The 12 missing artefacts of meaningful university education in Nigeria, academic corruption and social vices have been identified as some of the major causes of the incessant strikes in the university system by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). Besides, the failure of the institutional leadership of universities to enact and enthrone core corporate objectives was also identified to have compounded the numerous challenges bedeviling the sector.
The guest lecturer at the 2022 University of Ibadan (UI) Alumni Association, Asaba, Delta State chapter Annual Public Service Lecture Series, Prof. Paul Omojo Omaji of the Admiralty University of Nigeria (ADUN), disclosed this in his lecture.
The theme of the lecture was “Revitilising University Education: The Leadership Question.” Dignitaries at the event include the state Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, who was the special guest of honour, and the Chairman of Asaba branch of the UI Alumni Association, Dr. Felicia Nkem Adun.
According to the various speakers, leadership failure in the university system has largely depressed lecturers and the quality of graduates being churned out in the institutions. Prof. Omaji, however, listed the challenges of inadequate facilities for teaching, learning and research, paucity of funds, shortage of quality and quantity of teachers/lecturers, governance deficiency, depressed quality of graduates, poor access to university education, are among the underlying factors challenging the system.
The don regretted that for over 30 years, the political leadership in the country had plunged the university education into several challenges, which he attributed to the mid-1985 implementation of the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) following a loan the country obtained from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). To him, since the SAP programme was implemented to utterly devalue and defund higher education through unencumbered political interference, the result has been the monumental academic corruption confronting the system today.
He said: “The Vice Chancellors were appointed by the Military Government into university administration with their professorial positions influenced, and this resulted in the silencing of intellectual voices, while on the other hand led to massive exodus of lecturers from the Nigerian university system.”