OBVIOUSLY shocked by what I called the profusion of lies by the duo of Drs. Arinze Chinweuba and Emeka Nwabunna, who were on air to talk about the crisis they themselves created at the Anambra State University, they did separate rejoinders to my piece. However, the rejoinders were closely knit that you picture the duo as good friends mingling in osmosis of mutual influence.
If I am to evaluate their rejoinders in passing, I can say that going by their textures, Dr. Nwabunna’s piece is neither here nor there, while that of Dr. Chinwuba shows some infantile disposition verging on immaturity. Both writers, delirious with selves, merely sang their praises without clarifying anything.
Consider some lines from their write-ups. Nwabunna glorified himself thus: “I am an outstanding lecturer. I am a square peg in a square hole. I am aware that every liberated mind, which I have come across, adjudged me a model lecturer.” By the same token, Chinweuba described himself as “qualified to teach Chemistry in any university in any part of the world”.
Was it vanity – the sustaining shadow of ourselves – that prompted these people to follow this path, or was it the attempt to prove the contrary of what I said about them? Do they know that paper qualification is not the measure of intelligence?
Perhaps, not knowing what to say, the two made the passing comment on the fact that I could not see them on google searches to gauge their contributions to knowledge. Nwabunna even wrote what was a hilarity by all accounts, by telling us that a google search of his name would reveal that he co-authored with Bishop Emeka Ebisi a book entitled: The Nobel Prize(1901-200): Handbook of Landmark Records.
If that is the only thing a google search could show on a lecturer, I must feel justified that I said I saw nothing, especially when my Personal Assistant in the office, Mr. Tochukwu Akunyili, who made a first class in the university, having graduated in 2008, has 3,850 results against his name.
It is not enough for one to rush to a radio station and make some cathartic reactions employing satire, ridicule, vituperation, crafty distortion of the truth and outright falsehoods because one was anxious for salary increase beyond one’s productivity ostensibly in the fight for proper funding.
As I said in my earlier piece, if they faced academics and other issues with the same rapidity, they would have been celebrated now. Anambra State was created on August 27, 1991, can the duo of Nwabunna and Chinweuba tell us what they had done to support the growth and development of the State. All these years that Anambra had faltered until Gov. Obi came in to put things right, what have they done? Have they written any single article in the newspapers on the way forward for the State?
Both writers implied in their responses that they know the Anambra school system more than I do as to make more authoritative pronouncements. I am not in the contest of who is the Methuselah of the Anambra School system with them, but today I know that Nwafor Orizu Collage of Education is doing better than the Anambra State University. The place has more rarefied academic atmosphere. Once there, you have the feeling that academic activities are going on.
At Uli, they have multiplicity of problems which the Governor is trying so much to solve. It was the search for the solution that a Pro-chancellor of stature in the person of Prof. Elochukwu Amuchieazi was appointed. With people like Nwabunna and Chinweuba I pity Amuchieazi. The man was modest enough unlike the duo to acknowledge that the University lacked clear vision until Obi intervened.
Until new lecturers were employed, the University had as lecturers, according to Amuchieazi “many who are not university teaching materials, those inherited from the Polytechnic”. It is part of these restructuring that led the Governor to appoint an Acting Vice Chancellor from outside the school, which should be a shame to the likes of Chinwuba and Nwabunna, who claimed to be geniuses.
Lest I am accused of being Obi’s apologist, let Amuchieazi continue: it does not appear that there was a clear vision of the university at its inception. I think it is this government for the first time that tried to resolve the nagging problem of the siting devoid of vagaries of power and parochial interests.
This government also commissioned the master plan of Igbariam campus, restructured the layout of Uli Campus and establishment the Teaching Hospital/Medical School at Amaku. We recall that over N1billion was invested in 2009 for infrastructure in Igbariam Campus alone, and as of now gigantic structures for Faculties of Agriculture, Business Management, Administration, perimeter fence covering 7 kilometres are all under construction.
Earlier the Law Faculty, the Mass Communication Building, the Library have been built. Hostel Blocks have been put up as well as classrooms and conference theatres.
At Uli, the Faculty of Engineering building have been re-modelled; while many classroom blocks , medical centres, all purpose conference centres have been completed. I believe that if the tempo of infrastructural development is sustained in all the campuses, ANSU will emerge soon as one of the most beautiful universities around.”
Prof Amuchieazi in Nigeria today belongs to the class of first generation lecturers, who understand that teaching as a noble profession. His son and a good friend of mine is professor of law. Amuchieazi understands the importance of acknowledging the good work the Governor is doing as an encouragement for him to do more.
Would you believe him or the reckless duo that broke the sacredness of truth by going on air to say that the Governor was not doing anything at the Anambra State University? Fixed in their bad ways, they still clung to their lies in their responses to my piece. How could men so fettered by falsehoods give free flight to their geniuses or hasten the development of an educational institution or human progress?
Thus, Nwabunna writes: “I did not tell any iota of lie during this radio programme.” His friend sadly concurs: “If presenting the true facts to the public was what you termed ‘intellectual dishonesty’, then I am proud to be associated with it.” He went on to talk about ASUU/FGN 2009 agreement without the courage to tell the public in his whimsical piece that the Federal Government made it clear that the Agreement was not binding on the States.
As a genius, can he tell us anywhere in the world Federal establishments pay the same salaries as the component States. If they are not intellectually dishonest, how best would I have described them?
Pretending to care for the Anambra State University, Nwabunna said that the preoccupation of Anambra State university lecturers now as well as the non-academic staff, the Management, the Council and the Government was how to make up for the avoidable lost grounds. What actually is this man trying to say? Instead of accepting that students have lost a session to their lost for personal gains, he is still talking to himself.
This is part of the reason while we kept shouting that some lecturers do not have the interest of the students at heart. His thesis is, once we have forced government to make some concessions, we can rush academic activities to make up for the avoidable lost grounds. A man who speaks thus is considering how to “make up for lost grounds”, without a moment’s reflection of its effect on quality as it relates to their students.
What else can one say to our reckless friends? If you read the opening paragraph of Chinwuba’s response, you will see where he tried to justify his radio programme by affirming that he merely exercised his freedom to express their views in matters of collective interest. Nobody is quarrelling with that. Our friend must be told that freedom, like power, is a test that only a sober intelligence can meet.
In fact I am one person who will defend your right to that. While defending toleration, Voltaire once wrote: “Do I propose, them, that every citizen shall be free to follow his own reason and believe or say whatever his enlightened or deluded reason shall dictate to him?” Certainly, the triumph of toleration leaves us free to express our views but we must caution ourselves of misleading people.
Any lecturer who thinks of freedom in terms of absolutism, an error our friends are guilty of, will most certainly mislead students under their care. There must be standards. This is why people like Amuchieazi, lectures of old are adorned, while commercial lecturers who thrive on handouts are given rapidly diminishing reverence.
In enumerating the nine things that were subjects of thoughtful consideration for the Higher Man, Confucius said that in regard of his speech he is anxious that it should be sincere. I leave this as a parting advice for our friends. As to the Gov obi whom they keep vilifying, I can only tell him that great men who are appointed to govern States are like those condemned to torture, only this difference, that the latter receive the punishment of their crimes, the former their merits.
May I rest my case now until our friends do us the duty of proving me wrong on Obi’s achievements.
Mr. VALENTINE OBIENYEM SA, Media, to Governor Obi of Anambra State.