By Ben Abocho Abdul
Lecturing is the most misunderstood profession in Nigeria. One of the toughest and under-appreciated jobs in Nigeria is being a lecturer. As a lecturer, the political, social, moral, and economic odds are all against you.
Politically, the students you moulded yesterday who are now leaders of today hold the antiquated belief that your reward is in heaven while that of a politician is here on earth.
They use the power their office affords them (either as president, governor, senator or house member) to deny you what your colleagues in other climes enjoy. When ASUU table their demands, ironically and sadly, the same students you are currently teaching will be the first to hit the keyboard and write shits about ASUU on social media.
Socially, as a lecturer, you don’t have standing. Surprisingly, but that’s the reality. In a social engagement, a local government councillor and chairman will be recognized before a university professor. That is the tragedy of Nigeria.
The moral dilemma is the toughest task. You were born and brought up in a communal setting and that communal setting made you who you are. As soon as you become even a graduate assistant, all your village people will start sending you names of your relatives that you should influence their admission (even if they don’t merit it).
The challenge of “evil spirits” dressed as female students is also a moral challenge. If unserious students (who are most times the majority) carry over your courses, you are labelled a “wicked lecturer” regardless of how many times you broke your principle to add one mark or two for them to make then pass some of your courses. The threat of losing your life to violent cultists influences the morals and principles of a Nigerian lecturer.
Economically, 3 square meal is a big challenge for most Nigerian lecturers (the political lecturers are exempted from this category). You have your immediate family bills to pay. Your relatives assume you are rich thus your community problem is made your personal problem.
Your salary and entitlement is withheld from you for months. Most of the time, lecturers spend from their private pocket to fund their research. Public schools are nothing to write home about thus the need to enrol their kids in private schools- which is of course financially demanding.
Appreciate your lecturers. Not all lecturers are “perfect” because they’re not superhuman beings but humans like me and you. Teaching in Nigeria is traumatizing and the basic social safety nets that should ameliorate the hardship of the lecturers are being enjoyed by the politicians only.
Mr. Abdul is a graduate of Political Science, Federal University, Lokoja.