Aside cultism, extortion of students by the academic staffs of The Polytechnic Ibadan, Oyo state has been a major concern for a long time of which the story has never been told.
In this part, Uthman Samad, in details chronicles into the unwavering academic corruption in the institution revolving around the compulsory payment of dues, buying of the handout at an exorbitant price and grade racketeering amongst others.
“Mind you, buying the handout for this course is a prerequisite to passing your test Your ticket to entering for the exam, pay to your group leader and he should bring the money to me It’s just 1k”
This was the end-note of Mr. Adio on an early morning class of National Diploma II of the department of mass communication in a one thousand sitter lecture theatre of Ibadan Polytechnic in Oyo state. Though noisy, like in the popular Gbagi market of the town, Mr. Adio’s message to the class after a short lecture was audible, even to the deaf.
Not a student of the institution, this reporter was able to maneuver his ways to join the group leaders to see the lecturer out of the class to buy the handout in bulk for their group members.
The lecturer who takes “photography and photojournalism” opened his Mercedez Benz 190 to distribute the published handouts to the group leaders.
This has been the norm for Mr. Adio which is understandable to the students. The group leaders paid according to the number of their groups or less, based on the number of whoever pays as the maximum number per group is 20. The least amount paid by group leaders was 10,000Naira for ten members.
This reporter tried to pay for the handout individually but was told by a student that “Mr. Adio does not collect individual payment”. He said on a low tone so for him not to be heard by the lecturer.
Here in “Poly Ibadan” as it is called by all, buying of a handout is a norm which has never been questioned by any arm of the authority nor the standing union of students.
According to one of the present students’ union executives who begged anonymity said that “there are most times issues like this will be frowned at in the students’ union meetings including levies but the fact is facing the authority is another something”.
“Even when we do, in short roundtable our own share will be decided upon and we keep off the matter.”
The Polytechnic Ibadan is one of the relics of the old Oyo state, established 48 years ago into the heart of the state with other campuses sprawling through the neighboring towns of the state to Saki and Eruwa.
In 2014, the two satellite campuses at Saki and Eruwa became autonomous as full-fledged institutions under the Abiola Ajimobi administration and renamed The Oke-Ogun Polytechnic, Saki and the Ibarapa Polytechnic, Eruwa respectively. Since then, these institutions have been headed independently by different management.
The Polytechnic, Ibadan is divided into north and south campuses with five faculties housing 23 departments with over 19 thousand students.
Buying of handouts as the safe way to exam hall and tests
This investigation got to understand after interviews from students of the institution of their ordeal during examination and test period after they failed to buy any of their handouts or material.
Salam and Aderanti in their different account narrated how they were sent off examination hall after they failed to get a handout for one of their courses.
For Salam, an HND 1 student of Public Administration recounts his experience while sitting for one of the papers during his final National Diploma Part 2 program.
“I have been seeing students talking about this in other departments same as here but I was marveled when the lecturer was using his sold handout for the semester as the pass into the exam hall,” Salam said with a face full of disapproval.
“To my greatest surprise, I begged this man for over thirty minutes out of the two hours for the exam, do you want to hear, I had to run around to get the #1000. I didn’t even get the handout, I just paid and I was allowed to enter.
“We have always been told in classes whenever this man comes that we should submit our given assignments with the handout for grading. We that we didn’t get the handout our assignments are not always collected not to talk of grading.
“We were much that didn’t buy them. This was during my ND1 second semester. We all thought it’s a joke until we see the reality when this man asked us to queue into the exam hall with our handouts for the course in our hands. Beside him, that day was the remaining bulk of the handout copies”
“My brother, we bought it all to the extent that it got to a time the lecturer collected the money with nothing to give as handouts. But we later wrote the exam.” Aderanti recounted her experience with her pathetic voice.”
In another account of a public administration student, Kabir, narrated: “It started as a play when our research methodology lecturer came into the class and told everyone that we are not going to sit for the exam nor test except we purchase the research methodology textbook from him, of course, it is normal we buy a textbook but not directly from his hand.
“What the school rule says is that we should buy from the school bookshop. He was saying this when we have less than 3 weeks to the exam o. why not the beginning of the semester if truly he really loves us for academic purpose?
“So they want to market the book indirectly because they know that the only way to do that is to force us to buy the textbook because no one will buy it after the exam. What they later did was that they forced us to buy the textbook from them; it was even handout they called it because it was branded like a textbook because our lecturer said it frantically that without purchasing the textbook and without buying it, you are going to fail the course.”
“Everybody was scared of failure at that time, but for me, I dared him that he should go on and do his worst. Some of us didn’t buy it then. I could remember we sat for the exam at the 1000sitter capacity hall at the middle belt. When we got to the exam hall surprisingly, we were checked in and those that didn’t buy the handout were sent back.”
This similar action was also confirmed during one of the classes of the ND2 students of mass communication, Where Mr. Adeniran told the pool of students to submit the given assignment by a week after, with the inclusion of their respective handouts for grading, this assignment costs 20marks.
Mr. Bamishaye, a junior lecturer of the department of mass communication also reinforced abysmal in the system. He takes “newspaper editing and production” and “public relation media and methods.”
In a visit to his half portioned office where he sales handouts of courses to the students of the department, he was caught telling one of his students that each handout for his anchored courses attracts 20 marks.
This reporter witnessed how the ‘awoof’ 20 marks are awarded as assignment question will be written on the first page of the handout of “public relation media and methods” by the lecturer, which means student that failed to buy the handout will not be able to get the assignment question nor have the submission ‘grace’. This is also a beckon on an awful result as the 20 marks will be denied.
Buying handouts is the norm. on independent research conducted across five departments of the institution, gotten interviews from national diploma students alone, the research has shown that in polytechnic Ibadan, on an average, a student buys handouts for all courses for N12,000 in a semester.
This independent research also shows that in PolyIbadan a handout sells on a minimum of N800 and a maximum of N1,500. As verified, these handouts are most times produced by lecturers to meet the selling market of handout trading. This has rendered some produced handouts without proper referencing, tersely worded while some lack ISBN
However, in an obtained internal memorandum dated 25th of March 2019 with reference number AAO/BOS/ITSC/vol.11/130 signed by one Mrs. Agboola, the secretary of the Textbook Standardization Committee sent to the rector through the chairman of the committee titled “Ban on sales of Handout and unauthorized Textbooks”, the institution prohibited the sale of handouts and textbooks.
It was also noted the approved textbooks by this committee should only be made available at the school bookshops and on no account should it be found anywhere else. The circular also shows that any staff that contravenes these rules and regulations will be sanctioned appropriately by the management of the institution as no student should be forced to buy any handout or textbooks.
Meet Ajao, The “Contractor”
However, on the verge of investigating how students upgrade their grades by buying the workbook, I came across Ajao.
Ajao, as popularly called by students, is a mass communication ND2 student and the present union Public Relations Officer 2 who boasts around of his connection with lecturers in the department and beyond.
I met with Ajao on a sunny morning where all and sundry were hustling for classes.
“I wouldn’t mind if you can help out with my computer course, I carried it and I hear say you dey close to the woman in charge,” I said apologetically to convince Ajao.
Upon hearing this, Ajao laughed and assured me of less worry as he advised this reporter to save his phone number for better communication.
This reporter did as instructed while Ajao did save this reporter’s number with “Shola Masscom” and he promised to help me out once if I will cooperate. I obliged with him and he vowed to help me out.
After the third day which was a Friday, Ajao was called to work out the deal. He told this reporter sternly of change in the operation of the dealing as the woman, Mrs. Ganiyu is now attending to students herself and not the back door he had his own upgrade
“Go and meet the woman, she is a close paddy, she said everyone should be coming to her”
“You will just buy the handbook we bought last semester again and you get your pass straight” – abi wetin you want again?” Ajao said.
At the end of the discussion, Ajao promised to always help me in any stumbling course in as much as I always cooperate.
How students pay for grade
It was a long queue under the scorching sun of a Wednesday afternoon where this reporter pretended and joined the pull of students with ‘issues’ in “Introduction to Computing”- a general course from department of computer science.
The issues range from missing exam score or omission of one of the duo conducted test scores for the semester. This process was understood to be coming after the release of the course result.
“I have been here since 10 a.m., I don’t know we are this much that had issues with this course”, a female student who was later referred to as Muibat by a colleague commented.
A male student later told Muibat that the procedure of how issues are resolved inside Mrs. Ganiyu’s office is simple. “You tell her your problem, you pay for the workbook and she pens down your name”.
Muibat was happy about the simple process of getting the grade until she heard the present amount paid for the workbook is twice the earlier amount paid for the same workbook.
“I only have #200 with me now! I have been warned not to call home for this week again, I don’t know what to do right now” Muibat lamented with sprinkled tears dropping from her eyes.
“By 2 pm, I will not allow anyone to enter this office again, that means we meet tomorrow. Now you will have to take numbers. Only 15 persons will be allowed, the remaining will come tomorrow” these were the words of Mrs. Ganiyu, the lecturer in charge of the general course.
Without any means of identification, this reporter was counted as the number 7th person on the queue despite.
When called in, Mrs. Ganiyu asked if truly I am the real 7th and should call along with the 8th person who is a female with an outlook of a Muslim who was later identified not to have found her test score in the pasted result sheet.
“Check your name in the list," Mrs. Ganiyu said kingly. “Don’t forget to pay your #500 to her (pointing to a fat woman in army green round neck around the corner of the office playing “bubbles” on her Hot6 phone).
The woman collected the wrinkled #500 note from the female student and assembled it into the bail in her drawer.
“I didn’t take the first test and I didn’t buy the handbook” this was this reporter’s answer while Mrs. Ganiyu asked “what’s your problem”
Without wasting time looking for an antidote to solve my problem, she asked me to look for the name as it won’t be on the list.
After two minutes checking for nothing (this reporter’s name) in the list, I told Mrs. Ganiyu that I can’t find my name.
Without much ado, just as was done for students before me, she asked me to pen my name with matriculation number of is optional and paid to the fat lady. I penned down name my name with a wrong matriculation number
The same fat lady who was then lost in the midst of “Bubbles- an android game” collected the #500 note and gave me a workbook.
It was understood that the 10-page practical handbook was sold N350 less than the amount it was sold for students that failed the course during the time the course was offered.
No Receipt, No File Submission
This is a popular phrase by the students of polyIbadan. Checks by this newspaper projected that some dues are made compulsory for whichever students of the institution that would be submitting their respective student file to the faculty, a tradition understood by this reporter to be recurrent every semester.
Investigation and observations also inform that the management has never pronounced the payment of these dues compulsory but students’ files will not be collected for submission except it is full with all the receipts of the dues, a practical session of which was witnessed by this reporter.
Going in-line with Nigeria’s 1999 amended constitution provision of section 40 which explains that membership of association and groups should be voluntarily and not by force as in accordance with the fundamental human right.
The mandatory payment of fees and compulsory inclusion of association due proof of payment is a breach of the constitutional provision.
According to a source in the institution’s Senate building, it was said that there is always kick-backs from associations to the school management.
"Don’t sweat on that. Even when I was here years ago, as a student, the system was like that. From a long time, there is this returns associations pay on all accrued money to the management pulse that’s why they continue to make It compulsory for students who want to submit his/her file” the source said.
In one of the file submission hours at the department of mass communication, this reporter was able to witness how the officer in charge of receiving files from students made a resounding emphasis on the need for students to include all the listed receipts of dues in their file.
Aside from daylight academic robbery by the academic staffs of the institution, this investigation can also affirmatively confirm the porosity of payers’ database in the institution.
Tuition fee here in Poly Ibadan is paid through the electronic portal while other dues are paid by cash. These dues range from students’ Union due, state of origin association due, the town of origin association due, religious organization association due, departmental association due, students’ departmental association due, students’ faculty association due, faculty association, amongst others.
In the course of conducting this investigation, some of the dues were paid for without questioning by the receiver on the recipient of the proof of payment from the bank.
For instance, this reporter paid for the Association of Students Communicators, Department of Mass Communication (ASCOM) departmental due, Association Of Students Communicators, Department of Mass Communication (ASCOM) Students’ Association due, Faculty of Financial Management Studies Students’ Association (FFIMSSA) due, Federation of Oyo states Students’ Union (FOSSU) due and Federation of Ibadan Students’ union.
These dues were paid by this reporter without documentation of matriculation number except the payee name and without database to validate the name of the payer.
In an interview with the Public Relations Officer of the institution, Mr. Soladoye, he denied the involvement of the management’s assent on the selling of handout by the academic staff of the institution and distanced the management also from the compulsory payment of due.
“It is illegal for anyone to sell handout in The Polytechnic, Ibadan. And we have consistently maintained and told them that if any lecturer sells or anybody attempts to sell, they should make a formal report. Even a circular was circulated to that effect. And this was exposed to them during their matriculation orientation that it is illegal for anybody to sell handout to them or intimidate them.
“I featured recently on inspiration FM and I told the whole world on the issue of the handout in The Polytechnic, Ibadan. If they are doing that (students buying handout), that is stupidity, because the management had told them and insisted that they are not supposed to buy any handout from anybody.”
“That is unfortunate”.
“I will be grateful if you can provide me with their information, they (lecturer) will be sent out of the system, this is very absurd. I can tell you we don’t know this.”
When told about Mr. Bamishaye who uses the leverage of students that come to buy handout in his office to give an assignment, Mr. Soladoye said: “This is very unfortunate; you have given me a name now, when I get to the office, I will investigate.
So, the school knows nothing about the selling of handout? This reporter pressed further
“I just told you now that it is illegal. You know they are not selling it for the management, they will not be selling it to the fellow lecturers nor the administrative officers, they are selling it to students and students have been told a thousand times don’t buy handout from anybody.
“If any lecturer has any academic material, the lecturer should submit such to the committee that they ensure that they publish it as a book and any student that find it interesting will buy it and if not, it is not compulsory. Don’t forget at one time or the other, we have once been students”
Management promises to Investigate
However, while being quizzed about the management’s effort to halt the corrupt practices, the school PRO vowed that the management of Poly Ibadan will investigate the tendered claims as posited by this investigation.
“You are just giving me the information if I am able to investigate the school will take action. Let me explain something to you here in The Polytechnic, Ibadan, the students when they commit offense here, we have student disciplinary committee for it, also if a staff commits an offense, we have a disciplinary committee for senior staff and another one for junior staff. So nobody is above the law.”
No interest in due payment
“The institution has nothing to do with all these receipts like indigenous association receipt in student files. Nobody can force anybody to join any indigenous association”
“Apart from students’ union receipt, there’s no other receipt tenable in the file, all these likes of religious body receipts and the likes are not made compulsory.”
They are not supposed to; all those ones have nothing to do with the institution. They are voluntary bodies. Either you pay the due or not, it is of no concern of the management.”
We Are Not Selling Handout- ASUP Covers Up for Lecturers
A former executive member of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, The Polytechnic, Ibadan branch who served during the last administration before being suspended by the management of the institution due to internal disruptions and crises, said: “We are not selling handout. The Polytechnic, Ibadan is an institution of reputation and a first-class institution. The selling of handout has been abolished a long time ago.”
“I was a product of this institution, I was once a student here, even when I was a student, two or three decades ago no one sold handout."
When he was shown proofs of lecturers selling handouts in the institutions, he responded:
“That’s very absurd! I don’t know about that. If there are some isolated cases, I am happy as an investigative journalist, you were able to say that my department of science laboratory and technology, there are minimal or fewer cases of that here. Now if you see any isolated cases, you see in an environment, there’s no way, even out of 12 disciples of Jesus Christ, there’s one Judas.
"So if you have discovered anything or you have discovered any negative action, then notify the appropriate authority. I am telling you that there could be some black sheep among us but it is not every lecturer that sells handout. Our lecturers here are men of integrity. Majority of them that I know will not engage in such nefarious activities. I can’t claim ignorance of lecturers here selling handouts."
Students Union sitting on the fence?
The students’ union president, Akadiri Bayonle, has maintained a cold opinion and knowledge of the academic corruptions in the institution. While on a side asserting that the lecturers sell handouts in the institution, he also denied being aware of it thereby contrasting his assertions.
He said: “I am aware of the fact that lecturers sell handout in some departments and not in some departments. What I mean is that it is not a general practice. I am not really aware of that at the National Diploma level. But I can tell you it doesn’t exist with us at the higher national level. The students’ union is not in support of it, and no lecturer should force any student for it."
NBTE Frowns, Vows to Investigate
The National Board for Technical Education, the institution that oversees polytechnics, monotechnics, technical schools across the country, has frowned upon the selling of handout at The Polytechnic, Ibadan.
“It (handout) has been prohibited since, honestly, and that is why Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) has given them grant to buy books so as to equip their libraries, the books in the library will stand in place of handout and that is why TETFUND gave them library intervention fund, so there is no reason why they should sell handout, No reason! It is not allowed.
“I can promise you: the commission will take action. We will investigate and we will get back to you,” the official stated.
This report was done with support from Ford Foundation and the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, ICIR