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Pretenders have no place in varsities, say VCs

By Iyabo Lawal
04 December 2019   |   4:11 am
Committee of Vice Chancellors (CVC) of Nigerian universities yesterday declared that with the uncovering of fake professors by the National Universities Commission...

National Universities Commission (NUC) in Abuja

Committee of Vice Chancellors (CVC) of Nigerian universities yesterday declared that with the uncovering of fake professors by the National Universities Commission (NUC), the time is up for pretenders and charlatans in the system.

Secretary General of the association and former VC of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile Ife, Prof. Michael Faborode, described fake professors as ‘impersonators’ who should not be allowed to go scot-free.

Executive Secretary of the commission, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, had announced that about 100 fake professors from the nation’s universities were uncovered by NUC.

Rasheed, who spoke at the 2019 retreat for vice chancellors, thanked them for their cooperation with the NUC Strategy Advisory Committee (STRADVCOM) which had published, among other things, directory of full professors in the Nigeria University System (NUS); statistical digest of the NUS 2017-2018; refinement and modernisation of instruments for accreditation of undergraduate, postgraduate, part-time, affiliate, open and distance learning programmes and institutional as well as state of university education in Nigeria 2017-2018.

Prof. Faborode, while commending the commission for its efforts, said, “It is just another pastime of some Nigerians who think that they can teach others. What NUC has done is to compile a register of full and associate professors in Nigerian universities by allowing people to submit their data and now comparing it with what VCs will certify. So the list was shared with the VCs and, one after another, they were able to fish out those who were impersonating as professors.

“It is not something new in Nigeria. People pretend to be what they are not, but what is very important is that the system has been able to fish them out. So universities will now use those names and flush the bigots out of the system. It does not mean that they are fully registered in any university; but compared with authentic list of professors, they are not where they are supposed to be. We have authentic list of professors in Nigeria that anybody can refer to, anytime, it is a good development that pretenders and charlatans have no place in our universities.”

Former vice chancellor of Bells University of Technology, Ota, Prof Adebayo Adeyemi said while the rules guiding the appointment of professors are well spelt out in various documents, it is not impossible to have some individuals to claim what they are not.

“We should not forget that the issue of fake or forgery cuts across human establishments whether nationally or globally. That is why there are punitive measures for illegal activities or claims within or outside the university system.

Prof Adeyemi who blamed the university system for the development said,
“Having explained the general process of appointing professors within each system, no vice chancellor, through the system, will go out of his way to appoint a fake professor, following laid down guidelines.

“I think the issue is most predominant when a dishonest individual claiming to be a professor in another institution, especially in a hardship area, applies to another institution for a professorial appointment with ‘mouth watering’ curriculum vitae. Such an applicant may be ‘fortunate’ to be offered that position. From my experience, it never lasts because “his sin normally finds him out” as eventually, the system would fish him out and he will be made to face the wrath of the law.

To address the trend, the former vice chancellor pointed out that professorial appointment should not be transferable; it should be earned in the new university an academic staff is moving into, regardless of the number of years he might have been a professor in his former institution.

Former vice chancellor, Caleb University, Imota and distinguished prof at the Univesity of Lagos (UNILAG), Prof Ayodeji Olukoju said the universities are  to blame for these loopholes because they confer the positions on undeserving persons.

In some cases, Prof Olukoju said the regulatory bodies should also share in the blame because some universities may be in urgent need of a professor due to laws propounded by these regularly bodies and in order to meet up with these demands, the institutions hire incompetent persons.

Sometimes, you can find some professors that don’t even have a first degree in the department they teach in.”