Thursday, August 3, 2017

Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Lagos State University in Photos,no. 1

An Address Delivered By Chief Obafemi Awolowo On The Occasion Of His Installation As The First Chancellor Of The University Of Ife At Ile-Ife On Monday 15 May 1967

"When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream."

Today, my heart overflows with profound gratitude to God Who has made it possible for me to be in this gathering, and to play in it the historic role of the first Chancellor of this most promising University.

By ordinary human calculations, I was not due to regain my freedom until 11 May 1969 – that is, two calendar years minus four days from today, or a little less than three calendar years from the date of my release from prison on August 3, last year. But by the Grace of God, and the divine agency of Lt. Col. Yakubu Go won, Head of the Federal Military Government, here stand I, in the midst of you, as the principal figure of this memorable occasion.

My thanks, therefore, go very deep to Lt. Col. Yakubu Gowon, the late Lt. Col. Adekunle Fajuyi, Col. Robert Adeyinka Adebayo, Military Governor of Western Nigeria, the Chairman and Members of the Provisional Council of the University of Ife, for the parts which they have severally played in making the early restoration of my personal liberty and my installation here this morning as the titular head of this reputable seat of learning, the accomplished facts of which all of you are undoubted witnesses. It is not generally known that, apart from labouring for my release up to the time of his death, and apart from gallantly and heroically laying down his life for his military superior and friend, Lt. Col. Adekunle Fajuyi became, in his death, an unpremeditated ransom for my redemption.

The University of Ife was founded in i960; and although it was officially opened in 1961, it actually began its regular academic session in its Ibadan Campus in the year 1962. Like other Universities in this country and elsewhere, it is dedicated to the teaching of all the academic disciplines which have so far been and will in future be, instituted by the formidable and venerable world of learning.

From its birth seven years ago, the University of Ife has, in spite of some unhappy vicissitudes, had a steady and healthy growth. With an initial intake of 180 students, it now has an undergraduate student population of 923, composed of 795 male and 128 female students. There are, in addition, 22 post-graduate students, one of whom is female.

The University authorities expect that the present under-graduate student population will increase to 1,500 in the next academic year. It is my earnest hope, however, that this anticipated figure will have a phenomenal rise when, in the near future, education becomes free at the University level, as already agreed by the Leaders of Thought in Western Nigeria, regardless of their differing political beliefs.

Of the existing student population, 57 per cent and 43 per cent, respectively, are pursuing courses in non-science and science subjects. It is the aim of the University to reverse this ratio to 3 : 2 in favour of Science, within the next three to five years. I fully support this aim; and am pledged to foster it in any way I can.

It is my considered opinion that Science and Scientific Method, if properly mastered and conscientiously applied, will provide the Master Key to all our problems—be they technical, political, economic, or commercial. Even the non-science disciplines stand considerably to benefit from the employment of Scientific Method. Already, there are authoritative books on THE LOGIC OF THE HUMANITIES.

It has been said by many well-meaning and knowledgeable patriots that Nigeria is in a hurry. I will go further and say that, after she shall have survived her present paroxysm, Nigeria has need to make a leap over a quarter-of-a-century, if she is to satisfy the legitimate yearnings of her teeming peoples. After very careful consideration, I have no doubt in my mind that this feat of social rocketry is feasible, provided that Science is the booster and the Humanities the controllers. It is for this reason that I regard as enlightened and farsighted the University's plan to reverse, within the next five years or so, the present approximate ratio of 2 : 3, in respect of students doing science and non-science subjects.

Though the fact is generally known, yet it can bear repetition, that the University moved to its present site only last January. And from all appearances, it has settled down so well, in that short period of time, that unwary visitors may be tempted to believe that the University has been here all its life.

For this and other achievements, all praise is due to the late Lt. Col. Adekunle Fajuyi, and Col. R. A. Adebayo, both of whom, on different occasions, squeezed water, so to say, from the Regional Government's financial flint to make this campus the elegant and inspiring place that we now see. Equally, our sincere and profuse thanks go to those foreign Governments and Foundations which have been of assistance to us in the past.

Much work, and much expenditure remain to be done and incurred before we can claim to be fairly well established in this new home of ours. Even the Science disciplines are still in Ibadan and are only expected to move in during the coming academic session. In this connection we have implicit trust in the oft-repeated and firm assurances of the Military Governor, Col. Adebayo, that he regards the Ife University project as one of the top priorities in his Government's scheme of things. In fact, in the current financial year, he has already demonstrated the earnest of his Government's good faith, by making relatively substantial provisions for the University in the Budget.

We also look forward to our friends and well-wishers including overseas Governments and Foundations to give us as much assistance, in cash and kind, as it is ever within their power to bestow on this infant but fast-growing institution.

As for my fellow-Nigerians, I only wish to seize this opportunity to give them advance notice of my future plan for raising funds for the University. Before very long, I shall launch a "University of Ife Endowment Fund"; and I have no doubt that when the time comes they will respond generously to my appeal.

It is my ambition that the University of Ife – and indeed every other University in Nigeria for that matter – should be reasonably independent financially. It is incompatible with and subversive of the academic independence of a University for its Council and Vice-Chancellor, now and again, to go cap-in-hand to beg for funds from the Government, especially when such Government is controlled by a political party.

Whether we are conscious of or acknowledge it or not, the fact remains stubborn and indestructible that poverty, disease, social unrest and instability, and all kinds of international conflict, have their origins in the minds of men. Unless we tackle and remove, or at the very least minimize, these evils at their source, all our efforts in Nigeria to bring about happier circumstances for our peoples, and all the endeavours of mankind to evolve a better world, would be completely in vain. It is only when the minds of men have been properly and rigorously cultivated and garnished, that they can be safely entrusted with public affairs with a certainty and assuredness that they will make the best of their unique opportunity and assignment.

For this reason, I do fervently beseech both tutors and students alike in all our Universities to take their individual assignments most seriously. It is from them—from the university teachers to the university students, and from the latter to all the lower institutions of learning—that the eternal light of knowledge, and hence of intellectual and spiritual freedom, will beam, with powerful and inextinguishable radiance, to the lowest place of learning—even the nursery school.

The responsibility which thus devolves upon them is a grave one. It obliges them to intellectual honesty and detachment; so that the light which they shed may be brilliant, all- pervasive in its illumination, and unerringly guide men's feet on the path of truth.

The cardinal aim of every academic discipline is to develop the power to think – clearly, correctly, and scientifically.

According to Haddock –
"The power to think, consecutively and deeply and clearly, is an avowed and deadly enemy to mistakes and blunders, superstitions, unscientific theories, irrational beliefs, unbridled enthusiasm, fanaticism."

It will be seen, therefore, that the power to think clearly, correctly, and scientifically, is the greatest of all the powers that a man can possess.

If they are to discharge, creditably, the responsibility laid upon them, by the very nature of their calling, the University teachers must develop this power in themselves, in full measure, and sedulously help the students in their charge to cultivate it.

For exactly SIXTEEN months now, we have been making a strenuous and earnest search for peace, and a new Constitution. So far, the results which have attended our efforts have not been as we would wish them to be.

On this auspicious and felicitous occasion, and in the presence of this august and mixed congregation, I will endeavour to make only such remarks on the present situation in the country as appear to me to be non-critical and non-controversial.

There is an urgent and crying need to recognize certain factors which, in my view, have not hitherto been given the due recognition, emphasis, and weight that they deserve. I consider six of such factors to be very important, and I enumerate them.

ONE: Because of the nature of its political evolution since 1900, Nigeria had only had, all told, a lease of two years, for discovering and forging new cohesive materials, in place of the British ones, to keep it going as a united and harmonious entity.
Neither the discovering, nor the forging had been well under way before the prolonged crisis, which now threatens to engulf us, began in 1962. To be sure, since 1962, the fifty-one odd national groups in Nigeria have been moving farther and farther apart from one another, not closer and closer together. Indeed, as a result of the supervening and aggravating events of the past sixteen months, mutual suspicion and hostility have been deepening and ossifying with alarming speed.
In this connection, it must be borne in mind that the basis for any union among any communities, especially amongst diverse national groups such as we have in Nigeria, is the utmost mutual trust and understanding. The greater the trust and understanding, the stronger and more harmonious the union. The converse, of course, is also true.

TWO: Because of its youth as an independent sovereign State—Nigeria was only a little over five years of age when the coup of January 1966 took place; because of its youth, and because of the strains and stresses inherent in it as a multi-national State, Nigeria cannot afford an unduly protracted political and economic illness. The pressing danger involved in the present illness of our country is that it might kill more by its sheer protraction than by its severity.

THREE: Our military Administration must be recognized for what it was originally intended and proclaimed to be: an essentially corrective regime, and not a reconstructing Administration with ready and lasting answers to all our political and economic ills.
In my view, the main task of the military regime is to perform a quick and successful surgical operation for the purpose of removing, from our body politic, a malignant and debilitating morbid growth. It was never expected, and it would be too much of a risk for it to attempt to undertake the massive and never-ending task of rebuilding or reconstructing our body politic. It would be too much of a risk, because the Army would then be embarking on a venture for which it is not by tradition and training equipped, and which by its very nature is an ever-recurring phenomenon in any healthy progressive State.

FOUR: As there are good soldiers, so there are good politicians. Not all soldiers are saints, and not all politicians are devils or social lepers.
I have no doubt in my mind that if the corrective measures, which our Military leaders have in mind, are prosecuted with fearlessness, impartiality, and despatch, a new breed of politicians would emerge which would make the welfare of the people the sole object of their public career and pursuit.

FIVE: One of the stark and naked facts which stare us in the face is that, during the past five years, we have inflicted deep and grievous wounds oh one another; so much so that emotions, bitterness and deep-seated suspicions, far more than reason, charity, and trustfulness, now rule our hearts.
It is my candid and honest opinion that what we need very badly, in the present circumstances, is a palliative that will tide us over the present critical stage. Thereafter a curative must be sought and applied. I must warn, however, that an inflexible insistence on a curative, when there is so much sharp disagreement among all the doctors in attendance, may prove fatal to the patient.

SIX: All the great religions and ideologies of the world teach one and only one supreme and imperishable lesson, namely: that LOVE is the touchstone of all human activities. Any human activity that does not stand the test of LOVE is evil. As a practical guide to the practice of LOVE Jesus Christ gave us the Golden Rule in the following words:
"Always treat others as you would like them to treat you; that is the Law and the prophets."

In closing, I wholeheartedly thank all of you—distinguished men and women in practically all walks of life, from far and near in and outside Nigeria—for responding to the invitation of the Provisional Council by gracing this occasion with your presence. Apart from the colourfulness and impressiveness of this ceremony which I hope we have all enjoyed, a visit to Ile-Ife must be a rewarding adventure to anyone- no matter from what part of the world he hails.

It is not generally known that Ife is more than the cradle of the Yoruba people. It is from here in Ile-Ife, so our worthy legend goes, that the solid earth first arose from the midst of the all-pervading ocean, and was then spread, by one of our gods, to all the other parts of the world, to form the six continents of Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe, North America and South America.

On 2 Aug 2017 18:01, "Moses Ebe Ochonu" <> wrote:
Thank you, my brother Kwabena, for supplying this confirmatory perspective from Ghana. We now have testimonies from Ghana, Cameroon, and Nigeria, but someone based in the UK, who has not been to Nigeria in years, says we're exaggerating and generalizing and is demanding research and statistics. It's like complaining about a problem in your family and someone tells you to provide statistical proof of it. It exacerbates the anguish that one feels. 

On Wed, Aug 2, 2017 at 7:20 AM, Kwabena Akurang-Parry <> wrote:

I have followed these perspectives on sexual harassment. I am with Moses and will even add that sexual harassment and abuse are not only comparatively endemic in our tertiary institutions, but have also flooded the non-tertiary levels of education. The same can be said about the workplace, especially cases of young females looking for jobs. 

 Kwabena Akurang-Parry

From: <> on behalf of Emeagwali, Gloria (History) <>
Sent: August 2, 2017 7:50 AM
Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Lagos State University in Photos,no. 1

Unfortunately the police have these powers in the West that they have the power to stop anyone no matter how highly placed and subject them to interrogations until the police is satisfied of their lawful intentions.  That is the procedure to keep EVERYONE safe. Olayinka


 How many murders of innocent people  by police will  it take to convince you otherwise?  Black lives don't matter- because a Black female officer once  harassed you? 

 Ken certainly got this right. BLM is a vital movement to challenge police brutality of unarmend Black 

men in a highly racialized  and imperfect society. Sorry to tell you that the  existing  police  procedure in fact keeps a lot of people unsafe.

Professor Gloria Emeagwali

Gloria Emeagwali's Documentaries on
Africa and the African Diaspora
8608322815  Phone

From: <> on behalf of Olayinka Agbetuyi <>
Sent: Tuesday, August 1, 2017 7:31 AM
Cc: Olayinka Agbetuyi
Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Lagos State University in Photos,no. 1

Let me confess I did not pay particular attention enough in the past to notice the extent of the debate and systems already put in place as Moses already indicated perhaps because I had not acquired a smart phone then and the tedium of logging on to a computer was too much for my busy schedule to enable me keep up as much as I wanted to.  Now I contribute as much as I like on the go.  

Perhaps you could update people such as myself on these measures as well as progress assessment on why people like Moses think they are not working (or why should he bring the issue up again if they worked?)

On the treatment of Blacks in America and the Gates issue (I cant quite make the connection with what we are discussing at the moment)  I remember engaging Baba Kadiri on Black on Black suspicion and how I was treated by a female Black police officer who looked trigger happy and disdainful when all I did was approach her at a shopping centre to ask for directions.

Unfortunately the police have these powers in the West that they have the power to stop anyone no matter how highly placed and subject them to interrogations until the police is satisfied of their lawful intentions.  That is the procedure to keep EVERYONE safe.

If any one feels short changed there is the police complaints commission to complain to and the police as an institution can be sued. 

They are being sued from time to time and when the police are adjudged to be in the wrong compensations are paid.

Henry Gates is educated enough to know what to do

Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.

-------- Original message --------
From: Oluwatoyin Vincent Adepoju <>
Date: 01/08/2017 03:21 (GMT+00:00)
To: usaafricadialogue <>
Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Lagos State University in Photos,no.  1

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"Next time we touch base we should be assessing how far the measures we have leveraged the authorities to put in place are working."

I don't think the Nigerian university system is so bad it has  to take interventions from USAAfrica Dialogues to begin to put systems in place to tackle negative possibilities of the system.

Is the more realistic approach not to see what systems are already in place, assess how effective they are and suggest refinements of the existing systems, additions to these or a rethinking of extant procedures?

It would be helpful to avoid a messianic, savior, or parachuting mentality, in which one drops in from above into a  social situation, ignoring already existing social frameworks, forgetting that institutional procedures are executed within social contexts.

In an earlier discussion on this group, Nigeria based academics  presented sex abuse guidelines in place in their universities. Can they give us updates on these?

The issues involved, particularly as outlined by Moses, run from  sexual conduct guidelines to teaching and mentoring to publishing strategies and promotion criteria. It would be wonderful to read from those directly involved because they understand the heat in the kitchen. For example, what is the relationship of Nigeria based scholars to the more prominent journals in academia, most or all of which are based abroad, most likely in the West?

In discussing sensitive issues, I have experienced two frustrations on this group.

 It is difficult to get Nigeria based academics to open up on allegations of negativity in their system.

On the other side, it is difficult to get African immigrant US academics to open up on the challenges faced by Black people in the US. Throughout the season of the highlights of the recurrent unjustifiable murders of Black people by US police during Obama's tenure, I don't recall any discussion about that terrible problem on this group which seems peopled significantly by African immigrant scholars in the US. The one person whose voice I remember speaking unequivocally on the negativities of the US establishment  is Kwame Zulu Shabbaz and to some degree Kenneth Harrow, but Shabbaz is African-American and Harrow is a Caucasian Jew.

The horrible treatment meted out to one of, if not the most prominent Black Humanities scholar in the US, Henry Luis Gates Jr, in which an almost elderly man dependent on a walking stick for mobility was handcuffed by a  policeman in an incident involving his insisting the policeman identify himself as the officer challenged him as to whether or not his house belonged to him, an incident in which even President Obama became involved,  passed without a comment on this group of people a good number of whom fall into the Gates demographic-Black academics.

The only African immigrant academic, writer or scholar I have read in my random Internet journeys  discussing this issue is Sylvester Ogbechie on his blog Aachronym, describing how he has to be careful to place his driving license within easy view so as to avoid the negative attentions  trigger happy police people direct at Black people, as well as the difference between his treatment at US border control before and after he became a US citizen along with other discussions on "borders and access" on how readily Black people can access means of international mobility, at that blog.I have also read Kennedy Emetulu on this group discussing punitive British immigration controls.

Perhaps I am wrong and I have missed  discussions that obviate my thesis. The total silence from Nigeria based academics in this latest scathing debate on their system justifies part of the thesis to some degree.

If I am right, why is it the case in both instances? Are these populations  embarrassed by the circumstances in which they find themselves? Are the Nigeria based academics jaded by their presence in a situation they see themselves as having little control over? Are they afraid of vicimisation by their colleagues?Do they feel intimidated by the fierce condemnations of their system?Are the US based academics far removed from the painful realities of Black life in the US or do they see those challenges as of little consequence compared to the brutalities evident in their countries of origin or are they wary of reprisals in the spirit depicted by Ogbechie?

How shall we pool resources to tackle these challenges if we don't discuss them in public?



On 31 July 2017 at 23:02, Olayinka Agbetuyi <> wrote:
We are with you on this score.  There is no denying there is a problem. Let us all work together to get in place a system to solve it.  Next time we touch base we should be assessing how far the measures we have leveraged the authorities to put in place are working.

Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.

-------- Original message --------
From: Moses Ebe Ochonu <>
Date: 31/07/2017 01:28 (GMT+00:00)
To: USAAfricaDialogue <>
Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Lagos State University in Photos,no.  1

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I like the direction this discussion has taken lately. Gone is the denial and deflection. We now have a grudging acceptance of the problem and what looks like a genuine effort to grapple with it.  Both Toyin and Olayinka have put some ideas and suggestions on the table. I have my own ideas, which I hope to outline, time permitting. It's not rocket science. Once you've acknowledged the problem, solving it is fairly easy if you have the stakeholders of consequence and power on board and they have the will to act. which is why I've been trying to get us to not just acknowledge the problem but its enormity.

Ken has told a personal story that contextualizes things. I too know a retired American professor who married someone who was a student in his class. It used to be okay for professors to date students. Not any more, with the ban. I personally think it is a good thing that Professor-Student relationships are now banned by a vast majority of American universities. Americans saw a slippery slope into abuse and professorial impunity in the future and took action to prevent it. However, I respect the views of those who disagree with the ban even while adhering to it, not that they have a choice unless they no longer cherish their job and/or their freedom. But here are the important facts:

1. The ban was introduced in the US because that was the only way you could stop professors from abusing their power, intimidating and harassing their students into sexual relationships, and or demanding sex as a condition for high grades.

2. This discussion has never been about consensual relationships between adults, but rather about sexual harassment, abuse by an authority figure, asymmetry in power relations, etc. It's been about the fact that consent is a problematic concept when you have an authority figure with control over grades and other evaluational resources and a vulnerable student. Unfortunately when you solve a problem such as this one, you're going to prevent some genuinely consensual relationships as well.

3. Incidents of professorial sexual abuse of students are rare in the US. Which is precisely why they are news when they occur. This contrasts with Nigerian universities  in which sexual abuse is widespread and is not treated as a big deal.

4. Ken's story is very important because it illustrates the fact that even the US, which some people have inexplicably introduced into a discussion of sexual and other misconducts committed by academics in Nigerian universities, recognized the problem of abuse and/or the potential of abuse and solved it by taking drastic measures. Before the ban, the problem never even reached the proportion of what we have in Nigeria. But a few incidents that came to light were enough to spur action; they were scandalous enough for MOST stakeholders to recognize that there was a problem that needed to be solved. There was no debate about numbers, about how many people were involved, about how many incidents had occurred. There was no obsession with what was happening in other countries. 

Even the egalitarian turn in US higher education, which effectively destroyed rigid hierarchies dividing professors from students, something that we now take for granted, is fairly recent, occurring only in the 1960s. Before then, the system was close to the one in Nigeria (at least in terms of relations between professors and students) where professors are demigods and students have little or no right.

5. Which brings me to the point I was trying to make in an earlier post. The Western reference and comparison is irrelevant and is solely based on the wrong assumption that that is one's frame of reference. One is not venerating a Western ideal of restraint or professorial self-control. Far from it. If the incidents of professorial misconduct are few in the West today, it is not because Westerners are inherently more morally upright than Africans or that they possess a greater will to resist temptations from students. As I said before and as Ken affirmed, it is simply because that infraction is now widely outlawed and is severely punished when it occurs. It is because it is outlawed explicitly, so even a defense of consensual coupling is not tenable. Not anymore. This is an important point to stress because the only difference between the West and Nigeria in this regard is that stakeholders in the US system acknowledged a problem (even before it reached Nigeria-esque proportions) and solved it with a drastic action while stakeholders in the Nigerian system are struggling to even acknowledge the problem, never mind solving it with measures of deterrence and punishment. In this US, explicit policies against sexual abuse and professor-student relationships preceded and occasioned an attitudinal change in professors, not the other way round. The human propensity for impunity and for leveraging authority for self-gratification resides in every society. The difference is the existence of organs that constrain human actions, institutions of deterrence. That is what engenders attitudinal change.

Finally, I want to thank Ken for telling his story about what he witnessed while teaching in a university in Cameroon, and for bringing a very clear, honest perspective to the discussion. Too often progressive white men and women do not tell the truth about their true observations of African society. They are afraid of being accused of racism or Othering, so they make patronizingly pretentious and relativist comments about foibles and problems they see on the continent. It takes courage for Ken to speak truthfully about this widespread, well known problem of sexual and other exploitations of students by academics. The truth is that every Nigerian I know know that the problem of professorial abuse of their authority (expressed in sexual ways or in the form of financial extortion in exchange for grades) is quite common in Nigerian universities. The demand for numbers and statistics is a disingenuous tactic of deflection, but I am happy to see that it has had very little purchase on this list and has now given way to a more truthful, constructive acknowledgement of the problem.

I will be back to offer my own thoughts on how to solve not just the sexual abuse issue but the other problems I have been harping on.

On Sun, Jul 30, 2017 at 11:21 AM, Olayinka Agbetuyi <> wrote:
Thanks Ken for this illuminating piece.

Like in your case I know of a few professors who met their spouses at the university.  Its no crime although other copy cats on the face value of what they see can indulge in indiscriminate affairs.

My own position is professors when single should be able to tell interested female students 'if you are really interested in ME and not your grades then when you are no longer on my course we will talk about it.' If its true love it must endure the course.

This is part of what I mean by no witch hunting.

I have got a childhood friend who willingly confessed to having a relationship with her professor.  She enjoyed it .  I was not judgmental. I know she was well brought up.  She mentioned some other professor who came after her and she turned down.  She had no serious emotional commitment at the time.

Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.

-------- Original message --------
From: Kenneth Harrow <>
Date: 30/07/2017 16:42 (GMT+00:00)
To: usaafricadialogue <>
Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Lagos State University in Photos,no.   1

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Dear all
The notion that faculty are significantly abusing their relations w students in the u.s. Academy strikes me as out of touch with reality. The heightened fears and penalties are quite pervasive. Cases that really signal faculty abuse are given enormous negative publicity. that's my sense of things.
I want to add that I married a girl who had been a student in my class (more than 40 years ago), that I saw, and still see, nothing wrong with faculty actually dating students. I know it is now virtually banned throughout academe, but I don't agree. I no doubt stand alone, but my position is based on the belief that we all have agency, and have moral responsibility. Not law, to regulate our relations. However, that does not mean we condone abuse.
 Abuses of authority and position have to be severely punished, faculty fired for forcing themselves on students, blackmailing them to have sex. I agree with the punishments there; and I find it equally not credible that students are abusing this situation to blackmail faculty, though perhaps on rare occasion it probably arises.

That this happens in nigeria, or elsewhere in africa, is not a surprise to anyone who has taught in african universities.
The extent of it must vary. When I taught in cameroon 40 years ago, the black cars were lined up after school at the highschools, and it was disgraceful that female students were virtually prostituting themselves, and that big men took advantage of them
This was, I repeat, common knowledge: not hidden, not sneakily done.
It was also there in sembene's film Faat Kine. No one found it hard to believe in that film. Common knowledge.
How to correct it? Moses is setting the standard, period. We shouldn't focus on how much, how many, but how to stop it

What I really wanted to state is that this is not an issue that is debated in the american academy: it was settled practice to stop it many years ago. 
What is debated, where the huge bonfire issue now exists, is the question of rape, of physical abuse of students, not so much by faculty but by other students. Especially athletes. If you are really interested in bringing the u.s. Campus into this discussion,  you have to begin there. that is where the powers that be, the concerns, the fightingback to regain the night, etc, etc., is occuring. That is where the seachange in relations is being fought out. 

Another memory: my aunt was a student in the class, at medical school, of a man who became her husband. That was somewhere around the 1930s. No one condemned them for falling in love and marrying, the prof and his student. As for myself, well, I didn't date liz till a year after she had been in my class. I was lucky she had been my student…. And lucky the university then did not prevent a prof from falling in love with his student!

Kenneth Harrow

Dept of English and Film Studies

Michigan State University

619 Red Cedar Rd

East Lansing, MI 48824


From: usaafricadialogue <> on behalf of Olayinka Agbetuyi <>
Reply-To: usaafricadialogue <>
Date: Sunday, 30 July 2017 at 14:31
To: usaafricadialogue <>
Cc: Olayinka Agbetuyi <>
Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Lagos State University in Photos,no. 1

'Gordon (not actual name)   has a crush on a smart girl in the literature class auditorium.

He tried to ask her out but the word got stuck.

He settled for KFC crochets while he worked on his chat up line'

This is the paraphrase for a radio jingle advert for KFC currently airing on a British station Capital Radio

If the malaise we both condemn in Nigerian academics is so rare in the American academy how come it forms the theme of an advert jingle exported to the UK with a distinctive American accent complete with the unique alveola-palatal flutter American drawl 'r'?

Any interested forumite can verify this by logging in to the radio online.

But again this justifies nothing on either side of the Atlantic.

What we are both aiming at are effective institutional checks and I personally welcome more ideas.

I dont know the current structure of checks but it seems to me that the best form would involve both student bodies and university officials.

The coordinating organ should be national ASUU which must have standing local chapter student/teacher ethics committee with whom it must constantly be in touch on a monthly basis.  

This local committee must liaise with representatives of student bodies with which it should meet on weekly basis and from which it should collect data on student complaints and suspicions needing discrete investigations.  Students must be encouraged to report to such student bodies.

The national body must collect this statistics in a monthly basis even if all such statistics say is everything is 'cleared for this month'.

The national body must provide this statistics to every university Council and Senate concerned on a monthly basis keeping a copy to assist in the recruitment, retention and promotion exercise nationwide just like the credit scoring system in the West.

On recruitment the ASUU national ethics committee must serve each university teaching staff a code of its student/teacher relationship as you suggested (I never got this in the US but that does not mean I dont know what is and is not acceptable.)

There should be no retroactive witch hunt but it should serve as the premise of a new more morally binding accountable beginning.

Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.

-------- Original message --------
From: Moses Ochonu <>
Date: 28/07/2017 00:04 (GMT+00:00)
Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Lagos State University in Photos,no.  1

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"the low esteem in which they are held by colleagues ought to be the greatest deterrent  and sanction litigations aside."

I cannot believe I read this from you, Yinka. Wow, just wow. So for abusing their powers, preying sexually on their female students and financially exploiting their male students, betraying the trust of parents and society, and bringing disrepute to a respected profession and their colleagues, they should only be subjected to the scorn of colleagues, "sanctions litigations aside." Scorn as deterrence? Now I've heard it all.

Obviously I do not have any statistics to indicate the number of Nigerian lecturers engaged in sexual or other misconducts or those who neglect teaching or mentorship. I have not conducted a study, nor would a study reveal the extent of the problem as most students, as you said, don't come forward to report and most reported cases are buried, never to be mentioned again.

 But you self-appointed defenders of the honor of Nigerian lecturers do not have any statistics either, yet you insist that the offenders are a minority and that the majority is upright. How exactly do you know that? Where is the study you conducted? At least I am modest and honest enough to admit the absence of precise numbers. If I say MANY Nigerian lecturers are culpable, that takes care of the absence of statistics. So let us agree that you do not have any statistics to show that the offenders are a minority and that I do not have any to show that they are a majority. Going off of that, and going by the preponderance of cases, scandals, and the private and public testimonies of victims and colleagues, we can conclude that too many lecturers are implicated. How many is too many depends on one's moral perspective. If you don't think the offenders are many or too many, that is your own judgment. Go an conduct a study to prove that only a minority are engaged in the practice. But keep in mind that even if you were to prove that, it would not mitigate the outrage, nor would it exculpate the majority who enable the offenders by tolerating, shielding, and in some cases defending them.

Again, the problem is the absence of deterrence and punishment when students come forward. In most cases the students are even further and victimized by the authorities of the institution and by supposedly upright colleagues of the perpetrator who are fond of blaming the victims.

Finally, let me shock you by saying that I never get defensive about pastors engaged in misconduct. I don't hold my tongue either; I am a big critic of pastoral misconduct, which is now widespread in modern Christianity, especially in Pentecostal circles. It is not only Suleiman; many other scandals have broken publicly or quietly.  I cannot be a pastor because I simply cannot live up to the moral demands of the job. Which begs the question, if you do not have the capacity to live up to the moral and ethical demands of a profession, why get into that profession in the first place or remain in it? I would pose exactly the same question to my colleagues in Nigerian universities who prey on, exploit, and terrorize students. I would advise them to go do something else, to have a career change, or to conform to the moral and ethical expectations of the job.

Sent from my iPad

On Jul 27, 2017, at 3:22 PM, Olayinka Agbetuyi <> wrote:

I havent implied 'not having armoury to resist' is a legitimate defence. I agree such people as in pastors taking advantage of parishioners on both sides of the Atlantic (the case of Suleiman is still fresh) are guilty most grievously of a serious breach of trust (people wont on acount of pastor Suleiman be right in condemming all pentecostals or generalize would they?). 

 For me in the case of errant professors the low esteem in which they are held by colleagues ought to be the greatest deterrent  and sanction litigations aside.

   I know that in spite of the handbook you speak of breaches happen more regularly than you might know in the West but that is not a defence either. In the West if there is no complaint it is treated as agreement between consenting adults. I know in Africa particularly when the student is young  it is socially viewed (rightly) as you viewed it as abominable.

All Im saying is unless you can produce statistics to prove an overwhelming practice sweeping generalizations damage the reputations of both the good and bad as outsiders cant tell who is who and treat all as suspicious as my personal example I cited demonstrates.  You know how suspicious westerners are by nature dont you?


Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.

-------- Original message --------
From: Moses Ebe Ochonu <>
Date: 26/07/2017 04:22 (GMT+00:00)
To: USAAfricaDialogue <>
Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Lagos State University in Photos,no.  1

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"but it is the DUTY of the teacher to resist.  Not all teachers have the armoury to resist."


The first sentence above answers your own specious rhetorical questions. Student-teacher seduction happens both ways in all climes, but it is, as you said, the duty of the teacher to resist, being that he/she is in a position of authority over the student. Isn't that why it's called sexual harassment and is outlawed by universities in the West? 

If I didn't personally know you, I'd say that your second sentence above was an attempt to justify the epidemic of rape and sexual exploitation in Nigerian higher institutions. Because I know you, I'll chalk it up to defensiveness and a facile attempt to defend our colleagues in Nigeria. For goodness sake, being an academic comes with responsibilities. It is not for everyone. It's okay if you do not have the "armoury to resist" (we all have our weaknesses), but have the decency to get out of the profession and go and do something else, preferably something in which you can seduce and allow yourself to be seduced to your heart's content without breaching any ethical or legal lines. Do not remain in the profession and exploit people's daughters and wives entrusted to you to educate. It is a heinous crime. It is rape and it is an egregious betrayal of trust and the responsibility of your calling as an educator and mentor.

I guess you did not read Falola's statement that grasping to point out equivalences in the West is an outrageously escapist way to respond to criticism of malfeasance in Nigeria. It is the very definition of defensive racism and relativism. It is a very dangerous enterprise. So what if occasionally one hears of sexual harassment cases in the US? Who the heck is talking about the US? We are talking about Nigeria, and you predictably invoke the West to avoid having to deal with Nigerian problems on their terms.  Let me tell you something. Even before I came to the West, when I was an undergraduate in Nigeria, I seethed with rage against the misconducts, sexual and otherwise, of Nigerian academics, some of whom where my teachers. So, please do not assume that I am always engaging with these topics from a Western frame of reference. I am a Nigerian who is grated about Nigerian problems. Let Westerners deal with the problems of their own society.

Bit since you've invoked the West, let me say this. Professorial sexual harassment does not occur often in the US academy because there is deterrence and it is punished and results in incalculable personal losses to the harasser. Nigerian universities are sexual crime scenes. I say this advisedly and I am not exaggerating. Perhaps you have been away from Nigeria for too long or have not kept pace with the state of affairs in Nigerian universities. How many Nigerian lecturers have been punished for their sexual crimes against students? I personally witnessed many of them get away with full blown rape on my undergraduate campus in Nigeria. Nothing happened to them. Some of them were serial rapists. And guess what? The morally upright lecturers you speak of feed are the ones who feed you with stories of these misconducts and are happy when a spotlight is shone on the problem precisely because the sexual harassers (who may very well be in the majority, although you cannot investigate the number) reflect badly on the non-harassers. They are happy with me for highlighting the problem, and they are as outraged as I am, if not more so.

How many Nigerian universities have a faculty conduct handbook or a coherent policy on sexual harassment? Here in the West, when you're appointed you're given a handbook that tells you all dos and don'ts regarding interactions with students. And violations will cost you not just your job but your freedom if you're handed over to the police in egregiously criminal cases. Good luck telling your employers and/or the police that you don't have the "armoury to resist.

On Tue, Jul 25, 2017 at 7:45 PM, Olayinka Agbetuyi <> wrote:
I have noted at least on two occasions Moses listing sexual predation as one of his grouses against Nigerian academics in a manner suggestive that it does not occur in the West.  Nothing can be further from the truth.

I was pub crawling with a Marketing lecturer  in one of North London universities when on learning I was a university teacher he asked for my views on SFG.  I said I didnt do it having adopted a policy of not mixing business with pleasure from the time I was an 18 year old single intern; not even with my fellow interns till they started thinking something was wrong with me somewhere.

He narrated how a Polish female student came into his office and was seated in a suggestive posture that bared all for him to see.

He said he confronted her with the statement 'Do you want to fxxx? He refused to oblige her.  He had two wives in Afghanistan.  

He said students were sent to the university not because they knew anything but because they knew nothing.

There was another publicised incident  in the papers of a 40 something lecturer from the University of East Anglia a couple of years before that caught in a liaison with one of his students.

And yours truly was the subject of  baits in the US in similar incidents to the Anglian lecturer which were all resisted.

As an undergraduate student in Nigeria I was witness to one of my female classmates who did the running for one of our lecturers succeeded and the only reason I knew was when he came to drop her off at the female hostel the following morning.  I knew several of the ladies at the time wanted to achieve what she did because of their comments in class.

I have gone to all these length just to show that in many cases and not just in Africa contrary to Moses's stereotyping denigration it is not just the teacher who is doing the harrassing but the female students; but it is the DUTY of the teacher to resist.  Not all teachers have the armoury to resist.

Again I have gone to these length to show that it is such steteotyping by Moses that leads to westerners humiliating African academics without any justifications as when I wanted to teach a group of youngsters and the teaching coordinator was making insulting insinuations that I could see that these were only kids implying that I should make no advances on them!  I felt so humiliated and insulted because they were only a few years older than my own children.

It is for this reason that Im asking Moses to apologise to the majority of the hard working and morally upright Nigerian academics he may have insulted by his comments.  People dont get morally upright simply because they teach in the American academy.  Not all that teach in America are morally upright.  It is not in all cases that academics sexually harrass students; sometimes students do the harrassing in all climes.

Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.

-------- Original message --------
From: Moses Ebe Ochonu <>
Date: 25/07/2017 01:33 (GMT+00:00)
To: USAAfricaDialogue <>
Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Lagos State University in Photos,no.  1

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Oga Falola,

I really have no problem with the idea of celebrating exceptions, nor do I disagree about the moral and philosophical power of exceptionality. Exceptions demonstrate possibilities, and possibilities are what drive initiatives and hopes for improvement and progress. I get all that. But focusing on the exception can be quite misleading and it can exculpate and/or provide undeserved solace to the culpable.

Moreover, personal integrity and ethics are just one aspect of my contention. My main argument has to do with administrative capacity, commitment to students and faculty, nepotism, rigidity, outmodedness, and a general inability to grapple with the challenges of running a university in the twenty first century and doing right by students, the reason why universities exist. 

On Mon, Jul 24, 2017 at 5:46 PM, Toyin Falola <> wrote:
I do not want to get involved with this aspect, having just co-host a successful conference on higher education with over a dozen Vice Chancellors, with three reports already posted on this list.
The major thing that caught my eye is that you don't want to have exceptions. Theoretically, we should not encourage this. Practically, we should promote the culture of exceptions. Morally, it is good to point to good people so that society can have direction.

So, what would you say, if I were to tell you that one former VC is owing me money as we speak….he is on this list. It is not a big sum of money, to be sure, but he does not have it.
So, what would you say, if I were to say that one that I know very well is yet to finish his first and only house? He is so broke that when I saw him at Ondo, I promised to help.
So, what would you say if I were to tell you about Tamuno and Akinkugbe and Ayandele? Two of them are dead and one is alive, but I know their houses and their worth. If anyone were to say that Professor Tamuno stole a cent as VC at Ibadan, that person must be dead crazy.

Or more broadly, if people say that Nigerians are corrupt, I can say that for every Nigeria you accuse of corruption, I will bring 9 Nigerians who are not corrupt. I can say that Professor Gloria Chuku, a current head of her dept, if she sees a brief case of money on the street, will not take it. Or I can say Gloria Emeagwali will never steal anyone's money.

I am not turning exceptions into rule, but to say that society needs those people to make a moral point. Otherwise, society creates a void.

Toyin Falola
Department of History
The University of Texas at Austin
104 Inner Campus Drive
Austin, TX 78712-0220
512 475 7224
512 475 7222 (fax)

From: dialogue <> on behalf of moses <>
Reply-To: dialogue <>
Date: Monday, July 24, 2017 at 3:22 PM

To: dialogue <>
Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Lagos State University in Photos, no. 1


I couldn't agree more about the VCs.... please don't even get me started on them. The processes by which VCs are picked are so corrupt and so riddled with nepotism, politics, and ethno-religious considerations that one would be naive to expect the chosen ones to be anything other than thoroughly politicized appointees with no commitment to faculty and students. As I write this in July 2017, in the twenty first century after the death of Jesus Christ (Prophet Isa), there are VC's in the Nigerian university system who have no email accounts, cannot surf the web even if their lives depended on it, and are functionally computer illiterate---or at least they were before their appointment. I know this for a fact. Go figure. 

Most of their allegiances lay not on campus but elsewhere in the political world. Even the problem of recruitment and retention that looms large over any discussion of faculty mediocrity and misconduct is largely the doing of VCs who force departments and units to hire unqualified minions or kinsmen of theirs, pseudo-academics who have zero interest in teaching, research, mentorship, and service and instead see their positions as platforms to earn salaries and benefits from a federal resource pool that nobody's father supposedly owns. If people like you talk they'll ask you: is it your father's money?

So, yes, VC's are responsible for a big chunk of the problem. They are mediocrity personified, and they enable and reward mediocrity among the professoriate. I have a dinner with the wife, so please let me not ruin my appetite by talking about the VCs, a despicable lot indeed. And please let no one come here to tell me that there are exceptions. Of course there are. But the one who was recently convicted of embezzling more than a billion Naira from Southwestern federal university (google it) is not one of them.

On Mon, Jul 24, 2017 at 1:22 PM, 'Malami buba' via USA Africa Dialogue Series <> wrote:
Dear Moses,
The raw nerve here is 'battles and results', and I'll be very surprised to hear of any 'modest' achiever whose battles with institutional malaise are not greater than their results. And you need to widen the scope of your 'call outs' to include rogue VCs and their corrupting mentorship practices. In my experience, unaccountable VCs are at the centre of every unethical practice in our univeristies. The worst cases relate to students, who 'steal' water from tanks meant for toilets and use tiny torches in classrooms for revision at night! Without water and electricity for students on campus, no one can escape your 'modest' and indicting manifesto! It's modest, because you seem to underestimate the harmful effect of so many university VCs on the well being of students and the few good men and women who are struggling to do no harm as 'best option' under the tyranny of the 'big man'. Despicable sorts!! 

I may be right!


On 24 Jul 2017, at 18:05, Toyin Falola <> wrote:

Excellent points, Moses.
The lost sheep parable by Jesus was all about this.
Anyone with three kids will spend more time and resources on the bad one than the two good ones!!!
We just have to do more work, unfortunately.
More work
More work
More work
Until we are tired.
Sent from my iPhone

On Jul 24, 2017, at 11:57 AM, Moses Ebe Ochonu <> wrote:

Oga Falola,

When I make these critical assessments, I deliberately generalize. That should be obvious to those who know my rhetorical gestures on this topic already. I omit the usual caveats and qualifiers. Of course, there are some exceptions to the picture I am painting---serious, committed scholars. teachers, and mentors in the Nigerian higher education system (some of them are my friends and collaborators). But that is precisely the problem. They are the exception. We need a critical mass of people who are committed to these ideals. That should begin with admitting that many of those who are teaching and mentoring our young people today have absolutely no business being in the academy. And there are way too many of them. If you got a PhD in history and became a professor of history without ever having to go to an archive, how the heck can you mentor a budding historian? How can you teach them how to navigate and make sense of an archive? 

You and I get an ear full whenever we interact with colleagues in Nigerian universities about how deep and hopeless the problem is. Some people from this side who wanted to go and help have been forced back; they had to relocate back to the West, giving up because the committed scholars you mentioned are too few and far between to make a difference. Zeleza and Amutabi seem to be doing well, although I have no detail of their battles and their results. You and I have had several conversations on this topic and we're on the same page. We go to these institutions and see things. You have told me numerous stories that I was not even aware of, stories that are even more scandalous than the ones I saw or experienced myself. Not only that, people within the system bring us the details of the rot and dysfunction. I informally mentor several Nigerian graduate students and you'd cry if you heard their stories. They are being let down by a corrupt and inhumane system and by clueless academics. Some of them who cross over to this side struggle immensely because they had been shortchanged by those who should have prepared them for higher academic challenges. You and I differ only in one sense: you seem to believe that praising people when they do not deserve it and giving effort grades will encourage change in the system. I believe otherwise. I believe that such false praise enables more dysfunction and encourages more impunity. I believe though that what both of us are doing are necessary. Someone needs to constantly call out the culprits of the rot beyond the hackneyed cry of funding. Professorial culprits need to be called out and shamed. At the same time, helping with collaborations, visits, donations, etc is also important, as is acknowledging the effort of those who are seeking to rise above the rot or live out the ideals of the profession. It is not an either/or situation, which is why I give you credit for your efforts. My critique is a systemic one.

By the way, Jennifer, who is a friend, has been in touch about her new AUN gig. She will do well there. AUN is being run on a different model. There is no ASUU there, and recruitment and retention are strictly on merit. Rewards are commensurate with measurable commitments to the ideals of teaching, research, and mentorship, not determined by a blanket national system of remuneration that does not reward or punish individual efforts. Zeleza's institution is also run on a similar model as AUN.

On Mon, Jul 24, 2017 at 10:21 AM, Toyin Falola <> wrote:

These ideas of commitment to higher education—teaching, research and mentorship—are there, from Malami Buba in Sokoto, Onwuka Njoku in Nsukka, Sati in Jos, Adeshina at Ibadan, Imbua at Calabar, Zeleza in Nairobi, Amutabi as Vice Chancellor, etc. etc. etc. that we have no choice but to empower them. My co-editor of African Economic History, Jennifer, has just moved to become the VC of American University in Yola, Nigeria, leaving her job here in the US. We must empower her. A catalog of bad things can be compiled, but where does this leave us? How many people will pack their luggage in Austin and move to Yola? I was approached for this same position and I turned it down.

How do we empower them, as a question, is what makes me sleepless. We must empower them, even minimally by words of encouragement.

We must cumulate what we do, you and I and others.


Toyin Falola
Department of History
The University of Texas at Austin

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