From Ngozi Onyeakusi, Lagos
President Muhammadu Buhari has disclosed the Federal Government plans to raise funds from the nation’s bourse to support Nigerian universities.
Buhari, who regretted that the government lacks the financial capacity to fund Nigerian Universities, explained that the federal government will therefore raise funds from the capital market for that purpose.
Speaking at the convocation of the University of Ibadan which coincided with the institution’s 70th anniversary on Saturday, Buhari acknowledged that university education was really being under-funded, and that the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has a point for their ongoing strike, however, pleaded that the institutions should leverage on alumni and partnership with the private sector to provide the needed succour.
Represented by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, he revealed that some of the options that the federal government was working on “are the details of education funding for the public universities, which will involve raising funds from the capital market to give a push to the infrastructure in our universities. The ongoing talks with the ASUU as you know are follow-up of the chequered history of negotiations concluded with the government in 2013”.
He added: “There is no question that ASUU has a point. However, we must seek to resolve amicably and with minimum disruption to the academic calendar. The issue really is that there is no doubt whatsoever that education is under-funded and we must fund it even with the best. But even with the best effort at attending to funding education from the budget, it is completely impossible to do so.
“None of the universities, especially in the free world, is fully or even substantially funded by the government. The task of fund-raising is precisely what the universities are established to do; to solve problems and to create solutions that uplift the society. We can creatively address the issue looking at other solutions around the world. One of the solutions that we must explore is alumni network. There is perhaps no university in Nigeria that has the kind of alumni network today that the University of Ibadan has.”
While lauding the outstanding achievements of the University in the past 70 years with the production of many academics in various fields of study with their pioneering work in research and development, Osinbajo added that “every generation is, whether it knows it or not, equipped to deal with the challenges of its times and to hand over a legacy to enable the next generation to navigate its own journey with greater ease. University is of course a place where the direction and instruction must come.
Earlier, the Chancellor of the University, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, also commended the premier university for having blazed the trail in research and teaching in virtually all branches of knowledge in the last 70 years. He said UI’s achievements are globally recognised.
While congratulating the graduands, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Idowu Olayinka, reminded them that the university and society have high expectations from them, while disclosing that: “A total of 371 candidates spread over 12 faculties and five Institutes and Centres were admitted into the Doctor of Philosophy Degrees of the university with the Faculty of Arts leading the pack with 64 graduands.”