Sunday Magazine

Loyalty, relationship’ll determine voting pattern in 2023 –Bandele

Samuel Oye Bandele, a professor of Tests, Evaluation and Measurements, is barely six months old in the saddle as the Vice Chancellor, Anchor University, Ayobo, Lagos. In this interview with JOHNSON AYANTUNJI, Bandele talks about his vision for the Deeper Life owned institution, the strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the state of the nation among others issues


It is almost six months since you came into the saddle as the second Vice Chancellor of Anchor University. How has the journey been as well as the challenges?

We want to thank the almighty God and also thank you for coming. Today (Friday, August 19) makes it six months and 17 days since I became the VC of Anchor University.


The journey has been very challenging, and very comforting and extremely challenging. I was a member of a community quite different from this community. I had been working in a public institution since the early 80’s. I rose through the ranks to the position of a professor and vice chancellor of a public or state owned institution. To find myself in a private and faith-based institution is completely different.

What about the challenges?

Definitely, there are and the major one is that of electrical power, which covers almost every sector. I met some that are peculiar with faith-based institutions such as ours.

Power is the most critical challenge we had at a time. Being a faith-based university all our students is accommodated. No single day student and with that, you have to provide power 24 hours seven days a week for laboratory work, classroom work and in their hostels. We have to provide power for staff members too.

Suddenly the price of diesel just went up. It went from N300 per litre to about N800 and it kept galloping. Each time it did, it was a problem for us. It got to a time we were spending between N15 million and N17 million per month on diesel. To compound that, the 33KVA transformer we were using before I came, also packed up.

On the 11 KVA line we were using, something happened to that one as well, and the whole place came into total darkness. So I went to God in prayer that I am a child of light, darkness must not cover me. To complicate the issue, parents too were also agitated. Thank God, this is a faith-based university; we were able to manage the situation with our students.


How did you do that?

In the VC’s Lodge, there is a generator there, I deliberately did not put it on and I said I will only do that if there is power in the students’ hostel. To start with I am here because of the students. So why will they be in darkness while there is light in the VC’s lodge. That has been my way of life even before I came here. I do not see myself as being above others.

There is also a water challenge as this comes automatically since there is no power to pump the water. So also is the problem of the nation – insecurity. Our students come from all over the nation. The parents are also restless with the worsening insecurity everywhere.

Any little things that happen, they want to know the state of their children. It is a general thing all over the nation.


Our own peculiar challenge when I came was that I discovered that the university was almost about six years old and the enrollment was low. It is not easy to pioneer something. Thank God for the efforts of my predecessor, he had done his best. But the enrollment was an issue for me.

A university cannot thrive without enrollment. If you have a university without students, it is then a research institute. That was why I came up with my vision of 3Es (Enrolment, Enrichment and Engagement).

How have you been able to tackle this?

In all honesty, I came to this place with vision and passion. God spoke to me clearly. I am a leader in the Deeper Life Ministry; I have been a member since 1983. God showed me clearly that he was sending me here for a purpose and that He would do a new thing. The word of God in Isaiah 43:19 had gone ahead where God said I should forget about the former things that He would do a new thing and that it would show forth.

He would make a way in the wilderness and water in the desert places. I came by the Spirit of God. I want to thank also my GS (General Superintendent) and father in Lord, Pastor Kumuyi and the Spirit of God in him. God used him to confirm my appointment as the Vice Chancellor, fulfilling the purpose of God. I did not just come as a Vice Chancellor.

I came with a vision and passion. What I mean by this is that the enrolment of the students must be drastically improved with everything God has endowed me with – energy, strength and wisdom and experience, I will deploy them. We thank God that great things have begun to happen.

Coupled with this is my belief that a private institution should not be waiting and saying that the church should  carry the entire financial load. That is not to say that the proprietor would not give us subventions, but we will not depend entirely on it. It may not be as big as that of the government.

So from the background I am coming from even the government cannot give all as at when due. Is it then the church that gets its money from offerings and tithes of members with other responsibilities? To me a private institution should be operated like a business enterprise with the sole aim of making profits by providing quality service.

We will focus on enrolment in order to enrich the university with money to pay salaries, build infrastructures as well provide a conducive atmosphere to enhance learning and research which is what universities are known for. The three is like a chain. Fine you are the VC here, but you cannot be everywhere, you need people who will do things with you.

If there is going to be any progress, you must engage every human resource. That is what I have done, by making every staff member belong to one committee or the other for the purpose of running the university together. Every member of the university community from the students to the staff, principal officers to the members of the BoT (Board of Trustees) are all engaged in one way or the other for the purpose of administering this place.

What are your views on the dichotomy between private and public universities?

I will answer the question in such a way that the dichotomy will be redefined. My definition will be that the dichotomy that is said to exist between the private and public universities is a very faint one which the community, the society and the government are trying to make thick. Dichotomy can be faint and it can be very thick.

There is dichotomy everywhere, between husband and wife, it can be between parents and the children, it is not the same, even in institutions, dichotomy between ASUU (Academic Staff Union of Universities) and SSANU (Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities). There is a dichotomy everywhere, but human beings thicken it to make it look like a problem.

As far as I am concerned, a university is a university whether private or public. We are to serve the nation; the public institutions too are to serve the nation in their own right. They must be obedient to their principal whether private or public – state of Federal Government, they are to follow procedure and bring out the best out of the university. Let university do its own, let the government do its own. It is the same thing with the private.

Let the council do its own, in that case you can say they are the same. There is no dichotomy in their operations; there is no dichotomy in their universality. The only area where people try to put dichotomy is when either of the people that are supposed to manage refuse to manage it. For example people can tout the ASUU strike a dichotomy.

It is not. Private schools did not cause the problem. That is why ASUU is not fighting private institutions. ASUU really is not the cause of the problem. That is why I personally support ASUU.

I am in a private institution; I believe they should be treated well. I was  once a committed member of ASUU. This is because I am now in a private institution. If you look at most of the demands of ASUU, they are not selfish. I was part of the strike in 1994. We went on strike for nine months. ASUU cannot be threatened.

Why has this been a perennial and intractable problem?

That is why I went down memory lane. Some of us became farmers. I became a driver as a PhD holder. I was driving a taxi from Ikere Ekiti to Ado Ekiti. Since that time, has it not been long enough for the government to look into the problem?

As a PhD holder then, my salary was less than N5, 000 per month. It was so bad that our students were saying that they would buy clothes for us.

We were on it for a while before our salary was jacked up to N10, 000. I want to say today that most of our professors in the university earn about N300, 000 after all deductions. Private institutions are not against them, you will see that the line is very thin. I want to say that the dichotomy between the private and the public universities is very thin; it is only in names and their proprietorship.

Why the huge difference between the fees paid in the private universities and the public universities?

People will also look at that as a dichotomy. But I will say No! You should look at it as the money spent on each student’s education in the university. The sources of funding coming to the university should also be taken into account. For the private universities, they have no other source of funding other than from the proprietor or the money they make in terms of charges.

It is like you are selling something, there is no other source other than from your business. If you are selling Cocoa or Gari, the money you make is a function of the quantity you have to sell as well as the price. I do not have any big daddy who will say come and get this N50 million to add to your capital base. For both private and public institutions they are spending the same amount on each student if they want to give quality education.

But the money to be spent on each student in the private university cannot come to the private institutions because the public institutions are being funded by the government. The students of the private institutions will also work and be part of the society. But because it is private, the government sees it as business for the owners.

So they are looking away from helping them. Look at TETFUND. I want to tell you that when I was the VC and each time the NUC (National Universities Commission) came for accreditation of courses, or when officials of TETFUND came on a visit, I always commended them. I used to tell them that if not for TETFUND, public universities in Nigeria would have been like a glorified secondary school, even a glorified primary school.

There was a time I went to give a convocation lecture in one university. I will not like to mention its name. The VC jocularly said they wanted to turn the name of their university to TETFUND University because of what TETFUND had done there. All their buildings were built by TETFUND.

In that school, students’ fees are not high because the government is paying and TETFUND intervene. Students populate that place. That is  part of the problem confronting us today. But for the private institutions, it is the responsibility of the proprietors to fund them.

To what extent are universities structured to meet the needs of society as we have today?

I want to say that the universities are well structured, but we are yet to get to the level of where we are to get to the optimum level. There is a lot more for us to do. Thank God for all the rankings and what have you. To meet societal needs, it is not enough for us in the university to be doing our research, speak our English Language and all what not and confine it here. No!

There must be a wide link between the university and the society. But there is a wide gap between the university and the society, that is why we are yet to meet that needs. In the developed world, there is that link. We are thinking along that line here. We will not allow our students to embark on any project that will not have a direct bearing on the needs of the society.

We will only allow our students to work with organisations who have patents for the research of our students that will meet the needs of the society. We are using our projects to solve the problems of ministry, to meet the needs of the society.

That is what happens in the developed world. Our universities have not gotten to that state. We are intelligent, we are doing things here, in terms of societal impact, and we still have a lot to do in all the universities.

What are your views on the same faith ticket of the All Progressives Congress?

Prolonged laugher (I have been trying not to dabble into politics). By the virtue of my position, I am not a politician. I can vote for any party. I am not a member of any political party.

Therefore, I stand where the Bible stands. I stand where God stands and I stand where my church stands. As at now the stand of our church is we do not dabble into politics without guidance. I do not want to comment on the same faith ticket.

What kind of leaders should Nigerians vote for in 2023?

Voting is the fundamental right of individuals. Sincerely, I believe that people should be free to vote for leaders of their choice. Anybody who is voting should know that the good of the nation should be paramount in the heart of that person.

If you want to vote, think of the nation. What I have discovered is that it is not possible for a candidate to score 100 per cent votes. Relationships grew from many sources. Maybe a particular party has helped you before. When I was the Vice Chancellor of Ekiti State University, the PDP government appointed me as the VC. It must be unreasonable of me to say I will not vote when it is time to vote. That is also Christianity.

That is loyalty; it is my loyalty that would make me vote for PDP. I was never a member of PDP. Some misunderstood it. I have never attended a rally in my life. I never attended any meeting as the VC. If it were the APC government that appointed me as the VC, I would vote for them.

What I am saying in essence is that connections may make one vote for a party or candidate. But that will not be a general interpretation. People should vote according to their conscience and for somebody  who can help this nation.

The cutoff point for admission into universities through the University Matriculation Examination (UTME), unlike previous years, was lowered this year. Is that not lowering the standard for admission?

Not at all! I want to celebrate the Registrar of JAMB, Professor Isha’aq Oloyede, for the wonderful things he is doing at JAMB. I am a Professor of Tests, Evaluation and Measurement. That was what we used to determine admission cut off marks. In life, there are many areas of tests.

I will explain only three for the purpose of this conversation. They are achievement, performance and screening tests. An Achievement test is what you bring out in a study over a period of time. For instance, when you are in JSS 3 and you want to proceed to SSS1 or the WASSCE (West African Senior School Certificate Examination), or the GCE (General Certificate of Education) O’ Level, which is used to secure admission into a tertiary institution.

That achievement test is the only authentic test which qualifies you to get admission. Performance Test is used to know how someone has fared in a particular endevour – maybe dance, to know how well you can dance, if you do well, it does not take you anywhere.

Screening Test is the least and it is only needed if there are many candidates than what you need. If for example, two million candidates apply for admission through JAMB and all of them have the same results, and the only space available is 500, that is where the screening test comes in.

It does not have anything to do with the fact that you will do well in university. Some can score 300 in JAMB and another score 100, the latter can beat the former when they all gain admission into the university.

Many factors contribute to what you are going to have in screening. We were in Abuja recently, when the cutoff points to universities were decided. Prof Oloyede used the principles of tests and measurement to decide the cut off. Those who do  not know were kicking, ‘No! No!! No!!!

Do not lower the standard.’ It is not the score of this screening test that would make the child. The child is made already. If these scores are removed completely, you can still admit a child because he or she already has the basic requirement. The screening is good for us.

Before now, some CBT (Computer Based Test) Centres would collude with the students to cheat and they say their students score 300 plus. They are called Miracle Centres. But Prof Oloyede, has done away with all of that. Such students when they apply, they say they should go and read Medicine.

They are the ones that when they get into the university they are unable to replicate what they did in JAMB and they resort to cheating. Each university decided on its own cut off marks. It was the bigger universities such as UNILAG (University of Lagos), UI (University of Ibadan) and UNILORIN that can raise their cut off marks.

For instance about 80,000 students applied to UNILORIN and probably they have a vacancy for only 50,000, they will then invoke the screening test. They can even say if you do not score 300, you cannot be admitted for Medicine. It is just because they have a large number of applicants. For instance in Anchor University our own cut off is 160, but we are going to look at their O’ Level results. That is their achievements.

How were you able to navigate the muddy water of the politics of Ekiti State University when you were the Vice Chancellor?

I was not able to navigate it. How can a child of God navigate the muddy water in this wicked world? The Bible says when Peter asked Jesus Christ to look at us, we have left father, we have left mother, we have left everything, what are we getting in return?

Jesus answered and said, you have left all with persecution. What I got in return was persecution. I was misunderstood due to loyalty. It is not possible for a government to appoint me as Vice Chancellor and turn back. The other governor that came got angry against me and removed me as the VC. I did not do anything. I told them to let them investigate me.

They will get nothing against me. I collected nothing other than my salary. No contractor could come to me for anything, if you did, I blacklist such a contractor. I told them openly, no contractor should come to me. No bank manager could come to me. The one who tried it,

I cancelled the name of the bank from the university. I did not need those things. That was my life. I was loyal to the government. The governor could call me and I will respond to his call.

But when another person came they said I was too loyal to the governor. In navigating the waters, one suffers for it. I endured it with joy. When you are doing right in society, you must be ready to suffer the consequences.

They told lies against me and against my wife simply because we did not allow them to steal. Everyone who knew me knew they were telling lies. The greatest miracle God did in my life is this appointment. I have gotten letters from many places as well as commendation.

This man God has rewarded you. Your righteousness has shown forth and that is my greatest joy. The chancellor is not an ordinary man and would never have appointed me if there is any stain in my life.




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