By Abiodun Ogunrinde, Ibadan
Contrary to insinuations in certain quarters that the University of Ibadan, (UI) frustrated a former lecturer, Mr. Aminu Othman Zubairu who died recently following an inferno which gutted his quarters, a former Head of the Department of Mathematics, Professor Ezekiel Olusola Ayoola, has provided insights into the matter, saying, 22 years on Ph. D programme was the making of the deceased.
Mr. Zubairu, a former lecturer of the university who passed on recently without completing the doctoral work had been on the Ph.D programme in the last 22 years, an unusual period of time unimaginable in pursuing the academic laurel.
Upon his death, not a few people erroneously blamed UI, thinking that the institution deliberately frustrated the lecturer by prolonging his stay on the programme.
However, Prof. Ayoola explained that when the Ph.D work of Zubairu dragged on for many years, the postgraduate committee asked him questions, with Zubairu exonerating his supervisor, but rather, putting the blame on himself for his dissatisfaction with the level of results he had obtained.
According to Prof. Ayoola, “Zubairu was a kind of perfectionist who possibly was eyeing some mathematics laureate at the doctoral level”.
His words: “Zubairu came to the department sometime in the year 1992 for a Master’s degree from Bayero University and did well in our programme in Ibadan. That qualified him to be appointed an Assistant Lecturer. We believe so much in merit and openness that he was appointed without any discrimination.
“He was subsequently recommended for ICTP diploma programme in Italy, which he completed in 1995 and came back to resume his job and his Ph.D studies. He was attached to one of the best African professors of Algebraic Topology, an Oxford-trained unbiased professor who would not hurt a fly, the Professor that had produced many PhD holders who are themselves Professors in many universities in Nigeria and abroad.
“However, Prof. Ayoola added, “the PhD work of Mr. Zubairu dragged on for many years, leading to the postgraduate committee asking questions at some point. Mr. Zubairu exonerated the supervisor, putting the blame on himself for not being satisfied with the level of results he had obtained. I was the Head of Department at that time. I am a Christian and a pastor, I will never lie against the dead. Of course, the supervisor could not be forcing the student to write up when the student himself was not ready. So he had to re-apply for admission at the PG school on many occasions, having failed to satisfy the maximum years to be on the programme on many occasions.
The former HOD stated, “Some of us intervened on many occasions without success. Zubairu was a kind of a perfectionist who possibly was eyeing some mathematics laureate at the doctoral level.
There was nothing any one can do on that occasion. The university was even magnanimous by allowing him to stay on the programme for that long. There were many opportunities for doctoral studies abroad which he did not take advantage of. His case was strange”
“Then the issue of his family dispute cropped in. He eventually resigned his appointment in protest against the deduction of his salary as ordered by a competent court for his children and family care in May 2017. The department again intervened by persuading him to have a second thought. The legal department and the highest administration in the university intervened without success. So sad. He kept on living in the university apartment for almost two years after his resignation. The cause of the strange fire is still subject to university enquiry.”, said Prof. Ayoola.
It is on record that UI produces over 300 Ph.D holders every year in different fields. This feat couldn’t have been possible if every candidate spent a long time on the programme.
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