This Day (Lagos)

12 April 2010

Nigeria: Don't Neglect Education Sector, Chancellor Tells FG

Uyo — Newly installed Chancellor of the University of Uyo (UNIUYO), Alhaji Muhammadu Abali Ibn Muhammadu Idrissa, the Emir of Fika, weekend warned that the myriads of visions and national rolling plans in the country will fail if the educational sector is not given due priority in the country.

"The challenges facing the educational sector in Nigeria are enormous; including the challenge of funding, brain drain, cultism and epileptic academic calendar caused by incessant strikes and other unrests in the university community, to the production of half or poorly barked graduates who cannot defend their degrees.

"We must rise to these challenges by collectively channelling our energies, experience, discipline and fortunes to salvage and secure the Nigerian tertiary educational system," he said.

Alhaji Idrissa made the remark in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State when installed as the third Chancellor of University of Uyo as well as the conferment on him the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters (D. Litt) (Honoris Causa).

He insisted that everyone must work towards the realization of the Federal Government's dream to make Nigeria an investment destination and one of the top 20 economies in the world by the 2020 with education as one of the cardinal points of government's seven-point agenda.

"We must contribute our quota to reposition universities in Nigeria," he said and challenged the UNIUYO to carve a niche for itself as a shining star in the comity of federal universities in country.

The monarch noted that UNIUYO had moved from a state institution to a centre of national consciousness, integration and development and warned that it must never be allowed to plunge back into the abyss of non-accreditation and a status of a glorified college with federal coloration.

"The university must adopt a global perception if we must catch up with the millennium development goals. We should fine tune our mindset to the global concept where university matters are treated and pursued in line with global best practices.

"Any attempt to detract from this concept must be stoutly fought and conquered for the survival of our nation," he added.

Pointing out that infrastructural development of the university's main campus remains a challenge for him, while the take-off grant should be pursued with all vigour, the Chancellor urged the Federal Government to release all grants due the school to address the infrastructural challenges of the institution.

Equally, he tasked the university authorities to device strategies to shore-up the finances of the university by establishing beneficial contacts with her alumni, international donor organizations, governments and other sources to support the university.

To immortalize the name of the immediate past chancellor of the university who was his father, late Alhaji Abali Muhammadu Ibn Idrissa, the new chancellor pledged to fund the construction of conference centre/offices to be called "Chancellor Abali Idrissa Centre" at the main campus and as enduring relationship between the people of Yobe and Akwa Ibom.

Acting President Goodluck Jonathan, who was represented at the ceremony by the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Education, described the new chancellor as a dynamic and astute administrator with years of leadership experience.

The acting president said government attaches much importance to chancellors in the universities in the country and expressed optimism that the tenure of the new chancellor shall witness resounding achievements than his late father's reign.

"Chancellors, by law, take precedence over all other members of the university community. They play the role of fathers, advisers and custodians of the instrument of authority for our universities," the acting president declared.

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