I have been finding it very tasking to go on with my usual op-eds in recent times. Too many commitments. So busy was I that I couldn’t write a line for the independence. However, a story reared its ugly head yesterday, and I couldn’t let go of it. It’s an undercover report of the phenomenon of sex-for-grades in prominent West African Universities.
“Let us pray”, began Pastor Dr Boniface Igbeneghu. “Father Lord, we want to thank you…” or some words to that effect, he continued. “You have been admitted into the kingdom of the Lord”, the prayer session ended. Nobody knew those shenanigans were only a means to an end.
I often find it difficult to agree with Karl Marx, especially when he comments on religious issues. But I think I would concur with him this time around. Religion has been used by some individuals to enslave the psychology of others. This is why a Pastor would fondle with the sensual parts of a lady, and she will see it as anointing. On the other hand, this is why a Sheu would emit saliva, and a lickspittle would lick it with pleasure.
So, Pastor Dr Boniface was caught in the act. Spewing rubbish that does not befit an academic that he is. Turning logic on its head. “But that (having sexual affairs with students) is not good ooo”, the girl teased him. “What is not good?”, our Dr retorted. “But won’t the lecturer be favoring the female student in question”, the girl queried. “Of course, that is the benefit”, Dr Boniface said confidently.
Sex-for-grades is one of the endemic problems bedeviling the academic world. So famous is it that a single university in the whole of Nigeria cannot be singled out from the menace. Ninety-five percent of our lecturers across various institutions are guilty of this phenomenon.
“Ole le everybody”: If a critical investigation were to be done, I am afraid we may not be left with one, two lecturers to teach the whole university. From the professorial cadre to the graduate assistant cadre, “eni ile ba moba sha ni barawo”. More pathetic is that even those who would apportion appropriate sanctions at the top echelon to the offender-lecturers are also not saints. So, who is fooling who?
In fact, male journalists investigating the phenomenon too are also complicit. The judges that would pass judgments on the case are serial sexual predators. So, the problem is more generic. Therefore, we shouldn’t shy away from the very foundations and root causes of this problem.
When an institution allows females to dress in the most indecent manner, and calls that civilization or freedom; totally wages a war against those who chose to dress decently, then what are our expectations. You see a lady half-clothed in the university environment, what do you think that would result to. Are the lecturers inanimate?
My position in essence is that it’s about time we review how people are dressed in the society in general and the university environment in particular. Not all sexual molestation and rape cases are instigated by dressing mode; that I understand. There are some greedy and randy lecturers who want everything under skirt. However, ninety-five per cent of these sexual intimidations are precipitated by indecent dressing.
Some of these ladies on campus dress indecently to rouse the attention of their lecturers. Some of them would even force themselves on lecturers, just in a bid to have their grades inflated. Then, the randy lecturer who also has something up in his sleeves would also bulge, and the rest is history.
These are trying times in academia. It is difficult to differentiate between the A gotten with good brain from the ones gotten with big butt. Sexually transmitted degrees abound. There are just many sides to this phenomenon. The recruitment process in the university system is also adding salt to the injury.
Mediocrity rather than meritocracy is the order of the day. So, how does a lecturer who does not parade the necessary qualifications and integrity expected of an academic protect academic integrity and value? It takes a less qualified lecturer nothing to inflate marks and grades since he also rose to the position per chance.
From any perspective we see it, one thing is sacrosanct: sex-for-grades is evil. Thus, it must be tamed with immediate effect. It is one of the many factors contributing to the state of quagmire Nigeria finds itself today. You see people with enviable academic qualifications who cannot defend it in the labor market. Beneficiaries of sex-for-marks or sex-for-benefits are the ones operating in different MDAs of government. So, is this country not falling? Beyond the academic world, sex-for-undeserved-benefits is rife across board, and it must be eliminated if this country must witness progress and know peace!
Abdullah wrote from University of Ilorin.