University Education: Nigerian Scholars, Stop Quality Knowledge Production War

University Education: Nigerian Scholars, Stop Quality Knowledge Production War

In the last few weeks, Nigerian scholars in Nigeria and those in developed countries have been debating on which group produces quality knowledge in terms of research and teaching. Professor Toyin Falola appears to be the first actor from those in the developed countries, such as the United Kingdom and the United States of America, who ignited the ‘great conversation’ recently. With two different pieces, while was alive, Professor Pius Adesanmi stressed the need for seeking new research and teaching practices by the young and established African scholars in order to be at par with those in the developed world.

After three days of analysing the ongoing conversation on who produces quality knowledge? African scholars in Africa or African scholars in developed world. Our analyst concluded that one group is not really better than the group despite the avalanche of evidences in terms of quality infrastructure, people, strong commitment and shared vision of quick completion of postgraduate studies by supervisors with their students that differentiate the groups.

This is premised on the fact that evidences have shown that outcomes -graduates, research outputs and contribution to the economic growth are mixed. In some countries that constitute the developed world, we have seen how the quality people, infrastructure and supportive framework from the government and the private sector produce moderate outcomes. We have also seen how these inputs led to high outcomes in some countries in the developing world. Likewise, high outcomes in developed world than in the developing one.

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Some years ago, Professor Pius Adesanmi wrote on the Academic Staff Union of Universities’ incessant strike, highlighting its impacts on the concerned stakeholders and the country’s higher education growth in particular. The article titled ASUU: A Personal Voyage Around a Strike identified the Union, lecturers, the Nigerian government and universities as actors. In another piece titled Nugget for the Emerging African Scholar, he pointed out what emerging African scholars need to do to be at par with others in the world. He emphasised the place of globalization and internationalization of knowledge through seminar and research collaboration. In his pieces received fewer negative reactions from the scholars in Africa then. Some of the issues, needs and insights in the articles were seen as what could be addressed through collective efforts [by the African scholars in Africa and African scholars in the developed world].

However, Professor Toyin Falola’s piece adds a new angle to the discourse. Since the historian and one of Nigerian prominent professors in diaspora released his piece to the public, there are have been arguments, counterarguments and alternative arguments from the African scholars in Africa, especially in Nigeria. Our checks reveal that both the established and young scholars have expressed their views. Examination of the views indicates that there are two school of thoughts [addressing the issues and addressing personality school of thoughts].

Each of these schools of thoughts have actors and followers. According to our analysis, in some situations, actors played the role of followers not only being the actors. Actors and followers in the addressing the issues school of thoughts believe that identified problems need to be addressed without necessarily attacking individuals and authorities at home. Actors and followers in the addressing personality school of thoughts are of the view that individuals, authorities and governments should be blamed for the poor knowledge production.

Our analysis covers the response of Professor Moses Ochonu [Professor of African History at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, USA] based on Professor Toyin Falola’s piece. Professor Ochonu focused on academic, diaspora, Professor Falola, Nigeria and Nigerian. Following Professor Ochonu’s path, Mohammed Dahiru Aminu, assistant Professor of Petroleum Chemistry at the American University of Nigeria, Yola, titled his piece Of Toyin Falola, African Scholars and the Western Academy.  He focused on quality of doctorate, research, universities. Bode Ojoniyi, who lives in Osogbo, the Osun State Capital, is another person who replies Professor Falola with the title When the Nigerian Diaspora Academics Write Back to the ‘Locals’…He focused on academic, academics, diaspora, gods [referring to some individuals and authorities making knowledge production difficulty in Nigeria] and Nigeria.

Dr Olisa Godson Muojama is one of the people who replied Professor Ochonu. His piece is titled Professor Ochonu’s Vituperation on ASUU strike. He is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of History, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria He focused on ASUU, government, Professor Ochonu, universities. Okechukwu Nwafor, a Professor of Art History at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, has also responded to Professor Falola’s piece. He focused on academics, diaspora, home, Nigerian and West.

Exhibit 1: Dominant Words in Adesanmi’s Write-Up (a)

Source: Pius Adesanmi, Infoprations Analysis, 2021

Exhibit 2: Dominant Words in Adesanmi’s Write-Up (b)

Source: Adesanmi, Infoprations Analysis, 2021

Exhibit 3: Dominant Words in Muojama’s Write-Up

Source: Muojama, 2021; Infoprations Analysis, 2021

Exhibit 4: Dominant Words in Okechukwu’s Write-Up

Source: Okechukwu, 2021; Infoprations Analysis, 2021

Exhibit 5: Dominant Words in Moses’ Write-Up

Source: Moses, 2021; Infoprations Analysis, 2021

Exhibit 6: Dominant Words in Bode’s Write-Up

Source: Bode, 2021; Infoprations Analysis, 2021

Exhibit 7: Dominant Words in Aminu’s Write-Up

Source: Aminu, 2021; Infoprations Analysis, 2021

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