The presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the last general election, Peter Obi, has lamented over the working conditions of university lecturers.
The former Anambra governor disclosed that his friend, a university professor of about 14 years, begged him to put in words for him so he could be appointed as a Special Adviser to a candidate contesting for the House of Representatives if he wins.
He suggested that the reason for the bizarre request from the professor was that he would earn more as an SA than a professor.
He asserted that it was quite unfortunate that a professor, after attaining the zenith of his academic, career, now earns 10% of what he earned 14 years ago due to inflation.
Speaking via his X handle, Obi insisted that the educational sector requires a committed workforce since the sector is critical to nation building.
Obi wrote, “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.”