By: Suchet Baba
Nigerian university lecturers are all mighty and powerful, they are like gods. This article is for the young budding, full of life academics about to be indoctrinated into the Nigerian academia. It is valuable information that you’ll need, to walk with pride in the hallways of professors, who by the way in Nigeria are mostly old and greying. This is so they can respect you and see you as one worthy of sitting with them at the table, one capable of keeping the culture alive.
Read this carefully and jot things down. The moment you’re inducted, you’ll need a strategy, and these are some of the things you can do. First, you need to reserve the highest grade for immortals, like Jesus, Allah, Sango, Amadioha, or any deity you worship. Mortals shouldn’t get an A. It can be only over your dead body. You didn’t get A’s in some courses during your time, what makes the students think they are better than you? If you do this, the students will fear you, and other lecturers will respect you.
Next, everyone has a style; lifestyle, fashion style, writing style etc. As a lecturer, it is important you have an outstanding style; style of lecture, style of setting exam questions and how they should be answered. It is also important that the students study your style as much as they’ll study for the course you teach, because if it is not your way, no other way should work. How dare they be experimental or innovative in the way they answer questions. So even if they answer the questions right, as long as it’s not the way you want, there’s no way they can pass. However, what you can do to help the few smart ones is to drop subtle hints; some of them will catch it.
The next tip I’ll give, some may consider it corrupt, but don’t mind them, this country was built on corruption, our leaders are corrupt but have gotten away with it, so why not you? Besides, this is even a norm in Nigerian universities; no one will look at you in an odd manner. It is crucial, especially since the palliatives called salary that the government gives you cannot be sufficient to take care of your needs. Think of your children and the fact that they need to have very fancy things. You’ll need the extra income, and you can milk this from your vast class of no less than a hundred students. All you have to do is sell photocopies of books – handouts if you may, for a fee. Now the trick is, you have to make it compulsory for them to buy if they want to pass the course. If you don’t, they have the vastness of the internet filled with a variety of resources. If you ever get reprimanded for this, tell them a monkey or snake was the one doing this corrupt practice, not you. They’ll believe. After all, we are very gullible in this country.
I’m about to burst your bubble with the upcoming tip. This one may disappoint you, but I’m only telling you to prepare you. Now you probably have dreams of being a professor before you clock 40. Truthfully, I have only seen this in movies. Brace yourself and calm your blood. I know you’re very brilliant and you have dreams solid as a brick wall. Unfortunately, the bad news is, this is Nigeria. Religion, tribe and nepotism determine how you move, so join the queue, your babas, egbons and uncles haven’t made professor yet. What makes you think you can just come and be one, because you think you’re smart? Patience is a virtue, they say, so calm down.
When you finally become a professor after the Nigerian education system has beaten you to a pulp and you’ve started greying and having wrinkles, the first thing you have to do is dump those new model cars. Go for a vintage one. Let the engine cough, puff and smoke till everyone knows you’re a professor and you’ve only just arrived. Those new models can’t earn you any respect.
This tip is for the ogas in the game. You can’t have your students seeing you all the time. When the semester begins, don’t show up. Why should you be in class when even the students haven’t fully resumed? Show up once or twice mid-semester, then come back like the boss that you are at the end, dump notes, schedule makeup classes and heap it all on them. This is the university; it’s not meant to be a party or a place to chill.
To cap it all, if you’re of the male sex, you have to prey on those pretty and vulnerable female students that aren’t academically sound. Some lecturers made it to the BBC some time ago for sexual harassment. I know it’s your dream to get featured on the BBC. This is one of the fastest ways to get on there. I’ll write a whole other article that will help you get fame for all the wrong reasons that get overlooked in Nigeria. There may be a few ridiculous tips, but you need that extra fame. Students need to sing your name; you need to live in their minds. So I know you’ll read it.
You really don’t need to thank me. What do I earn if I have wisdom but don’t share?
Suchet Baba is a writer, blogger and copywriter. Rainy days, cats and a good book are top on the list of her favourite things. Twitter: @suchett_