Our Universities in Nigeria do not seem to have the relationship with Students that they could fall back on in future. I mean in terms of translating good times the students have had on the campus into Moral, Material or financial support.
For instance whilst at one end the Lecturers are telling the students that: “The Lecturer is the final arbiter, No Jupiter can reverse his verdict” some of the students are saying to themselves “Fire on Mr. Lecturer. My days in this University are numbered” and there is no turning back.
In Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka’s celebrated lecture on Democracy, the idea of the University, ‘The student Factor’, Soyinka affirmed that the Student remains an insignificant part of what goes on in the University.
Strike is the strongest Weapon of the Lecturers but teaching is the least of what they do in the University. Since the students would eventually become politicians and Barons of Business in vantage positions, to serve the University, I think we should look at students as being a very significant part of the University.
This is the reason why I am recommending a return to ‘Dinner with the Professors’ every week. It used to be every Wednesday at the University College, Ibadan now University of Ibadan. I can understand what the Colonial Professors were trying to do. It’s what the business persons today would call relationship marketing.
According to the Book, ‘Before Our Very Eyes‘, a tribute to Wole Soyinka, as edited By Dapo Adelugba, as undergraduate Wole Soyinka was asked to report to dinner in his lounge suit or traditional attire but he reported in his neck tie and tail shirt perhaps because he saw the dining table as a symbol of authority and so he chose to defy it.
You would recollect that in his, ‘Ake, the years of Childhood‘, Soyinka revealed feigning interest in the discussion with his father at the dining table, for his mind was more on the bowl of Akara. Of course it’s been said that the conversation that we have at the dining table serves to shape the nation.
Father to Benjamin Franklin, one of the founding Fathers of American Independence, affirmed that food is an insignificant part of what goes on at the dining table. But I think for Soyinka, author of ‘Salutation to the Gut’, food is very significant. According to the book, ‘Before Our Very Eyes‘, Soyinka was served some salad, he wrote an editorial comment and that spelt the end of salad.