It is apt that, on the day that the Academic Staff Union of Universities, (ASUU) begins a month long industrial action across public universities in Nigeria, we remind ourselves of one of the conditions of possibility of such an action. Although delivered in October 1998 as a Social Science Council of Nigeria Public Lecture series under the title “The Future of Scholarship in Nigeria” by Prof Ayo Banjo, these two paragraphs below do speak to the present condition. They go as follows:
“Other problems besetting the university system have been carefully documented, notably by the Longe Commission, the failure to implement whose recommendations are a standing reproach to this country and the Proceedings of the 1993 Awolowo Foundation Dialogue, (Akinkugbe, O. O ed, 1994). Rather than implement the recommendations of the Longe Report, the government recently set up two parallel committees to cover the same grounds, and then a third committee to reconcile the submissions of the earlier two. There, we have a telling example of what use is made of the fruits of scholarship in our country.
“Meanwhile, pseudo-scholarship is flourishing outside the university system. Hardly a day passes without an advertisement in the newspapers announcing one seminar or another, often in one of the most expensive hotels in the land, (the organisers would not touch the facilities in the universities with a long pole, and for good reasons, too!). Keynote Address, it is announced, is to be given by a big name in society who knows next to nothing about the subject to be discussed. Other participants, beyond a sprinkling of genuine scholars, are also taken from the country’s Who’s Who. Scholarship is thereby being additionally devalued and the country has gained hardly anything at all from these social events which pretend to be something else”
Ayo Banjo, a professor of Linguistics was a Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan