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The University Campus Without Students



Monkey Tail, Government Officials And Policy Implementation

By Hope O’Rukevbe Eghagha
The university campus, anywhere in the world, is virtually dead without students. The lecture halls miss them. Lecturers miss them. The porters and security personnel miss them. Food and petty vendors miss them the most. Food vendors have had their businesses paralyzed and so cannot meet their obligations to their wards or landlords. There are no knocks on the door by students coming for consultation. No assignments to grade. No opportunity to impart knowledge in lecture halls. I recognize non-residential programmes which do not accommodate students all year round. That is a matter of choice. It is true that research is ongoing. Academics are generating ideas and churning out papers for academic advancement. Some attend international conferences and still get positions abroad.

But teaching, especially at postgraduate level, is the interactive part of the life of an academic. It gives life to the profession. The inner joy which teachers derive from nurturing undergraduates from first through the final years of university education cannot be quantified. Mind development and character formation. Developing the art of critical thinking and writing. Transformation of that neophyte into a student that can contest issues and ideas with a professor. But to earn peanuts while doing this life-changing job is contradictory to social justice!

It must be noted that some international organisations are now skeptical about giving grants and aid to Nigerian universities because of the bad image which the shutdown has given Nigeria. Exchange programmes are rendered useless when researchers from foreign universities cannot work with their collaborators because a strike is ongoing. We once hosted an American professor in University of Lagos who could not deliver a single lecture because the strike of 2020 started shortly after he landed on Fulbright Fellowship! Knowing all of this, which government should allow its universities to remain shut for seven months?

READ ALSO: Festus Keyamo: A Hole Of An Argument

While researching this topic, I found that staff of American University in Washington went on five-day strike in August to protest ‘inequitable health-care and wage systems that place too many employees at a disadvantage’. In March this year, graduate student workers ‘around the US at private and public universities have gone one strike over the past few years’, by organizing unions and ‘holding protest actions and strikes (over) low pay’, an issue plaguing graduate student workers around the US. In April this year, staff ‘at thirty-six universities voted in favour of a strike action in a dispute over pay and working conditions which could see higher education hit by further disruption this academic year’. The difference is that these strikes did not go indefinitely!

We are discussing students whose academic fate and future are determined by a steady stay on campus, writing exams and moving on to the next level. We are discussing our future doctors, engineers, pharmacists, professors, architects, finance gurus, and social influencers. Their counterparts in private universities and some state-owned universities are moving on. In federal universities, lives, projections, and dreams are truncated. The cause: the now familiar if perennial conflict between government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities ASUU.

READ ALSO: Adamu Adamu’s Choleric Reticence

The students miss school. In 2019, there were approximately 1,854,261 undergraduate students in Nigeria. Of this figure, 1,206,825 were in federal universities while the states held 544,936 students, and 102,500 were in private universities. The figures for 2022 will not be radically different from that of 2019 because in 2020, Executive Secretary of National Universities Commission (NUC) Professor Abubakar Rasheed stated that the total number of undergraduates in Nigeria was 2 million. In 2021, the figure went up to 2.1 million. In effect, roughly 1,300,000 students, the future high-level workforce of Nigeria, are currently hanging in limbo. Furthermore, students in the secondary school system who had dreamt about proceeding straight to university are uncertain about their future. A nation which brings up its youth population in a perpetual environment of uncertainty is sowing the seed for future fragmented souls. The repercussions will be felt when all the current old horses who caused the confusion would have gone into their graves. Therefore, the youth must fight the government to restore sanity and order to the land.

Some have taken to skills acquisition while others are staying at home, depending on their parents and guardians for a living. Some retired parents are forced to provide for their children from their meagre incomes. This produces stress in homes and trauma in lives. There are some who have taken to social vices or criminality. Internet fraud as a way of life beckons on them. The notorious Yahoo Yahoo business is alluring and attractive to the idle. Just play in front of your computer and trick some ‘mumu’ fellow abroad and smile to the bank. There are some ladies who have become pregnant out of wedlock and have tried to procure an abortion. Some have lost their lives. Too many of them are going through mental stress that could affect them for the rest of their lives.

The purpose of this essay is to highlight the social costs of keeping the universities closed. When we write about the strike, it is often like an abstraction. The human feelings involved and the overall implications on lives and the stability of the nation are hardly reckoned with or factored into policy. A nation is made up of people. Happy people. Hopeful people. Unhappy people. Inspired people. Frightened people. Secure people. Bold and cowardly people. Both the ill and the healthy. An aggregate of how these people feel is what makes the nation. The current ASUU strike is another indication of state failure. It is the failure of Nigeria. Colleagues and compatriots outside the country pity us. There is a rush to leave this country that is so blessed with natural and human resources. Why? Because a group of persons who have no good plans for the country has hijacked power and the resources of the country.

We could say that if only 2 million persons are in the universities in a population of 200 million, the 1% percent enrolment is insignificant compared to the general population. But the university is the resource base of the nation. It produces thinkers who have gone through the rigour of critical thinking and can be deployed to any sector of the country for the purpose of developing the natural and social resources of the land. Add to this population the total number of academics – 100000 – and their dependents we are dealing with a critical sector in the country. They are vocal, and pivotal to national growth. They are the powerhouse of the future. And we can only toy with that sector if we wish to destroy the country.

READ ALSO: IBK And ASUU Betrayer Adamu Adamu

It is not too late to retrace the national steps. The current model of funding education is not working. If strikes in the university system have become a way of life, it means that the real problems have not been addressed. The funding model must change. No education is free to the extent that someone must pay for it. If the government cannot pay, alternative sources of funding must be explored. A well-funded Education Bank from which students can obtain loans is one of the options open to government and the universities. The federal government should stop opening new universities and merge some of the existing ones to reduce overhead costs.

Finally, the time has come for legislation to compel all state officials to educate their children in Nigerian universities. In simple terms, it must become an offence for any elected or appointed official of the State to send their wards to universities abroad. That way, attention will be paid to the struggling universities in the land. Stakeholders – traditional rulers, former Heads of State, former state governors, the National Assembly, religious leaders – must wade into this matter now and end the impasse September ending. Going to court is not a solution. The alternative would be that a full session would be lost by our hapless students. Time will tell!

Professor Eghagha can be reached on 08023220393 or


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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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With Us, Not For US



Barrister Ijeoma Fynecountry

By Ijeoma Fynecountry

The 21st of March of every year is international day for the celebration of persons living with down syndrome. The advocacy and push for communal and political recognition of the basic fundamental rights for persons living with various types of disabilities, particularly intellectual disability, just as enjoyed by their peers who do not have any form of challenge – physical or intellectual has recorded a substantial success around the globe, especially in more developed climes. 

While the same cannot be said of the situation in Africa and Nigeria in particular, scanty breakthroughs have also been seen over the years, with the consistent and dogged efforts by some specialized organizations such as Down syndrome Foundation, Nigeria (DSFN).

The theme for this year’s celebration is “With us, Not for us”. This theme is apt particularly in the current era where the push for inclusion has taken a center stage in the campaign worldwide. While it is comforting to know that people, government and communities alike are now becoming more empathetic to the plight of persons living with disability, it is also necessary and most important that their rights as human beings deserving of not just empathy but actual concrete benefits accruable to other citizens without disability, is massively taken into consideration and actually provided for.

Therefore, it is not enough for the government to map out and create as in Lagos state and few other states, sections in the public schools to admit children or persons with intellectual disability, it is necessary to adequately equip these special schools with the needed “specialized” manpower, infrastructural and educational aids to attain the targeted educational goals for these persons. Likewise in the provision of better healthcare, economic, social needs of persons with disability etc.

Persons with intellectual disability do not just need to be specifically educated in accordance with his or her type of disability, but MUST also necessarily be able to aspire to or expect to be employed according to his or her learned ability. That way, a full right, befitting of a person, be him a person with disability or not, is assured. For what is the need of going through a learning process, acquiring a specialized knowledge about a craft or handiwork and eventually still not being given the opportunity of gaining employment as supposed, not due to lack of knowledge but for having a disability? No human being should be subjected to such. Our government should do better. The society at large should do better.

The theme for this year is enjoining all stakeholders – the government, communities, corporate organizations, religious bodies/organizations, individuals to open up their hearts, and recognize the very urgent and important need to help in the actualization of these basic human needs, rights of persons living with intellectual disability as we are all human. No human rights or needs should be prioritized over the other no matter the state of their health, mental and physical capacity. Stand with us by taking actual intentional steps towards uplifting and elevating the humanness of persons living with disability. It is not enough to say that you are for persons living with disability, your specific, intentional, targeted actions toward ensuring the practical applicability of these rights matters.

Fynecontryis a Lagos-based legal practitioner and the legal resource person for the Down Syndrome Foundation Nigeria.


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