By Hashim Suleiman
Professor Farooq Kperogi has once again come to attempt to hoodwink us with his very well written grammars, which does sway certain people into believing a lot of the things he reels out, including my humble self at sometimes back. But I have lately chosen to attempt to engage some of his opinions especially when they touch on some very important fabrics. In this latest one, he attempted to insinuate that Pantami’s award of professorship by the prestigious FUT, Owerri was unmerited and I beg to disagree with such conclusions.
He felt that Pantami had not written enough publications to merit being a professor and I wondered if truly just write ups should be the reason for awarding professorship even when they don’t impact anything to the society nor the academic environment. Let me give an example of some of us who were not the ones carrying first in class owing to the fact that we don’t cram to write exams and that forms what most teachers and lectures prefer around here. Fast forward to today, majority of those crammers are today finding it hard to understand the workings of the street nor integrate properly into a progressive venture. All of their humongous write up are gathering dusts wherever they are and have not made any impact to the individuals nor the society. Why should professor Farooq not think towards contributing to the advancement of the criteria for award of professorship as against sticking to an old method that has in many cases not turned out progressive.
Let me also give an example with an argument I’ve been trying to push out in the Nigeria’s civil service sector where there’s an alleged law that stops civil servants who are professionals from practicing their professions. Perhaps, this law was made back in the days with the aim of mitigating conflict of interests but trust me, along the line, it has deprived that civil service of practical professionals who are solution providers. I believe this law is archaic and must be revisited as soon as possible in order to allow civil servants, who have instruments of practice, to do so while ensuring that personal interests are not in conflict with such practice.
In view of the foregoing, let me attempt to evaluate why I feel Prof. Isa Ali Pantami merits more being a professor if there is anything as such. Firstly, he did obtain his PhD through proper academic participation at the Robert Gordon University and he had been lecturing at the ATBU, Bauchi before proceeding to the UK. He also left UK to the University in Medina, Saudi Arabia to lecture and while doing such Prof Kperogi stated in one of his write ups how they had been exchanging notes with Prof. Pantami. The man did not leave lecturing because he didn’t like it or was tired of it, he left because his credentials had been admired by a government who thought they could utilize it for the good of a nation. If Prof. Kperogi could merit an award, why not Prof. Pantami.
Ever since such appointment was made, a sector, which Nigeria and her government never exploited or knew existed in terms of harnessing it, has been brought forward by this man to the extent that it has become the most functional and promising sector in the country’s economy.
It is somewhat miraculous that any one man can formulate all the strategies and policies in a sector he’s given to manage within two years and equally make them manifest within same period. If this is not genius, then what could ever be. I thought the idea behind professorship was to portray genius out of a person in a particular sector. Just recently, Inyene Ibanga had to publish a compendium of Prof. Pantami’s speeches and submissions in the Digital Economy drive, a voluminous book that I’ve not finished reading but so far rich in digital contents enough to serve as a tutorial material in an academic environment or for research and development purposes for any individual.
One of the cardinal pillars of Prof Pantami’s policies is the Digital Literacy which birthed things like the NITDA Academy which is an online school that certifies people in ICT and has affiliations to Microsoft and other major ICT players. Majority of interventions that his sector has made was to tertiary institutions in order that the aim of ensuring improved digital literacy in the society is achieved. The professor did not just formulate these policies, he equally lives it which has eventually culminated into mentorship for the sector.
Consequently, I’ll exit this session by concluding that Prof Pantami’s intellectual contribution to the society more than merits a Professorship award just as Prof Kperogi has equally made enough contributions regardless of how controversial to merit is his professorship award.
Hashim Suleiman, [email protected]