I have so far received over 50 responses—and counting— from my readers on the fake lecturer at ATBU that I wrote about last week. Below are a few of them. Enjoy:
Thanks, Dr. Farooq, for your insightful article. Just to let you know that assessment of teachers by students was part of the agreements reached between ASUU and the Federal Government of Nigeria during the 2009 negotiation. The ball is now in the NUC's and FGN's own courts to start implementing all the agreements to the letter.
H. I. Musa
It is very unfortunate that someone will work for 12 years in the university with fake a certificate. However, we need to rethink on why this should happen. It may be that the university is short-staffed and needed to fill a position without a thorough investigation of candidate’s qualification and background.
This could as well be our fault. Some of us got scholarship to study abroad and never returned to Nigeria to impart knowledge, but rather remained in the US/UK and other developed countries developing other nations.
When I was at ATBU Bauchi (I graduated before Daniel Ishola Owoademi was employed), there was a colleague of mine that got scholarship to study in Turkey. He graduated from Turkey with a first class, did his master and went for PhD in Canada. Today he is based in the US leading industry professionals in Mechanical Engineering. Some of us are like this. Think of returning to Nigeria to save us from this kind of mess.
I think the discovery of a lecturer in one of Nigerian universities teaching with fake credentials is another pointer to the decay in Nigerian universities. The universities have become institutions where academic excellence and research have been replaced with mediocrity and indolence. The lecturers feel they are at war with the students and, often, brilliant students that are supposed to graduate with distinction are deliberately denied that merit because the lecturers feel that nobody can supersede their achievements. The universities are more like military barracks where obsequiousness is the order of the day. A bootlicking student is more likely to succeed even without much hard work.
I remember as an undergraduate we used a practical manual that was used by our lecturers 20 years before our time without any alteration. There was a case also of engineering students whose class had practical demonstration with a machine. A student asked the lecturer, a PhD holder, to demonstrate how to use it. The lecturer told the students that as an undergraduate, he met the machine in a non-functional state and that it has remained like that since.
There are many other indicators of the decay in the Nigerian university system but if an audit is conducted, many more Owoademi's will be discovered.
Dr. Abdullahi Dahiru
Sir, I am writing to you not because of the relevance of the recommendations you provided, but I was happy that at least there is someone who shares my pains. I was taught by Owoade, as we used to call him in my second year General Engineering of Civil Engineering undergraduate studies at ATBU. I am angry because during the course of his teaching, he might have ruined the lives of a lot of students. Let’s not forget that in ATBU, it's survival of the fittest especially in the school of engineering where he taught for those years. It is only in ATBU that you find a student on probation, transferring to another university to become the best graduating student of his class. It is also worthy of knowing that at least 65% of the students of the School Of Engineering are children of the working class or the less privileged in the society.
I found it hard to believe if somebody that collected millions from the university and taught with a fake certificate may just walk away with a N60,000 fine just because he is a "man of God" and that it is the work of the devil. Nigerian justice system has made a mockery of itself, and I ask the entire justice system if it were their children that were treated like that what would they do? Nemesis will surely catch up with him one day, insha Allah.
Abdulhameed Abubakar, Bauchi
Your write-up on the fake lecturer is a master-piece. But you should have talked about the judgment, which in my own opinion is too lenient. N60,000 fine for all the three-count charges is too meager.
Yusuf Nuhu, ATBU Bauchi
People over the years have claimed fake qualifications in the pursuit of their livelihood, and personal and professional success. But universities should hold themselves to higher standards and be more circumspect. Another concern is the inevitable embarrassment that a Nigerian university’s administrators and faculty did not suspect that the HND is not a U.S. qualification. Were credentials checked? Were letters of recommendation checked? Was the candidate interviewed for the job before it was offered to him? Was a knowledgeable and qualified faculty part of the interview process? Where were the Department Head and Dean all the time this man was in employment? Students must have complained about the quality of instruction. There must have been many alarm bells but those that should, were not paying attention. How many more fraudsters have gone undetected and how many more of them are still employed as faculty in Nigeria’s universities?
Many years ago, a lecturer from the University in Ekpoma was on sabbatical with us at the University of Lagos. Students complained about his teaching quality. It was not long at all before most of us (faculty) suspected that he was a fraudster which indeed he was. His term with us was cut short. I was not surprised when I read in the papers after his return to Ekpoma that his cover was blown: the police were after him, and he had taken flight. The signs therefore are always there.
It is very likely that the ATBU was starved of faculty and was “constrained” to hire a man who clearly should be very suspect even as a faculty position applicant. Filling faculty positions in Nigeria’s universities has been tough for years. The challenge for many Nigerian universities is to keep the “shop” open and therefore remain in business. Administrators, it should be said, have had to do the best they can to keep their academic programs in force. This has meant that unqualified persons have sometimes/temporarily been hired as faculty. That said, a case such as Daniel Ishola Owoademi’s (DIO) seems to me to be indefensible. Someone should have noticed that he was less than unqualified to be appointed to a faculty position.
Often times, important things are not done well in Nigeria. One can only imagine the breadth and depth of damage that DIO has done to his victims including local and international students, Nigeria, and perhaps the world.