The Oasis Reporters
November 18, 2018
At the grand finale to round up the celebration of the University of Ibadan’s 70th Foundation Day anniversary and the award of doctorate degrees to graduands, Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo who was representing President Muhammadu Buhari was one and a half hours late.
Perhaps noting that he had not done anything significant for the country’s universities, Muhammadu Buhari chose to stay away but sent his Vice president to go pick up the honorary Doctor of Letters, (D. Litt) he was being invested with instead.
An alumnus of the University, Alonzo Awe flew in from his Washington, US base to witness the event in his Alma mater and said that the University of Ibadan is “one of the few remaining establishments reputed for still maintaining sanity and order in the way they do things”.
This time, they “were obviously flustered especially with having to repeatedly appeal to invited guests and remind them that this was not normal and that keeping to time was sacrosanct for the institution… but that this was some sort of aberration outside of their control….it was certainly very embarrassing for the organizers”.
He went on to say that “this took away a lot of shine from the administration, even in the eyes of admirers and onlookers…. the gentleman beside me couldn’t help murmuring at the lack of discipline that this obviously showed especially at such an august gathering where a number of distinguished guests and even foreigners were present”.
Indeed former head of state, General Yakubu Gowon, a gentleman in his 90s was there.
So was the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Abubakar Sa’ad who doubles as the Chancellor of the University was there and the other honorees arguably in their late eighties (Emeritus professor Bolanle Awe, Emeritus professor Grace Alele Williams, Emeritus professor Akin Mabogunje and the 61 year old professor Olopade from the US and health minister, Adeniyi Adewoye). They were all locked in, seated since 9.30 in the morning for the event billed to start at ten o’clock in the morning.
There were hundreds of PhD and Masters degree awardees as well as those coming to collect well deserved diplomas from various affiliated institutions from Nigerian as well as African colleges.
The Conference center was packed full.
Then the Vice president chose to keep them waiting.
When the VP eventually arrived at 11.30 a.m. and had a chance to speak, “he went on and on, and did not for one minute make any reference to the obvious shocking disrespect for timekeeping…..that just isn’t right….I can’t imagine Donald Trump , Theresa May or any others holding up proceedings where eminent compatriots are gathered for one thing, and then lacking the decorum to apologize or explain such disdainful behavior when given an opportunity to speak..my neighbor felt disgusted and even angry that our public officials just take us for granted at every turn..quite frankly at an event marking the 70th Anniversary of the Nation’s premier University, it is honestly inexcusable that the President himself did not find it worthy to personally attend……this is just bad optics if you ask me!!”, concluded Mr. Alonzo Awe.
Many in the audience questioned the proprietary of awarding an honorary doctorate degree to someone who’s performance in the education sector has been underwhelming, just as it has been in other sectors of national life including the security of lives in Nigeria’s Central region.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s presidential reelection campaign kicked off barely 24 hours later. Suggestions have been made that perhaps honorary degrees should not be given to serving political officials. Let it be awarded years after they leave office, when their acts in office have been put under the microscope.