A year in the academic life of the typical Nigerian philosopher is a long one defined by frustration, mediocrity (either self-imposed or externally imposed) and drama.
The drama aspect revolves around violent student activism leading to university closures, Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) industrial actions, blood-letting on university campuses by students who are members of violent cults, the intrigue surrounding the selection of new vice chancellors, the latest corruption scandals, political interference in university administration, or accusations of sexual harassment directed at prominent professors…
Those are the words of Ada Agada (University of Calabar, Nigeria) in a post at The Philosophers’ Cocoon that highlights the challenges faced by philosophers in Nigeria. Poor research funding, outdated libraries, and corrupt administrators and colleagues are common problems, and give rise to frequent strikes by the university teacher’s union, which in turn means that the public universities have, in practice, “no fixed academic calendars.” Political and ethnic favoritism “is the norm” in hiring.
The “collapsing academic system” in Nigeria hinders education and research there and the opportunities for interaction between Nigerian philosophers and those elsewhere, and so provides yet another example of the ways in which “what philosophy is” is affected by the contingencies of economics, politics, institutions, and events. Dr. Agada notes that even in Nigeria “Western philosophy constitutes not less than 80%” of the philosophy curriculum.
Despite the troubles facing philosophy professors in Nigeria, Dr. Agada tries to remain hopeful. He says, “As bad as the situation of Nigerian philosophers is, we like to encourage one another by mouthing the mantra no condition is permanent in this world.”
Read the whole piece here.