Nigeria and triviality in appointments of VCs of Universities

Admin 24-Jul-2020 Opinion

By Markus Avong

Many Nigerians have expressed delight in the recent appointment of Professor Charles Egbu, a Nigerian, as Vice-Chancellor (VC) of Leeds Trinity University, United kingdom.

I read the online messages from many Nigerians including notable personalities like  His Excellency, former Vice President,  Atiku Abubakar, and His Excellency,  President Mohammadu Buhari. My humble self joins these teaming Nigerians in congratulating Prof Egbu and wishing him success.

And, like the former Vice President said, this appointment goes to show that there are many hardworking and trustworthy Nigerians out there doing what they know best in their various fields of human endeavors for the general good and thus, making the country proud than those few bad eggs in our midst.

While reading the outpouring of delightful and congratulatory messages from Nigerians, the question that comes to my mind is – could Prof. Egbu have been appointed the  VC of a Nigerian University outside his locality if he was in Nigeria?  The answer is NO!

Neither of our past democratically elected Presidents nor the present President (Governor for state-owned  University), would have, seamlessly, appointed Prof. Egbu as  VC of  a Nigerian  Public University outside of his catchment area no matter his qualification and/or merit for the position because of  mundane reasons :

Firstly, the Prof wouldn’t have mustered  enough confidence in the system to enable him to  submit himself for consideration for the job and if he does; the usually sentimental University Senates would not have voted him among the listed Candidates for final selection for the office and if they do

Some powerful mover(s) and shaker(s) of the Nigerian society (politicians, traditional/religious leaders, etc,  etc ) would have weighed in and distorted the situation for selfish motives and if they don’t the President/Governor and Visitor to the University would have simply lacked the guts to do the needful.

Some members of the host community would have been mobilized, by vested interests, to stage unsolicited protests against the appointee and citing frivolous excuses to justify their actions.

There’s no doubt that Prof Egbu got appointed on merit and he will put in his best including the last bit of his energy, to justify the gesture and confidence reposed on him. Back at home, triviality would have overwhelmed reason in determining the appointment.

And by the time the skewed appointment would have been done and finished, long queues of visitors/well-wishers, of various interests and characters, would have been streaming to his office and residence – not to congratulate and encourage the appointee to justify his new position with hard work – but to remind him that God has deemed it fit to give him food and that now it is the turn/chance of his kinsmen, friends, etc, etc, to eat from the crumbs from his table.

And for those who made the appointment to be ( the King Makers) – the Vice-Chancellor would have been thinking of how best to pay them back in kind and in cash!

Yes – Prof Egbu was appointed on merit in a foreign land and he will justify the gesture by doing his all and all to move Leeds Trinity University forward.

Back here, at home, he would have been thinking of how to strangulate the system, even if to a standstill, in order to meet the perverse and insatiable appetite of those who crowned him VC.

If we are happy that the United Kingdom appointed our own to this enviable position without let or hindrance that means we know and like what’s good!  Why can’t we replicate similar things back home so as to move the country forward?

Can we loosen ourselves from the cords of creed, greed, nepotism, ethnicity, etc, etc, that are holding us hostage so that we can fast track our development processes?

Dr. Markus A. Avong, wrote in from Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria.

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