Tony Okafor, Awka
A former Vice-Chancellor of the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State, Prof. Ikenna Onyido, has raised the alarm at the rate Nigerian universities are churning out what he called lazy professors.
He also condemned the way PhD certificates were being awarded to undeserving persons, describing such practice as more dangerous than the Boko Haram insurgence.
The ex-VC spoke on Monday as a guest lecturer at the 55th meeting of Committee of Deans of Schools of Postgraduate Studies of Nigerian Universities held at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State.
He tasked the committee to design iron-cast quality control and adequate sanctions to curb what he called “abuses that result in counterfeit PhDs which are more of an existential threat to the country than Boko Haram, in the long run.”
Onyido said, “Over time, universities, along with other knowledge centres, have come to be regarded as key agents of social change and development, allocated with the explicit role of producing highly skilled manpower and research output that meet perceived economic needs.
The ex-VC blamed the ivory tower for allowing mundane things in the larger society to influence it.
He added,” A very troubling phenomenon is the wholesale importation of the toxic values from the larger Nigerian society into the Nigerian university system, and the domestication thereof.
“This negative philosophy has been adopted in our university system where I have spent more than 40 years of my life.
“This is why we have vices in universities such as cultism, extortion, sale and use of narcotics, prostitution, sexual harassment, sex and money for marks and grades, examination malpractices, admission racketeering, absenteeism, lecturers with multiple teaching jobs in the name of adjunct lectureship/professorship, plagiarism.”
Onyido added, “Research in universities the world over revolves around professors. That is why one of the criteria for making professors, whether by promotion or by appointment, is the candidate’s ability to conceptualise and execute research.
“But the way professors are made in some of our universities these days is nothing short of pure magic. Traditional rulers and men of influence in the society are known to have led delegations to vice-chancellors in order to plead for their son or daughter to be made a professor.”