VC Wanted: For Roadside University

By Kole Omotoso   |   29 November 2015   |   3:10 am  

Kole-OmotoshoTHIS is an e-Learning tertiary institution, e for everywhere! We learn everywhere we can learn everywhere we can learn, etc. Trouble is aware of the fact that there is NUC and its rules and regulations about setting up tertiary institutions. Forms to fill, six copies of everything about the university including the mission and vision. All of these shall be attended to in their good time. The Roadside University is an institution whose time has finally arrived. Everybody who is with sight should know that by now. As for those who are without sight every piece of paper picked up in the last six months has been translated into brail for all to feel and understand. As for the deaf, arrangements are underway to find the best sign language interpreters to work for the Roadside University.

There are two quotable inspirations for this noble endeavour. Long ago there was a certain professor who made the gathering of loose pieces of paper his area of specialisation. Anywhere there was a piece of paper he would be there to pick it up. From this assemblage of what seemed haphazard, he would research and sure enough he would find something worthwhile from which he would hazard the happenings of the next couple of days, sometimes couple of weeks and even couple of months. It is from this professor, whose name we forget right now, he was just professor, we take the motto of the Roadside University – nothing is written in vain. If the university succeeds, its students and lecturers would be dedicated to the notion, to the mission, nay to the vision that from henceforth, nothing shall be written in vain.

The second inspiration is from a book of anger written by a brilliant young man about the African condition which seems to prescribe hard labour for the African everywhere, every time for everything. He speaks of his growing up and how, let’s hear it from his mouth: “An inspirational English teacher, (he gives his name here) forced us all to pick up and read every piece of paper we saw in the street. If he saw you walk past a piece of paper without picking it up and reading it, then you received six or more of his best lashes.” While Mr. Dafida Trouble hereby rejects with contempt the brutality of caning youthful bums and backs, he asserts that nothing teaches English better than random pieces of paper picked off the dirty streets of African villages, hamlets, townships, towns and cities.

Being an institution of tertiary and higher learning, the gathering of the material for the university library would be tertiary and higher. A prior selection process of material would have been done by our primary suppliers of our relevant texts. These are the sellers of roast plantain, roast yam, roast corn and wraps of groundnuts. Further refinement occurs when the university deliberately sends out professors, lecturers and post-graduate students to purchase these items and then secure the text papers in which the items are wrapped. The university insists that should any of the purchasers of the items not wish to consume the items, they must not throw such items away, such behaviour being detrimental to global food security. Having disposed of the items in terms of our police of world food security, the text papers in which the items are wrapped are then ironed and photographed to be scanned and emailed to the library where it is given a title and secured for prosperity, or rather for posterity having been rescued from posteriors!

Here is a recent acquisition: “Section three 3.0 Research Methodology 3.1 Description of the Study Area. The locale of the study is at Akure, Ondo State, Nigeria. Akure is a city located in southwestern Nigeria and situated in Akure South Local government. The city of Akure has a population estimate of about 387,100. It is located within the tropical rain forest region of Nigeria. The city has witnessed immense growth in the size of built up areas, number of migrants, transportation, and commercial activities and has attracted major investors and private developers to the city. Akure is the trade centre for a farming region where cocoa, yams, cassava, corn and tobacco are grown. The favourable nature of the weather and climate supports the production and farming of snails. The presence of tertiary institutions, eateries and restaurants, government parastatals, a good number of local markets means there will be a good number of consumers as well as sellers of snail.” This wrap text was acquired in or near Akure. As if to give balance to the work of the university, a wrap text acquired on the Lagos – Ibadan not so express highway has the following to say. The wrap text was describing a novel set in Akure. Here is how the descriptions go: “In a small town (Akure!!!) in western Nigeria, four young brothers – the youngest is nine, the eldest fifteen – use their strict father’s absence from home to go fishing at a forbidden local river. They encounter a dangerous local mad man who predicts that the oldest brother will be killed by another. This prophecy breaks their strong bond and unleashes a tragic chain of events of almost mythic proportions.”

Where can we locate Roadside University? Simply because it is inspired by the roadside commerce is no reason to locate it on the roadside! It would seem to be a choice between virtual space and real space, which is real estate space. Virtual space is immediately ruled out when we know that most of those who should benefit from the outcome of Roadside University are still at the analogue stage of things and so would be lost in virtual space. And as soon as speculators in real estate hear that Roadside University was out looking for a roadside site for their university, the price of roadside property would shoot out into outer space, beyond the pockets of a young university. Then ghost families would arise claiming the roadside property from the dim past of their ancestors buried in the roadside. When the new VC is appointed, he or she would be instructed to pursue both virtual and real estate spaces for the location of Roadside University.



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