Perhaps in the long run, the most remarkable legacy of the Nigerian leader known as Olusegun Obasanjo would be his personal example, in terms of the manner in which he continues to creatively reinvent himself and the Renaissance quality and force of his achievements. In addition to all that we already know about him, Obasanjo last week bagged a Ph.D degree in Christian Theology from the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN). I am impressed. It is therefore with great admiration that I welcome Dr. Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo to the distinguished class of Nigeria’s Ph.D elite. As his senior colleague in this class, I have an idea of the amount of effort and determination that must have gone into the study, research and writing that produced the Ph.D. Anyone who has ever attempted a research-based course of study would readily attest that a Ph.D is a rigorous test of patience and endurance. The Professors who supervise doctorate theses do not give them out as chieftaincy titles. They make you work for it. Dr. Obasanjo is one of the oldest Nigerians to date to bag a Ph.D degree, and probably the first to do so as an octogenarian, but it is not just his age that is noteworthy, but how his achievement is a significant advertisement for the value of knowledge and education, and how it makes him an even more interesting case study for the profiling of leadership and the theory of personality. The great man theory of history often tends to focus on the political and the cultural as enabling contexts, but the finest blend of all of that is to be traced to the individual – what manner of man? What makes the man? As for Obasanjo, he is already widely known and remembered for his role in Nigerian history, but with him, we encounter something else: an extra, somewhat mysterious, if not inexplicable force which propels him to seek new frontiers, new conquests, labels, a questing, restless, bullish, insatiable spirit, to prove a point, or perhaps to test his own humanity. What is known is the important life that he has lived: Obasanjo, the soldier, Obasanjo, the farmer, Obasanjo, the leader, Obasanjo, the statesman, Obasanjo, the politician, Obasanjo, the author, Obasanjo, the entrepreneur. He probably does not need a Ph.D to validate or prove himself further, but here he is: Obasanjo the scholar. Everything Obasanjo touches, he wants to get to the root and height of it. He projects a competitive spirit that is complex and near-mystical. His refusal to slow down as an octogenarian contains significant lessons for the younger generation. Many young men and women today are unwilling to go the extra mile, or think out of the box. They are happy to be “slay queens and boys” and hunters of entitlements, in this case, unmerited entitlements and instant gratification. In a society where knowledge is derided and scholarship is under-appreciated, the new role models are not knowledge-seekers, but cross-dressers, naira plunkers and persons of indeterminate means. We have become a country of short cuts, where value is subjected to partisan considerations. I am shocked at how so different the younger generation is from my own generation, and how so much different from our own fathers’ generation. Obasanjo belongs to a different generation that produced, made and unmade Nigeria: there were sluggards in that generation too just as there were challenged privilege-seekers, but it was a different kind of generation, once described by Wole Soyinka as a wasted generation but now in retrospect, not a wasted generation at all, because it managed to produce values, now lost, now devalued sadly, but with memories of a country that could have been. The individuals in that generation many have given us a broken country, but there are many of them whose stories of individual accomplishments and discipline continue to hold out a fig of hope and inspiration. Take Obasanjo whose Ph.D I am celebrating and whose portrait I am trying to paint. When he left office the first time in 1979 as Nigeria’s Head of state, he had devoted the following years of his life to self-improvement. Soldiering has always been a noble profession, and in that line, Obasanjo had distinguished himself in training in various parts of the world (India and Aldershot, Chatham, England), and on the battlefield in then Congo and the Nigerian civil war. He famously and fortuitously received the instrument of Biafran surrender in 1970, and served in the post-civil war Yakubu Gowon government before history and fortune propelled him to the highest office in the land in 1976. His boss, Murtala Muhammed was killed in a military coup d’etat, and he became against his will, Nigeria’s Head of State and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. When he later ensured the return to civilian rule in 1979, the civilized world praised him to high heavens. The military handing over power was an unusual thing at the time. It was the age of Idi Amin and the culture of sit-tightism in African politics. But rather than wallow in the adulation that came, Obasanjo embarked on a mission of self-reinvention. He became a farmer, the famous Uncle Sege with the luxuriant moustache, a signature pot-belly which scores of women found irresistible, and the hoe on his shoulder. But he did something else: he established the Africa Leadership Forum (ALF) and what he called the Farm House Dialogues. Through these platforms, Obasanjo turned his Ota Farm into a rendezvous for intellectuals and policy makers, who visited regularly to discuss matters of national, regional and global interest in a sober, calming village environment. In-between feeding his chickens and monitoring the pens in his farm, Obasanjo encouraged learning and knowledge. He became the host and the friend and mentor of the best and the brightest on the continent of Africa. Presidents visited him. Everyone courted him as the Africa Leadership Forum grew into a leading think-thank. In my early years, I was privileged to be one of the resource persons for the Forum. I wrote and edited reports and travelled with the ALF team. I did my first public review of a book through the Forum and never looked back. I co-wrote my first two books at Obasanjo’s instance, and I travelled round the world and Africa with ALF and through Obasanjo. But I was not alone. The ALF actively sought out young, smart Nigerians and other Africans, and tried to build a community of ideas across sectors. But the greatest beneficiary was Obasanjo: he re-educated and re-invented himself. When he went to prison, implicated in a phantom coup by the military junta led by General Sani Abacha, the ALF survived and even grew bigger. In the intervening years, Obasanjo had established himself as a credible global voice: member of the Global Eminent Persons Group and a voice of reason in Africa. He had moved from being merely a retired soldier who did well to an acclaimed man of integrity and knowledge. His search for and cultivation of knowledge after his retirement as a soldier stood him in extreme good stead. It was the fashion in his neck of Nigerian woods to look down on soldiers. Soldiering was seen in the Western region of his time as a profession for those who had more brawn than brain and had chosen the rough path. Obasanjo’s place of birth, Abeokuta in particular, boasted of generations of educated people and families. A soldier may have been prominent, but he was certainly not in a position to intimidate anyone in a town with so many distinguished and accomplished persons. Being rich also meant nothing to the people, but education and knowledge attracted respect. Obasanjo’s biographers have told us how he gained admission to the University of Ibadan to study agriculture, but he had to turn down the offer because he could not afford the school fees, and so opted for a career in the Military which offered free feeding, boarding and a tidy monthly allowance. A psychoanalytic reading of Obasanjo’s persona may in fact reveal a compensatory self-assertion in this direction, but he has continuously remained relevant and important because of his capacity for self-growth and re-alignment. When he returned to power in 1999, as Nigeria’s President and Head of State, he was absolutely well prepared. Nobody had any reason to question his credentials. In a country where political office seekers often present affidavits, NEPA bills and trashy excuses in place of secondary school certificates, or claim not to remember the exact name of the universities that they attended, Obasanjo had no such problem, for indeed, his life has remained an open book. Years of preparation and exposure made him an impactful President. Within 24 hours after assuming office in 1999, Obasanjo hit the ground running and announced key policy decisions. He also did not have to wait for six months or fish around the forest to compose a team, and there was no way he could ever have made the mistake of referring to the Chancellor of Germany as the President of West Germany. In Nigeria’s history since independence, Yakubu Gowon, Olusegun Obasanjo, Ibrahim Babangida and Goodluck Jonathan have recruited the brightest minds into government. Both Obasanjo and Babangida openly craved the company of intellectuals. Some of Obasanjo’s close friends to date are among the brightest minds in their respective fields and this ranges from Emeritus Professors to Christian priests or local farmers and hunters. Before now, perhaps because of this polyvalent association and his robust efforts as a writer, Olusegun Obasanjo has always tried to assert himself as an intellectual, to which the likes of his kinsman, Wole Soyinka have always responded with friendly snobbery, but now, I assume that in their next brotherly spat, the farmer of Ota is likely to engage the Nobel Laureate far more confidently. Kongi should note: Olusegun Obasanjo, now Dr. Obasanjo, has become a licensed intellectual. With a Ph.D, no one again can accuse Obasanjo of lacking in theoretical thinking. He now combines the learning of theoretical thinking with his talents as a man of quick wit, action and native wisdom. I don’t want to start a family squabble much as I do not deliberately seek to run into foul weather with this commentary by taking the risk of discussing Obasanjo’s politics, which in my informed assessment is a landmine of contradictions. So let me move on to more urgent matters and state that what further makes Obasanjo important is the creative manner in which he planned an exit strategy for himself after the expiration of his tenure as Nigeria’s President in 2007. No other Nigerian President alive or dead has been better prepared. From being a soldier, farmer, global statesman and a two-time President, Obasanjo is the only former Nigerian/African President alive with a living, robust legacy in spatial and ideational terms. The other man is Nelson Mandela, who is now a legend and an ancestor. After leaving office in 2007, Obasanjo has managed to set up in his home-town of Abeokuta, a sprawling, intimidating Presidential Library, appropriately named Legacy Resort, which is fast growing into a cultural melting point for the historic town with Obasanjo’s image and brand at the centre. Since 2007, Obasanjo has also always managed to make himself an issue in Nigerian politics. His Hilltop home in Abeokuta is a target of pilgrimage for politicians and seekers of support. Not every former African President manages to speak, have a voice or remain relevant after office. Obasanjo’s voice continues to be heard in part because he continues to strive to develop himself. For a man who is in the departure lounge, it is amazing how he continues to live as if life is immortal. He represents a study in leadership for all men and women who seek only the shortcut and have sworn an oath to a life of indolence. His life reminds us of how we live in a knowledge age and how knowledge and education are the only redemptive forces at whatever stage in life. Education, indeed continuous education can improve the individual, but it can also save communities and societies. Indolent, self-indulgent Nigerians and other political leaders can learn a lot from the Obasanjo School of Leadership. For all his accomplishments however, Obasanjo does not necessarily speak for the stifled masses of Nigeria, but he is committed to the idea of Nigeria and has spent his life and career defending that idea and the unity and progress of his homeland. I congratulate him on his fulfillment of requirements and completion of the course of study for the award of a Ph.D in Christian Theology. This is probably for him, another beginning. With a Ph.D in Theology, Obasanjo now better understands the subjects of forgiveness and love. Nobody should be surprised if Baba, as we call him, launches a Pentecostal Christian Ministry tomorrow, and declares himself a General Overseer in the Lord’s Vineyard. Should he venture in that direction, however, I may be tempted to join his ministry, and if I so decide, he would have to reciprocate by putting me in charge of the collection of tithes and offerings… Well, yeah…Dr. Olusegun Obasanjo, congratulations.
The academic staff, students and visitors to the University of Ibadan, UI, were in for a shock on Tuesday morning as they met the gates to the entrances of the premier university locked without prior warning. According to sources, the non-academic staff of the university, comprising of Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities, NASU, Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU, and the Non-Academic Technicians, NAT, decided to lock the institution’s gate to press home their demands. It was further gathered that all the classrooms and offices were equally locked. Efforts to speak with their leaders were unsuccessful as they were said to be holding a congress on the way forward. Motorists around the vicinity of the institution from Ojoo end to the Mokola/Bodija ends had a horrible time as there is a serious traffic logjam. Students were seen loitering around the institutions entrances as they were unable to gain access to continue with their studies. The institution’s spokesperson, Tunji Oladejo said that the current issue was not a local one but as a result of a directive from the national bodies of the non-academic staff. According to him, the government recently allocated about N25 billion for payment of earned allowances of staff. However, a large chunk of the money which is about N18 billion was allocated to the academic staff of universities while the other unions were to share the remaining. “It is true that there is an on-going strike action by the non academic staff in the university but it is not a local action. All the non academic staff of the nation’s Federal Universities has been directed to go on strike by the national bodies. We will keep you informed as situation unfolds in the premier university”, Oladejo said.
Robert Mugabe’s nephew said Grace Mugabe is now concentrating on building a controversial university for her husband as the couple were forced to step into oblivion last week. “I like the spirit she has, she is with him all the time. She is an amazing person. She wants to continue planning the Robert Mugabe University so they have something to do,” said Leo Mugabe. Zimbabwe announced plans in August to build the $1-billion post-graduate university in Mazowe, 35 kilometres (20 miles) outside Harare. Robert Mugabe and Grace Mugabe Leo said Mugabe was in good health and “quite jovial” after being forced to resign when a military takeover ended his 37 years in power. He however declined to discuss the $10-million retirement bonus reportedly granted to the 93-year-old former president as part of a deal that finally persuaded him to resign on Tuesday. “He is fine. I have been to see him, he is quite jovial,” the son of Mugabe’s late sister Sabina told AFP. “He is actually looking forward to his new life — farming and staying at the rural home. He has taken it well.” In the exit negotiations, Mugabe was granted a $10-million lump sum, full immunity and allowed to keep his assets, according to the respected Zimbabwe Independent newspaper. He will still be paid his full salary, in line with constitution, while Grace Mugabe will reportedly receive half his pay after his death. Asked about the deal, Mugabe’s long-time spokesman George Charamba told AFP that “the package of a retiring president will be defined (by) law”. He earlier said immunity had never been discussed during the talks between the president and the army chiefs who briefly put Mugabe under house arrest. Grace Mugabe, 52, was alleged to have positioned herself to be Mugabe’s chosen successor, prompting the military to intervene on November 14 and usher in its preferred candidate Emmerson Mnangagwa. Mnangagwa, a former close ally of Mugabe for decades, has vowed sweeping changes to revive the country’s moribund economy. In his inaugural address on Friday, Mnangagwa also paid tribute to Mugabe, describing him as one of the “founding fathers of our nation”. Critics fear Mnangagwa — who has been accused of overseeing violence and ethnic massacres — could prove as authoritarian as his predecessor.
The National Association of Nigeria Students (NANS) has resolved the stand-off between it and the management of the Petroleum Training Institute (PTI), Effurun, Delta over tuition fee increase. NANS president, Mr Chinonso Obasi, led some executive members of the association to engage the management of PTI in a constructive dialogue inside the institution’s premises on Tuesday. NANS had on Monday issued a 24-hour ultimatum to PTI’s management to reverse the approved schedule of charges for 2017/2018 academic year in which tuition fee was increased by 130 per cent. The dialogue which commenced in the morning lasted until night before the management led by the PTI Principal, Prof. Sunny Iyuke agreed to shift ground. Iyuke said that the institution was underfunded and needed to execute a lot of projects. “The school fee has increased because the costs of things have also risen. Four years ago, we were paying N14,000 as school fee but things have changed. “We want to provide quality education for our students; this proposed fee is just an initial; we should be realistic. “We need funding to be able to justify the purpose for which PTI was established,” he said. The Professor of Chemical and Process Engineering who was appointed in July 2016 said that the institution was operating on loans. Speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) shortly after the extensive deliberation, Obasi said that the previous fee for General Welding was N51,000, ND 1, N42,000 and HND 1, N43,000. He said that the management increased the tuition for General Welding to N115, 800, ND 1, N99, 800 and HND 1, N103, 800. The NANS president said that after the dialogue, the PTI management agreed to shift ground by slashing down the fee to N81, 600 for General Welding, N67, 200 for ND 1 and N68, 800 for HND 1. “We came to PTI upon 24- hour ultimatum given to the management to give an unconditional reversal in the tuition fee that was increased and the management quickly invited us for a dialogue. “There was about 130 per cent increment and we have been able to bring it down to 60 per cent in the sense that the institution is underfunded. “It is a pity that a national asset like this has been abandoned by the Federal Government. “We have agreed to partner the institution to see how we can generate more funds from other sources for the institution,” he said. Obasi appealed to the institution’s management to always create the enabling environment to dialogue with students on issues. He also advised the students to take their academic work seriously assuring that the association would continue to negotiate and dialogue on their behalf. In the course of the deliberation, a minute silent was observed to mark the one- month-old burial of late Mr Dauda Mohammed, former NANS president, 2011/2012.
The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), organisers of the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), has banned the use of wrist watches and pens during the conduct of its 2018 test. The board’s Registrar, Prof. Is’haq Oloyede disclosed this to newsmen on the sideline of a one-day sensitisation workshop for Computer Based Test (CBT) centre owners on Wednesday in Lagos. According to him, the essence of the workshop is to appraise the registration and conduct of the 2017 examination. “What we are doing here today is to appraise the registration and conduct of our past examination and we have taken some lessons from our experience. “To this end therefore we have introduced some measures that will further add to the integrity of the registration process as well as the conduct of the examination proper. “For instance, we discovered during the conduct of the last examination that some electronic devices such as pens, wristwatches and other devices were used to perpetrate examination malpractice. “So, for next year, we have banned the use of wristwatches and pens by candidates and other persons in the examination hall. “We are also going to introduce some detection devices to ensure that those who plan to cheat in the examination hall are frustrated, as we will also jam (communication network) of the centres,” he said. Oloyede noted that the sale of the registration document for the 2018 UTME would commence before the end of November. “We are planning to meet with all stakeholders on Nov. 15 and the sale of the registration document will definitely commence before the end of this month. “But before that, we expect candidates to go and download our app, go to our website and download the syllabus and brochure, so that they can now study the process. “This is in order to minimise the errors that usually occurs during the registration process,” he said. The JAMB boss added that not less than 617 centres have been accredited nationwide for the exercise. “We are still considering about 60 more centres as we have their applications waiting for consideration. “However, a total of 72 centres nationwide have earlier been delisted owing to their involvement in some infractions and they remain delisted.” On the board’s plan to construct mega CBT centres for its examinations, Oloyede said: “The mega centre plan is still on, we said that last year. “But the process of planning will take sometime. “There will be design, there will be contact with private operators, just as there will be advertisements and also due process will be followed,” he said. Earlier, Oloyede called for the support of the CBT centre owners in checking anti-examination activities capable of compromising the examination. “While thanking you for your deligence during the 2017 examination, we want to seize this opportunity to inform you of the flagging off of the 2018 excercise. “We will like to also assure you that we will make use of the best CBT centres in the coming examination. “You will be culpable if you do not expose any CBT centre that is doing what is evil because they will attract condemnation from all of us. “It is on this premise that we are appealing that you assist us in identifying the bad eggs among you and ensuring that they do not participate in our activities,” he said. According to him, monitoring starts from the time of arrival of the centre owners to the workshop. He added that during the 2018 UTME examination, the board would include some other requirements for CBT centres. “We are not going to accept wireless CCTV cameras. Any examination conducted in any CBT centre that we cannot monitor from Abuja will not be paid for. “The onus is on you to ensure that your CCTV are working and must be on and no CBT centre is allowed to sell any kind of materials under the guise of past questions. “We will also not tolerate candidates leaving the centre to go out to use the toilet. It is expected that all accredited CBT centres have an in-house convenience,” Oloyede said.
The Nigerian Law School on Saturday released the summary of the final examination results conducted in August. Mr Chinedu Ukekwe, Head of Information and Protocol of the Nigerian Law School, said 1,272 candidates failed out of a total of 5, 891 that participated in the examinations. According to him, 29 students made First Class, 211 Second Class Upper, 1, 046 Second Class Lower. He said 2, 999 got a Pass, while 334 came out with conditional Pass. In all, 4, 285 candidates were successful and will be called to the Nigerian Bar. A further breakdown of the results showed 72.7 per cent passed, while those with conditional Pass represented 5. 7 per cent. The candidates who failed represented 21.6 per cent. Ukekwe in the statement revealed that the ‘Call to the Bar’ ceremony for the successful candidates will hold on Nov. 28 and 29 in Abuja.
The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) would continue to deploy CCTV devices during its examinations, the Registrar, Prof. Is’haq Oloyede, has said. At the sideline of the two-day International Summit on Examination Malpractice on Friday in Lagos, he said the devices were deployed for the first time during the 2017 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME). JAMB, he said would further consolidate on its quest for quality, equity and integrity. The summit, organised by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC), has as its theme: “Examination Malpractice;the Contemporary Realities and Antidotes”. “There will be no compromise whatsoever. Without the deployment of the CCTV, one will just be making a mockery of the Computer Based Test (CBT). “This devise has ensured that even if a cheating candidate was not caught during the examination, such candidate will be caught after the examination. “We will continue to ensure that with education, one can achieve everything and without it, one can achieve nothing. “It therefore goes to tell you that each one of us, must strive to achieve what is good, giving the significance of life and living,” he said. He added that examination malpractice was a general malaise the world over noting that it was a global phenomenon that must be tackled urgently. “I have statistics with me which shows that what we have here in Nigeria as far as examination malpractice is concerned is a child’s play when compared to what is happening in other climes. “Today with the aid of technological devices for cheating such as smart watches and others the phenomenon is becoming alarming. “But in our own case, as these children are getting wiser, we too are getting ahead of them. “In fact, it is in line with this kind of development that the board has concluded arrangements to create centres for examination malpractice devices for future examinations,” he said. Oloyede also called for adequate preparations and course ware development in order to stamp out the trend.
The Vice Chancellor (VC), University of Ibadan, UI, Professor Abel Olayinka has lamented the poor performance of the first year students of the institution in the recently concluded First Semester Examination, saying that 580 of the 2,961 of the 100 level students face withdrawal from the institution due to poor performance. The affected students were those admitted at the time the Federal Government placed a ban on the conduct of Post-UTME examination and were admitted base on their JAMB and WAEC/NECO results. In a statement, Olayinka said, “The Senate of the University of Ibadan at its meeting held on Wednesday, 18 October, 2017, considered the results of the First Semester Examinations for the 2016/2017 Session. One major feature of the results was the noticeably poor performance of the 100 level students. “From our records, 510 of the students out of the 2,961 posted a Cumulative Grade Point Average of less than 1.0. Kindly note that this is the minimum level of performance required to retain studentship here. In other words, 17.2 percent of the 100 level students would have to significantly improve their academic performance in order not to be advised to withdraw from the University at the end of the session”. An histogram provided by the Vice Chancellor to illustrate the percentage of the students with CGPA less than 1.0 across the faculties in the university shows as follows: Faculty of Arts- 6.9, science-16, Basic Medical Sciences-34.8, Clinical Sciences-5.5, Dentistry-7.1, Public Health-45.8, Forestry-33.3, Social Sciences-8.3, Education-15.4, Veterinary Medicine-26.6, Technology-20.9, Law-2.4, and Pharmacy-12.9. Stressing that the situation was particularly alarming in the Science-based faculties, and that parts of the second stanza on the University Anthem talks of ‘Greatness won with honest toil’, Olayinka said, “As leaders of this University at this point in time, we have the onerous responsibility of bringing the best out of our students. “For me as a person, it hurts very deeply when any student is advised to withdraw from the university on account of very poor academic performance. As you are aware, the pass mark in any of your courses is now 45 percent as against 40 percent hitherto. Secondly, Continuous Assessment now accounts for 40 marks out of the maximum 100 marks in each course. “Moreover, the minimum number of units that you need to pass at the end of the 100 level is now 24 units, as against 20 units previously. All these taken together indicate that the standard is being improved. Students are expected to rise to the occasion by being more focused and always remember the primary reason why you are here. “One of the measures being put in place, by Senate, is to strengthen our Continuous Assessment Policy. In this respect, there will be at least two tests or assignments conducted during this Semester. The three domains of cognitive, affective and psychomotor are to be taken into consideration in the determination of continuous assessment scores. “The marks allotted to continuous assessment will be spread to reflect the totality of what students do and could include one or a combination of quizzes, conduct in and out of class, theatre, laboratory, class participation, group work, practical/field work, assignments, class attendance, presentations and tests. Moreover, a week has been set aside in the revised Academic Calendar for Continuous Assessment. This is the period from Monday, 6 November 2017 to Friday, 10 November, 2017,” he explained. According to the VC, “I hasten to add that the Senate has directed Heads of Departments to implement the strengthened Continuous Assessment Policy in the University. Deans of Faculties will monitor the level of compliance while the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) will coordinate”.
The National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) is ready to collaborate with sister universities in areas of mutual interest, a statement has said. The statement said that the Vice-Chancellor of the National Open University of Nigeria, Prof. Abdalla Adamu, hosted officials of the Open University of UK who visited him on Tuesday in Abuja. The statement was signed by Ibrahim Sheme, NOUN’s Director, Media and Publicity. Sheme said that UK team was led by Craig Walker, an Associate Professor in Development Policy and Practice Research, UK Open University. He said that the team was at the NOUN headquarters to explore areas of mutual interest with regards to research in religious tolerance and understanding, which would be funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID). “The Open University of UK is very keen on forging a partnership with NOUN and we will welcome it if such opportunity is open to us,” the statement quoted Craig as saying. Sheme said that NOUN’s vice-chancellor assured the visitors of the institution’s acceptance of the collaboration, subject to the availability of a clear blueprint. “NOUN provides a role model to other Open Universities in Africa. “Aside South Africa, others in the East, Central and West Africa look up to NOUN to provide them with a model in terms of study materials, study centres, examination administration and students enrolment. “We just returned from Niger Republic where government officials indicated interest for us to come and establish a study centre. “ We are trying to expand our study centres to Niger Republic, Benin Republic, Togo, Cote d’Ivoire (and) Burkina Faso until we establish study centres everywhere along that region of West Africa.” Sheme said that the vice-chancellor disclosed that NOUN, as an Open and Distance Learning (ODL) institution, was modelled after the Open University of the UK, operating with best practices of the ODL system. The director said that Adamu expressed NOUN’s excitement at the offer and its readiness to grab it. “We have been receiving this kind of collaboration from other reputable universities abroad. “In the last one month, we received Morgan State University in the United States and the University of Sussex, UK. “In this way we can always build linkages for improved academic activities. We will be glad to provide whatever infrastructural facilities needed for this programme to survive so that Nigeria becomes a better place for us all,” the statement quoted Adamu as saying.