Again, Nigerians were rocked with the news of another sex scandal in a Nigerian university. A professor of English Studies in the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Olusegun Awonusi has been accused of sexual harassment by an unnamed student of the institution. The fresh allegation came a day after the Senate of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) commenced probe into a similar allegation against a professor of Management and Accounting in the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Richard Akindele, who was accused of molestation by a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) student, Monica Osagie.
Every current student and recent graduate of Nigerian universities will not be surprised by this ugly trend. For some years now, a lot of Nigerian male university teachers have made it a norm to demand for sex from their female students mostly in return for grades. These students desire knowledge and mentorship from their teachers but they get sexual harassment in return. Unfortunately for many of these victims of sexual abuse in our universities, they end up being traumatized as it’s either there are no machineries put in place for them to channel their concerns or the ‘cabals’ in our universities silence their cry.
Who then are these cabals? They are the current major problem in Nigerian university system. They are the morally bankrupt individuals masquerading themselves as ASUU unionists. Myself and a number of my loved ones had our degrees at the Lagos State University(LASU) Ojo and during our stay we saw clearly : the challenges that face the Nigerian university system.
This problem of sexual harassment in our universities should have been long solved in Nigeria if the cabals under the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) had not opposed the Sexual harassment Bill that was poised to be passed by the Nigerian Senate. President of the union, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, at a Public Hearing on the Sexual Harassment Bill, organised by the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters vehemently rejected the bill and cried out that it is “targeted at university lecturers”. Should a Lecturer without skeleton in his cupboard be scared of discipline? Not when ASUU stalwarts are the ones mostly involved in the sexual harassment of our female students across our universities.
At the Lagos State University, LASU, where ASUU is busy using lies(thus making a mockery of themselves) to defend its two leaders that were rightfully dismissed for alterations and extortion of money from students, one of those fronting this show of shame – Mr Oyekan Adeolu, the Assistant General Secretary of ASUU-LASU is a notorious abuser known for sexually molesting female students in his office. Mr Oyekan who is equally a Lecturer in the Faculty of Arts, Lagos State University is one of those teachers that passionately demand sex for grades. Furthermore, I recall during my final days as a postgraduate student in LASU when one Dr Ayodele Oluwole of the Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences was on the verge of raping a female student in a hotel room before the whole plot failed. Even Dr Oseni Afisi of Department of Philosophy is known to dish out grades at the rate of five thousand naira (#5,000) per course for the male students while demanding for marathon sex from the female students. Dr Dele Seteolu of Department of Political Science equally spends more time running after female students with a view to get them to bed as opposed to his main occupation which is to teach students and mould them into responsible leaders. Now, very interestingly, all these aforementioned Lecturers are the ones fronting for ASUU in LASU. They are the ones cooking up lies and inundating the media with falsehood all in a bid to shield their evil dealings , and blackmail the university authority against prosecuting them for their misdeeds. I saw all these during my stay in LASU and I wonder why members of ASUU-LASU excos and their die hard supporters are those with skeleton in their cupboards? Why are these teachers bent on plunging our university system to a point of no return? The national leadership of ASUU should not continue to support these criminal elements simply because of the money (check-off dues) that they are benefiting from them.
Consequently, for as long as ASUU has these bad eggs within their circle, we should not expect them to support excellence. Terrible things are happening in Nigerian Universities, and such criminals hide under the protective canopy of ASUU. In fact, investigative journalists should work with students across universities in Nigeria to expose the shady dealings of serial abusers like Mr Oyekan Adeolu who is the Assistant General Secretary of ASUU in LASU and the likes of Akindeles (OAU), Oyewusis (UNILAG) that are dotted across our campuses in Nigeria.
The University of Ilorin achieved great landmarks during the reign of Professor Ishaq Oloyede as the university vice chancellor. The university improved its infrastructures, attracted local as well as foreign investors, flushed out so many bad eggs from its ranks and ushered in years of unbroken academic calendar that stimulated all round development. Very worrisomely, ASUU has a track record of plotting to frustrate visionary and disciplined university vice chancellors.
This explains why astute and visionary university administrators like Professor Oloyede are regarded as a pain in neck of ASUU and their stalwarts. Oloyede represent clear vision and discipline – which ASUU abhors.
Moving forward, university managements must ensure mechanisms that will encourage whistleblowing are put in place to curb this ugly trend. More so,the Nigerian Senate must be firm and ensure the passage of a bill that will protect our students from morally bankrupt Lecturers across our universities. Nigerians must equally demand accountable and responsible unionism from ASUU. The glorious days of Professor Abubakar Momoh and Professor Attahiru Jega in ASUU – when integrity, ideology, discipline and accountability were the watchword of staff unionism must be restored in the Union.
God bless Nigeria.
Ibrahim Alao is a Ms.C graduate of the LASU. He writes from Ibadan.