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“In England, Professors earn N33m but in Nigeria, Professors earn barely N500,000” Nigerian Professor Recounts

Professor Babatunji Abayomi Omotara had recounted how a banker in England told him that their professors get at least £70,000 (apr N33m), meanwhile, here in Nigeria, professors barely make N500,000.

He revealed this in an exclusive interview with HeadTopics.

The interview went thus:

Tell us about your early life.

I was born in Ado-Ekiti on September 22, 1951, to Chief Adeleke Omotara and Chief (Mrs) Rebecca Olabisi Omotara of Oloriogbon compound, Igbajo, Boluwanduro Local Government Area, Osun State. I grew up in many places because my father was a ftt Baptist school headmaster, who was transferred from one place to another. From Ado-Ekiti, we were transferred to Ijebu-Ode, and later, Ijagbo.

Apart from lecturing, did you venture into any other business?

I distributed Kessinsheen products between 1986 and 1997 in Monday Market, Maiduguri, which included hair cream, shampoo, activator and hair treatment products, among others.

That business helped me because when I became a professor in 1992, my salary was N7,400 and my basic was N4,400. When my mother was ill in 1997, I could not afford to buy a ticket to go and see her in England; my father had to sponsor me and my two sisters. The air ticket then was N71,000, and as a professor for five years, my salary was N8,000, I could only buy the ticket with my one year salary. It was bad.

When I got to England, my father wanted to add my name on his bank papers and I was embarrassed when the lady in the bank heard that I was a professor because she had strong admiration and respect for professors. While she was taking my bio-data, she asked for my monthly salary and I replied that in Nigeria we spent the naira, which did not have the same value with their currency. She quickly said that in her country, a professor earned £70,000. I said she should write it in the papers, knowing that I was earning less than a hundred pound. I will be making a fool of the country to tell her the actual salary.

Can you reflect on the years you spent with your students?

I trained and examined more than 3,000 medical doctors from this university, and I thank God for good memories. I can still remember many of them. I follow them, including those who work abroad. When they want reference letters, I allow them to lean back on me, especially if they want to do public health courses. Being trained in America, the reference I give helps students a lot. One of the students just got a full scholarship in California, which is one of the most expensive states to stay. In fact, I wanted to discourage her, but I was delighted when she got the full scholarship, which she admitted was because of my reference letter. I am happy I served humanity in this capacity.

Apart from the College of Medicine, I also taught in the Faculty of Education. In fact, I just submitted the last scripts I marked for students in the Department of Public Health Education. And it will interest you to know that I supervised Professor Njodi’s (former vice chancellor) master’s thesis. He was sent to me in 1989 when he was having difficulty in getting his proposal approved. When I came in, the proposal was approved within two months. He was on the verge of being dropped as a graduate assistant before I came in.

I teach master’s students in Health Planning and Management in the Faculty of Social and Management Sciences and I teach Population and Medical Geography in the Department of Geography, where a PhD I supervised just defended in September. I supervise five PhDs in that department. I teach master’s students in Disaster Management, as well as postgraduate diploma students. When we started Radiography, Physiotherapy, Nursing and Medical Lab Science; I taught them for five years to keep stability in the system.

Professor Mbaya, who is a course coordinator in Health Planning and Management, said when I told him I was about to retire, that whenever officials came for course accreditation, my curriculum vitae is placed on top and when they see it, that is the end of the accreditation. I retired on September 22, after turning 70 years old.

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Goldy Seph

I’m very very proud of you and I really appreciate your love for your country. It’s not a mean decision to come back to Nigeria after living and studying in the UK and the US where things work where institutions rules rather than individuals. It’s a sacrifice only God can pay back. Well, on salary, I want to say it’s a general thing. It’s not peculiar to Profs alone, Nigeria has not learnt how to pay for services rendered to develop the country. No one is paid adequate wages. Look at those working in the education sector, security sector, health… Read more »

Kingsley Ugwu

The Nigerian professor should rather be glad he received a widow’s mite as pay in Nigeria. As Jesus said, if they slap on one cheek, turn the other cheek to them or give them your cloak too. I so much love this saying by Jesus, because it settles in one case many cases: give to Ceazer the things that are Ceazer’s and to God the things that are God’s, and by this I mean compare apples with apples and oranges with oranges; if you compare oranges with sour grapes in your mouth, you must certainly feel a sour throat in… Read more »

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