From:Femi Oyelola, Kaduna
Public universities in Nigeria must look inward in order to be self-sustaining in view of the current economic challenges facing the country, the Vice-Chancellor, Ahmadu Bello University, Prof. Kabir Bala, has said.
The Vice-Chancellor made the remark in Zaria on Monday when he received in audience members of Joint Chapels Council (JCC), an umbrella body of the Christian community in Ahmadu Belo University.
Prof. Bala explained that universities could stand the test of time when they became self-sustaining by aiming at excellence in both teaching and research.
“As universities we should all aim at excellence in teaching and research. If, for instance, you have good research works, you would be able to get sufficient money for the system”, he said.
He said universities must change their strategy in view of the reality on ground by cutting wastages, as there was “no free lunch for us now”.
The Vice-Chancellor challenged the academics and intellectuals to rise to the occasion by asking questions at congregations and other relevant fora on how things were being done in the Ivory towers.
“We have failed as intellectuals because we always keep quiet, allowing the system to suffer. The earlier we change the better as posterity will not be kind to us when we keep mute.
“As intellectuals we must talk even if it is the last thing”, he said.
On students admission, the Vice-Chancellor explained that ABU would continue to adhere strictly to its well-known criteria for admission given the complexity of the institution, saying the University was well respected for its admission policy which gave every part of the country the opportunity to study in the institution.
The Vice-Chancellor also announced his administration’s intention to encourage staff of the University to take advantage of the mortgage institutions to own houses after retirement.
Prof. Bala said he was already in consultation with the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria and Family Homes with a view to intervening in the provision of houses for the University staff.
“This is the only way to reward our staff who put in 35 years to 40 years in the service of the University. We don’t want to say ‘go away’ like that”, the Vice-Chancellor said.
Earlier in his remarks, the Chairman of the Joint Chapels Council, Prof. Charles Ezra Dikki, expressed gratitude to the Council for the audience granted them to discuss with him issues affecting the Christian community in Ahmadu Bello University.