Professor of History and Director, Centre for Black Culture and International Understanding, Osogbo, Osun State, Siyan Oyeweso has called for restructuring of the country saying it will curb the lopsidedness in employment and admission into universities nationwide.
Oyeweso who made this call , recently, while delivering the 20th convocation lecture titled, Plural Loyalties and Multiple Identities in Post-Independence Nigeria’, of the Nigerian Academy of Letters (NAL) at the University of Lagos, expressed concern that ethnic or tribal cleansing has created a scenario where misfits or average are traded for merits, resulting in lack of square pegs in a round hole.
According to him, “ Be it a state or federal university, it is an uphill task for a non indigene to aspire for the top office however brilliant he or she is. In any state university today, it is difficult for any non indigene to aspire to the positing of a vice chancellor or registrar if he is not from that state. What we have done in Nigeria is to indegenise or ‘villagised’ the appointment of top principal officers.
“Even in federal universities, the scenario is the same. If you are not from a geo-political zone where the university is located, you cannot become a VC; and that began since 1979.”
The university don expressed concern that the standard of appointing vice-chancellors in the country has been betrayed saying, , “universities are international in concept and scope. Management of a university can decide to hire their vice chancellor from the United Kingdom or the United State of America. They can even advertise using the best journal. But today, the national or international standard has been betrayed. Even the appointment process is already skewed against non-indigenes.
“I know of a university in Nigeria where 90 per cent of the workers and 95 per cent of students are from that state. Appointments and admissions are allocated on the basis of local governments. They call it ‘state character’ or ‘federal character’ if its federal place, or use other nomenclatures like catchment areas and so on.
“That means a candidate may score 270, yet be denied admission if he or she is not from the state, while another candidate who scored 230, would be consider for admission.
Oyeweso however said the implementation of the 2014 National Confab must be revisited .
“We must renegotiate and redefine the structure of governance in Nigeria. Call it restructuring, call it dialogue. Truths is, we must sit down and talk because Nigeria is a renegotiated concept since 1914 (when Southern Nigeria was joined with Northern Nigeria Protectorate to form the single colony of Nigeria), through to 1999,” he said
The high point of the event was NAL’s investiture of five new fellows including Professor Olutayo Charles Adesina, brother to Mr. Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President on Media.
Earlier, President NIL Prof Olu Obafemi, said the title of the lecture was drawn against Nigeria current socio-political upheavals, adding that at no time in the country’s history has it suffered this kind of political, ethnic and economic challenge.
“The level of insecurity is also frightening. Therefore, this lecture was conceptualists to look into some of these challenges and proffer solutions as Nigeria moves into another general election next year.”