The 2023 Presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, has lamented the poor working conditions of the University lecturers in Nigeria.
Obi who poured out his heart against the poor earnings of the Nigerian lecturers via a post on X on Thursday, explained how heartbroken he was recently, when his long-time friend, a university professor for about 14 years, requested him to put in words for him to be appointed as a Special Adviser to a candidate contesting for the House of Representatives if he wins.
Obi claimed that the reason for the bizarre request from the professor was that he would earn more as an SA than as a university professor in the country.
The LP chieftain who was saddened by the request, said he did a comparative analysis showing that after putting in 14 years of hard work, having attained the pinnacle of his academic career, a Nigerian university professor now earns 10% of what he earned 14 years ago, claiming it could only be possible in Nigeria.
The former Anambra governor who claimed that the country requires as many hands and a committed workforce as it could get in the education sector considering its critical role in the development of a nation, further questioned how it could get such when the earnings of the country’s professors were going backwards relatively.
He said, “While in Nsukka, I met one of those brilliant fellows I knew while I was a student at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, in the 80s.
“The fellow graduated with a first class and became a lecturer in the institution. When I later visited the University as the then Governor of Anambra State, he proudly announced to me that he was already a professor and I rejoiced with him.
“I met him again in Nsukka on Wednesday, but our exchange of pleasantries resulted in very pathetic tales about his general welfare. I noticed in his look and mien that all his happiness of being a professor had vanished.
“He broke my heart when he requested that I put in words for him so that Hon Dennis Agbo can appoint him as Special Adviser when he wins.
“The reason for the bizarre request that shocked me was that he would earn more and receive more perks as an SA than as a Professor. Touched by this and applying my finance background I decided to do some comparative analysis.
“By January 31, 2010, the salary of a Nigerian University Professor was about N400,000. With the then prevalent exchange rate of N150.10 per dollar, the salary amounted to about $2665.
“Fourteen years later, on January 31, 2024, the salary of a University Professor remains about N400,000. With the prevailing exchange rate of N1,510 per dollar, the same salary now amounts to about $265.
“So after putting in 14 years of hard work, having attained the zenith of his academic career, a Nigerian University Professor now earns 10% of what he earned 14 years ago – this is only possible in Nigeria.”