Sometime in 2016, Farooq Kperogi shared a story of one Ibrahim Waziri, in an essay entitled “Ibrahim Waziri: From HND in Nigeria to PhD in America.” The story was both inspiring and intriguing. Dr. Waziri earned HND in Electronics and Computer Engineering at the Federal Polytechnic, Bauchi. Of course he was born in America, so returning to his land of birth was not as much challenging.
He did his masters’ degree in Applied Engineering at the Georgia Southern University, after which he earned a PhD in Information Security at Purdue University. He is currently a Senior Consultant (Federal Cyber Risk) at Deloitte; working with US federal agencies to mitigate cyber risks and threats. He also teaches graduate classes as an Adjunct Professor of Cyber-security at Marymount University.
Upon reading the essay, I informed Kperogi, that not only did he inspire Dr. Waziri to success, he, along with Moses Ochonu (of Vanderbilt University) also inspired me in ways they might not know.
Although a focal part of my aspirations since my undergraduate days in Nigeria involved the hopes that someday I would attend universities in Euro-America for postgraduate training, I must state, however, that that inspiration was further buoyed up as a result of my encounters with Kperogi and Ochonu. They have always been intellectual mentors who helped me appreciate the prospects of Euro-American education which activated my curiosity for critical inquest.
That said, Dr. Waziri’s story has opened up another can of worms in the Nigerian education system. I have seen comments on the social media of people asking if Dr. Waziri, could even be admitted into a masters’ degree program by a Nigerian public university without being given some additional senseless hurdles to pass through prior to admission.
Needless to say, the norm in Nigeria is that HND graduates are at best advised to go through a Post Graduate Diploma program before they can apply for a masters’ degree program. I know a Nigerian PhD (who started with HND) who could not find a teaching position in a public university in Nigeria. The ‘logic’ that university authorities used against him was simple nonetheless pathetic. They said he could not teach what he does not have; which is a bachelors’ degree.