The National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) has revealed why the institution awarded a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) to President Olusegun Obasanjo in less than two years after he commenced the programme.
Recall that the former Nigerian president had on Friday defended his PhD at NOUN. His research work was in Christian Theology at the institution’s Faculty of Arts.
Speaking with EduCeleb.com on Saturday, the Dean of the School of Postgraduate Studies at NOUN, Dr Samaila Mande explained that Mr. Obasanjo was on an MA/PhD combined degree.
A PhD programme in most parts of the world lasts averagely three years to complete.
EduCeleb.com had observed that Mr. Obasanjo completed his in less than two years after having his masters degree awarded as announced by the institution at a convocation ceremony in January 2016.
Mande who chaired the panel that awarded Mr. Obasanjo his PhD however clarified that Obasanjo actually completed his masters in 2015 and immediately proceeded for the PhD.
“The admission issued to him was an MA/PhD. He completed his MA Component in record time and proceeded with his PhD. That was why he was not physically present for the MA degree award in 2016,” Mande stated.
“He finished his MA and we did not bother to put his name in the convocation list because when you finish your programme supposedly, you are to proceed. That is why it is MA/PhD. It wasn’t that an MA admission was issued separately from that of the PhD. It is one admission. When you finish one, you simply proceed to the next,” he added.
Mande revealed that it was equally possible that student who had completed his programme may have his name omitted in the convocation brochure of the year of graduation and that does not mean they didn’t graduate that year.
“A student can finish his programme at any point in time and the list may or may not be in the convocation brochure. You know that there are backlogs of students that even finish their PGD some years ago. So, when the university wants to convocate, they can just bring them in one year and publish,” the communications don revealed.
“The PhD duration is three years. If you complete your MA or MSc Degree with required points, you will be allowed to proceed on your seminars and proposal, which he did. A student having such admission need not to be physically present at the convocation so far he is aiming towards the PhD.”
When EduCeleb.com probed further that Obasanjo had a convocation ceremony he attended in 2015, Mande clarified that that was when the former president completed his Postgraduate Diploma in Theology.
“The picture in circulation was that of the PDG convocation. It was after the PDG that he did MA. It was the MA that was not publicised because he didn’t come for that one. The press merely used the record of the earlier one (PGD) and presented it in their report about the MA,” he explained.
The Postgraduate School Dean commended Mr Obasanjo for pursuing his education to the PhD level despite being an octogenarian while encouraging Nigerians of all ages to take advantage of the programmes available at the National Open University of Nigeria.
“This is indeed commendable as it is very rare. That an individual who has spent over eighty years embarked on this academic exercise is definitely exemplary for our elders today. It is a feat worthy of emulation,” he said.