The Nigerian tertiary institution comprise of universities, polytechnics, mono-technics and colleges of education; public and private. A critical assessment of these institutions would show they have fallen short of the responsibilities of education, and being beacons or centres of illumination. Togas of excellence are fast becoming icons of reckless manoeuvrings and decline in standards and quality of education. Though there may be slight differences, what is true of one is true of all. The paper highlights the various ways in which Nigerian institutions are falling short of expectations of radiating brilliance, excellence, integrity, and truly training the mind and character. This article deploys thematic approach of analysis through fact based arguments and narration, anchored on primary and secondary sources. The paper concludes by raising a critical question that ‘ a mind that knows is a mind that is truly free ’ a reflection of the Nigerian tertiary institutions ?