BY DAYO ADESULU
As the rate of students who patronise foreign institutions increases yearly, the Director-General, French Language Village, Badagry, Professor Samuel Aje has stated that Nigerians should stop celebrating foreign certificate holders more than indigenous certificates to reduce the quest for it.
The Committee of Nigerian Vice- Chancellors once declared that over $500 million is lost by Nigeria annually to foreign institutions.
Aje who condemned the attitudes of some Nigerian companies which celebrate and rate holders of foreign certificates higher than their Nigerian counterparts said; “Over the years, we have believed that whatever comes from overseas is better than ours. That is why we have so many Nigerians struggling to go abroad to study.
“Is it compulsory I go overseas before I can do well? Is there nothing I can do around me to bring value to my life and society? Have I exhausted the potentials around me?” he asked.
Giving a brief account of his stewardship as director and chief executive of Nigeria French Language Village from 2003-2013, Aje decried students seeking admission in tertiary institutions outside Nigeria who in the process fall into wrong hands.
The Director-General, who declined to mention some of those illegal institutions said the reason is that the certificates of such students won’t be recognised. According to him, the proprietor of one of those illegal institutions was a dismissed staff of Nigeria French Language Village who was not even an academic staff but technical staff. He said the dismissed staff went outside this country, started a university and took some students there for studies.
“Working in connivance with some agents in Nigeria, if 50 students are supposed to come to French Village, they will end up taking 40 out, leaving us with10 as many chancellors were made to believe that they are taking their students to French Village not knowing they have taken them elsewhere,” he said.
He disclosed that there were cases of students who went there and spent over two to three years, and when the students discovered that what they were being offered was not worth it, they ran back to French Language Village pleading for restoration.
The professor who lamented the situation pointed out that a student who has been struggling to get between 40 and 45 per cent before going out, now scores between 80 to 85% there. This is what I call miracle marks. He explained that when students come to NFLV, the institution engages them in serious academic activities saying whereas they pay more in those fake schools, they teach them just three hours a day.
To remedy the situation, we have covered all the institutions in the south-west states; Edo State, Delta, Anambra, Enugu, Imo and Ebonyi. But we don’t seem to have problems with institutions from the North, adding that Nigerians should start appreciating what belongs to us.
Aje who urged the Federal Government to make it a policy that studies in French Language must be backed up with a certificate in language from the Nigerian French Village said any institution that fails to comply should not be granted accreditation by NUC.
On the allegation of fraud, he said, he saw it as a distraction to take away from the good work he was doing, noting that he did not award contracts without due process.
“You don’t award contracts without due process. When the EFCC saw it, they said the writer of the petition must be stupid. You award through diligence. Firstly, you advertise those jobs, people will then apply to indicate interest after which the committee look at it to see if you are qualified.
It is the committee that invites the qualified ones and it is open to the public with the figure announced.”
Speaking on the allegation that he is not willing to go, the DG said; “Any appointment that has a tenure, it is only a stupid man that wants to stay beyond the time. Three months before now, I have been planning to leave because I know that I have a mandate of just five years.
On the issue of addressing him as Director-General instead of Director, he said; “There was a council meeting held where it was decided. At that meeting, the members said it is DG that they want and not Director.
“One of the arguments was that the Village is growing. As at the time we started, we had middle level ranking. Apart from the registrar, when we started, the next person to the registrar was the principal assistant registrar. In professional cadre, they were having principal engineer, chief engineer, the next promotion was director of works and services. Today, we have director of ethical services, director of sports and services. So, chief executive will be director of directors. Therefore, instead of calling the chief executive director of directors, we thought it wise to use director-general. That was how the word DG came about.
As Professor Samuel Aje takes a bow as the director general of Nigeria French Language Village, he enumerated some the areas he has added value to the institution. The areas of achievements include: the language immersion programme for universities and colleges of education, delf/dalf proficiency examinations, post graduate diploma in translation and interpretation and post graduate diploma in bilingual secretaryship, masters in the teaching of French as foreign language, french for top executives and cooperation with institutions of similar status outside Nigeria. Other areas include: Manpower development, infrastructural development and commercial endeavours to mention a few.