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Monday, June 17, 2024

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    Why Did Onyeka Nwelue Claim To Be A Professor?

    It’s truly sad to see the many efforts to cook this “Prof” or “Dr” claim by Onyeka into existence.

    Efforts from folks you’d assume would know better.

    Considering that I have seen too many ignorant comments about how at least he is really a visiting assistant prof somewhere, I had to do some basic search that anyone can also do.
    Onyeka’s claims include:

    1. He was an Associate Research Fellow at the University of Johannesburg.
    2. He was a Visiting Research Fellow at the Center for International Studies, Ohio University.
    3. He is currently a visiting assistant professor and Visiting Fellow of Affican Literature and studies in the English Language Department of the Faculty of Humanities, Manipur University in Imphal, India.

    If you take a few minutes to go to the University sites of all these universities to do a search for his name. Nothing comes up. Not even a chance word about any Onyeka Nwelue. I took the extra effort to check the Indian Uni’s departmental page. Remember, this is the one he claims to be the major academic position he has.

    There’s not a single mention of him on the department page or even the research scholar page. Not to mention him being a visiting assistant professor. Do you guys even know what it takes to be appointed into these roles?

    If you search my name in google and append university of pretoria to it, you will easily find my Master’s dissertation. If you go to the Department of Construction Economics, you’ll find some of my research output listed there. I have posted my certificates of doctoral completion here in the past. I don’t think these issues are so difficult. If someone makes a claim, there should be documentation for it somewhere and it is truly naive and gullible if people just defend someone because they are popular.

    Every scam or fraud counts on you to legitimize their fraudulent claims. It’s the same way there are people legitimizing the fraud that happened at the Nigerian elections some days back. These folks are sometimes just genuinely convinced that the fraud is true. And that’s to show how perfectly done the counterfeiting has been.

    It’s also unfortunate that Oxford and probably many other institutions who claim very high standards cannot even do such basic checks when accepting “academic visitors”. I won’t be shocked if the Oxford one too was some informal relationship that he had with a faculty member.

    This person knows that many of us aren’t so invested in digging any further. And it’s the fact about life. People are too busy to be unraveling every fraudster out there. The fraudsters know this and would brazenly make claims because they can get away with it. Nobody really has the time to be checking whether people are really what they claim to be. Plus, so many of us have this toxic positivity going on where our best wishes for others don’t want us to ask questions. It’s why there’ll still be those folks reading all of this who will think it’s hatred and witch-hunting that has made me go google Onyeka from my phone while have an early morning sh*t. He’s not that consequential. I just have a minute to check.

    These are his claims
    This is the UJ search
    And UJ has records of fellows on their site so it’s not a mistake that he doesn’t show up.
    This is what comes up when you search me on University of Pretoria site
    This is search for him on Manipur Uni site
    This is a search for him on Ohio Uni site.

    How to Not Become a Professor

    There are clear ways to become a professor. Calling yourself one or adding it into social media banter is not one of them.

    In the conversations about Onyeka Nwelue’s acclaimed professorship, we must be clear that this is not just about him neither is it just a problem of semantics.

    We should be clear that as a people, impersonating or misconstruing issues to look like more than you are is fraudulent.

    We all know how much status and validation is associated to Dr and Prof titles in Nigeria. So, it’s no surprise that many social status hustlers adopt such titles for access.

    It’s the same way some people rent cars to attend tender bids or negotiations so they can charge bogus fees.

    They know that people don’t particularly negotiate with your capacity or experience, and perception is often valued above facts.

    So, in the case of author communities that are conflicted on whether it’s just mere semantics that someone uses the prof title in social engagements. No, it’s not!

    You shouldn’t even use the Dr title if all you have is a honorary doctorate. And this isn’t about protecting the exclusivity of academia. The doctoral journey is an academic one in which industries and government repose faith in some individuals to investigate problems and become subject matter experts in order to build a knowledge base.

    There’s a public servant in Southwest Nigeria, and probably others, who added the doctor title to their profile after receiving a honorary doctorate. This is unethical.

    There’s academic rigor and guidelines by which doctorate degrees are awarded, for a reason. In three years of data collection, organizing, analysis, an ethical doctoral student will only refer to themselves as doctoral candidates.

    The whole of our economy’s human capital should typically look to these sets of people for leadership and training. This way, we don’t fall into a chaotic unstructured existence. I’m not, by any means, saying that academia has done its best. But we have expectations of every sector so that we can measure performance and implement change.

    So, when someone uses the titles Prof, without any academic degree or evidence of such, it can be seen as impersonation and fraud. It’s as bad as any other kind of fraud. Using and commercializing your association to such falsely represented positions, is even greater fraud.

    Let’s be clear on this. There’s nothing noble about calling yourself a Prof or Dr when you have not received the actual qualifications for that title and it shouldn’t be condoned.

    I may not be able to speak to other issues surrounding Onyeka Nwelue’s recent unveiling. However, in this regard, except he provides an actual doctorate degree, he has been fraudulent and should be regarded as a fraud.

    By Damilola Jonathan Oladeji

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