Daily Champion (Lagos)

Nigeria: Economic Crisis - U. I. Launches N10 Billion Endowment Fund

Lagos — As the economic crisis bites harder on Nigeria's educational sector, the new Governing Council of the University of Ibadan (U.I.) has resolved to initiate a N10 billion Endowment Fund to enable the institution execute its various expansion projects.

Specifically, the Governing Council has concluded arrangements for the implementation of the second phase of the University's Master Plan which involves the construction of a multi-million naira dual carriage road/bridge to link the main campus with the Ajibode extension, with a view to facilitating the institution's Postgraduate and industry-based programmes.

Disclosing this to newsmen at a special dinner organised by the University in honour of the out-going President of MacArthur Foundation, Professor Jonathan Fanton, the newly-appointed Chairman of the U.I. Governing Council, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) revealed that he will soon lead a delegation of the University's Council to President Umar Musa Yar'Adua to seek official go ahead for the disbursement of the Federal Government's allocation to the tune of N700million for the project. He expressed the hope that the Presidency would approve the request.

To this end, he stressed the need for the alumni of the University of Ibadan, many of whom he said are currently captains of industry or holding vantage positions in other spheres of life, to support the university in its endowment scheme.

Chief Olanipekun said that his vision for U.I. is to further lift the university to sustain its premier position amongst the nation's tertiary institutions saying that the constitution could not afford to be static in view of its numerous leadership challenges.

While maintaining that his council would remain focused on the development of the Postgraduate School to effectively position the University to produce the needed academic manpower for the various tertiary institutions all over the country, Chief Olanipekun said that the problem of planning for the future has been the bane of Nigeria unlike what is applicable in advanced countries of the world.

His word: "From henceforth, the new council of the University of Ibadan will identify brilliant, intelligent, industrious and enterprising students from 100 Level in each of the Faculties and Departments and right from now, we will make them University scholars. We will give them scholarships and bursaries so that when they finish, we will try as much as possible to convince them to do their Postgraduate courses right in this University, and if need be, we send them abroad.

We are going to create a special fund so that these people will succeed those who are there now. U.I. now under this Governing Council will make contingency plans not just for today, but for 20 to 30 years time.

And the only way we can do this is to train these students and magnetize them to the system so that by the time they finish, the will stay at U.I."

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