Post 30 March 2006
Last Updated on 23 April 2008
By Prince Charles Dickson
The typical Nigerian Politician never frowns or looks away at any and every opportunity at getting one award, two degrees, several chieftaincy titles and multiple commendations, he includes in his CV several countries he has visited even if some of those nations are those he passed on transit, and he cares less. He adds his boys scout achievements and church and mosque donations as leadership credentials. Allah save us! I love Nigeria, wish I had a choice, but happily I do not, my nation gives me so many reasons not to, I am sure it is the only nation where all I have to do to have the prefix Dr. added to my name is to smile towards the pockets of the ‘right’ people, embark on one project and gbam, the next convocation I will certainly be assured one of the many papers with ribbon called degrees. And the next day I would award a contract to the government printer to reflect the new status.
Not that I lost sight of these mad development of degrees for sale and buy, but the recent madness of Abdullahi Adamu of Nassarawa and the probing of one of my readers made me decide to take another swipe on our psychiatric patients called leaders.
As of the last court there were ninety-four pages of ad in four major newspapers congratulating the Nassarawa State
helmsman on his conferment of honorary doctorate of Law by Nnamdi Azikwe University
and that of the University Of Port Harcourt
. At an average of one hundred and sixty thousand Naira per page, some one should do the calculation and tell me if this is not sheer madness. I would not have bothered about the figure but for the fact that ¾ of that figure is from government coffers-self praise for failure.
It is sad to note that there is no Governor apart from the new Anambra helmsman who is Mr. Something, Fayose of Ekiti once was but has since joined the bandwagon of the titled men and men of degrees. I am still waiting to see if the Federal Government would withdraw the national honours done to Tafa Balogun and other disgraced honour holders, like others before him, how do the communities, religious organisations that give these honours feel when it is discovered that the recipients are simply crooks. Let no one misinterpret me, I do not condemn the honorary degree thing in totality but what I advocate is some level of sanity. I do not want to believe that Abdullahi Adamu cuffed out 44.7 million Naira to get a doctorate degree but then how about Peter Odili that expended some 82 million Naira for celebrating the conferment of some chieftaincy thing on him by the Ooni of Ife.
There is presently a serving government official that has a store for plagues, four filling cabinets of 11 drawers for all manner of certificates from Tom, Dick and Harry Universities
. If Emeka Anyaoku, or Wole Soyinka, Leo Stan Ekeh or known business persons get this honour it is understandable but when government officials spend scarce federal and state resources for the whole show it is saddening.
During the last University of Jos, convocation, the whole of Benue and Jigawa States relocated to Jos because their governors were to be robed as doctorate degree holders by honour, Akume bought a bus for Benue Students on campus, gave any undisclosed amount of money to the Students, There was a standing order for all state functionaries to be in Jos at government’s expense, as government activities in both States were brought to a halt. Even a life was lost during the thanksgiving service that followed.
The pages of newspapers have lately been filed with the faces of the likes of Kalu, Abdullahi and co looking like new masquerades from the turbanning ceremonies they have participated in just to score cheap political points. When the electorates whose votes they claim put them there (we know better) suffer hunger and deprivation.
Certainly because we all went to school to some certain level either walled school or street school, it is easy to play with words, these chieftaincy titles and Honorary Degree are given for selfless services to humanity to persons whom we all know the only self they profess to is that which has 'fish' at the end. Congratulations to an achiever but their only claim to achievement are the lies they always cannot get published so they resort to supplementary adverts and commercials which are based on pay, write and are carry by our Nigerian
newspapers (not all).
If a Governor, a public official wants to be chief, he should go back to his village and play traditional politics, if he wants a doctorate he should go to the classroom and do as others have done and graduate with dignity and integrity. Show me a Governor, Minister or top shot since the inception of this our free spending democracy that has not collected one traditional title or one doctorate degree or the other and I will show you Angel Gabriel’s twin.
When a United States University
is not deceivable, they go as far as Isle of Man
or Port Novo for the degrees and with States Universities debuting here and there, it would be easier. Only months ago both IBB and Buhari were turbaned in Abia state. The idea is that you must be either a dr. or chief to be a complete leader so we have an astonishing number of chief Dr, or Dr chief so, so and so of so, the whole thing is total rubbish, a Muslim addressed as Alhaji Musa Ik (JP) the JP which stands for Jerusalem Pilgrim, I also know of a 'common' local government chairman who was given the fellowship of a polytechnic and had been to Jerusalem twice insist that he be addressed as Alhaji, fellow ABC, JP x 2, he had been to Mecca on an official assignment once the reason for the Alhaji, even though he was a deacon in Church.
In Nassarawa, it is easy for the Governor to continue to beat his chest about setting up a University, to me the truth is that if you provide education that is unaffordable and you have education without health, roads, infrastructural development, then it is just showmanship because nothing will cahnge.
On a good note the Cross River State government
has banned civil servants from being conferred with or certified as chieftaincy holders. This me thinks is good and I think this can be improved upon by the larger society which includes the Universities , communities and bodies that confer these honours.
These craze for titles and recognition is breeding a form of corruption that we have decided to close our eyes to and only Allah can save us from this ignorance.