My blog post from yesterday was (deliberately) offensive. And I expect that those in the 10% will be rightly offended by it. I wont apologise for that seeing as that was my whole point.
Somehow Prof. Akin Oyebode (no introductions needed) read it and wrote this response to it. Suffice to say, I am not stupid enough to get into an argument with a Law Professor of many decades standing and an Ekiti man for that matter. So I will post his response here verbatim. But with only one comment at the end.
There is no doubt that you can feel the man’s pain in the post but I will leave the comments section open to you. Enjoy
I couldn’t resist responding to your jibes and vituperation. It is full of generalizations, errors, inexactitude and inanities that could make one want to throw up
Please be informed that the time UNILAG had three Harvard alumni on its Law Faculty was over two decades ago. I should know since I went to the big H and have been on the UNILAG staff list for nearly 40 years and the only member of the troika still on ground.
I agree that some of us love teaching and, or are deeply patriotic but there’s a lot more to taking the jump to a greener pasture abroad. Please be informed that most of us still around remain not out of lack of rosy offers and promises of a better life but because of our firm belief in the necessity to ensure that the roof did not cave in on Nigeria’s education system.
I’m surprised you failed to recite the line of cynics that those who can, can and those who can’t, teach. Having been in the business of teaching lawyers for quite a while, helping, in the process, to produce 50 SANs and 25 law professors, I should be in a position to make averments regarding legal education in Nigeria and matters incidental thereto
When one of my children came back to the country after concluding his LLM in a US Ivy League Law School and succeeded in addition to crack the New York Bar (at first attempt, by the way), he was full of praises for the quality of legal education he had obtained here in UNI:LAG. I’m sure you must have come across numerous Nigerians in your country of sojourn making good with Nigeria’s university education which you have derided so much.You argue that the quality oft our pedagogy was suspect but the evidence on the ground does not justify your wholesale condemnation. Of course, we can use greater input and modernization of the education process but we are still striving to perform or task in the face of paucity of facilities and inability to attract and retain the best and brightest. I can tell you that Harvard had nearly 100 libraries when we were there some 40 years ago. The main library had nearly five million volumes…
I do not, in the least wish to turn this conversation into a point-counter-point discussion but let me tell you this: the ball lies squarely in the court of the Nigerian State for disparaging the old legal maxim, pacta sunt servanda (agreements must be implemented in good faith). The disdain for Nigerian academics shared by people of your ilk within a general anti-intellectual environment is so suffocating that one has to wonder why our universities and other higher institutions of learning had actually survived thus far.
Way back in the 1990’s, I happened to have acted in the role of legal adviser to the ASUU negotiation team that brought into being the first FG-ASUU Agreement which the government of the day later felt it worthy to thump its nose at. A decade later, I had become a V-C and was a member of the government team that midwifed a revised version of the 1992 FG-ASUU Agreement. Characteristically, the government of the day again went back on its words. Now, we are once again faced with the scenario of discounting an agreement signed, sealed and delivered by the selfsame parties in 2009. It would have been funny if it was not tragic.
I pause to ask, when would the Nigerian State learn to put its money where its mouth is? The real issue is re-furbishing the infrastructure of our universities in the face of a student population bursting at its seams while the rich, famous and powerful dispatch their children and wards to the US, Europe and better organized environments such as South Africa, Ghana and even, Benin Republic next door. It would seem Alphonse Kerr knew what he was saying when he observed, “ Plus ca change, plus la meme chose… ( The more things change, the more they remain the same…)
Since ASUU is demanding a mere fraction of what the country expends on running its bureaucracy, importation of fuel by an oil-rich enclave, humongous emoluments for its legislators, sundry acts of corruption and squandermania, the path of reason is to make the necessary adjustment in the country’s scale of values and priorities in order to rescue Nigerian universities from ultimate perdition. Anyone who says that ASUU is asking too much or acting unreasonably needs to put on his thinking cap in order to understand clearly what the current struggle is all about.
The only comment I will make is on the last sentence. I never said ASUU was asking too much. In fact, my point was that ASUU was preventing the really good guys from getting what they deserve. Not everyone in ASUU deserves even the small amount they are currently getting. Some need to have everything they currently have taken away from them. But without a doubt, the good and skillful teachers are suffering from low pay and lack of motivation under this system.
I don’t know of a system where lecturers are paid what they are really worth from having to rely on their government for funding.
As those who are effectively charged with thinking for the rest of us, it is time for ASUU to think about moving away from this model