By Dele Sobowale
“Native Doctor poses as Vice Chancellor in Imo. Dupes 5000 Students”. Saturday Mirror, September 7, 2013.
The story continued by reporting that Mr Fidelis Chukwujindu and his accomplice, Mrs Ngozi Ayoha, operating University College Hospital Ogboko, Ideato, P.O. Box 1960 (Nigeria’s year of independence if you don’t remember), Orlu, Imo State, had collected N8,000 from prospective candidates this year alone for application fees alone.
Only God knows how much had been collected thereafter from “successful applicants”. But, N40 million thrown down the drain, in one scam called university, should by now alert stakeholders in the university education sector to the fact that I am not embarking on a quixotic venture in the attempt to identify for all honest participants in the system those universities which are worthy of our attention and patronage. To the best of my knowledge, there are at least twenty five such bogus universities operating now in Nigeria. My advice to parents and prospective students is this: if you are in doubt about any university offering admission to you or your kids, please get in touch.
The first part of this series touched briefly on two private universities. One, ELIZADE UNIVERSITY, at Ilara Mokin, was specifically named. The other was not. I went on physical inspection of ELIZADE and just as I was about to be conducted around, a young man from the Niger Delta came accompanied by his father’s staff, driver and armed police escort. He was at first meant to travel to Canada, where he went last summer for a visit. After the four hour tour of ELIZADE campus, the young man looked at me and announced, “Daddy, may be I won’t go to Canada again”. For now, so much for ELIZADE. Let me go quickly to Adamawa State – and specifically Yola – where the American University of Nigeria, AUN, is situated.
Many of us old enough to remember can recollect the common saying, “See Paris and die”. It was meant as the ultimate complement to the city regarded as the most beautiful in the world – surpassing London, New York, Rome, Vienna, Frankfurt and Moscow in attraction. The American University of Nigeria is the ultimate in private university education; not only in Nigeria but in West Africa or even Africa as a whole.
If you have not seen it, you have seen nothing in African universities. It is a breathtaking oasis of beauty and excellence in the Sahel. It is absolutely impossible for me to cover all the aspects of that already great university in a column. So, permit me to mention a few things about this unique institution. You are invited to go to my website to read the rest. Students and parents wishing to visit should get in touch.
My announcement, at home, that I was going to Yola was received with as much enthusiasm as if I had proclaimed that I was going to commit suicide. Wife and daughter exclaimed together, as if programmed, “Daddy why now? You want to get yourself killed by Boko Haram”? But, I am not a stranger to Yola and I still have friends there who have assured me that the place was safer than both the JTF and Boko Haram would have us believe. At, any rate, I have a job to do. It is my intention to visit every private university in Nigeria before the end of December 2013 and to document what they have to offer. Yola and Wukari are the two farthest points and my itinerary calls for me to visit the farthest places first, if possible, and work down. So visiting Yola was inevitable and unavoidable.
The first and most important act most Nigerians must know is that the American University of Nigeria is as safe as any in Nigeria. The ratio of security staff to academic staff is about 1.5 to 1. Although there is curfew in Adamawa State in general and Yola/Jimeta in particular, normal life goes on in that campus 24/7. If you don’t believe me, I will escort you there. ….
P.S. For more information on Nigerian Universities, read Thursday Vanguard Education page and visit my website: www.delesobowale.com
SO YOU WANT TO BE A MINISTER; BEWARE THE PITFALLS“
There are no desperate situations; only desperate men”. Joseph Goebbels, 1897-1945. VANGUARD BOOK OF QUOTATIONS p 38).
Nigerian politicians are desperate; and none is more desperate than Goodluck Jonathan. Nobody likes to be openly repudiated and humiliated – especially after exercising great power. But, he is not alone. The entire political class is caught in the frenzy for political survival.
Henceforth, real governance will take a back seat to self-preservation – which, in any case, is the first law of nature.
Three Sundays ago, I announced on this page that a cabinet shake-up was coming soon. On Wednesday, three days after, nine Ministers were given the gate by Jonathan. More might join them. At any rate several directors of government parastatals will soon join the ex-this, ex-that. So, there are vacancies in the Federal Executive Council,FEC, to be filled.
Competence will not be, and might not be, the consideration for nominees. Real or perceived political value will be the top priority.
However, before those fortunate, or unlucky, to be nominated get into trouble, they will be well advised to get in touch privately first.
Appointments as Ministers, which hitherto, had brought joy to those concerned, will this year bring tears of anguish.
Since I announced the vacancies before they occurred, I also know something they don’t know. The individuals, who will be proposed, their friends and well-wishers, should urge them to seek advice. I don’t want to publicise the pitfalls awaiting them.
A word is sufficient….