…Charges ASUU, others on the functional academic system
President Muhammadu Buhari has tasked Nigerian universities to reevaluate their performance in light of regional and international standards.
This was made known during the 7th Convocation Ceremony of the Federal University, Oye Ekiti, (FUOYE ) Ekiti State.
Represented at the occasion by the Minister of State for Education, Goodluck Nanah Opiah, the President noted that since independence in 1960, Nigeria has been trying to make the big leap from being classified as developing to joining the elite group of the developed countries of the world, academic establishments generally and Federal University, Oye Ekiti, in particular, are expected to take the lead in proffering workable solutions to these challenges.
The Head of State, who is the Visitor to the institution, used the opportunity to disclose that his administration has done its best within the limits of available resources to better the position of the country in the comity of nations. He went further to request that all hands be on deck to save Nigeria from the myriads of socio-economic and political challenges that beset it.
Mr President through the Minister of State for Education gave further insight into his administration’s efforts in funding the education sector by stating that it is an impossibility to channel all the available funds in the country to the education sector, but the sector has been adequately funded.
“it is a matter of public knowledge that my administration, since its inception in 2015, has been incrementally increasing funding to the sector in its yearly budgets. The university system has remained one of the largest beneficiaries of budgetary allocations to the sector. Notably, through increased funding of the Tertiary Education Trust Funds (TETFUND), my administration has regularly financed human capital and infrastructural development across Nigerian universities. I enjoin succeeding administrations to build on this legacy.At this juncture, let me persuade university unions, especially ASUU, to understand the fact that all sectors in the country need more financing and that the government is working assiduously to perform its obligations with the resources available to it. A collapsed economy will not be in anybody’s interest as it would also translate into systemic collapse where nothing works. Permit me to also point out that funding in the foreign universities that ASUU and other unions want to use as comparisons is not solely a function of the government. In most climes, governments at best give subventions while the universities largely rely on grants and public-private initiatives to fund their operations. I submit that these unions should partner with the government to arrive at a funding blueprint for the university system in the country that will take cognizance of local peculiarities and modern realities based on global best practices. It is also imperative to point out that the rot in the university system arising from gross indiscipline and corruption contributes in no small measure to the inability of our universities to become high fliers. Revelations in the media and more recently from the outcome of university disciplinary procedures about sexual harassment, sex for grades, extortions, cultism, plagiarism and other forms of intellectual fraud and corruption in our universities are disheartening to say the least. I challenge ASUU and sister unions to clean their houses in line with the zero-tolerance stance of the government against corruption in the country. If these unions can dissipate half of the energies they devote to confronting the government on issues of funding to checking the excesses of their members, our university system will be better”
While congratulating the graduands and asking them to employ the academic and moral discipline instilled into them to overcome all challenges, the President asked them to be good ambassadors of the institution. “Beyond this ambassadorial duty, I challenge you to become problem solvers and not problem adders. The essence of university education is not just about self-development but also to equip you to be able to contribute your quota to national development. Shun the easy but criminal way to wealth. Remember that shortcuts will always cut you short. As you move to the next phase of life, I wish you the best” he added.