Prof.Ajibade lawal is one of the great mentors in  Nursing academia. As a Fellow, West African College Of Nursing, he has used his position towards propelling and uplifting Nursing education in Nigeria. He’s currently the Head of department, Nursing at Achiever’s University Owo as well as the Nursing education director, Lautech open And distance learning centre, ogbomosho.
In this interview with Fellow Nurses Africa ( FNA), he addresses many issues bothering Nursing Education and practice in Nigeria, enjoy!

FNA: can we meet you sir?

Prof. Ajibade: I am Ajibade Bayo Lawal, a registered nurse, PhD. and Fellow West Africa College of Nursing. I am a lecturer in LAUTECH (Ladoke Akintola University of Technology) Department of Nursing science.

FNA: thank you sir.

Prof: you are welcome.

FNA: before now, to get a nursing degree in the University for already registered nurses, through DE (direct entry) has been a major challenge to many nurses until about 3 years ago that LAUTECH LODLC (LAUTECH Open and Distance Learning Centre) came into place to make it flexible and accessible to Nigerian Nurses. Sir, I want to ask, has there been any challenge so far?

Prof. Ajibade: before now, we have had series of challenges but we thank God that there is no challenge that is insurmountable. One of it is the rigidity of nurses to change.
Our problem is that we don’t like accepting innovations because the regular program is choked, the regular degree program is choked, the National University Commission (NUC)  has given the number of students that can be admitted to the regular programme but the open degree programme is flexible. You can increase the number of students depending on the capacity to accommodate them, so having open and distance learning has given the opportunity to allow people having RN without degree in clinical areas to have their degree in nursing.

FNA: alright sir, thank you so much.The last admission that was held, it was said that about 1000 nursing students were admitted and there has been lots of people talking that sooner or later, there will be some kinds of discrimination against degree from LAUTECH open and distance learning centre within the profession.

Prof. Ajibade: cuts in. No!  No!!  No!!! That one is not possible. All the degree programs are registrable by National University Commission (NUC) and for your information, NUC gave the approval to start Open and Distance Learning (ODL).  You see, any profession that would have refused to change with time will go into oblivion. In the world over, open and distance learning is the order of the day, so the only thing is that the program should be run the way it should be run so that whatever the regular students are doing, those in the program should be allowed to run it and that is what Open and Distance Learning Centre in LAUTECH is doing. You will discover that those in the program do OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Examination) that the regular students do and which NOUN – National Open University is not doing, this has given a plus to the students coming to Open and Distance Learning in LAUTECH, so there wouldn’t be any element of discrimination. Rather than causing any discrimination, it will allow people to talk at the same wavelength because we now have the degree as the basis.

FNA: thank you so much for that.

Prof. Ajibade: you are welcome

FNA: a couple of years ago, I heard that you were a party to those that sued the director of Clinic Matters – a television series that portrays nursing in bad light for promoting the negative public perceptions of nurses and up till now, the trend is still ongoing even in the Nollywood, they still portray nurses in negative light, is there any plan to further address this?

Prof. Ajibade: Yes! Yes!! I think the chairman of NANNM, Alhaji Adeniji made a case sometimes and addressed it and the case is not foreclosed. It is an ongoing assignment, so we are still going to. You know in Nigeria, when people are using something to make money, for you to detonate it,  it will be very difficult but I know with time, things will work to our success.

FNA: OK, thank you very much sir.

Prof. Ajibade: you are welcome.

FNA: sir, recently, we also discovered that the percentage of  nurses in the academia that are members of NANNM are very few or let’s  say, probably they are there but not active, so sir, let me ask, is there any law prohibiting them?

Prof. Ajibade: there is no law prohibiting them even, it is one of the things that we in the academia put on our CV. It is not prohibited at all.  The problem is with NANNM. Are people in academia given the opportunity to serve in NANNM? That is the question, are they given the opportunity to serve in the NANNM? Let me say something, at the time we were working on internship, I represented UNIJOS (University of Jos) then in the council, I was working using my accumulated leave, then I served as the HOD (department of nursing, UNIJOS). All the people that represented NANNM, there was no single person with a degree, there was no single person with a degree in nursing, all of them were diplomates. You see, fear of the unknown that if we allow the people in the academia to be chairman, to be secretary, these people will not allow us to go the way it should go, so that is not the issue. Could you believe that anytime nursing is being mentioned in council of establishment either for salary, anybody that is dosing will wake up and we have encouraged them, anytime they are going to face such a thing, somebody should be representing academic area. When they ask you, what is your qualification? Website designer in Ado-ekiti, Ekiti State. You say BSc and medics are there, they say MBBS, fellow, pharmacist are there, they say PhD, MLS are there, PhD.  When it comes to nursing, they say, RNE, RN, so it sends a kind of signal. It is now for NANNM to see how they can incorporate people in the academia. We are not looking for positions, let them incorporate it, it may be as ex-officio, whatever name they can give it so that by the time there is a representation with the ministry, they can now invite those people to speak on their behalf, so that is how it should be.

FNA: the present NMA president in Nigeria is a professor and NANNM President  is probably a master degree holder.

Prof. Ajibade: cuts in – he is doing his PhD.

FNA: oh, OK! Thanks for that. So, looking at the situation of nursing in Nigeria generally, can you say that nursing has autonomy?

Prof. Ajibade: No, we don’t. Or let me say We have but  it is not total. Where it becomes total is when we can talk and decide without anybody teleguiding our profession but as it is now, there is still a lot  as we are being teleguided by other members of the health care team, so we can’t say we have full autonomy.

FNA: alright, thank you very much sir. lastly, from a reliable source, it was said that very soon, the faculty of Nursing sciences in LAUTECH, Ogbomoso will take effect, Could you share the good news with us?

Prof. Ajibade: yes, you are correct! It has been approved by the senate that we should go faculty but what we are now waiting for is the board to approve it. Once it is approved by the board, it will commence.

FNA: OK! Thank you so much sir for this. And lastly, what would be your word of encouragements for the upcoming generation of nurses?

Prof. Ajibade: the encouragement is Nigerians believe in certificates and since Nigerians believe in certificate, we must ensure that we have those certificates that will propel nursing. Without this, it is impossible to for us to progress.