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This study investigated motivation and effective performance of academic staff in higher education. The research design was descriptive survey. The population comprises of all lecturers and heads of various departments in Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, Ondo State. Fifty (50) lecturers and ten (10) heads of department which was randomly selected for the study. Data was carefully collected through questionnaire measuring it item on a four (4) point likert-type-rating scale and properly analyzed using frequency count and simple percentage. The study revealed that encouragement for creativity and innovation, appreciation on genuine effort, award with impressive titles and acknowledge on achievement enhances the performance of university lecturers, also, 60% of the respondents agreed that there was lack of provision of regular payment of salary and other remuneration by the head to promote the performance. This study also revealed that provision of adequate chances for professional growth, instructional facilities arguments lecturer’s performance. The following recommendations were made; Universities managers and other tertiary institution should continue to provide adequate chances for professional growth and research development, availability of Institutional facilities, good relationship with academic staff and prompt payment of lecturers’ salaries to further advance their performance among others.