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Professor What!



Dele Jegede In Conversation With Prince Yemisi Shyllon

By Toyin Falola
Early last year, in distress, I called Dr. Samson Ijaola of Glorious University to ask him a question that was not allowing me to sleep: why are “big boys” asking me for money? It is unusual for them to do so because they usually do well financially. I often visit “big boys” in their houses in different parts of the country with two or three cars parked outside. When those in the US and Europe boast of their houses and offices, I mock them that they live in “Boys’ Quarters” and wood cabins with bricks plastered on them. Nigerian professors are among those whom I affectionately call the “big boys.” Whenever we hang out, they don’t want me to buy drinks or pepper soup as they want to entertain me. They are generous. They even carry food and beverages to my hotel room, lavishing one person with what could feed a dozen. The drivers are happy as they cart away rice, swallow, and protein. I love the names given to our rich organic foods. I love it more when I replace swallow with ororo, the elegantly creative name given to brandy and whisky.

I had not seen enough. I asked my question too early, counting my harvest before the locust invasion. Then came the long strike of 2022, and many more were begging, this time not for big amounts but even small ones, as in N10,000. I would give as requested but cry afterwards. I was emotionally tormented. Should professors beg for money? No, not at all. Never! Should professors be wealthy? No, not based on salaries earned from their regular jobs. They can use their extra time to do other things, as professors do in my part of the world, where many end up as Associates and run small businesses. Should they be comfortable relative to the economic productivity of the country? Yes. An occupation as high-scaled as this should not reduce professionals to beggars. Nothing can be more depressing.

READ ALSO: Professor Toyin Falola, A Humane And Compassionate Scholar At 70: A Tribute

Then came other appeals to leave the country. Japa! Any job will do, even driving a cab in Chicago. A country should not find itself in this kind of a mess. The public may be angry at the incessant strikes as they affect the lives of millions of young men and women who must be in school to lay the foundation for their future success. The conditions of service must improve, and the narrative must be rebranded. I am not saying that one occupation is better than another, and all citizens render equally important services. I am not treating professors under the rubric of exceptionalism but as dignified citizens whose occupations create multiplier effects.

Rather than being the recipients of gratitude, professors are scorned and ridiculed at various levels. The negotiations are neither respectful nor cordial at the federal government level. I was part of a small group that went to prostrate ourselves before politicians who were unqualified to register for my classes to appeal to Aso Rock to seek all means to end the last strike. Those who steal billions of naira in Abuja now regard themselves as fellow thieves, along with some professor-administrators who steal peanuts. I am not justifying theft. Professors should not steal, but a career label does not define a thief. A transgression by one professor is extended to all professors as if the criminal has no name. Name the criminal, but don’t tarnish all the innocent ones who are honest and diligent. Parents who offer bribes to secure admissions for their children and wards do not see themselves contributing to the system’s rot. They can bribe today to obtain admissions to rewarding occupational paths and cry tomorrow that their children are not in school.

Unmotivated students who see no future for themselves heap the blame on innocent lecturers who are not tasked with planning the economy and politics of the nation. Universities do not create jobs but enable environments and human capacities. Those who elevated Vice-Chancellors to CEOs because of political calculations and co-optation do not realize the danger of creating hierarchies in the system. You cannot create an Emperor and avoid ruthless clerks and tax collectors. You cannot collect bribes from your CEOs as they receive their allocations and ask them not to dispense some largesse.

READ ALSO: Two Professors On Trickster Femi Gbajabiamila’s Snooker And Chess

If people are underpaid, will they not seek the means to augment their salaries? Is it thinkable that a cab driver in New York, who fled Nigeria because he failed all exams in high school and could not gain admission into any Nigerian university, now boasts that he is better than a Zoology professor at the University of Ibadan? Former students who graduated from Nigerian universities now tarnish the image of their former teachers, proclaiming their intellectual superiority over those older than their parents. As the ridicule continues, a lecturer at the University of Ibadan, with the motto “The First and the Best,” can be invited to come and learn how to publish in a Western university as if the system in Nigeria is bankrupt. How did he obtain a PhD in the first instance if he did not know how to publish?

Regarding himself as hungry, a senior lecturer can jump at the offer of a hotel room after being told that a publishable paper can be produced over the weekend. Anyone who cannot publish at their permanent place of work cannot produce one at a five-star hotel in New York. A silent worker at the University of Maiduguri, doing excellent teaching and research, is being undermined by loudmouths on social media who tell us when they cough from their lonely spaces in London. Colonizers come in various forms and are no longer white in colour. There are now local proxies to serve as agents of imperialism, not fighting with us to stop the illicit flow of the $90 billion that leaves Africa each year but boasting about the $5000 they receive from money stolen from Africa in the first instance to distribute to poor lecturers from where the money comes from in the first instance. They are no different from the chiefs and kings who sold Africans to the Atlantic slave trade between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries.

“Professor What!” This is where the Nigerian academy is headed. Will that “what” not eventually bring us all down, irrespective of our location? We should halt this dangerous process to restore optimism in our institutions and collective future. We should not only be angry at the leadership and political system but also seek the means to create sanity in institutions, elevate the worth of those who have invested resources in self-development and career elevation, and exercise caution in making public statements that ridicule our people. Our citizens at home will be our development agents. The professor struggling to train students at the Usmanu Danfodiyo University in Sokoto is far more important than the one in any Western university who is no more than a careerist with limited impact on our people. Far more important than me is a professor at the University of Port Harcourt who does good teaching and grades 200 papers in one semester. He is producing citizens that will elevate the nation. What he needs from me is intellectual collaboration, not arrogance that demeans his intellect and capacity.

A little digression is necessary to bring up my key points. The evolution of higher education and the academic profession is strongly related to the history of the professorship. A professor in ancient Rome was a public lecturer or educator specially called upon and received payments for lectures on various societally influencing topics. When universities started to develop as hubs of learning and research in the Middle Ages, the function of professors expanded to encompass not just teaching and reforming perspectives but also doing research and advancing knowledge in their area of specialization. The position of professors has evolved as universities have grown more established and diversified. Today, professors across the globe are valued academics with advanced degrees in their fields of specialization charged with the obligations of instructing, researching, and advancing the body of knowledge in their fields and, more importantly, reforming the perspectives that advance development and growth in their society. There is a non-monetary social prestige attached to the occupation.

In Nigeria, the history of professorship can be traced to the establishment of the first university in 1948. In the early years of higher education in Nigeria, professors were primarily foreign academics hired to teach at the new university. These individuals were primarily from Europe and North America, but as time passed, an increasing number of Nigerian scholars started to acquire advanced degrees and work in academia. Today, academics from Nigeria and outside who teach and conduct research in various fields make up the diversified community of professors. As of 2019, data from Statista show that Nigeria has more than 11 000 professors in its institutions of learning. Current data add another 1000.

READ ALSO: Honouring Professor Akinjide Osuntokun

In the Nigerian academic system and across the globe, professors are the most senior academics, constituting a distinct and separate labour unit under their scholarship, hard work, and resilience toward advancing the body of knowledge and refining a teeming generation through teaching and character development. In most cases, the responsibilities they are saddled with often require much of their time and personal commitment, tying them to teaching, constant research, writing and publishing, and participating in committees and other institutional or professional groups. Undoubtedly, the demands can be labour-intensive and highly intellectually demanding for anyone engaged in this activity. But this is the path our professors have chosen to tread, and as a nation, we ought to recognize and appreciate every effort they put in to build a better and clearer future for us.

Although the position of a professor is prestigious and desirable, it is mocked in Nigeria’s academic and political system. Given that the position is the highest obtainable promotion/rank, and considering their academic and research obligations, one would expect societal recognition for their contributions to knowledge advancement in society and commensurate financial remuneration for the value they provide. However, this is far from being true in Nigeria. On average, the net salary of a professor in Nigeria is at ₦400,000 per month. To the nearest USD, this is equivalent to $850 (at the official exchange rate or $550 at the street market rate). Compared to other countries, a professor in the United States earns an average of $6,164 per month, a professor in Canada earns an average of $92,000 per year, and a professor in the United Kingdom earns between £3,500 and £5,000 monthly. In a more similar economy to that of Nigeria, professors in South Africa receive a net salary of R527,137, an equivalent of $30,974 when converted to USD.

The truth is, while professors in Nigeria engage in identical responsibilities as their colleagues in other climes, what makes the difference is the country, Nigeria, in which ours have unfortunately found themselves. The country does not adequately recognize their inputs nor the ripple effects such inputs have on the country’s advancement, and it sparsely recognizes their value with a monthly salary that is nothing but an insult to their achieved status.

Interestingly, the real significance of the impact of the ASUU/FG negotiations and the treatment meted out to ASUU has far-reaching consequences for the Nigerian workforce. The most evident is the depletion of other professionals through migration. The exodus of the most productive class, individuals, families, teams, and top civil servants, who continue to migrate is not dissociated from the posture toward higher education in Nigeria. The reality is that almost every member of the existing workforce is affected by matters relating to the Nigerian University System, either by having a relative who is an academic or offspring, siblings, or spouses who are undergraduates or postgraduate students. The rippling effect on the workforce and its hydra-headed consequences are far-reaching and go beyond what is visible in the immediate.  To some academics who appear distant from the ASUU cause, the union is treated like an opposition party to the government that must be crushed. If not, why would other unions at other types of tertiary institutions get more funding and better pay? From some indications, most professors, who are breadwinners, did not receive their December salaries till after Christmas, having to depend on the cooperative societies that are also under tremendous financial pressure for soft loans. How can this be explained? In the same country, some establishments paid thirteenth-month salaries and sundry bonuses for the festive season. The signal is that Nigeria’s university education is a poorly paid industry. Result? Young professors and budding academics with the same skills continue to migrate.

Several professors retired in the last year. The implication for those who fell within this category is that within the last eight months of their careers, they were without funds to prepare for their exit from the system. Professors and all those officially on approved leaves were also placed in the same category as striking lecturers, and their salaries were not paid.

READ  ALSO: Musikilu Mojeed’s The Letterman: The Art Of Letter Writing And The Heart Of Gratitude (1)

No doubt, motivation is an essential factor in the success of any profession, and professors are no exception. It is the driving force that encourages individuals to perform at their best and achieve their goals. In Nigeria, however, professors face numerous challenges that hinder their motivation and, subsequently, their performance – a major one being the lack of sufficient financial compensation. In addition to inadequate pay, professors in Nigeria face a lack of other forms of motivation, such as conducive working environments, health facilities, housing loans, vehicle loans, insurance, and study leave with pay. On matters relating to health and health services, some professors died during the strike; many more are still dying of starvation and the inability to afford or purchase the right prescription or medication. There is a flurry of medical personnel migration and the burden of paying subsistence bills, among other factors.

The death toll was so unbearable during the ASUU strike. As reported in the news, “over 21 professors and senior lecturers” lost their lives during the ASUU strike at the University of Calabar. Although the Chairman of ASUU, UNICAL Chapter, gave the correct figure to be 15, it is worrisome that this is just the figure from a university! One can imagine what the figures will be if reports are also taken from other universities. In another worrisome development at the University of Benin, a member of staff also committed suicide because of financial difficulty.

A conducive working environment, for instance, is essential for any worker to perform their job to the best of their abilities. However, this is often not the case for professors in Nigeria, who may be working in outdated or poorly-equipped facilities. Multi-national organizations, observing the disdain with which the negotiations were conducted and the public response that has resulted, are somewhat hesitant to release resources normally given in support of research and infrastructure.

As a result, professors may struggle to stay motivated and perform at their highest levels. These incentives, commonly offered to professionals in other parts of the world, serve as a way to recognize and reward the efforts of professors and encourage them to continue striving for excellence. Without these motivations, it is difficult for professors in Nigeria to feel fulfilled in their roles and motivated to achieve their best work. This disparity is unfair and demoralizing for professors who have dedicated years of hard work and study to attain their prestigious position.

Also, professors in Nigeria often face limited opportunities for professional development, which can negatively impact their motivation, recognition for their contributions, and the overall quality of education in the country. Without access to the same resources and training opportunities as their counterparts in other countries, professors may struggle to keep up with the latest trends and best practices in their field. This lack of support and investment in their professional growth can lead to a lack of motivation and commitment to their profession. Professors need to have access to ongoing training and development to stay current and relevant in their field and contribute to their students’ growth and development. The lack of professional development opportunities for professors can also negatively affect the education system, leading to a lack of innovation and progress.

In all of these, a significant challenge is a lack of recognition and appreciation for their hard work and contributions to the academic field, despite the obvious harsh conditions. In other countries, professors are often recognized and celebrated for their achievements and contributions to their field. They may receive awards, grants, or other forms of recognition for their research, teaching, and other contributions to the academic community. This recognition not only serves as a way to acknowledge and appreciate their hard work but also provides a sense of validation and accomplishment that can boost their morale and motivation. In contrast, professors in Nigeria often struggle to receive the same level of recognition and appreciation for their work. This lack of recognition can be particularly frustrating for professors who have dedicated their careers to teaching and research and have made significant contributions to their field. It can lead to feelings of frustration, disappointment, and even resentment, which can ultimately negatively impact their overall job satisfaction and performance, or, as has been the case for several years, lead to brain drain. In addition to the lack of recognition, professors in Nigeria also face issues such as insecurity, inadequate or unavailable research programs and funds, inadequate infrastructure, and large class sizes that they may not have the resources to manage effectively. These challenges have led to a brain drain of professors and lecturers seeking better opportunities abroad, and some leave the teaching profession entirely to pursue other ventures. The impact of these issues is not limited to the professors themselves, as students may also suffer from the aggression and frustration of their professors.

Strike actions are another issue militating against professors’ smooth performance and activities in the Nigerian academic setup. So incessant have strike actions become a normal schedule and an integral part of the academic calendar. To some extent, an academic year hardly passes without a strike across public universities in the country. This frequent occurrence of strike actions has crippled the higher education system. The most recent strike happened between February 14 and October 14, 2022. Before that was the 2020 strike, which was synchronized with the COVID-19 pandemic and lasted almost nine months. This pathetic situation affects not only the students, as the public often paints it but also the lecturers significantly.

During the last strike action, the government insisted on implementing the no-work-no-pay policy, which would leave the lecturers, including the professors, with no salary for relatively eight months. This situation becomes even sadder when one recalls that a significant part of why the industrial strike was embarked upon in the first place was because of incommensurate compensation. Even upon resumption in October 2022, after the eight-month strike, what they got as their monthly pay was half their normal salary for that month. Undoubtedly, strike actions triggered by the government’s disregard weaken academics’ financial strength and capacity. Since many of these strike actions often end in a deadlock, dissatisfaction and dubious means of acquiring financial gains have characterized the Nigerian university system.

To address these issues, it is necessary to provide professors with better remuneration, funding for research and development, improved working conditions, and opportunities for professional growth. In addition, it is important to recognize and value professors’ hard work and dedication and to provide them with the support and resources they need to succeed. By addressing these challenges, it will be possible to create a better working environment for professors and improve the overall quality of education in Nigeria. Ultimately, the professors are the driving force of the Nigerian tertiary academic system.

Corrupt politicians should be ashamed of themselves for bringing us to this terrible situation. Those privileged to escape to other lands should protect the system’s integrity. I am reminded of a Yoruba proverb: “When tomorrow boasts that it is superior to today, it forgets that within 24 hours, it will be downgraded to yesterday!” Those who abuse the privilege of youth by abusing their former teachers and calling those older than their mothers idiots and thieves will later realize they will ultimately end up as carcasses dumped into the graveyard of history. Downfall is the outcome of hubris. The ground does not disappear because you have succeeded in climbing a mountain.

Although the challenges confronting the smooth operation and existence of professors in Nigeria are beyond what has been covered in this piece, it is crucial to state that breaking the spirit of professors, who are the torchbearers of academia, is eroding the essence of the teaching profession in Nigeria. Should the government begin by implementing the suggested solutions, there will be some marked changes. These recommendations will afford a better life for professors and help revamp the entire academic system.

Falola is a Nigerian historian and professor of African Studies. He is currently the Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities at the University of Texas at Austin.


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Religious Mumu



Dele Jegede In Conversation With Prince Yemisi Shyllon
Prof. Toyin Falola

By Toyin Falola

I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.” – Galileo Galilei

Religion remains a much-debated issue, especially in Africa. It is one of the determining factors of our identity. It determines who we are, our beliefs, actions and reactions, and even our thought processes. Africans had their own culture and traditional religion until the advent of western civilization, which brought with it the ‘gift’ of Abrahamic religions—,Christianity and Islam—and judged African traditional religious practices as evil, pagan practice and witchcraft. The missionaries did a thorough job of making people believe that their religion was superior and righteous. Africans accepted these imported religions, and their traditional beliefs began to fade. Christianity and Islam are now the new order, and people are extremely devoted to these newly found Gods. 

The Toyin Falola Interviews recently played host to music composer and songwriter, Beautiful Nubia. The question of Beautiful Nubia’s stance on religion pops up during the interview. He is known to promote African spirituality but has also defended foreign religions as advantageous. In response, he talks about his ancestral line: his paternal family were Olu Orogbo devotees (the Yoruba god of letters), and his maternal family were Ifa priests and Esu devotees. He said, “religion has always fascinated me like it gets people’s minds.”  He opines that spirituality ties into what gets people so much into religion. Although he no longer practices religion, he affirms that these religions have positively influenced people to do good and show kindness to their fellow human beings.

He states, “Any organized religion has a set of dogma or doctrines they use to guide you to put you in there. You are there; it is like a strait jacket to keep you on the straight and narrow. Why I said religion is a good thing is because the purpose of this is to ensure that you stay on the straight and narrow, that you do good things.” We can agree that religion has contributed to the rise of morals to a certain extent, as the fear of God keeps many people from doing evil. It has curbed wickedness and negative traits inherent in humans and made many people see the world in a new light. Religion has spread the message of doing good and becoming a better human being.

                                        Beautiful  Nubia

The issue, however, is not the practice of these religions but the ability of leaders to sway people easily. Although imported religions have helped to stop the extremities of African religious practices, it has only accentuated people’s gullibility. Beautiful Nubia further states, “What is wrong with religion is that it gives certain people the power to use their followers. It is not the religion itself; it is the human beings who run these religious organizations who use their power to extract money from them and push them in the wrong direction.” Owning a church is one of the easiest and quickest ways to get rich, particularly in Nigeria. All that is needed to succeed in this business is to be a good actor, have nice clothes (suits, particularly), can win people over with words and give yourself an extraordinary title such as Rabbi

It is common knowledge that the major reason why people attend church and Jumat services religiously are that they seek solutions to their problems. As much bad governance is enough to seek God’s intervention for various human issues ranging from terminal illnesses, protection, promotion, unhappiness, barrenness, unemployment, and marital problems, to poverty, which is an average African’s motivation to seek God’s face, also cause people to become staunch believers. To get swift, miraculous answers to these problems, many people fall prey to the traps of “men of God”, who only look to fill their pockets and bellies. This explains why a “pastor” would shut down his church after winning a 100 million Naira bet.

Pastors and Muslim clerics are considered mini gods who can do no wrong. The Bible verse, “touch not my anointed and do my prophet no harm,” is an ever-ready response by Christians in defense of their highly revered pastors who would not think twice before taking advantage of their desperation to get their problems solved. They forget that a “man of God” is first a man. Religion has rendered humans gullible to the extent that they excuse things their religious leaders do that are not even in tune with what is written in the Holy books. How do you explain a pastor who sleeps with a woman looking for the fruit of the womb and says his sperm is the anointing that will cause her to have her child? What do we say to a pastor who instructs his congregation to bring a greater percentage of their salaries to him so that God can answer their prayers? Should the man who claims to be an alfa but has exploited so many people in the name of being a ‘wonder healer’ be left alone? Churches and mosques nowadays see the desperation of people and feed off it. Many people come to church for prosperity and get ripped off the little they have, all in the name of miracles, signs and wonders. You could be in a church service and then suddenly hear the pastor say, “I see seven stars. I need seven people who will give the Lord Seven Hundred Thousand to come out now at the count of seven. One, Two…Seven!” You will be amazed at the number of people who will run to the altar to give the ‘Lord’ that amount of money in this present economy. Unsurprisingly, some borrow money to give to their pastors to receive blessings, then struggle to pay back the borrowed money. Monkey dey work, Baboon dey chop.

These men of God add false doctrines to their fraudulent, shady activities. Beautiful Nubia quotes his mother, a Christian singer, as saying, ” any church where they are a lot of people there, you know there are telling them lies there.” He made an example of a Muslim cleric who tells his followers that every other person is evil, an infidel and a pastor who tells his congregation that their Jesus is not a Jesus of poverty, that He died for them to be wealthy. It is now rare to find churches that preach about the kingdom of God and how to live a life that pleases God. Churches today entice and then mislead people.

Sometimes, people realize all these things are wrong but lack the courage to question these atrocities. According to Beautiful Nubia, “…as a child, you are fully indoctrinated, and as an adult, you are scared to question these beliefs.” Asking a pastor why he preaches only prosperity and how to get rich as a Christian would be considered as seeking the wrath of God because the pastor can call down fire to consume his ‘enemy’. Questioning an Imam on why he sleeps with young girls will only attract curses from the Quran on such a person, followed by “who are you to question God’s prophet? The ways and dealings of God are mysterious”. Really, who dares question these men of God? The fear that has been unconsciously programmed into your mind from a very young age holds your voice and makes you look away from the evils of these religious leaders.

This is not to say that there are no genuine men of God, but there is a plague of greedy religious leaders who, because of their power over their members, influence them to bend to their will while satisfying their greed and lust. “We should not focus too much on religion being our enemy. We need to focus more on ourselves, fix ourselves, and we can use traditional wisdom to do that”, says Nubia. The way we question and demand accountability from the government should be the same way we question our religious leaders. Not every “God says” is true. The Bible in 1 John 4:1 says, “Beloved , believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” Many religious leaders are gods of their bellies and are only out to exploit people to put food in their fat stomachs and live expensive lifestyles with their poor congregation’s money. Child of God, shine ya eye!

This is Part 1 of the report on the interview with Beautiful on March 19, 2023. The extensive interview, which has received millions of views across different platforms, talks about the role of music in society. For the transcripts, see:




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Death At Dawn, Rebirth At Dusk 



Dele Jegede In Conversation With Prince Yemisi Shyllon
Prof. Toyin Falola

By Toyin Falola




Twilight-zone, Afterlife, What-Mays, and Whatnots;

Questions that transcend mortal thoughts.

Uncertainties plucked by the hands of certainty

pondering life beyond the galaxy.


Philosophies, religions, and sciences; 

Ancient lenses to dissect and ponder.

Beliefs, opinions, and standpoints in their multiplicities;

Scalpels that open the heart of certain death

Blazing free the skins of uncertainty.


Science, a nobility I revere,

But it stammers answering to the afterlife.

For science is knowledge and knowledge from experience 

But the dead neither speak, nor take records.


Their journeys, ordeals, triumphs or woes?

No one bears witness.

But as dead, we must all be witnesses;

witnesses that testify not.

So, for now, we survive the knowledge of death.



On my Agbàlàgbà head lies my Ọ́kpụ́ Ágwụ́

With eagle feathers, rare and honorable

Adorning it for three scores, a decade, and some more days.

I had flipped my Kente given by the Gaa

And danced to crescendos from Gàngàn drums


I have been celebrated and celebrating 

For the miracles, I have worked with pen, paper, keyboard, and brain

I have taken the tales we tell in my village square beyond the Atlantic

Changed the songs that disdain us into appraisals

I have called my brothers not to point to our fathers’ house with their left hands


I have honed Africa and beyond

To answer the calls of the people’s need

I have reached the thinkable and done the unthinkable

So, I danced and keep dancing. 


Suddenly, I felt a touch on my host?

Electrifying my hand, leg, brain, and my whole

Telling me that my jur from the Dinka people awaits me.

That my hourglass tells of crossing the bar.


I thought I knew what it was like,

But my grasping convictions of approaching jur were perceptions

Just surviving the death of the knowledge of death

So, arms wide open ready to abound


What was there to fear?

No catacomb of secrets

No palm oil-drenched white garments

I have taken many to my gourmet

To feast and to see.


What was there not to fear?

With medicine men and women,

Syringes, lights, water, ECG, Oximeters, voices, and touches

Hovering around me like a sacred etutu

Making conversations with me and beyond


I was thrown into a pool of reminiscence

one leg and a part of me were already in the boat

It beckoned but I heard another. 


A loud voice like my mother’s.

Who takes a journey without locking his home?

Who takes the jur with unpatched palm fronds on his hut?

While the thunder rages up the sky?

The walls are broken and Balogun journeys?

So, I left the sea to clear the cobwebs and light up the night lamb.


The past few weeks have opened new lights of understanding to me. I now see the world from different hills and have helped to reach new resolutions. I know I have written about “transitioning to nothingness,” but my emphasis was on the “nothingness” with lesser attention on “transitioning.” I think we need to continue to ask questions. Philosophies, religion, sociology, psychology, science, and other ramifications are mere perceptions and we are uncertain. The transitioning occurs when death becomes an angel to hug not a beast to fear. We do not know what it entails but one must always endeavor to go with clean hands. 

My recovery from an illness may have offered me a fresh opportunity to shout some more, point to societal needs, and settle unfinished businesses. No, not those caused by my personal undoing, but rather those of the people who would be left unguided, and for matters untold about life, society, and individuals. I can say I have passed through the lessons of tantra transfiguration, to use an elegant phrase that I recently came across, to move from secular to sacred activism. No one survives death because of its finality, but when it seems that you did, it is a renewed quest, offering a new purpose.

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Professors On INEC’s Will (3)



Readers’ Showers Of Encouragement
Prof. Tony Afejuku

By Tony Afejuku

The debate has progressed well so far. Our professors, whose strokes have centred on their fellow professor’s manned INEC have tried as best as they could not to confine their impressions solely to the prism of subjectivity. Even when their impressions seem to be subjective, they still make allowance for contrary views, for opposing views. This obviously gives clarity, objectivity and logic to the subject at hand. Is the will of INEC of a professor minder and mincer of words’ control the will of the people or of the masses? On whose side are the Professors who are as concerned as almost everybody is with what is going – or with what has gone on – primarily about our Presidential 2023 elections? Our Professors who are debating the subject constitute the courageous and prophetic Nigerian voices of our day. Their authentic and responsible thoughts are not restricted to the local or regional. They are also not confined to electoral duties and responsibilities expected of the umpire and the will that belongs elsewhere. The truth about the quality of leadership about our country and elsewhere is also told in the debate of the literati.

Professor (Mrs.) Razinatu Mohamed in her submission, in her salvo-cum-explosion actually, drew attention to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s explosive explosion in the presidency. If Professor Osinbajo had provided the right vice-presidential leadership there would not have been the need for him to explode as he did as per a viral video Professor Razinatu Mohamed referred her fellow debaters to. “What has he been doing in the eight years of their administration? Irritated my foot; he is complicit.” Not done, Professor Razinatu drew attention to the kind of leaders that Nigeria and Africa need: “Leaders that understand the rudiments of modern socio-economic development and systems; Leaders that understand the crux of requirements for economic growth. Leaders that could demonstrate to the rest of the world that just as the world needs Africa, African countries need the world in a symbiotic relationship and partnership context where assistance becomes a dual role…..” 

Razinata’s concern is clear. Nothing in Nigeria will climb out of its hollow hole. In fact, the will of the people will remain hollow so long as a hollow mincer and minder is in charge of its electoral affairs. 

Professor Da Sylva perhaps responds better to Professor Razinatu Mohamed’s algebraic stroke. “Unfortunately, Nigeria’s democracy is trapped in its primordial self-made ethnic and religious sentiments and so, standards, merit, competence and pedigrees are measured by their curious divides of religion and ethnic inclinations. Until we all come to realize that heavens help those who help themselves, Nigeria ain’t going no-where – meeen!” 

    But below is Professor Da Sylva’s sledge hammer response to Professor Razinatu Mohamed’s Osinbajo hammer blow:

“Prof Osinbajo’s office demands he does what he did. Besides, it shows maturity and spirit of sportsmanship on his part. Every loser in a game “healthily” contested, is naturally expected to do the same. The only difference which again shows Osinbajo’s magnanimity is that in this context, the contest under reference was neither healthy nor just. The umpire seemed compromised and merely worked to a prepared answer. Yet the gentleman did the needful. I guess, brothers and sisters, that we should put all that behind us, and work for our common good, and the wellbeing of the country, provided the mythical Aso cabal will let the President-elect be, and let the masses be, and as such, they should not create any cause for us to think otherwise, lest they provoke our sense of patriotism to take appropriate action! I guess that those were the reading or feelings of the dirty-minded Aso Villa cabal. People that kill with sword never wish that any folk should pass a sword over their heads, a wise saying goes in Yoruba. The human principalities simply suspected that should they allow PMB to give the VP the intended latitude, they might not be able to control him. I remember on his return from London, he commended the efforts of his VP while he was away. He said he would still continue acting while he would still have some more rest at home. The following day everything changed, PMB decided to take charge as the President. I suspected some back door politics was playing out. My co-debaters, quite naturally, you’ll agree with me that, it is not over-ambition or sheer opportunism as you might insinuate for any deputy in an office to aspire to the next higher office, in a legitimate manner, there is nothing really unusual about it, and it would amount to killing a mosquito with a sledge hammer, should Oshinbajo be crucified for that, if at all. And as for his wishing Buhari’s non-recovery, I think that, again, like my Sister R, is a little unkind and not fair to the gentleman who I know to be a servant of God. He knows as much as I do, by our true Christian orientation and Biblical injunctions that, should he ever wish Buhari’s death or wish him any form of misfortune in those trying periods of the President, God Almighty who we serve would deal mercilessly and ruthlessly with him. That is what Psalm 41:1-13 is all about. So rule that out, because it is not, and could never be in his character. I can vouch for him. Rather, I saw him in those times that he acted for his principal, as someone zealous and appreciative of the trust his principal invested in him, and as such he tried to do his very best to merit the trust and the opportunity! I know and I am also sure that this is what an IBK, or a Razinat, would have done too had they found themselves in a similar situation! It does not amount to wishing one’s principal any evil, not at all. Not everyone can be like Chief Obafemi Awolowo who resigned his position under Gowon when the regime became financially reckless shortly after the civil war. Awolowo also gave very profound argumentation to justify convincingly his actions. He also turned down some other appointments including the “49 Wise Men of the Constitution Drafting Committee.” Oshinbajo couldn’t have resigned, normally, and naturally his principal, PMB should have supported him as a capable successor, but again, the President’s ethnic and religious bigotry took the better part of the President. Besides, PMB’s mind was long poisoned against his VP, a clean job by the Aso Villa cabal. IBK, Lady R, until the faceless cabal is permanently silenced the wheel of Nigeria might continue to go round in a circle, and to nowhere in particular”.

And Professor IBK takes the floor: “Prof. DAO, yours is a powerfully convincing submission, at least in a large measure. Now I am willing to hold a slightly different opinion about Osinbajo. Yet, I cannot fathom why he chose to run against Tinubu, days or weeks after the latter had begun his campaign in the party primaries. There’s much we don’t know about why OSBJ decided to run against BAT. Nothing is wrong with that politically but a little problematic from an Ethical or, at least Moral, point of view. Osinbajo did a poor job of it and came out a distant 4th in the primaries. I think he didn’t read the situation correctly and was probably misled by some cabal of sorts. Either way Osinbajo made a politically fatal error in this regard. Perhaps he must have sensed, or was told, that BAT was not the anointed candidate, or that BAT would be crippled by some ill-health or a medical condition. I remember the party’s screening committee publicly recommending that only younger contestants would be recommended to the NWC or such. Clearly there was an attempt to sideline BAT. Whatever the explanation, Osinbajo make the error in his campaign of promising to be more Buhari than Buhari. A man despised by whole sections of the northern population, a man whose reputation for laziness and incompetence was on the ascendant. Anyway, all is now history and Osinbajo has not given a good account of himself in this particular case. Prof DAO, I think your concept of the Trickster should account for Osinbajo’s situation here. FULL DISCLOSURE: a very close family member of mine was drafted to head Osinbajo’s campaign effort in Kano. We discussed extensively about Osinbajo’s pledge to carry on with Buhari’s policies. There was bewilderment and shock within the members. A week later half of the membership resigned on account of Osinbajo’s increasing identification with Buhari’s policies. Many mistakenly thought that Osinbajo was Buhari’s anointed one! I could go on…”

Interestingly interesting and intriguingly intriguing, dear, dearly dear readers: this debate.

To be terminated by the columnist-terminator and terminator-columnist next week after Professor Olu Obafemi’s summation of the debate he presided over.

Afejuku can be reached via 08055213059.

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