spoke to Daily Sun in Aba, said that the mindset for such rush is
not that of what one will contribute to the economy but that of
satisfying the society.
"The society prefers degrees, even when they are worthless, and so
everybody wants to get to where the majority is. I think that is
what it is, but it is madness in the real sense of it.
It is not a rush tailored towards meeting educational or manpower
needs of the society and there is no way everybody can operate at
that same level in the society.
There is hierarchy, even in heaven. It is not a question of one
looking superior to the other. The correct thing is that every
labour that has been produced, whether by polytechnic or university,
is to complement. The university product will complement the
polytechnic product and vice versa. Where there is unfavourable
tilting towards one area, it will create imbalance.
It is like one being on a ship and the pilot of the ship will want
the weight of the ship to spread evenly across. When it is tilted
unfavourably towards one side, you jeopardize the life of everybody
in the boat and that is what is happening in Nigeria because
everybody is tilting towards university education. A terrible vacuum
is created in other areas. And when the Nigerian boat crashes,
everybody will go with it.
According to Onukaogu, the solution to this problem is to modify the
remuneration procedure in Nigeria .
"There are some communities where carpentry is elevated to a level
that a carpenter is so happy, so fulfilled that he is a carpenter.
That is because it is paying him. You are not paying him as a
carpenter that is degraded, you are paying him because of the
quality of job he is able to do.
If a very decent, capable proficient carpenter produces very well
and he is so very well remunerated that he has a sense of fulfilment
and can meet the basic needs of life, that he would want to get a
car, live in a good house, train his children, why would he want to
be a university graduate, probably reading philosophy, linguistics
and coming out useless to the community because of a clog in the
area of production of such unemployed graduates? So, we must change
our mindset with regards to remuneration.
He advised that, everybody, irrespective of what they are doing,
should be well remunerated, appreciated, commended so that they go
to that aspect of productive economy where they will produce at
"If you are a teacher and they are looking for a teacher in B.K,
they will say, look for that person. That is what it should be.
Today in Nigeria, if you go to some polytechnics, they are not doing
the technological courses. Everybody is trying to be an
administrator. There was a time this country experienced rush for
MBA. It didnít matter whether you read Engineering or Biology, you
wanted to cap it with an MBA. You know that particular degree has
been so belittled and so has become worthless.
Students of the polytechnics are not any inferior to the students in
"I do know that two years ago, one of our students in Marketing
competed with several other students in the university and came
first. Last year again, out of the five prizes by Nigeria Institute
of Marketing for all graduates of Marketing in tertiary
institutions, Abia State Polytechnic got three.
So, we keep winning the prizes. Abia State Polytechnic is one of
many polytechnics that have been competing favourably at all levels.
I do know that our students donít find it difficult to get chartered
after their HND in Accountancy. Sometimes, they find it much more
easier than even those who have read BSc in Accounting. It is not
anything unusual because we prepare our students very well and
Partly because of funding, the polytechnics now emphasize both
practical and theory. In the past, we would have been more practical
than theoretical. But today, we are both practical and theoretical.
So that aspect of practical which the universities donít spend much
time on, we are there. The theoretical aspect, which used to be the
exclusive area of the university, we are also there.
In a way, when you look at it in a balance of scale, the polytechnic
student is better prepared, relatively speaking, than sometimes you
have in the universities. That will explain why these prizes are
coming from our own people.