TIME it was that Nigeria ran proper university and academic freedom was a thing of pride. There was the story of a military governor in western Nigeria who received a report from his townsman that he was leaving Unife because he had been unjustly denied a chair.
The governor being a man of limited scholarship thought a chair in a university is the product from the shed of a carpenter and wondered the wickedness of the VC. He waited till he met Professor Hezekiah Oluwasinmi and poltitely asked for an appointment. When they eventually met, he asked the VC in a friendly manner the crime of the particular lecturer that would make the university not to give him a chair to use.
The VC explained to the governor that a chair in the academic world is not purchased in a furniture shop but a professorial chair earned through academic work and he as VC cannot award such to any intellectual.
This story came back to me after Lagos State governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, cancelled the process of selection of the 9th VC of LAGOS State University (LASU). He asked the outgoing VC to lead a process that would appoint one of the Deputy Vice Chancellors who is not in the race as Acting VC. The level everything has fallen was indicted by the fact that no cogent reason was given for the cancelation outside some nebulous investigation into some alleged petitions. But insiders are insisting that the favored candidate of the Lagos establishment did not even make the list of three shortlisted candidates from which the visitor could make a choice.
In the absence of clear standard, the land is now filled with all kinds of innuendos leading to the cancelation. The ASUU is latching to some lapses in the selection process and the inclusion of those who do not possess doctorate in the process. A particular don who is said to have spearheaded the selection of the last VC is said nor to have a doctorate. Everyone is now holding to his or her own reason in a deregulated season of standard.
It was the kind of mess England found itself over measurements until a wise king stretched out his arm which gave a yard and the measuring standard. It is because we pander to special interests that make it difficult for us to enforce universal standard and we become special ridicule and the choice of a VC that should be seamless now become as if we are picking a ward party leader or the Chairman of a motor park. Politicians see all as positions to share to lackeys anyway.
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