Professor Olorunfemi opposes quota system

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Kehinde Akinpelu

Professor Jacob Folorunsho Olorunfemi has called for the abrogation of a 25 percent quota for educationally less developed states in Nigeria.

He argued that there is no longer any state in Nigeria without a state-owned university in Nigeria.

He spoke while delivering his valedictory lecture titled: “Revisiting the why and how of what is where” on Thursday at the University of Ilorin, UNILORIN, Kwara State.

He said, “The 25% quota for educationally less developed states be jettisoned (there is no state without a state-owned university in Nigeria (NUC, 2022);

“Catchment area be modified to include all the states that are contiguous to the state of location of the university. The university Senate should not under any circumstances abrogate its role in the development of curriculum for the university; admission into universities be separated from those of Polytechnics and Colleges of Education; and applicants to tertiary institutions be given the choice of at least three institutions with the second and third choices from institutions located in the other two major ethnic groups of Nigeria.”

The Prof who before his retirement was with the Department of Geography and Environmental Management, Faculty of Social Sciences, UNILORIN, also called for the reintroduction of Geography as among the six core courses at the senior secondary school level,

He said, “Geography be reintroduced as one of the six (6) compulsory core courses at the senior secondary level, because of its utility;

“Geography be retained in both the faculties of Science and Social Sciences to provide additional entry opportunities for potential students;

“Geography be immediately introduced to the Police Academy, Wudil, Kano because of its importance and relevance to the training of police and other security officers.”

The Prof called for sufficient investments to develop education in Nigeria, adding that good education is a catalyst for national transformation and development.

He said, “You can only be given what you have. We had a national leader who after his tenure, went back to school. Education is very important. Unfortunately, we have toiled with the quality of education.

“We have not even seen the repercussion. Our great-grandchildren will see the negative effect. They have destroyed education; the commitment is no longer there. You are forcing people to go to classes and you have not paid them. Whereas, to reconfigure BIVAS within a few days, the court took a decision but how long has the case between the Academic Staff Union of Universities and the Federal Government dragged on? They have forgotten about it. And you think you are helping your country. No! It is destruction. We are just pretending that everything is okay, while it is not okay. It is the peace of the graveyard.”

He called for concerted efforts to rebuild and develop tertiary education in Nigeria.

The professor explained the topic of his lecture which is ‘The Why; and How; of What is Where.”

Prof. Olorunfemi said, “The ‘why’ simply refers to the reason, purpose, main intent, motive or rationale for a decision. For instance, why establish an institution (e.g. a university, National Population Commission, Independent National Electoral Commission, etc.). ‘How’ refers to the process, procedure or methods adopted in taking decisions e.g. recruitment of leaders such as the Vice Chancellor, State Governor, the President of a country, etc. ‘What’ which relates to events and activities can be exemplified with the identification of the needs of an institution e.g. River Basin Authorities, Universities, Industries, Transportation networks and modes, among others. ‘Where’ refers to site, location and areal extent of what is in space. For instance, siting and location of settlements, determination of transport routes, and headquarters of institutions, among others. Let us begin to appreciate the relevance of why and how of what is where vis-a-vis development and leadership in a home, in a settlement, local government, institution, state or country in the shaping and reshaping of the earth’s surface. Indeed, it may make more sense if we re-write the phrase to read why and how of who is where?

“In this presentation, our position is that at the beginning of creation when the invisible brought about the visible (Ęni táò rí taa nrise owó ree…), God has created spatial and temporal systems. Figure 1 for example, indicates world pressure belts and planetary winds. These systems are, in the main, the determinants of the spatial variation observed on the earth’s surface. What man has done, thus far, is to continue to study and observe with a view to understanding the processes and patterns that brought about specific events and activities. The extent of our knowledge and research dictates to us that the pattern of ocean current movement and the directions of the movement at a particular time(s) brings about Summer (June), Autumn (September), Winter (December) and spring (April) in the northern hemisphere, but dry/harmattan and raining seasons in the tropics. The movement of the earth round the sun also accounts for the existence of day and night depending on one’s location and the time that part of the earth is directly overlooking the sun. In other words, the solar system has been divinely created and perfected by our creator (God).

“Human activities depend mainly on the exploration and exploitation of the natural resources. Such natural resources must be located before exploitation. Hence, the need to know “what” is ” where”? When the human understanding of the environment is limited, human interaction with the environment is also limited. But with the agricultural revolution, the industrial revolution, civilization and specialization, the world population has increased tremendously. Indeed, beyond what the local natural environment can sustain. Man, therefore, developed survival strategies, in terms of the development of improved ways of doing things or of carrying out its activities. The development of improved; varieties of seeds; techniques of food production; storage and distribution; as well as artificial replacements of naturally available phenomena dramatically encouraged rapid population growth.

“Both the pattern and rate of consumption, which is culturally biased, are pre-requisites for the exploration and exploitation of natural resources found at different places. The process of exploration, exploitation and use of these natural resources results in man-made features that impact the environment. Thus, when agriculture is practised on a plantation, some natural native plants are destroyed to give way to the new preferred crop in the plantation (e.g. teak, cocoa, rubber, etc.). The extent of the plantation depends on the demand for its products which is also a function of population. Incidentally, the national population and housing census has been scheduled for 29th March to 2nd April 2023. Please endeavour to be part of the success notwithstanding the timing.

“Development in terms of infrastructural facilities such as the building of schools, roads, airports, man-made lakes, seaports, railways, health facilities, housing, industries, etc., and man-made features are demand driven.”

The Prof advocated that the right of all and sundry in an organisation must be assured, guaranteed and protected.

He counselled that if otherwise, and the concerned takes a step to fight for that right, such should be appreciated and commended rather than condemned; as much as practicable, unnecessary politicking and bias must be avoided in purely academic matters.

Prof Olorunfemi said, “Promotion should not be based on sentiments and appropriate criteria should be advertised far ahead of time, such that staff members can do a self-assessment. The university should likewise return to competitive recruitment and appointment of staff. (In as much as there is nothing wrong with offers of temporary appointments, to simply regularize without proper advertisements and competitive reassessment of candidates is neither in the interest of the university nor favourable to the achievement of the institutional goal. For a fact, at the inception of this university, I remember the case of an expatriate with a Ph.D. whose temporary appointment was not renewed because of nonperformance at a competitive interview).

“Admission of students should be based on merit (any admission request to the Vice Chancellor from even the Minister of Education for that matter to any university, if entertained, is illegal, if we must strictly adhere to the quota/distribution policy. There is even no provision for discretion, and that subsists until the rule is changed).”

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