Lola Akande has released a new novel that exposes the intrigues and politics that characterise degree-awarding processes in Nigeria’s ivory towers.
Her new novel, What It Takes, shows the unfortunate entrenchment of cyclical wickedness in Nigerian universities, where anyone who acquires a Ph.D and becomes a university lecturer, believes they must punish students because they have gone through a similar experience. The central character’s ivory tower experiences mimic the larger Nigerian experience, where excellence is murdered and mediocrity is celebrated under the guise of tribalism, entitlement mentality, unbridled sexual demands, greed and avarice and sheer wickedness.
Realising that intelligence, diligence, hard work and commitment are not necessarily What It Takes to earn a Ph.D in a Nigerian university, the heroine seeks the intervention of marabouts in a desperate attempt to achieve her goal, thereby underscoring the potential danger some varsity teachers unwittingly expose their lives to through their own acts of wickedness.
Akande was born on October 3, 1965 in Kwara State, Nigeria. She holds a doctorate degree in English Literature from the University of Ibadan. She teaches African Literature in the Department of English, University of Lagos. Her first novel, In Our Place, was published by Macmillan Nigeria Publishers Limited (2012). Her short story, ‘Camouflage,’ was published in the anthology, Dream Chasers (Nelson Publishers Limited, 2013). What It Takes is her second novel.