Nigerian tertiary institutions: A cry for help.

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To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society. – Theodore Roosevelt.

For sometime now,conscious Nigerians have pondered the intriguing irony that is the Nigerian “intellectual” and the plethora of ways in which they wield influence on the Nigerian society.

But to do justice in the assessment of their influence,we must first scrutinize them individually with a view on the tertiary institutions,and how they are managed,and also the ethos and normative structures they reinforce within their confines.

To say the state of the Nigerian tertiary institutions is abysmal is to describe it too simply. These are institutions that have failed to improve themselves in major areas of relevance for perhaps over 40 years. By this we mean the considerations applied in the selection of personnel,lecturers prominent in consideration,a sytem rife with loose normative lattices and the total absence of innovation and desire to truly enhance the capacity of the students entrusted to them.

But let us really scrutinize the individual minds that run these organizations,administrative staff and lecturers, let us look into the lives of individuals who pull the strings. The lectures mainly,since theirs is the more focal endeavour within the scheme of things.

For most of the cases,the lecturers or “apex” intellectuals are cosily ensconced behind secure campus walls that are well gated,and for the most part sated by almost full 24 hours power. There are basic health facilities and personnel to cater to issues of health and they enjoy their leisures in the glorified beer parlours they call senior staff clubs,with accompanying fields and courts for further enjoyment. For them,this reality is above every other consideration,in fact the world around them can burn,and it is.

You would expect individuals who enjoy the facilities outlined above to be imbued with the honest intentions of constantly improving the quality of tutoring and knowledge they impart to their students,but no,alas pedadogy displays itself at it’s worst here,and what is exchanged instead is fear in exchange for reverence,grades for subservience,and degrees for empty praise. In this process, very little value is imparted,the Primary gains remain sleaze and filth.

Those who are at the helm of affairs,and beneficiaries of the it’s pliant conditions ( relative to the Nigerian condition) possess just enough sense,just enough organizational capacity to support and further a system that serves them the most. It doesn’t take long to discover that the perpetration of conditions that foster their comfort are of far higher importance to them than the instilling of value and knowledge into the thousands of students entrusted into their care.

If it is in the secondary schools and institutions that the individual Nigerian begins to wonder and realise something is wrong with the educational institutions in the country,the tertiary institutions all but confirms this,and it is here that the proliferation of the greater vices wrought upon our society is first practiced and perfected,it is here that the knowledge and actions of the worst that the Nigerian individual can do and be eventually takes root.

They have excuses for all of their failings,excuses that would sound valid on the surface, excuses like poor government funding,dishonesty in the utilization of government input,truant students and wards,negative societal influences hampering their efforts,when in truth,the biggest issues ailing those institutions fall at their feet.

Stay with me.

Now effete intellectualism has always had externalising blame for breakdown as one of it’s most ardent attributes,and being deludedly self assured is bewilderingly lacking in any human form of empathy. That empathy required to quicken the mind into change because of something other than the individual self.

This is the singular reason for the lack of improvement in Nigerian universities, the belief that those in charge of it’s affairs are perfect entities,and therefore are not in need of any form of upward evolution.

That is why for example, engineering courses that are now four years or even three years in institutions around the world still remains five years in Nigerian universities. This is because they have no room for internal review or self appraisal,and time and again reflect the sociopathic degenerates who make up the higher numbers among their personnel.

The recent sex scandal case in the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) in Osun state involving a lecturer Prof. Richard Akindele who was nabbed in a case of “sex for grades” is not a random happenstance, but a regular occurrence in Nigerian universities, where female students are preyed on by sociopathic lecturers who are ready to fail a student that refuses their sexual advances.

Sadly many of the female students succumb because having had poor preparation from decadent secondary schools, they must depend on the “benevolence” of the lecturers involved to secure good grades. The lecturers in turn do not really care if the students acquire any knowledge from these institutions,since the failure of the student is their ultimate gain.

It is a truly saddening cycle of evil and shame.

Where does our society look to,in the building and instilling of character into the young, if not institutions created and tasked with the actualisation of this dream? Who can drag as away from this horribly dark abyss.

This is a call to the few good Nigerians at home and in diaspora,this is a call to what is left of our innate humanities, this is a call to the developed world,all of the humanitarian AID bodies can’t take us a step further if the real issues that plague our society are not adequately treated.

There is still time,there is still hope,but even these eventually run out too.

Boma Princewill.

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