When Degree And Skills Collide; Common Sense To The Rescue

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By Sani Bello Hamza

It all started with Fatima Mai Zogale and the controversy surrounding Rara’a new song praising Fatima and her well prepared Zogale. The conversation graduated to salary can not make one rich, where salary earners and entrepreneurs argued tirelessly to prove how salary has made them rich or otherwise. The conversation completely took a new dimension when two elephants (Prof. IBK and “Prof” Pantami) started groaning and flexing their intellectual muscles to get at each other. As the popular saying goes; when two elephants are fighting only the grass suffers. The grass get mutilated to the extend that it can’t grow in the same place.

Well, that’s not the case for us in this intellectual discourse, when the two elephants in our midst were exchanging blows, we were busy widening the scope and horizon of our knowledge. When one elephant tries to match another, we got busy enriching and fertilizing our minds with philosophical arguments and adding new words to our vocabulary. We were introduced to new dimensions and areas which we never knew existed before. We indeed witnessed a clash of the Titans!

During this short period, we found ourselves delving into the intricacies of skills and degrees on the arewa social media space. This is not the first time and I’m sure it won’t be the last time we’ll have a conversation of this nature. The topic will live even after the death of the author.

“Skills rather than just Degrees” a book published by “Professor” Isah Ali Pantami; a cyber security expert whose wide knowledge of Islam is globally satisfactory. The title of the book sounds provocative to academics and students pursuing degrees. Students and their teachers felt the tittle was specifically couched to undermine their hard work and reduce their chance of getting into the cooperate world to secure a white collar job.

If you follow the trend carefully and objectively like I did, you’ll agree with me the debate originate from the book title and the use of “Just” in the tittle; to questioning the authenticity and legality of the professorship title of the author. They said, you can’t live in a glass house and throw stones.

Students and their teachers felt describing degree as “just” which may perfectly be substituted with “mere” was deragatory, abusive, and undermining their effort to produce degree holders or become certified graduates. Professors’ and Drs’ from various field of study express their opinion regarding this. Some of them believed the author does not intend to undermine the value of degree certificates, rather he’s advocating for a paradigm shift from acquiring degree certificate alone to combining it with soft and hard Skills.

The conversation took a different turn when Pantami call for a debate with his critiques and some of his “colleagues” criticizing his beloved book. This singular act provoke and bring back the spirit of Prof. IBK to social media platforms. The renowned professor who’s known for his staunt criticism of Chinua Achebe’s Best Selling Things fall apart vehemently critized Pantami for this act and went ahead to describe him as semi-educated, which I believe was uncalled for.

Pantami’s call for debate made me wonder if as a “professor” he truly navigates through the academia as he claimed in one of his recently published books. Not only in the academic field, Literature in general is not devoid of critisms, you can’t divorce critisms from literature, if you don’t want to be criticized or you want to impose your views and opinions on your readers, trust me, publishing and writing is not your calling.

Professor Goodhart and Julius Stones exchange more than 10 academic papers on the meaning of “ratio decedendi”. The same thing happened between Professor Hart and Professor Fuller; the two renowned professors of law flexed their intellectual muscle through writing on the application of a particular Nazi law after the fall of Germany. Professor Hart wrote his book “concept of morality” and Professor Fuller replied with “The morality of law”. I’m sure Mallam is not unaware of the fact that Sahih Bukhari and Muslim ( the second Islamic Books after the Holy Qur’an) were also reviewed and religiously criticized by Muslims and non-muslims.

As an author, “Professor” Pantami should’ve died immediately after publishing the book and let the book speak for itself. By calling for debate, the “professor” is indirectly trying to impose his view and solutions to societal problems on others which is unacceptable. Human beings are naturally free and enjoy freedom of thought and conscience.

Lest I forget, Pantami ought to have learned from Dr. Yusufu Bala Usman and be contented with his Sheikh, Alaramma, Malam, Dr, CON, FCIIS, FBCS and FNCS titles. The “Professorship scandal” seriously affect his credibility in the eye of the world. I believe he’ll one day come out and reveal the requirements he fulfilled before he was awarded the professorship title. It’s easier to get rid of a cancer when it’s still small than to wait for it to grow bigger. It’s a common sense which is indeed not common.

As Peter Tosh succinctly put in his famous song the “Glass House”;
if you live in a glasshouse
Don’t throw stones
And if you can’t take blows brother
Don’t throw blows

A stitch in time…

Sani Bello Hamza Law student at Ahmadu Bello University Zaria. He writes from Zaria and can be reached through 09013506168 or sanibellohamza@gmail.com.


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