The Vice-Chancellor, University of Ibadan, Prof. Kayode Adebowale; the Dean, Faculty of Science of the university, Prof. Adekunle Bakare, and some other lecturers have said the exodus of lecturers from Nigerian universities to seek greener pastures abroad is putting the future of universities in jeopardy.
They said despite the mass retirement of experienced and young lecturers, universities could not employ new hands to replace them because of an embargo of government policy.
They spoke on Monday evening at the valedictory lecture in honour of a renowned Professor of Organometallic and Coordination Chemistry, Timothy Odiaka, on his retirement from the University of Ibadan, having clocked 70 years.
They all showered encomiums on Odiaka, who they said retired from the UI after serving for 41 years and five months and had produced many great scholars and others who are currently doing well in many areas.
The vice chancellor said the government’s embargo on employment in the civil service and extended to universities had caused many problems.
He said, “The unfortunate aspect that we experience in the university was when there was an embargo on employment, and it was extended to universities. They thought universities were like the civil service, and that caused a lot of problems.
“The older ones who are supposed to mentor the yong ones are leaving the system, the younger ones who are expected to be mentored are not available they are leaving with all their experiences and it’s like we are burning our candle from both sides and that is very unfortunate.”
He said he eventually got approval for the university to employ 600 workers and said the recruitment exercise would begin soon.
The Dean of the Faculty of Science said the impact of the exodus of the best brains from the country had not been felt yet despite what was being experienced. He said the situation would be terrible in the near future if nothing urgent was done to reverse the trend.
Bakare said, “The Faculty (of Science) is experiencing significant attrition regarding its member of staff. The Faculty of Science is undoubtedly the biggest faculty at the University of Ibadan. The “Big size” simply means “big work/duties” in a system where we are not able to add more to the staff employed years ago, and yet the responsibilities keep on increasing.
“On the 9th of this month, I wrote on the Faculty of Science general WhatsApp platform that we are in the season of 70th birthday and retirement from active service of the University of Ibadan.
“Professor Timothy Isioma Odiaka is the sixth person from the Faculty of Science that is retiring from the services of the University of Ibadan.
“We are looking forward to the seventh sometime in December this year. Apart from these retirees and those who have joined the saint triumphant, we have information on those who have resigned for one reason or the other and those planning to leave the system later, no thanks to the current industrial activities in our system.
” I am reliably informed that what is happening in the Sciences cuts across the other Faculties and that we are just starting as the season of 70s for those born in the 50s is here and to be closely followed by those born in the 60s. The University system needs help, not only because of today but tomorrow.
“May I plead with the Committees of Pro-Chancellors, Vice-Chancellors, Nigerian Academy of Science, other academies in the country, and every other stakeholder in Nigeria to kindly rise up to the occasion so as to minimize or stop this “academic bleeding” that we are experiencing.”
Odiaka, in an interview with our correspondent, blamed the military for the decay in the nation’s universities.
He said, “We are in trouble in Nigeria, and the Federal Government is not helping us. The younger ones who are brilliant have relocated abroad. As soon as they complete the first degree, they relocate abroad, they do well there, and they are not coming back to this country.
“This country has been destroyed by the military. Muhammadu Buhari was a military man when he drove away the government of the late Shehu Shagari. He came back and wear , and we voted for him but see what we are suffering now. He is still a military man. That military instinct is still there, he has not changed, and that is why we are suffering.
“To address this situation now, Nigerians should watch those campaigning now closely and know who to vote for. If they tell you they are going to make one naira to equal to one dollar, stop corruption and bring electricity and all that, ask them how are you going to do it? Don’t just believe their promises.
“What has Buhari done since he came almost eight years ago? He has done nothing, and we should learn to choose right leaders in 2023. We should watch them and pray to God to help us to choose the right leaders.”