Dear Harvard Friend 2

Dear friend, ever heard of Covenant University? It is a Nigerian University and has a Nobel prize winner on its faculty. This defeats your proposition that no Nigerian University has a Nobel Peace winner on its faculty. Quoting Oluwafemi Oyesile, a Mechanical Engineering product of the University of Ibadan, ‘To say that UI has not been of relevance to our society is to be a victim of the dangers of a single story. There are lots of research works that have been carried out in the University of Ibadan that have solved economic challenges we are facing in this country. One of which is the Waste Management Program in Bodija Market that was initiated by a lecturer in the department of Mechanical Engineering in collaboration with lecturers from other departments.’ That is a notable example of a development to our immediate community.
Citing a report by A Better Nigeria; ‘The United States National Institute of Health recently awarded the Medical Education Partnership Initiative (MEPI) grant to University of Ibadan- 130 million dollars, African perspective on Human mobility granted (Oxford) 117,198.50 dollars, WHO- markers for protective immune responses against clinical malaria- 69, 554 dollars, Strengthening MSC programme in Plant Breeding- Alliance for a green revolution- 259 , 760 dollars, partnership for higher education in Africa, south African institute of Distance Education- 191 154.27 dollars.
Williams Adeyemi, a student of the University of Ibadan has this to say; ‘There are at least 2000 universities/ colleges in the US and many Nigerian professors who were taught in Nigerian universities are teaching in those universities. Even if they got their PhDs from foreign schools, they were admitted for those degrees with their first degrees. We also have several Nigerian graduates performing excellently as professionals all over the world.’
A classic example is Prof. Biodun Jeyifo B.A. English (1970) University of Ibadan. He is currently a professor of Africa and African-American Studies and Comparative Literature at that prestigious Harvard University of yours. He has not only taught in Harvard University, he taught at Cornell University (18years English Professor), Queens College, New York and other leading Universities in the United States. Do not forget, I reiterate, do not forget that he is a bona-fide alumnus of my alma-mater.
Prof Francis Abiola Irele B.A. (1960) University of Ibadan is widely regarded as the doyen of Africanist Literary Scholar worldwide. He was a visiting Professor of Africa and Africa-American Studies and Romance languages and Literature for many years at the ‘prestigious’ Harvard University.
Niyi Osundare B.A. University of Ibadan became a Professor of English and Literary Studies at the University of Ibadan in 1989 and became a Professor at the University of New Orleans in 1997. Dear friend, our products speak by their deeds.
Dear friend, Kelechi Opara, a product of the University of Ibadan posits that there is more to nation-building and strong institutions than university training. For him, motivation and commitment of a well-structured and efficient public service system is the foundation for a prosperous country, and not individual scholarly excellence.
On a conclusory note, Dear friend, I did not graduate from the University of Ibadan with a First class. However, was I schooled in Harvard, Yale, Princeton, MIT, Cornell or any other overrated Ivy League schools, I will graduate with a Half-class.
Ore Afolayan
Proud University of Ibadan product!


Dear Harvard Friend

‘UI is the best education money can afford in this part of the world’- Late Prof. Olu Owolabi
It beats me and it is also a slap on my face that someone will cherry-pick some misguided specifics at will to mock my alma-mater, the one and only University of Ibadan.
For a start, I will love to inform my dear Harvard friend that there is a difference between a Nigerian University and a University in Nigeria. Not stopping at that, there is also a clear-cut contrast between The University of Ibadan, Ibadan and a Nigerian University.
Let’s continue!
Dear friend, in your write-up, you stated some horrific and cool-spot opinions in an attempt to ridicule the Nigerian Premier University, a citadel of learning built on a city of red earth. However, I’ll forgive your flaws on the premise that you wrote your article over 5years ago and had not appropriately made thorough consultations and fact-finding researches recently. Had that not been so, I will accordingly ask where you were when the University of Ibadan was taking breath-taking strides recently.
Dear friend, in the essay you presented, you posit that the likes of Ore Afolayan, Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, Emeka Anyaoku wasted their time and money by being alumni of the University of Ibadan. Well, as you said, the names I mentioned are just proofs that I would highlight for terming UI, Ibadan a great school. You are right. For that I ask, how will you ascertain if a tractor is good or bad, if not by the farm produce it brings to fore? On that note, I will categorically state that you lost your first argument.
Dear friend, in a subsequent line, you stated that the prestigious University of Ibadan did not make a list of top 1000colleges and Universities in the world as catalogued few years ago. For this, I will humbly ask, ’Who draw up these lists, for whose interests are these lists drawn, what parameters do these lists use as determinants of who is to be ranked 1st or who is to be ranked 1000th asides what is obtainable on Google.comand does the fact that University of Ibadan, Ibadan did not appear on a list dispute that the compilers of this list in mass come to UI by all means necessary(exchange programs inclusive), to not see the good side of UI and compile a better list if need be, rather, they come to UI to learn our Indigenous languages and other disciplines from our tutors so as to be better students of knowledge.
Dear friend, you posit that Nigeria is yet to earn respect and collateral value nurturing anything to worldwide standards. Really? Do you really mean this? Sir, please, do not say this in unrestricted fora. Before I jump to a conclusion on this, what is your definition of worldwide standards? Sir, who is the 1986 Nobel Laureate? Sir, who authored Things Fall Apart- a book translated to more than 50 official languages? Sir, who is Emeka Anyaoku? Maybe when you amplify what worldwide standards means, we can have a duel on this.
Dear friend, your emphasis on lists beats me (Top 1000 colleges and Universities list, list of IMF, World Bank, UN citing a study/research/­survey). It severely boxes me to a corner. Sir, the University of Ibadan do not, I reiterate, do not need a list to receive Grants periodically from the MacArthur Foundation neither does it need any list to produce individuals worthy in character, learning and sound judgment that will impact positively to their local community and the world at large.
Dear friend, at long last, you attest to the fact that Wole Soyinka is a value brought to the world by the University of Ibadan. However, stating that jealousies and a flawed leadership was the reason why an Institute wasn’t built in his name is a faulty assertion. Sir, I will point here that, the University of Ibadan do not operate in such manner. Though, such may be done over there in the Ivy League schools, I will state here emphatically that my alma-mater does not seek to be a replica, a carbon copy of such schools. We are the University of Ibadan, and not the University College, Ibadan which was/is an affiliate of the University of London. As an addendum, rather than build an institute built in his name, the University of Ibadan had organized several events in his honour. Of note was at the 66th Foundation Day of my alma-mater.
Sir, we are not interested in seeking reputation based on the achievement of a particular person. Instead, we build a reputation based on the collective efforts of every student, every lecturer, every administrator and every member of staff-academic and non-academic. We are UI, a school marching on to greatness with the individual efforts of U and I!
Dear friend, ever heard of Covenant University? It is a Nigerian University and has a Nobel prize winner on its faculty. This defeats your proposition that no Nigerian University has a Nobel Peace winner on its faculty. Quoting Oluwafemi Oyesile, a Mechanical Engineering product of the University of Ibadan, ‘To say that UI has not been of relevance

Dear Unibadan Friend

Actually if one attended UI, they wasted their money and time. How about that for a start? UI as the oldest institution of higher education in Nigeria, does not have worldwide reputation worth anything except the pride and enlarged ego by those that attended the university. When the top 1000 colleges and universities in the world was catalogued a few years ago, UI did not make the list, but one South Africa institution managed to make the cut. Nigeria as the most populous black nation in the world, is yet to earn respect and collateral value nurturing anything to worldwide standards. It is about dance in the square hi-5ing with ‘beer parlor chants and cheers’, while serious nations are placing their institutions on enviable lists and using such to attract investments and grants. UI has not attracted say $10m or N2b in any given year in research grants. If it has, let it say when and for what? How come UI leadership did not cash in on Wole Soyinka Nobel Prize status and sought to create an institute in his name and use the ‘NP’ to attract literal reputation to the university and in turn revenue? No, given petty jealousies and leadership anchored on outdated senses, they refuse to see value in their own. No university in Nigeria has a Noble Prize winner on its faculty. Am I missing something? Universities and colleges are reputed based on faculty ranking, research/surveys/­studies, and relevance to their local economy or Nigeria at large. Tell me the last research/survey/­study done by UI, that spoke to issues relevant to Nigeria or Ibadan its home base? Flashing degrees and taking local chieftaincy titles to bolster one’s exaggerated/fragile ego – nonsense, is not what was/is expected from so called educated Nigerians. Is it? Education should add collateral content and bolster one’s self worth and confidence in order to address and deal with problems that confront their community. Using that premise, please discuss Nigeria of 2015 where there are plenty doctors and doctorates, yet the country is sicker and sickened. UI has churned out more PhDs than any other Nigeria university, mostly ‘permanent head damages’, interested in the glamor of the doctorate but not given to heavy lifting – intellectual prowess. Nigeria colleges and universities are just four-walls and white elephants anchored, run and manned by pretenders holding PhDs. How about that? Lastly, tell me when IMF, World Bank, UN, cited a study/research/­survey, done by any Nigeria university or college on issues confronting Nigeria? Never. Nigeria just produce degree holders who may end up doing something other than what they learned. At best, they are degree milling industries. Please prove me wrong. Just my 2 kobo.

By Ejike Okpa