BUSTED: Lecturer From University Of Nigeria Wins Prestigious Harvard Fellowship Using False Qualifications
A REJOINDER – WHO IS BUSTING WHO?
By Chidi Ugwu, PhD
Moments ago, my attention was drawn to a story with the above headline, published by SaharaReporters on Wednesday, 29 September 2021. If not that the internet never forgets, I would let this slide, especially given that we have graver matters of the Nigerian state to contend with, plus the fact that I am too busy for media exchanges at this time.
- First, that SaharaReportersof all news media never bothered to contact me before going to town with this sort of defamatory publication was my first surprise. This runs counter to a major principle of journalism founded on the juristic dictum that says,audio alteram partem– always ensure to hear from the other side. I understand, though, that sometimes the rush to grab readers with a hot headline could get the better of the reporter. But this principle is taught from 101 classes in mass communication and media practice.
- Let me state firmly that I have no doubts about who is behind it all and I will tell you shortly. By the way, I’m just doing this to put the records straight for the public. Otherwise, I would not bother about this idle smear mongering. I’m a very busy man.Google Chidi Ugwu if you need to see what I have been busying with.
- For background, you may want to know this: In late 2019, following a rigorous selection process that involved hundreds of exceptional scholars across the world, I got selected for two research fellowship positions in Harvard University. And let me mention that the two research institutes that selected me are unrelated and were working completely independent of each other. It was a bit troubling for meto select the one I eventually settled for.
- Moments after my selection into the Harvard Radcliffe Institute was announced in the University of Nigeria, one ‘Professor’ EmenikeChinenyengoziEjiogu,who claimed he had dual positions as a professor in the USA and a visiting scholar in South Africa, sent me a message over the email threatening to deal with me.To make do his threat, he wrote to my Institute at Harvard directly, with trumped up allegations that I was a dubious liar who defrauded students, intimidatedfellow staff and falsely claimed to be a Guest Lecturer in the University of Melbourne, Australia. The Harvard Radcliffe Institute, after due investigation, dismissed his claims andwrote me the following email (which I prefer to screenshot;I cut out their names here because within the short period I needed to dispense with this useless distraction, it was not possible to officially secure permission to put out their names here; this may be done if it becomes expedient and permissible in the near future):
- Just in case you need a bit more light,‘Professor’ Ejiogu was hired by the UNN in 2014, into the Department of Sociology & Anthropology where I teach. The university required him, as is the rule, to submit his publications and other credentials so they could regularize him and determine what rank it would be proper to place him. For six years, he employed all sorts of tactics to dodge this exercise.After having tried for years on end to get him to submit himself for this exercise, the University Council had no choice than to relieve him of the temporary appointment. Currently unemployed, he’s in court with the UNN council, having sued them from what is left of the salaries he collected under a false pretense.My offense in that process was that I participated in running some background checks on him somewhere along the line. So, he believes I am part of his enemies that should now be smeared at all costs.He believes he is trying to pay me back in my own coin. But I have no coin. I use only genuine notes.
- My real embarrassment was that this pathfinding online medium could publish a potentially defamatory report of this nature without seeking to hear from both sides of the narrative. Remember Chimamanda Adichie’s admonition about the danger of a single story?
- Maybe I should even mention thatI’ve used my own hands to forward that smear publication to my institute here at Harvard. They already know where this is coming from because they have investigated these same allegations themselves.
- I don’t think it’s necessary to begin laying bare my certificates for everyone to see. I will do so when the time comes.
- For now, let me dispense with one of the major straws the reportwas clinging to. Find below my last email from the University of Melbourne inviting me for this year’s lecture that comes up on 11 October 2021:
And here is the zoom link they have sent to me for that engagement:
- The report also alleged that my claim to have a diploma certificate from the University of Helsinki is false. I am wondering why it was just diploma, out of all my certificates from BSc, MSc to PhD, that they pointed to. I will choose another occasion to display my certificates for the public to see. I don’t feel that this smear mongering has deserved it yet.
- Maybe I don’t need to mention that you don’t get selected for a fellowship at Harvard because you have presented some damned certificates. Your proposal stating your research agenda, plus your publications that are available on the internet, are your major bargaining resources. Again, Google Chidi Ugwu to see for yourself. You don’t miss or lie your way into Harvard. Make no mistake to think about Harvard with your naijaconsciousness.
- Let me make a proposal to SharaReporters: If after a more thoroughgoing investigation and you discover that you have been misled to accuse me wrongly, will you retract the report you published against me on 29 September 2021 with an apology? Or will you still dare me to do my worst?
- To aid your investigation, I offer to let you have all the links and contacts you need in Harvard, in Helsinki, in the University of Nigeria, and in the University of Melbourne. Remember that most of the higher institutions in Europe and America are very big with several institutes and centers that run semi-autonomously. That one of such institutes or centers fails to confirm your request is not enough for you to draw your conclusion just yet.
- I think we are still within reasonable time for this mistaken report to be redressed.