One of my best gains in journalism is reporting education and Science. It exposed me to real intellect on display and made me to differentiate between a competent teacher and a qualified teacher.
I may offend those who are in academic by this piece because it takes more than money to write a doctoral thesis and earn a PhD but then there are a few who have this certificate without no significant research work.
Today, most teachers are qualified but not competent. They have certificates, yet they cannot teach just as there are university lecturers who cannot attend international conferences due to their level of knowledge in the real sense not paper qualifications.
A friend told me that Nigeria has produced great professors that can easily displace their counterparts anywhere in the world but there are also professors from Nigeria that hide their titles at international conferences due to lack of “details.”
Meeting some professors one-on-one and sitting to listen to their inaugural lectures; reading their articles and taking stories out of their studies are enough education for a willing journalist.
The presentations by academics are enticing and threatening at the same time, that one would want to go back to school. But our callings are different.
Apart from their academic papers, some of these eggheads have got the gift of the gab to publicly present their breakthroughs and when they speak, one will easily conclude that “talk is not cheap” after all but noise.
Some of them that I had come across include Professor Peter Okebukola, an erudite educationist, Professor Akin Oyebode of UNILAG Law, Professor Tolu Odugbemi, a medical microbiologist who would later become the Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos, late Professor Sofoluwe of Computer Science, who also rose to become the UNILAG VC, late Professor Oye Ibidapo-Obe, a Physicist and former VC, UNILAG, Professor Ralph Akinfeleye of Mass Communication, from UNILAG.
Professor Ogunmola of the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Professor Bamiro, late Professor Emeritus Ijalaiye, Law Obafemi Awolowo University. They are just too many to mention that this reporter had interviewed.
Of course there are those who combine labour activities with academic like Professor Karo Ogbinaka of UNILAG, Dr. Fashina, popularly known as “Jingo” from Philosophy, OAU. Brilliant fellows.
Their words are laced with intellect and having listened to these set of academics, one is easily carried away to see some individuals outside the wall of universities exhibiting the same quality even when they have no academic certificates to back it up.
They are professionals and politicians who speak with authority and with very high intellectual capacity. They are people like late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, late Chief Nnamdi Azikiwe, late Chief Bola Ige, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, Senator Shehu Sani. They are many.
You may want to disagree with me that our president-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is one man who exhibits high intellectualism and would have excelled as an academic.
Tinubu may not have the oratory prowess like those I mentioned above, a close look at his languages at public presentation shows that his words are coded with intellect, many of which had come from his accounting and political experiences.
Having reported his activities in the past, I could decipher his depth of intellectualism, which of course draw me to always want to listen to his speech.
Not because I agree with all his ideas but because I want to learn something new from him. It shows that he does not just take some actions, he reads so wide and deep to get informed opinion about issues and how to act on it.
For those of us who follow him, we missed a lot ahead of the 2023 general elections when Tinubu deliberately withdrew from visiting television houses.
The few interviews he granted outside and within the country were enough testaments that Tinubu is far far better intellectually than any of his closest opponents.
Unfortunately, most of those who criticised him never listened to him for once. They did not just want to hear him and so they never gained anything.
For those of us who wanted to learn, we searched for all the video clips, watched and gained one or two things.
Nevertheless, I took time to also listen to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of PDP and Peter Obi of Labour Party, perhaps I could shift my allegiance but I observed that they lacked the intellectual depth that is so critical in the leading of this country at this time.
Without sounding biased, the recent Naira redesign and swap by the Central Bank cum Emefiele is a slap on the intelligence of President Muhammadu Buhari. What Mefi sold intellectually and treacherously was easily soaked up by the president.
Please I should not be misquoted here. I do not say that Atiku and Obi do not have anything upstairs, they do but they do not have the stuff that can withstand the intellectual curiosity, the tricks and smartness of the calibre of people that will form the government.
As a matter of fact, I loved the presentations of Atiku more than that of Obi. Atiku spoke more from experience but Obi’s speeches were always filled with statistics, most times, wrong stats that made his talk sounded so drab and monotonous.
It is clear that Tinubu reads books more than both of them. I doubt if Atiku reads books more than newspapers but his experience is a book in a way.
For Obi, it is clear he reads economic datas for the purpose of stealing the hearts of those who are weak to vote for him, his residual knowledge of academic is not there, possibly because he majors in Philosophy.
By Kunle Awosiyan
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