By Chuks Osuji
Undoubtedly, there are some social, political and economic issues which often dominate public discourse. Whether in the print media, electronic or social media, these issues tend to be recurring decimals in our society. Although these issues are too numerous to be mentioned here, there are some that have assumed prominence in our daily lives as citizens of this our country which many of us love but which of course do not love many of us because of one reason or another.
Some of these issues are corruption, restructuring, economic hardship, transportation difficulties, bad roads, kidnapping, nepotism, bank robberies, handset snatching, examinations malpractices, drug abuse, high cost of common commodities, rape above all insecurity. Although there are too numerous socio-economic problems which face the average citizen in this country on minute by minute basis, these are quite few which once one opens any newspaper in the street, listens to any of the electronic media stations or in the social media, one encounters most of these issues listed above in addition to many others.
Unfortunately, there is one social problem which is the foundation of the production of unemployable graduates which the country must not fail to attach deserving attention. That is the issue of sorting. Sorting comes in different ways but the principal perpetrators without doubt are the lecturers and professors in these tertiary institutions and the victims are by and large principally, the female students.
In fact, as the Head of a Consortium of Public Opinion outfit, there is no day that passes on regular basis that we do not receive horrendous tales and stories of sorting; some too inhuman and too indecent to be printed or even inserted in a social media page. But sorting as a serious social malaise holds on in many Tertiary Institutions. Even in some institutions which the vice chancellors, rectors, provosts or chiefs executive have done a lot to curb claiming that sorting has been eradicated in their Institutions are to put it more mildly, too far from the truth. Because, it still exists and exists on different dimensions, some to be associated with men who are supported to guide and develop characters in their students. Rather, in the name of sorting, some “go for a kill in order to get a particular female student to comply.” Dastardly shameful!
Recently, there was a very scandalous but not unusual story trending in both social and printed media. It was a story of a very Senior Professor at Obafemi Awolowo University of Agriculture who had asked a female student to have sex with him five times before he could raise the student’s marks. Unfortunately, as the axiom goes, many days are for the thief but one day is for the owner of the house. Unknown to this Professor, “of sex melancholy,” the student recorded her discussions with the Professor and made this to go viral on social media. Now it has been alleged that the Professor has gone in hiding. Indeed, what a Professor and what a behaviour!
I was a senior lecturer myself in a tertiary institution in this country after I have come back from the United States where I have received my education. For the years I was in that institution, I never experienced or heard of such behaviours among my colleagues.
Simply put, my behaviour as a senior lecturer in Government was guided by the principles and ethos of the type of education I received. For example, in the United States, no male Lecturer is allowed to receive any female student alone in his office or vice versa. Secondly, no lecturer is permitted to shut his/her door while counseling a female or male student and vice versa. To the best of my knowledge, students who are likely to fail a course or courses are usually given the opportunity to withdraw from the course with the score of “W” if the withdrawal was done after mid semester.
On the other hand, here in Nigeria, students who are not doing well of course there are many of them like that, would usually go into negotiation with the Lecturers or Professors for a deal to be struck. If they are male students, they may be asked to pay various sums of money ranging from N2000 to N 5000 depending on what type of grade the student wants. Some female students could negotiate to pay some money but some of the ugly and bad lecturers and Professors must insist on sexual compromise. On the part of male students, they are often asked to pay certain amount of money. Or to buy some material such as bed sheets, blankets, electronics of different categories. Some smart female students usually buy inferior equipment or electronics preferably Chinese products. It is for this reason that some Lecturers and Professors insist on cash payment.
The most worrying tales are that some female students would be asked to pay for a room in the hotel and give the room number to the Lecturer or Professor. Then during the illicit act, the Lecture or Professor would demand different sexual performances if B or A grade is desired by the female student. What an animalistic behaviour!
I am sorry to say this but I am compelled to say it with no apology. Most of the lecturers who indulge in this money or sex for good grades, by and large are mostly home grown products who have had the bitter experiences while they were students themselves.
It may well be that since nobody gives out what he does not possess those local products of University and Polytechnic education may be those who indulge in these illicit behaviours. Those foreign educated Lecturers and Professors may not be involved in this illicit behaviour. But some of them have learnt the act by watching what their colleagues are doing which is unfortunate. But this does not mean that everybody that is locally educated is involved in this “Sex for High Grade Crusade.” I have heard stories of those Lecturers and Professors who no matter what happens will never get involved in this SORTING culture.
Unfortunately, those who are not involved in sex for good grades may be involved in other malpractices such as practice of deliberately seizing a student’s script as a process of luring the female student as a bait for trap. In fact, stories of missing scripts are becoming rampant. And the primary function is no longer a lysine between the students and the Lecturers or Professors. Their duty is now mostly to be collecting money from students for their Lecturers or Professors. Thus, it is wrong for us to begin to ask, why are many graduates unemployable? How could a student who goes through Tertiary Education by sorting be employable? Yes, there are many, absolutely many students who are intelligent, brilliant, resourceful and hard working who have no time for any lecturer not to talk of giving herself up. After all, there is one Igbo proverb which says “it is the person who Imo River sees his or her leg that it will swallow”
Because of the extent of trauma and harassment which Female students pass through in the hands of some Lectures and Professors, they sometimes design some strategies to overcome some of these indecent assaults on their Womanhood. Some are forced to join some Cultural cults in the tertiary institutions with a view to drawing defense from Cult members.
Some are forced to wear wedding rings if only to ward off some intruding Lectures and Professors away. Sometimes this strategy does not work particularly for very fleshy and beautiful ladies.
Whereas some claim that they are Virgins and took an Oath that they must remain that way until they get married. In place of sex for grades, they may offer some costly gifts. Others may assert cultural taboos which may befall on them, while many others claim religious injunctions and oaths if only to escape.
Those female students who have unfortunately fallen in the hands of these lecturers must develop the courage of seeking advice from Female Lecturers or Professors, their parents or other authorities within or outside these citadels of learning where unlawful things happen in the name of sex for grades.
Those lecturers and professors who indulge in these illicit behaviours must be reminded that through the Law of Retributive justice, their own daughters and female relations will eventually encounter the same fate because what goes around must come around.
Therefore the Chief Executive of Tertiary Institution must double their effort in cubing this general malaise called SORTING known as Sex for grades. In fact it has become an epidemic in almost every higher institution in our country.