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Reader responses to WikiLeaks and university vernacular articles

I have again chosen to share with my readers a sample of the responses I received on my last two articles on this column. My response to som...

I have again chosen to share with my readers a sample of the responses I received on my last two articles on this column. My response to some of the responses are indicated in italics, that is, if what appears in print is faithful to the original. I am withholding the responses I received from last week’s article, which came in torrents, for a later time. Happy reading.

Salam. Just finished reading your article. I do agree with you that if Assange were anything other than what he is, America would have been at war with his country. Allah kyauta. I wonder what pleasure they drive in killing people. It’s such an unfair world.

I really love and appreciate your post on white privilege. It’s quite revealing and true. Thank you.

Abdulnasir Imam (
My commendations to you for hitting the nail on the head. Double (or even better still, multiple) face is a feature of the West that needs to be denounced at every opportunity; having several codes for dealing with different classes of people and nations. A just society calls a spade a spade no matter whose interest is at stake. May we be strengthened to uphold truth and justice always.

Ridwan Coker, Lagos

Hope you had a splendid weekend. I enjoyed reading your piece on the comparison of the vernaculars of American and British universities. At the same time, this piece tickled my imagination on the deep reverence for the teaching profession in American universities. But some of the revelations I found in this article are quite disturbing. Prior to this time, I’d believed that a teacher (if I may use the generic term for all category of those who impart knowledge to others) is a king in the American academe.

But to find out that some category of teachers, or 'lecturers' to be precise, are held in contempt by those who are supposed to accord respect to all category of teachers for others to emulate really portends a great danger for most of the developing nations like Nigeria who see America as a role model, a point of reference, and a vanguard of educational advancement in the contemporary world. This is real conundrum for us here and a bad omen for all societies that trivialise education at all levels.

Farooq, you will agree with me that a teacher in Nigeria, for instance, is seen as a second class citizens (even among the educated ones) rather than first class citizens and therefore relegating a category of teachers, particularly lecturers in the American academe, will further exacerbate the status of the teaching profession in most of the developing countries who see anything American as worth emulating.
I hope that the American legislators cum elites, the vast majority of whom were once either 'lecturers', 'associate professors' or 'full professors,' will work assiduously to reverse this ugly trend and accord all category of teachers, whether ' lecturers', 'adjunct professors' or 'tenure-track' full professors, the full respect they deserve. Otherwise the refusal will scuttle our quest for revamping the once vibrant educational sector in our dear country.

As a matter of urgency, I will call on our politicians who are seeking to be voted into high office in the 2011 general elections to come up with a condensed master plan that will restore the dignity of education at all levels and put Nigeria on a high pedestal of economic development using quality education as a stepping stone.

Tijjani Abubakar

My response

It's the politics of the American academia. Every place or profession has its politics. American politicians, especially of the conservative bent, think American university professors are overpaid and over-pampered. There have been several attempts to do away with the whole concept of tenure so that the distinction between adjuncts, lecturers, and tenured or tenure-track professors will disappear. But American university teachers have so far successfully resisted this. Having said that, I perfectly understand where you are coming from.

Your article comparing the vernaculars of American and British universities is an interesting reading. Waiting for the next one.

Well done Farooq. Just finished reading the vernaculars stuff. Very well written. Learnt a lot, and cleared some of my curiosities.

Dr. Usman Tar, Assistant Professor, University of Kurdistan-Hawler, Iraq (

I was also thinking the title "Dr." applies to all faculties with PhD degree in the American system while names like "Professor", "Associate Professor" and "Assistant Professor" are various faculty positions. This is completely different from Nigeria-British English language where "Prof." "Assoc Prof." and "Dr." are more of titles than positions. I remember when my HOD was newly promoted to Professor, he often got infuriated whenever someone addressed him as "Dr." Can you shed more light on this please?

Salihu Girei (

My response

I will respond to your question in a sequel to this column. I actually intended to address it in this series but decided to let it slide because of space considerations.

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