By Prof. Pius Adesanmi.

To our Nigerian kids applying for Masters and Doctoral admission in Oyinbo Universities, an advice: stop opening your letters of intent with this statement: “I graduated from the world-class University of…”

I see it all the time in your statements of intent. It’s very irritating. You see, the people you are writing to/for here would rather have you stick with the facts. They’d rather not have to deal with your alternative fact claiming the existence of any world-class University in Nigeria. In fact, they know that in the entire African continent, only a handful of Universities in South Africa are qualified to use that epithet, world-class, very cautiously to describe themselves.

Graduating from a world-class University is not a precondition for admission anyway. So, why overstate your case? Just do well and try to be exceptional in your University. I did not attend any world-class University in Nigeria because there was/is none. I attended Unilorin for my BA and UI for my MA. Yet I was admitted for a PhD in one of Canada’s elite Universities and won some of Canada’s most prestigious doctoral scholarships throughout my studies.

Keep it real. Make your first class or your second class upper and apply. Don’t claim world-class anything. There is none in Nigeria.

And if you are interested in having a world-class University in Nigeria, do two things:

1) Study China’s plan to have a certain number of world-class universities by 2020 and another set by 2030. You can read up on that ambitious roadmap here.

2) Then, stop defending the useless politicians who are blocking vision, stealing all the money, and preventing Nigeria from having world-class Universities. Join us in putting pressure on them to emulate China’s ambition in higher education, albeit with a Nigerian slant designed for our own strategic 21st-century purposes.

When we try to hold them accountable, you carry placards and abuse us. One called me an idiot the other day because of Saraki. Yet, he has been home for 8 months because he is a student of the “world-class” LAUTECH. The owners of that University may even ask him what course he is doing or what course is doing him.

Then the children of these same politicians will go on social media and call you ill-bred children for asking why their fathers have kept you at home.

And here’s the rub. China is in a scramble to have those world-class Universities by 2030. She is pouring billions into that vision. By 2030, the children of those looting Nigeria today will be aspiring to send their own children to China’s world-class Universities….

Pius Adesanmi is a Professor of English at Carleton University, Canada.