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DELSU Convocation: Don Advocates Quality Work, Character Among Nigerian Varsities

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By Joshua Erubami

A former Vice-Chancellor of Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike, Prof. Chinedum Nwajiuba has called on Nigerian universities to retrace the path of rectitude and regain the lost respect of the noble academic profession.

Nwajiuba made the call on Friday while delivering the 16th convocation lecture of Delta State University (DELSU), Abraka, titled “Universities, Leadership and Contemporary Challenges: Are Nigerian Universities failing God and Man?”

Nwajiuba, a visiting scholar at the National Universities Commission (NUC), observed that many universities have deviated from their core mandates of teaching, research and community service, noting that only genuine hard work and excellent character will return Nigerian Universities to the path of dignity.

The professor of Agricultural Economics opined that universities are well-respected institutions globally, noting that professors and other academics are held in awe like the dignified village headmaster of old.

Dissecting the hard question of whether Nigerian universities are failing God and man, Nwajiuba admitted that there are increasing worries over the state of universities in the country, submitting that popular opinion suggests that Nigerian universities “are failing God, man and themselves”. 

“Dear colleagues and friends, the vicissitudes of life and the pressure of everyday survival may have led many colleagues astray”, he told the large audience at the Faculty of Management Sciences Auditorium located at Site 3 of Abraka Campus, DELSU.

“We must seek to return to the path of moral rectitude and to regain our lost respect by the quality of work we do and the character we exhibit.

“We must not eat every food we come across, just because we are hungry.

“We must seek a return of dignity, something as dignifying as the village headmaster of old”.

The erstwhile V-C posited that universities are supposed to be institutions in which the students and staff are proud of their accomplishments and ratings, regretting that current realities show that many students are “not sure about themselves, their universities and their self-confidence”.

On the way forward, Nwajiuba advocated that Nigerian universities should begin to exhibit a nurturing character that will truly qualify them as Alma mater, noting that a good mother does not destroy her children but corrects them in love.

“Even God tells us that a woman’s tenderness does not cease towards the child she bears. It is that serious. A university must never destroy her students.

“Destroying students includes granting results that are not earned, destruction of character, in effect claiming to have found a person worthy in character and learning when that is not the case”, explained the convocation lecturer.

He said Nigerian universities must strive to become “the island of sanity in the midst of the wide ocean of insanity”, and effectively play their roles of teaching/learning, research and community services.

“Too many of us are not imparting on the students; unfortunately, too many students are not interested in learning. What we have today are absentee lecturers and absentee students.

“In the past, the university was a universal place. There was the universe in the universities, but the universe seems to have departed from the universities”.

In his reaction, the Vice-Chancellor of DELSU, Prof. Andy Egwunyenga, commended Nwajiuba for delivering a thought-provoking lecture, adding that the discourse calls for a reflection by Nigerian universities.

Egwunyenga said his administration has continuously prioritised excellence over all mundane considerations, noting that 75% of students’ admission in DELSU is based on merit.

Joshua Erubami boasts a decade of experience in practical journalism with extensive expertise cutting across print, broadcast and online journalism. With adequate academic and professional qualifications, he navigates the ever-evolving landscape of journalism with clarity, impact, and relevance.

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