Suncolor's Blog

Ups and Downs of An African Campus, new book by john otim

Posted on: December 13, 2011

From the early to the mid-1980s, under the auspices of the International Monetary Fund (IFM), African governments, including that of Nigeria, adopted the policy known as the Structural Adjustment Program. The policy required governments to tighten their belts, cut spending, lay off workers. In return the IFM gave them loans at high interest rates. By the end of the decade most African countries had become chronically indebted to the IMF. African economies were in tatters.

Inspired by years of teaching and learning at Ahmadu Bello, John Otim’s latest work is an informative examination of the challenges and possibilities that exist on an African campus. Crippled by its country’s perilous financial state, Ahmadu Bello University, and other Nigerian universities, suffered from lack of funds and supplies, loss of qualified professors, and sub-standard student housing that resulted in strikes and riots on campuses across the nation. This led to prolonged closures. By 2004, when Vice Chancellor Professor Shehu Usman Abdullahi took over the affairs of the Ahmadu Bello, he faced the challenge of restoring a semblance of normalcy and culture of study and work to the beleaguered campus. Through seven sections, Otim recalls the creation of the university in 1962, its rise to fame and glory; discuses academic matters, administrative issues, rehabilitation of physical structures, and the development of a comprehensive, campus-wide network of ICT.

In an easy to read, informative and provocative treatise, Otim portrays the challenges that almost brought to an end one of the most fabled campuses on the African continent with precision and candor. The breadth of his understanding provides insights into not only the university but the nature of higher education itself. Always challenging and never pandering, The Ups and Downs of an African Campus: Five Years of Steady Progress at Ahmadu Bello University 2004-2009 teaches that anything is possible when you believe in a dream.

About the Author
John Otim, literature major Makerere University, graduate school at Indiana University Bloomington and Loughborough University in England. Taught literature and creative writing at Ahmadu Bello University in Nigeria. Poet and writer, author of the novel Dream Campus. Both books available at


2 Responses to "Ups and Downs of An African Campus, new book by john otim"

Bravo! A worthy study.

In 1963 (high school) we spend half the year on civics and the other half of the year on Africa. It was considered then that emergent continent (emerging from colonialism), held all sorts of promise given its people, animals, plants, minerals, and so on. Unfortunately and in many cases tragically, Africa hasn’t fulfilled the hope we had for her. Anything that explores the ups and downs of post-colonical Africa – in whatever context – has value toward understanding and one would hope, resolution of some painful problems and outcomes.

can imagine the days of innocence in which you studied africa in high school. you right. many missed opportunities. if africa could rid itself of corrupt and autocratic leadership there is hope

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