Monday, November 24, 2008

"Vamp" is for Vampire

On one of my numerous travels around this country of ours. I met two pretty decent girls from the premier private university in the south of Nigeria - Madonna University.

Madonna university is owned by the popular catholic priest who in the early 1990's lead the way for charismatic Catholics. Rev father Edeh, or Father as he is fondly called by his devout followers had an encounter in Rome with Mary the mother of Jesus that changed his life, and a little sleepy town of Elele in the back waters of Rivers State, Nigeria would never be the same again.

Shortly after his encounter in Rome, he was perfuming miracles - healing the sick, restoring sight to the blind, curing all sorts of disorders, even raising the dead! (My emphasis) By 1991, his Elele seminary had turned to a Mecca of sort, changing the little sleepy village to a bustling town, full of peoples from all works of life, from all corners of the world looking for solutions to their diverse problems. Beggars, Governors, Priest and even presidents sought after his council or blessings. This, in no small measure saw to a leap in socio economic growth of the area.

As you may have concluded by now, the Catholic church in Rome did not find the business of miracle working in the name of Mary ethical, and quickly asked that the father discontinue or be excommunicated. At the tempo Father Edeh was running at, no threat could stop him, not even the church. The local Elele community moved swiftly by providing him with land to continue his work in their community. Father Edeh of Elele was back in business.

As the educational system in Nigeria continued in its endless, downward plunge, Father Edeh diversified into establishing a private university, aptly named "Madonna University" in remembrance of the ultimate source of the gift that opened up the world of economics to him. At the time it was instituted, the concept of a private and religious Madonna University easily learnt itself as the solution to the prevailing teachers strikes and violent cult and gang warfare in other Nigerian universities. Little wonder why, in only few years of existence it had opened up 3 campuses (one in Okija, Enugu and Elele campuses) with well equipped infrastructure.

Having not had anything to do with the school all these years, but trusting that the Father would have carried on with what he knows best, the art of healing and teaching. I was excited to meet with two of her students. I was amazed to hear what they had to say about how their their university was run. I was however not prepared for what I heard, I was more surprised to hear what they had to say about their VC, Father Edeh and his cult-like antics to keep students on their toes. the worst of all, was the fact that parents and wards were as usual, aloof and clearly ignorant of how to go about solving the problems. This is why I am starting this article to highlight the problems I heard with a view to solving them. I am also sure the same is happening in other private universities in Nigeria.

No doubt this will need several posts to do justice to the problems so we will start by listing the charges and then solicit your help to discuss the issues at length.


  1. Students are treated like babies and have to account for their whereabouts on an hourly basis

  2. Out of campus movements are entered into a journal and passes issued

  3. Students who attempt to speak up against anything in the university is dismissed with any explanation.

  4. Every staff or student who has challenged the authorities has been shown the way out.

  5. Boarding facilities shows an average of 10 students to a room in gross violation of public and government regulations.

  6. That the university extorts money from students through lecturers. When lecturers are reported, the money goes into the university system but never back to the students

  7. A well instituted informant ring of loyalist tagged "Vamps" by other student is financed and run by Father Edeh. Vamps rule and run the show in their departments, hostels, social circles.

  8. Disloyal "Vamps" have been killed if they choose not to remain in the university system , even after graduation.

  9. In the era of publicising the risk of AIDS and other related issues, the Madonna University have dismissed several students for testing positive. This has continued even after Government authorities approached the university to stop.

One major challenge here is hearing from people. I hear people are so scared of "Vamps" that they do not wish to speak. I would like to find graduated students who can corroborate the charges and we will spread the word and bring this university to book. The floor is open, lets talk.