Nigerians as well as Ghanaians have reacted differently over the recent sack and arrest of a Nigerian visiting professor to Ghana over the allegations of making several unsavoury, unethical and damning comments about Ghana as well as its educational system.
Augustine Uzoma Nwagbara, a professor of English, was on a sabbatical leave to the University of Education, Winneba (UEW), Ghana, when he was alleged to have made several “unethical” comments about UEW.
Upon what it called subjecting the professor to the “internal disciplinary process” UEW found “(the professor) culpable of gross misconduct,” the university said in a statement signed by its registrar.
In a video that went viral, someone who identified himself as Augustine Nwagbara said degrees awarded by Ghanaian universities are only up to 20 percent the quality of those awarded by universities in Nigeria.
He expressed his disappointment in Nigerians who went to Ghana to acquire degrees, which were more expensive than what they paid in Nigeria, which were 80 percent less in quality than what was obtainable in Nigeria.
However, some Nigerians and Ghanaians have reacted to the development. While some thought the professor was merely expressing his private opinion and bragging about his country, others thought he should not have gone to the extent of talking down on the institution that hosted him.
BusinessDay sampled the opinions of few.
Korsi Asiseh, a Kumasi-based journalist, said degrees issued by Ghanaian universities were as quality as those issued by the Nigerian universities. The main reason why Nigerians trooped to Ghanaian universities was because of the intermittent disruptions in the Nigeria’s academic calendar, which started several years.
According to him, the professor’s utterances should not have been taken seriously and given such media hype, as he did not pose any threat to either the university or to the country, saying none of the things he talked about would happen.
“The professor just decided to brag to a few gathered people”, he said, adding, “If Nigerians were not happy about the quality of education in Ghana, this trend would not have persisted till today.”
Baffour Osei George, a Kumasi-based entrepreneur, said it was appropriate to have sacked the professor. While acknowledging Nwagbara’s right to boast about his intellectual prowess, George said it was unnecessary for the professor to do such against the school that accommodated him.
“Sacked, yes! You cannot go bragging that you killed someone and expect not to be dealt with,” George said.
Adeseyi Akanni, a Nigerian lecturer in another university in Ghana, said even though Nwagbara could be said to be expressing his opinion, irrespective of authenticity of what he said, such opinion did not constitute good ethical behaviour in one’s working environment.
“That was his opinion though, but as a member of an organisation there are some things you cannot say about the organisation,” he said.
Michael Onoja, a former student of one of the universities in Ghana, said he studied in Ghana with one of the best facilities available in any university in Africa, and could not substantiate what the professor said to what he (Onoja) experienced in his days.
“Things may have changed,” Onoja said, “but Ghana offered me quality education.”
Emma Okon, Ceo/principal, Vision Education Foundation, Abuja, said Ghana needed to examine themselves to see if there was anything to gain from what Nwagbara said instead of sacking him and subjecting him to mental police torture.
While highlighting that Africa generally has problem with criticism, Okon said Nwagbara’s comments should have been seen as ways to improve Ghana’s educational system and work on the issues the professor raise.
“Were the things Nwagbara raised true?” he questioned.
JOSEPH MAURICE OGU