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The Off-record Travails Of Roadside University


Kole-OmotoshoPERHAPS it was natural for the universities to hold up their noses in the air while the issue of corruption was being discussed in the 1970s and the earlier parts of the 1980s. After all, the universities were few, their personnel the best and there was a healthy not so healthy competition between those graduates who went into the civil service and those who stayed on at the university. But by the middle years of the 1980s, corruption had arrived at the university. Respected high court judges accompanied the daughters of their friends who never applied for admission into the university to persuade heads of department to agree to take them and the university would issue letters of admission. University authorities learned how to put meat in your mouth and not know where it is!!!

Roadside University requested for a license to operate only to be asked, off-record (this being an illiterate society or else we are a people of morality, who cares about written records?) the university was asked to bring 20 million naira off-record to ease and grease the way of the license getting to us. Luckily, one of our assistant registrars found a forger in Computer Village who agreed to work for us for the advancement in Forgery, one of our core courses. Through this special researcher into the finer points of forgery we got our license to operate. True it is that the relevant authorities did not remember granting us a license but they agreed that our forged license was in fact quite genuine! Roadside University is already getting recognition for our work in the area of forgery.

All the same we had challenges when we sought to get our academic programmes accredited. Remember our university was inspired and born on the roadside by the efforts of our road sellers of groundnut essays and roasted plantain presentations; we advertised ourselves as e-learners, that is everywhere learners being that we learn everywhere and where there are roadside sellers. Where are we based? We rented a set of new buildings containing face me I face you rooms. We put up a notice to the effect that this is Roadside University, motto and mission: Nothing is written/rewritten in vain. This helped us to resolve the matter of place of operation and residence as well as our academic offices and lecture halls.

What do you mean, Alaba too-know that face me I face you rooms cannot be called lecture halls? Have you seen the buildings that are labelled as palaces in this land? Or hospitals where hospitals had walked away from? Or even universities where no self-respecting university would not be seen collapsed???!!! So sha, our offices and other physical requirement were approved and so we left the buildings. Which now left two matters: the one about academic programmes and our lecturers, senior lecturers, readers and professors. Some research students as well. As far as the teaching staff was concerned we paid various persons in various departments in varied universities to agree to be our staff for the period of the accreditation. We paid their salaries plus pension.

As for programmes, we borrowed various programme publications from the first generation universities. Then we erased their names from the publications and substitute Roadside University courtesy of our visiting professor of Forgery originally from Computer Village. We then presented these to the university authorities and presto! we got our accreditation for their programmes!!! It was their programmes because we were not teaching these traditional programmes. We merely used them to fool the university authorities to give us accreditation so that we can go ahead with our own things. We are a modern future university fascinated by the magic of modern knowledge movement. What can be more magical than our founding source of knowledge movement dependent as it is on random sale of epa and booli?

Our hidden programmes respond to the needs and aspirations of a society saturated with corruption. Our financial programmes emphasise how to recover monies in hidden accounts overseas especially after the death of the original depositors. Another speciality of ours is providing documentation for what does not need documentation. This is a particular specialisation in revealing what is not hidden. So, we stand by our motto/mission/vision: Nothing is written/rewritten/unwritten in vain.

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