From Paul Orude Bauchi
Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has appealed to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Federal Government to resolve their areas of conflicts and avert the impending strike by the former.
Dogara, who is the Chancellor of Achievers University, Owo, Ondo State, gave the advice during the 11th Convocation of the University in Owo, on Saturday.
He said it was time the Government and Association of Universities workers found other means of resolving disputes other than strikes.
“Our public universities are seriously affected by incessant strikes and threats of it. Are there no other ways of resolving disputes between the workers and the Government?,” he quried.
“Imagine Achievers University licensed on 11th December, 2007, that commenced academic activities on 2nd April, 2008 with her 1st academic Session being 2007/2008. Today at its 14th anniversary of licensing, the 11th convocation is underway.
“No doubt, the funding challenges of the public universities need to be seriously addressed by government, but the Unions are advised to think out of the box in channelling their grievances in the interest of the students and the quality of degrees they earn”
The former Speaker frowned at the proliferation of Universities in the country, especially the spate of approvals and licensing of private universities.
“The National Universities Commission must be quick to have a recess, a break for a period of time to allow the very large number of private universities already licensed to mature,” he advised.
“I am reliably informed that there are 202 Universities in Nigeria, out of which the Federal government owns 49; the 36 State governments own 54, while the rest 99 universities, including Achievers University, are promoted by private initiatives.
“Many of the newly established private universities are still struggling to find their feet; not because there are no prospective university students JAMB’s pool, but we would be shying away from the reality if we fail to realize that very many of the applicants cannot afford the fees charged by private universities.
“So many prospective university students would rather wait for a few years to benefit from public university rather than exploit the vast opportunity available in private universities”
Dogara however believes that private universities have faired well.
“We must however acknowledge the great jobs the private universities are doing for those who can afford it, and for assisting the government in stemming the tide of educational tourism,” he states
“Hitherto , many Nigerian youths were found in very great numbers in many universities across the globe, particularly in West African Countries.
“In the last 21 years, with the advent of private universities in Nigeria, the story has changed for good”
Dogara recollected meeting the Founder of Achievers University, Hon. Dr. Bode Ayorinde, on his first visit to Owo Kingdom to deliver the 5th Convocation lecture of the University.
“My 2nd coming to this very promising citadel of learning was at the combined 8th and 9th Convocation in 2019 when I was installed as the 2nd Chancellor of the University and also conferred with the Honorary Doctoral Degree in Law,” he said.
“As the Chancellor of the University, I was here early this year to preside over the 10th Convocation ceremony and here we are today at the 11th Convocation ceremony. We return all the glory to God Almighty for the great things He has done.
“I wish to congratulate the graduands both at undergraduate and postgraduate levels for the great transformation you have experienced in this university. It is the expectation of the university, the nation and your loved ones that you will justify the effort that had been put into this transformation process by adding value to products you make and services you render as you march forward in your life journey.
“To the Honourary doctoral degree awardees, accept my sincere congratulations on honours well deserved. Both the Senate and Council of Achievers University have done a lot of scrutiny, checks and due diligence before finding you worthy of this great honour. I besiege you to see this honour as tonic and impetus that would spur you to continue to do more in your service to the nation and humanity in general.
“To the University Proprietor, Governing Council, Management and Senate, I wish to congratulate you on the great transformation the university has witnessed within the short period of its establishment.
“The signs are clear that the stakeholders are prudent and focused. Truly, it appears you are on the path of making history, to live up to your mission of establishing the best university in Africa. As you strive day and night to achieve your goals and objectives, I implore you not to concentrate only on infrastructure, rather see the development of the youths under your care, both in knowledge and character, as the main mandate”