Well, who didn’t see the news item, splashed and syndicated all over the print media, that a couple of professors, a senior lecturer and a duo of others have been cited for disciplinary infractions at the University of Abuja? Alarmingly, the two professors were dismissed and the others demoted. That news was juice and no wonder it was syndicated in newspapers. But there was a troubling nuance to it all. This is Nigeria, where tribal and religious politics are still ingrained in our psyche.

Let no one deny this because this mentality of awareness of apartness influences how government and institutions conduct their businesses. Otherwise, how would explain the lopsided appointments of key security chiefs in the country? The news about those University of Abuja lecturers portrayed them as academics who have erred and brought disrepute to that university; furthermore, we understood from the report that due and diligence trial processes were conducted to give these erring academics fair hearings. On the face of it, the management of the University of Abuja did a wonderful “press packaging” and if you have not sat down with each of those lecturers, how would you know that “something was fishy?” Which is exactly what brings me to the point of this discourse.

If it was tribal or religious politics at work at the University of Abuja, then those five Christian lecturers have been got so cheaply. This could be the whole point of it all. Statistically, five erring academics across all fields of transgression at the University of Abuja are all Christians, uh? The University of Abuja is central to the national unity thing, mind you. How come those who have been tenured there could be so daft as to threaten their means of livelihood? The hidden message in the newspapers was something like, “these Christian lecturers, uh!” Regrettably, one of those cited for wrong deed was a graduate of my school here in Minna and his father, who passed away not long ago, served the Federal University of Technology Minna well as a lecturer and as a good Christian elder.

What got into Emmanuel? Now is the time for the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to begin tertiary intervention programmes for Christian university lecturers across the federation with strong emphases on personal re-commitment and general awareness of the complexities of the present-day work environment; sexual harassment, extortion of money, misbehavior, etc., all committed by Christians lecturers only?

Sunday Adole Jonah,

Department of Physics, Federal University of Technology, Minna, Niger State