These Northern Professors
There is no doubt about the fact that university teachers and professors are respected in Nigeria, and this is demonstrated in the trust that the electoral body (presently, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC) placed on university academics when election cycles come and go. In fact, it is a university professor who will be mandated with the task of announcing the winner of the 2019 presidential polls. In all of the above situations, we have considered the university teacher for what he ought to be and not, regrettably, for the moral-twistedness we hear of these days (how will Sen. Ademola Adeleke ever forgive Prof. Fuwape of the Federal University of Technology Akure, FUTA, who called the last Osun State gubernatorial election?).
This expectation of the ideal was the reason I made a contribution on the floor of our last strike-enabled Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) congress meeting to the effect that, as it is in the US, so should it be here in Nigeria that presidential debates are as a mark of honour hosted by universities, but in our case the national secretariat of ASUU should be the perfect venue and our current national president, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, should be the gracious host. Good point there because it is at presidential debates that candidates spurt out their core policy statements for people to judge and thence subsequently gauge their performance in office whilst affording voters opportunities to examine candidates at close quarters; let us recall that President Donald Trump campaign pet utterances were issues at the debates and he had to shed more light on his assertion that Mexico only sends in rapists and drug dealers to the US, his proposed Muslim ban initiative, and the his plan to build an anti-illegal migrant border fence.
In truth, very few people knew that Hilary Clinton lost the presidential election at those debates even though she was adjudged to have out-performed Donald Trump; the then-candidate Trump came down hard on her when he noticed that Hilary usually takes a 20-minute bathroom break, and trust Trump and Steve Bannon of the Breitbart news network to wonder if Americans really wanted to vote for a woman with a malfunctioning bladder as their president (this spectacle became exacerbated when Hilary fainted at the premises of Ground Zero during a commemoration for the victims of 9/11 2001 attacks in September 2016). This tough broadside on Hilary was the reason a lot of people gave credit to Bannon for delivering the presidency to Trump and, of course, the Clintons and other pro-Clinton news media like CNN, the New York Times, etc., never forgave Trump for this. No wonder CNN has been trying Trump’s patience over the pro-Clinton, George Soros-sponsored, Central American migrant caravan issue. Since presidential debates can generate charged atmosphere, as a matter of speaking, then our own level-headed Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi should chaperone a civil, non-partisan Nigeria’s presidential debates in December and January.
Unfortunately, this “level-headedness” attribute of Prof. Ogunyemi is lacking in some professors from the northern part of Nigeria who commit time and resources to want to influence national debates and issues. Was it not a professor from one of the universities in Kano State who opined, in absolute error and shame, that the Benue Valley is a conquered territory of the Fulani tribesmen and thus there was implicit justification for the ongoing genocide in that region? Was it, also, not a professor who identified himself as the Dean of Faculty of Law of the University of Abuja who wrote to several media houses that it does not matter one bit if President Muhammadu Buhari cannot speak the English language, cannot write, and did not even graduate from high school? And, presently, a professor from the Faculty of Medicine of the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, has just presented his “intellectual insights” rubbishing the alarm raised in enlightened quarters about the dangers of uncontrolled population boom; this “learned” professor went so far to do a simplistic solution by suggesting that Nigeria simply provide “quality education and jobs” to, say, some 500-600 million youth in order to match the model that once lifted the “Asian Tigers” out of poverty. Na wa o. Should I even be surprised that a man who clears upward of 400 thousand naira monthly in the midst of abject almajiri poverty would think in this fashion? Maybe, this ABU professor of medicine feels so “favoured by Allah” that he even supports almajiri education. These pro-Buhari northern professors sef!
Sunday Jonah wrote from Department of Physics, Federal University of Technology, Minna, Niger State.