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OF XENOPHILIA AND MISPLACED PRIORITIES, By Professor Moses Ochonu

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OF XENOPHILIA AND MISPLACED PRIORITIES, By Professor Moses Ochonu

NEWISSUES, Abuja

In Kano State, the Abdullahi Ganduje administration has appointed a Malaysian professor as the Vice Chancellor of the relatively new state university, Northwest University. This Malaysian professor replaces the first VC of the institution, another Malaysian appointed by former Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso. If this is not xenophilia, tell me what it is.
Are there no professors with management experience in higher education from Kano? If Kano has no such people, what about the institution’s catchment states in the Northwest geopolitical zone? And what about conducting a national search for the position if you want to attract a pool of strong candidates?
Shouldn’t Nigerian professors and higher education administrators have the right of first refusal on a position funded by their revenue before a foreign academic is considered? Am I missing something? Or is this is a case of, if I can’t find the kind of person I am looking for in Kano I will hire a foreigner instead of a Nigerian from another part of the country?
And while we’re on the subject, why does Kano state need another state university in addition to Kano State University in Wudil? Kano is one of several states in the Northwest that struggle to fill their quotas in neighboring federal institutions. Yet the Kwankwaso administration, for inexplicable reasons, went ahead to establish a brand new state university. This was done at a time that some people were complaining that the state university in Wudil lacked some critical infrastructures that support advanced learning.
It is clear to me that Kwankwaso, like many governors who established state universities in the North, did so for legacy reasons and not to advance higher education or expand access to it for their citizens. The billions spent on the establishing the brand new university could have been used to enhance the capacity of the existing state university in Wudil or to build other social infrastructures. Here is how my Facebook friend, Isah Mansur, puts the misplacement of priorities:
“Had it been the billions of Naira used in building sixteen institutes and Northwest University (all of them still not completed) by Kwankwaso administration was spent on Kano State University of Science and Technology, Wudil, the university would have become the best state university in Nigeria.”
And please don’t accuse me of being nosy, of sticking my nose in the business of Kano people. Kano is in Nigeria, and Nigeria is my constituency. Besides, I lived in Kano for several years and had my undergraduate education there, so that qualifies me as an honorary citizen of the state possessing symbolic and practical stakes in its developmental trajectory.

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