The Honourable Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, has inaugurated a new Governing Council for the University, with a charge to ensure prudent management of scarce resources and broaden the Internally Generated Revenue base of the University. The new Governing Council members are: Barrister (Dr.) Aboki Zhawa, Pro-Chancellor and Chairman; Dr. Yakubu Toragbigiye, Mr. Charles Antakiya, Dr. Femi Olufunmilade and Mrs. Nkem Ezeomah.
Mallam Adamu gave the charge while inaugurating 23 Governing Councils of federal universities at the National Universities Commission (NUC), Abuja. “In view of the current economic situation in the country, I call for prudent management of scarce resources while efforts should be intensified to broaden the Internally Generated Revenue base of each university and ensure judicious application of revenues so generated”. While calling on the newly-inaugurated governing council members to live above board, the Minister urged them to join the war against corruption in the country, as corrupt practices, such as staff indiscipline were bound to have destructive effect on the system, saying, “as you are well aware, the visitor of all federal universities, thePresident and Commander-in-Chief (of the Armed Forces), is on a crusade to clean the system of all forms of corruption and so far, the country is winning the war”.
Mallam Adamu, who reminded them that the powers of each Governing Council were to be exercised in line with the extant laws and statutes of each university, charging them to study the laws and statues, government policies, white papers, circulars, gazettes and other relevant document that would assist them in taking decisions that would move the university system forward. He added that such move would help the new councils to avoid conflicts between them and other stakeholders in the university.Minister said the tertiary education sector, particularly, the universities were critical to the actualisation of the change agenda of the Federal Government, adding that government was aware that Nigerian universities face challenges of inadequate human and material resources, physical infrastructure, general insecurity, examination malpractices and poor management of funds, among others but that the government had resolved to tackle these problems head-on with the full cooperation of the new council members by making the desired impact and be a vehicle for the realisation of government laudable objectives.
According to the Minister, the Governing Council is the highest policy organ with the overall responsibility for making statues for the organisation, policy, structure, power, development, financing and general management of the university, hence, should know that governance and management are two distinct responsibilities in the university system. Therefore, it is pertinent for the council members to know this and avoid conflict of interest.delivering his welcome address, the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Abubakar Rasheed, appreciated the critical roles of governing councils in the effective governance and development of universities. He urged them to recognise their place in the university, particularly, as employers of labour and bring their wealth of experience to bear on the fulfillment of the desires of the government in the education sector.
The Executive Secretary enunciated that all the governing councils for the 23 federal universities would be supported to make them succeed in the new task of providing effective, efficient and credible governance, by organising a retreat for them in the first week of July, to keep them abreast of the challenges of governance in the Nigerian university system as well as global best practices. The councils were admonished to display high sense of commitment, dedication, honesty, fairness, sincerity, excellence, teamwork and determination, no matter the challenges that confront them.
In their separate goodwill messages, the Minister of Youth and Sports, Barrister Solomon Dalung, said the new councils were coming at a critical period in the nation’s history. The minister frowned at privatisation and commercialisation of the education sector, while calling for massive investment in the sector, as part of measures to remedy poor access to education. Barrister Dalung supported the Federal Government’s policy to restrict Federal Universities of Agriculture to their core mandates, while appealing to the National Assembly to allocate 26 percent of the nation’s total budget to education, in line with the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) recommendations.
On his part, the Chairman, House of Representatives’ Committee on Tertiary Education and Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), Hon. Aminu Suleiman, said the executive arm and the National Assembly were working to improve funding in tertiary institutions and particularly, the universities to enhance their capacities for research and development, which would in turn, rub-off positively, on the socio-economic sector of the country. He assured that the National Assembly would join hands with the Federal Ministry of Education, in carrying out oversight functions of the universities. On behalf of the new governing councils, the Pro-chancellor and Chairman, Governing Council, University of Lagos, Dr. Wale Babalakin, assured the Minister that members of the governing councils would justify the confidence reposed in them and turn around the fortunes of federal universities, positively.
Meanwhile, at the first Consultative Meeting of the Governing Council of FUNAAB, held in Abuja, the new Pro-Chancellor and Chairman, Governing Council of FUNAAB, Dr. Aboki Zhawa, expressed the readiness of the Council to work tirelessly for the upliftment of the University within the next four years, while calling for the support and cooperation of all stakeholders in the University to succeed. Dr. Zhawa, a national honorary awardee of the Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON), said the 6th Governing Council would operate by following laid down rules and regulations, to avoid any administrative mistakes.