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Nigerian varsities on suicidal path, says ex-VC

The pioneer Vice-Chancellor of Al-Hikmah University, Ilorin, and former Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology, Minna, Prof. Musbau Adewumi Akanji, has expressed discomfiture that Nigerian universities are on the suicidal path.


This was as Akanji, in his Valedictory Lecture delivered at the University of Ilorin (UNILORIN), lamented that Nigerian universities had jettisoned their primary mandate of generating new knowledge principally because appointments to faculties are not designed to attract the best candidates. He said: “Nigerian universities want to be among the best in the world, but they ignore the cardinal principle of attracting staff from diverse places.


“To circumvent this, appointments are done via temporary mode instead of through tested advertisements. It has become virtually impossible to be appointed into the faculties without knowing somebody in the corridors of powers.


“It is easier for Nigerians to be appointed into faculties and even leadership positions in universities in other parts of the world than in universities located outside his/her local communities in Nigeria.”


Akanji, who is currently at the Kwara State University (KWASU), Malete, after retiring from the University of Ilorin, said if the rising trend continues unabated, particularly in the areas of employability and strict adherence to academic culture, the aim of setting up the ivory towers in Nigeria would be defeated.


“If the current situation persists, it will lead to self-immolation of Nigerian universities which will consequently result in non-competitiveness with their counterparts from other parts of the world. It would amount to our  universities committing suicide. The nation will be poorer for it,” he regretted.

According to him, the solution to this menace is to go to the time-honoured process of advertising vacant positions and processing through a rigorous interview process. Akanji, a Professor of Biochemistry, joined the services of the University of Ilorin in September 1986 and bowed out of the service in 2021, having served the institution meritoriously for the period of 35 years.


In their separate goodwill messages, the former Vice-Chancellor of the university and current Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) , Prof. Is’haq Olarewaju Oloyede; the Vice-Chancellor of the Kwara State University, Prof. Muhammed Mustapaha Akanbi (SAN); and the Vice-Chancellor of Al-Hikmah University, Prof. Yusuf Noah extolled the virtues of Prof. Akanji, describing him as “an astute administrator, an erudite scholar of international repute, a diligent and forthright academician, who has made significant contributions to the body of knowledge in Nigeria and beyond.”

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