Friday, April 21, 2017

Flatter to Hire: When People’s Governor Steps on Academic Independence

“The problem with corrupt, corporate, incompetent government is corruption, corporatism and incompetence, not government.”     ~Jerome a Paris, 2004

I can’t seem to get away from this insouciant concern for academic independence and Governor’s Fayose’s penchant for mob rule camouflaged as masses rule. According to news report, the Governor was about to assess the third phase of Ado/Ikere road dualization  when a member of National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) accosted him and request to snap a picture with him. Let’s set aside the image of the corpse member on his knees with two hands raised up for one minute and consider the Governor’s reaction. It is apparent this is a governor rules by fiat and acts based on flattery with an insouciant disregard for academic independence. Can you imagine this happening in any other place other than Nigeria?
Let’s go over the encounter with the Governor’s again, from the Vanguard newspapers account, the youth corper after approaching the governor states: “Good afternoon Mr. Governor, I am a native of Edo, I relocated from Adamawa to Ekiti State because of my love for you, I follow everything you do religiously online, I love you so much and I pray God take you higher and higher. I graduated from UNIBEN with a first class in Political Science and Public Administration, one thing I pray thee Sir, please allow me snap with you Sir”, the Corps member said. Governor Fayose who obliged the request, said to him “go to the provost tomorrow, tell her I asked her to give you automatic employment”.
Note in particular the flattery embedded in the youth corper’s words. The kid must have studied the weakness of our “Donald Trump” like governor, they both love flatteries. I lost count of how many “I love you” in the statement and the icing is “snap with you”. What a show! A first class act of empty blandishment, evident from the fact that the youth corper cannot point to any positive policy impact of the governor other than following the governor “religiously online”. I am sure that includes many insults flung at the president, his wife as well as Governor Fayose’s predecessor, the primal object of his invectives online. Is this youth corper behavior a reflection of the malaise in our education system? Whatever happens to the days when youth corper like late Bamidele Aturu refuses to shake the hands of military governor Lawan Gwadabe of Niger state because he believes military subjugates the will of the people?
Finally let’s examine the governor’s statement: “go to the provost tomorrow, tell her I asked her to give you automatic employment.” This is where we find ourselves in Nigeria. Our governors, like Louis XIV are now “lest cei moi” they are the state. They are laws onto themselves. If we set aside the affront of a state governor, who have history of alleged forgery of education qualifications, commanding the head of an education institution in his state to hire someone by fiat, whatever happens to academic independence?
In any way, the provost reaction was very diplomatic to say the least, she merely asked the youth corper to go bring his curriculum vitae.  If the governor has been familiar with the hiring process in academic institutions he would have realized that often when there is an opening there are lots of qualified applicants waiting in line for interview and the rigorous process is put in place to ensure that applicants are not hired just because they are good at “honeyed words.”

No comments: