By Christiana Ekpa
Mixed reactions trailed among stakeholders at a public hearing on Thursday in Abuja over a bill for an Act to provide for the establishment of federal university of technology, Asaba in Delta State and a bill for an Act to provide for establishment of federal college of education, Keana in Nasarawa State.
While the bill for the establishment of federal college of education, Keana in Nasarawa State sponsored by Nalaraba Abubakar was welcome without condemnation, reverse was the case for the other bill from the minority leader of the House, Ndudi Elumelu.
Sponsor of the bill, Elumelu while at hearing explained that the establishment of federal university of technology will be the first in the South South region.
He stressed the need to re-enact the law governing the federal college of technology in Asaba into federal university of technology to enable the broadening of knowledge of students in the region.
Corroborating Elumelu’s point, Governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa explained that the establishment of the university will boost access to education thereby reducing crime in the region.
Governor Okowa who was represented by the secretary of the state, Chiedu Ebie further explained that to enable the coordination of the establishment of various technical colleges in the state there is the need for the establishment of the federal university of technology in Asaba.
Also in support of the establishment of the university is the National Universities Commission(NUC).
The Director of Public Affairs, NUC, Ibrahim Yakasai said the commission is excited for the establishment of the university considering the unavailability of universities in the country to admit students who could not gain admission.
But on the contrary, Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) represented by its Abuja zonal coordinator, Prof. Theophilus Lagi kicked stressing that the proliferation of universities in the country should be discouraged rather already existing universities should be strengthened.
According to Prof. Lagi, it is tantamount to reduce the establishment of universities as constituency project. ASUU strongly oppose the establishment of this university.
However, President of Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities (SSANU), Comrade Samson Ugwuoke represented by the association National Financial Secretary, Mohammed Aliyu argued that the management of tertiary institutions in the country is the challenge bedeviling the country.
His words:”we are not saying we don’t want the establishment of more universities but managing them is the problem”.
Supporting SSANU, President of College of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU), Nuhu Ogirima worried that the apathy of teaching is affecting tertiary education and it is encouraging brain drain.
Earlier, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila who was represented by Chief Whip of the House, Mohammed Monguno while declaring opened the hearing explained that the bill will enable potential students to gain admission to pursue their desired careers.