Nigeria to raise funds from capital market to fund universities – Striking university lecturers and other stakeholders in education sector were told a bitter truth yesterday: Federal government does not have the financial ability to plug funding shortfall in Nigerian universities.
President Muhammadu Buhari, who made the revelation at the convocation of the University of Ibadan which coincided with the institution’s 70th anniversary, said the federal government will therefore raise funds from the capital market to fund universities.
Buhari, who was represented by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, 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.The university admitted a total of 371 graduates into the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree at the ceremony.
Osinbajo 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”, he disclosed.
Other dignitaries at the ceremony include a former military Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon; the Chancellor Nde Waklek Mutka, Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu was represented by the Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Prof. Isiaq Oloyede; the Vice Chancellor, Professor Idowu Olayinka, Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State, Minister of Health Professor Isaac Adewole, the Olubadan of Ibadanland Oba Saliu Adetunji (Aje Ogunguniso 1), and the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Dr. Samson Ayokunle.
The 2018 distinguished honourary awardees in various fields for the University included: Chief Bode Akindele (industrialist, the Parakoyi of Ibadanland,), Professor Bolanle Awe (Historian and former Education Commissioner in the old Oyo State), Professor Olufunmilayo Olapade (Physician), Professor Grace Alele Williams (ex- VC, UNIBEN), Professor Akin Mabogunje, (Geographer), and Professor Omoniyi Adewoye (ex-UI VC).