekan: Yes.

Edusounds: So, which is quite interesting, which is another issue about the curriculum how it’s been set and the choices were made to make them which…

Dr Olalekan: Yes, I think Nigerian education system is even going out of environment because I’ve been in education sector. I think it needs a lot of rethinking, restructuring…I don’t know what to call it but…

Edusounds: Reforming.

Dr Olalekan: …That’s the problem when you bring a journalist to be the minister of education, I’m not saying he can’t head it but the point is can he bring the sort of reform that is needed, so, we need to rethink a lot of things, the way we practice primary, secondary, university education in Nigeria for us to…because you expect that the education sector should be the driver to unite the country to give us something different but rather than that, no, because we’ve killed…primary education I don’t even think it’s in existence again…

Edusounds: Laughing, it is.

Dr Olalekan:  At least, State rerun primary education, I don’t think it’s in existence again in Nigeria. How many people want to send their children to a State-run primary school?…

Edusounds: Laughing.

Dr Olalekan: In Nigeria, I don’t think and why? Because it’s not working…

Edusounds: Yes, I know.

Dr Olalekan: The same thing if you talk of the universities…

Edusounds: I… I mean, I write about education particularly on Nigeria (laughing), almost on weekly basis, so (laughing), the more I write about it, the more I’m thinking wow! This doesn’t look like something interesting, it’s just that you keep pushing and hoping. I mean, the… I mean, talking about, for instance, the reforms in the education sector…

Dr Olalekan: Hmm

Edusounds: I think during the previous minister particularly the…Mallam Shekarau’s time…

Dr Olalekan: Yeah.

Edusounds: Around that time and Professor Ruqqoya Rufai period, they did a lot of changes to… because they wrote the new national education primary school in 2013…

Dr Olalekan: Ok.

Edusounds: And then they did their national special needs education policy which Nigeria has never had something like that…

Dr Olalekan: Ok.

Edusounds: In 2015, and I constantly refer to the policy and to see what are they saying in policy, what’s going on. And this present minister, I think he’s been tuning that line of still retaining that policy. I mean, there are gaps within the policy…

Dr Olalekan: Hmm

Edusounds: The two policies or whatever, even the teachers’ education curriculum they designed around 2051. But the problem is even that, even the little they’ve provided within those policy documents or curriculum guide and everything, they’re even doing one-tenth of what they have in there, you understand what I mean now.

Dr Olalekan: Hn hn.

Edusounds: So, take a… for instance, the use of media…

Dr Olalekan: Yeah.

Edusounds: The use of media, to educate and bla bla bla, they’re not doing that. If you look at the…even the WAEC curriculum is for Geography, about six months ago was the last time I checked the one…I checked it and I was like if this is what WAEC is saying people should learn Geography in Nigeria, Geography shouldn’t be boring…

Dr Olalekan: Laughing

Edusounds: Because of what is even in that WAEC curriculum…

Dr Olalekan: That they are saying people should learn, yeah (laughing).

Edusounds: What they are saying people…so, I said why would Geography would be boring to learn then if…so, that brings me…

Dr Olalekan: That you need to reorient, I mean, I knew when we were growing up, that’s why I mentioned that earlier, if you come to the assembly in the morning, if you can’t recite your 2*1, 2*2 to 2*12…

Edusounds: Yes.

Dr Olalekan: You are as good as then before going home (laughing)

Edusounds: Yes, that’s…

Dr Olalekan: That’s really the way…I don’t…you said you work in the school, I don’t think that’s the way you teach your students, here…

Edusounds: No, no

Dr Olalekan: You teach them to know the reason behind it…

Edusounds: Yes.

Dr Olalekan: And not just teach them to be able to memorize…

Edusounds: Yes, I think math in the UK…because I…that’s the department I work really in, math in the UK is taught more as a core set…

Dr Olalekan: Hmm, hmmm

Edusounds: So, you are…you’re made to understand the concept behind it…

Dr Olalekan: Behind it.

Edusounds: …And then at the same time you’re made at certain level to like…the application. So, like functional skills math, if you want to do your gardening, you want to paint your house, you want to decorate your house, you want to buy this, you want to buy this one free or buy one get one free, you know those basis skills…

Dr Olalekan: laughing

Edusounds: There is that level and there is the other level of ok, the concept…so, Pythagoras theorem, how does it work? So, we were taught in secondary school in Nigeria was a2+b2=c2

Dr Olalekan: Laughing

Edusounds: But here, in the UK, the first thing is you draw the diagram from the triangle and then, they’d show you the squares, using physical squares…

Dr Olalekan: Yes.

Edusounds: And show you why when you add the squares on the adjacent and opposite together…

Dr Olalekan: They will give you the square…

Edusounds: They will give you the squares of the hypothesis and then, you can see how it’s been brought to life, same thing with algebra.

Dr Olalekan: it’s not something of a theory, it’s actually brought to life, you can relate it to your everyday mingling.

Edusounds: I mean, it’s like transformation which I think you guys in Geography will use a lot.

Dr Olalekan: Yeah.

Edusounds: Transformation when the…technically using marking skills at elementary levels, so to say…

Dr Olalekan: Yeah

Edusounds: To reposition the same object, pardon? Hello!

Dr Olalekan: Yes, I’m here.

Edusounds: I said to me, you are just using it to like reposition the same object in different positions in a particular geographical space.

Dr Olalekan: Hn hn.

Edusounds: So, I mean, those…so…I mean, that paper by the Nigerian academic in University of Benin that I cited earlier…

Dr Olalekan: Yeah, yeah.

Edusounds: They, they talked about teacher education and they said that needs to be addressed because they are the ones that will assess this curriculum and then pass it on to the children…

Dr Olalekan: Hn hn.

Edusounds: Which is another issues entirely like you said and the other one, I think, they emphasized was that people have…even people that have the knowledge of this environmental conservation, in practice, they don’t even put it into practice…

Dr Olalekan: Hmm

Edusounds: They don’t even apply it, so that’s another curriculum issue of how do you design the curriculum that will develop the skill set not just the knowledge base…

Dr Olalekan: Hmm

Edusounds: For people to implement what they are seeing. So, I mean, like I, I have the bird feeder in my garden because I want them to be free not to be in the cage, so, I put food there, so, but in Nigeria you…except you grew up maybe in places like Yaba or in Lagos Island…

Dr Olalekan: Hmn (laughing)

Edusounds: Where they used to have houses with lofts…

Dr Olalekan: Garden.

Edusounds: And bird this thing, in the past which they’ve taken away wasting out…

Dr Olalekan: Hn

Edusounds: So, I think it’s great and, I mean, to just round up, what…I know you’ve said a lot about the educational strategies, so, just like kind of hem…itemize the educational strategies you suggested will meet this crisis of herdsmen and farmers and then, environmental conservation and climatic change, you know, generally.

Dr Olalekan: I think one of the things that came out of the discussion as well is the fact that hem if we are talking about and trying to address the mainstream formal education, the role of the teachers is also be central to that and we’ve not really discussed that, so, the teacher is going to teach the children so if the teacher is not well trained then we’re not even starting at all, if the teacher is not present in school. So, those are the little issues I think we can start addressing from an education perspective from making sure that the teachers are there first; secondly, that they are well trained and if we want to train the teachers well, then that means we also need to go back to the teachers training institutes or the teachers training colleges and what are the facilities? What are the sorts of approach that they too have in teaching these teachers…in preparing these teachers to go into the schools? Because they can only give what they have…

Edusounds: Sure.

Dr Olalekan: So meaning that might be a way to go, going back to the teachers training colleges and being sure we look at those curriculums together, if you said there is a lot going on with the curriculum and policies for…it’s one thing to have policies written down…most time in Nigeria, the problem is not about policy, we’ve got brilliant policy better than you can find anywhere in the world, the challenge is implementing it…

Edusounds: Yes.

Dr Olalekan: Is the actual role used, what we are doing is not what we have written down on paper, so again, how do we bring that into the teachers training colleges and be sure that the teachers are well prepared.

Edusounds: But how do we even recruit the best brains because NCE requires the least academic requirements?

Dr Olalekan: Yeah. And that goes beyond even environment, you need to make teaching…you need to make it hem…what’s the…

Edusounds: Enticing, attractive.

Dr Olalekan: Enticing! you need to make it very satisfactory…I mean, something that entice people to want to go into that pro…I mean, profession but at it is now, who dreams to be a teacher in Nigeria…

Edusounds: None!

Dr Olalekan: When they are not being paid salary for ten months, for nine months, no, and one of the things we can start doing which they do here is that they identify key sectors…

Edusounds: Sure.

Dr Olalekan: In the society, if they need nurses, they make scholarships available for nurses for you to come and study nursing, free. If they need geography teachers, they make funding available for you to…so, it’s a way to entice people, now, go into a class or secondary school in Nigeria and ask how many of you want to go to the university to study geography education or environmental education…

Edusounds: laughing

Dr Olalekan: Nobody will raise their hands. No. 1 is that they don’t think they can spend their money to go and do that, will they get a job?

Edusounds: Yeah!

Dr Olalekan: But if you make that enticing and then, one of the things government can do is to fund people, to say ok if you want to study education maybe…if they, if we’ve identified that we need teachers to teach Geography or to teach Mathematics, we can say ok, if you want to study Math, we’ll pay, we’ll give you scholarship, I’m telling you, the number of people filling NCE forms will increase…

Edusounds: Sure.

Dr Olalekan: and that way, you can get the best brains to go into the schools and that’s probably might be ways to go but again, the challenges in Nigeria where people have…where government is bothered…concerned about building roads, concerned about electricity there are too many challenges that if you start raising issues around education like this…it’s competing demands really for some of the…

Edusounds: Yeah. I mean, I accept that but at the same time when you look…because I got…of their 2017 Federal Ministry of Education Appropriation Bill, and then you see how money were allocated…

Dr Olalekan: Hn.

Edusounds: And you start questioning is there any justification for this?

Dr Olalekan: Yeah.

Edusounds: Are we even getting any value for our come up?

Dr Olalekan: Hmm hmmm.

Edusounds: So, let me give you an instance, they allocated, at least, directly to issues that relate to advocacy for out of school children in Nigeria. Advocacy, now, not even to tackle the problem, advocacy, and they allocated about one hundred and…I think it’s about one hundred and twenty or hundred and thirty million or something like that, …

Dr Olalekan: Hmm hmmm.

Edusounds: Naira, directly. So they allocated like fifty or sixty million naira for high level meetings with state governors…

Dr Olalekan: Laughing

Edusounds: As advocacy. So, I’m like…so when I’ve…when I …how do you allocate to meet governors that were elected…

Dr Olalekan: Laughing

Edusounds: To govern the people and provide this education…

Dr Olalekan: Yeah.

Edusounds: And then the question is all these advocacies…so I started asking people that are even in the education or people in Nigeria, I said look, have you heard anything on the radio or TV or on the street that relates to out of school children and government trying to do campaign, you know, jingles and everything? They said no. I said but when they want to do like polio, somebody would knock your door, …

Dr Olalekan: Hmmm hmmm.

Edusounds: Someone would come to your house. So, even with the limited resources they got and the challenges they got, they are still not even optimizing it up to 10% the way I see it, even by 10%, so, …

Dr Olalekan: That…that’s money misplaced not prioritizing…

Edusounds: At all, at all. I mean, I was…

Dr Olalekan: Should be incentive based anyway, so, if it’s…if we don’t build… I mean, just speaking of the point you’ve raised, are we stopping the out of school children because again, back to my earlier point, when you started saying out of school children. Are you talking of children that are in Qur’anic school?

Edusounds: That’s…

Dr Olalekan: Are you talking of children that you call Almajiri? To me, they are in inform of school, all we need to do is to work with them within…because if you want to make them go to the formal school, I’m telling you it will take you years, you will still be there. But if we recognize all these systems of so called education or school which I called them schools then, it’s easy, and what we can do is to build in incentives, if we tell some of like the Almajiri children, for example, rather than trying to…that’s why if you go to the north, they have very brilliant schools but no children in the class rooms. And that’s part of misplaced priorities because the governor will come and say we are constructing schools, constructing schools for who? But if you make it incentive based and you can support some of these their Almajiri teachers or what so ever, and say ok for every ten children in your Almajiri, under you, if you bring ten of them for a day or for a week, we’ll give you hundred naira, it’s all about poverty, is it not?

Edusounds: Yeah, there is serious element of poverty…

Dr Olalekan: Even the Mallam that is taking care of them, it’s because he’s also looking for money.

Edusounds: Of course.

Dr Olalekan: But if you bring them for three hours to come and study in the school, we’ll give hundred naira, I’m telling you the following week, the whole school will be populated rather than saying you are putting one hundred and fifty million naira, like you said, for advocacy to be meeting governor. That money could have been better channeled to other incentives, to build incentives into the system and it will be much more productive.

Edusounds: Yes, that’s the sorry state of things with Nigeria when it comes to education but what can we do apart from just keep hoping and keep pushing.

Dr Olalekan: We’ll get there anyway.

Edusounds: So, if…so, if people want to read more about your work or what you’re up to professionally, academically, where can they find you?

Dr Olalekan: Hem, I’m available online and my google scholar profile is there, I’m still in the university. So, my… like you said earlier, I’ve got a very diverse interest and most of my research almost deal with looking at things from the Nigerian or African perspective because most time, you’ll see even Nigerian researchers doing research and thinking like Westerners, I’m always against that, I want us to think the way things will work in our own society and that’s the only time we can start thinking of solutions that are suitable to our society. If someone designs a solution in the UK, it’s fitting to the UK society, it might not be fitting to the Nigerian context. So, anyone looking for my work will always find me on my google scholar mainly, or my work place profile. My research interest is varying with people interested to speak more also, I’m interested more in environmental management but looking from the community, social and the institutional dimensions of environmental change.

Edusounds: Alright and then, you are on twitter, I think as @DrLekad, I think.

Dr Olalekan: Leakad, yeah, yeah, I’m on twitter as well.

Edusounds: Yes.

Dr Olalekan: I’m on most of the social media anyway but I hardly use Facebook but I’m on twitter, I use twitter…

Edusounds: Alright. And then, do you write often for conversation?

Dr Olalekan: hem, I’ve only written for conversation once but I’m trying to put in something now through again on flooding in Nigeria.

Edusounds: Alright. And then, you don’t run a blog site or do you have regular blogs that you read and people can go to, that can enlighten the general public about environmental issues?

Dr Olalekan: No, I don’t have…I’ve not got a blog at the moment, all I do, most of the time, is use my twitter page to put out things that I think about…

Edusounds: Alright. Thanks a lot, Dr Adekola. And you said Lekan, so…

Dr Olalekan: Yeah.

Edusounds: I guess you must have been called Leko in the past (laughing)

Dr Olalekan: Yeah (lahughin). Exactly.

Edusounds: I hope your own Lekan is not a troublesome Lekan

Dr Olalekan: No, no, no.

Dr Olalekan: Ha! Because all the Lekans, they are usually troublesome people (laughing).

Dr Olalekan: Lughing. Maybe those are the ones you’ve…those are…you’ve met the wrong ones (laughing)

Edusounds: Ok. I will accept, I don’t want to be stereotypical, I will accept. So, thanks a lot, Dr…

Dr Olalekan: Yes, it’s a pleasure.

Edusounds: Dr Leakan Adekola, it’s been a pleasure talking to you.

Dr Olalekan: If you go through it, if there is anything…yeah…there is anything you want…yeah, just let me know anyway. Always let me know. Thanks.

Edusounds: Yeah. It’s a pleasure. And anytime I’m in Yolrk, I would try to…

Dr Olalekan: Oh yeah, yeah, anytime you are around, let me know.

Edusounds: So, thanks a lot.

Dr Olalekan: And you too. Take care.

Edusounds: Bye.

Dr Olalekan: Bye.

In this conversation, we discuss many issues, amongst which are:

  • Dr Adekola’s undergraduate years’ experience at the Federal University of Technology, Yola
  • The environmental degradation challenges in the Lake Chad region
  • Engaging with rural communities
  • Farmers’ and herders’ crisis
  • Deforestation and Afforestation
  • The national curriculum

Enjoy!

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