Draws A Road Map For Tinubu

Prof Nath Ohazurike, an academic giant who has paid his dues in the country’s education sector, has said that poor funding and the interference of government in the administration of universities are the major factors militating against the effective administration of universities in Nigeria.

Ohazurike, who has at different times, held top notch positions in the education sector, including, Chairman, Governing Council of Adeyemi Federal College of Education, Ado Ekitti, now called Adeyemi Federal University of Education, Dean, Faculty of Education, Imo State University, Owerri, said, ‘’the major problems confronting university education in Nigeria, is lack of autonomy, lack of proper funding and undue interference of government and other state actors. All these directly and indirectly affect the effective administration of universities and other tertiary institutions in the country which should be given free hands to function and operate without interference.

‘’For universities to perform optimally, the leadership should comprise people who can be referred to as first among equals. The person at the helm of affairs should have strong academic and moral background, integrity and other positive antecedents that will make his colleagues respect him. He should also be a person who cannot be intimidated or pushed around by forces within and outside the academic environment’’.

Responding to a question, the erudite world acclaimed scholar, who has supervised over 15 post graduate students including MSc and PhD Students most of who are presently professors in different universities, said, ‘’Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) is an intervention fund made for research and other purposes. It is not for constructing new universities. Unfortunately, most times government collects money from there for the construction of new universities that end up being poorly equipped and funded.

“TETFUND was the brain child of the Academic Staff Union of Universities ASUU under Professor Awuzie whose tenure was very proactive, successful and result-oriented. It was called Education Trust Fund ETF and the funds that accrued to it were disbursed down to the primary schools. He fought and lobbied for it to be streamlined. He was the person who advocated that it should be limited to tertiary institutions to ensure quality service delivery.

‘’There is also need for adequate funding of universities to aid research and other academic-oriented projects, in addition to having synergy between the university system and the industries who employ their graduates. As a matter of fact the industries should have input in the programs of the universities because, they know what they want’’.

Prof Ohazurike, who was appointed by the National University Commission NUC, into most of the committees it constituted between 2006 and 2012 further stated that ‘’because of the lack of synergy between the universities and the industries, the former most times produces graduates who are not relevant to the industries, resulting in mass unemployment which constitutes other societal problems.

Even the salaries earned by staff of universities in the country today, which have been eroded by inflation was also negotiated by Prof Awuzie as Chairman of ASUU. There has not been any salary increase since the end of his tenure’’.

On the prevailing brain drain which has led to the mass exodus of Nigeria’s specialized work force, Prof Ohazurike, said, the government is responsible for that and should take the blame.

According to him, ‘’what the government pays is starvation salary that hardly takes the earner beyond two weeks. This enhances and encourages corruption because of survival instinct. The person you are paying such meager salary sees those he is far better than who are amassing wealth in politics. It is highly regrettable that the fastest way to make money and become rich in Nigeria today is politics. This, under normal circumstances is not an ideal situation. The indices for measuring development is availability of skilled and specialized manpower. Nigeria, has to learn how to reward merit unlike the present situation where mediocrity is celebrated’’.

Advising the new administration under Bola Ahmed Tinubu,he said,‘’There is also the urgent need to restructure this country. That is the only way to manage our diversity which is an advantage and not a disadvantage as most people believe. America’s strenght and greatness is anchored on its ability to manage its diversity unlike here, where more emphasis is placed on clan and ethnicity’’.

‘’There should be real federalism unlike the unitary system we are practicing in the name of federalism. For instance, in America, each state has its won judiciary, laws, police etc and they operate independely without interference’’.