The Federal Government has inaugurated the governing boards of four federal universities even as Senate, the Nigerian Universities Commission and others applauded government on the calibre and quality of members of the boards.
The four universities which boards were inaugurated in Abuja last weekend include the University of Lagos, UNILAG; Federal University of Agriculture, Umuduike; University of Benin, Benin and the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife.
Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqquayat Ahmed Rufa'i at the inauguration of the governing councils charged members of the board to dissociate themselves from any means of enrichment but rather put in their best to see that they leave their footprints in the sands of time.
"Governing council members should take note that their appointments are not a means for self aggrandizement and self enrichment but a call to service to humanity. Council should not be lured to run the award of 'Honourary degrees or 'Fellows" as chieftaincy title affairs. The sanctity and integrity of the institutions should be foremost in deciding on who should be conferred with these awards.
"I charge you therefore to work very hard so that during your tenure, the transformation agenda of this administration under President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR, will not only be given attention but would be tangible in these institutions."
Those appointed for the University of Lagos are Prof. Jerry Gana, Chairman; Dr. Monday Ohoni, member; Igwe Chris Onyekwuluje, member; Dr. Garba Usman Tetenji, SAN, member; and Mr Gbenga Adefaye, General Manager/Editor-in-Chief of Vanguard Newspapers as member.
Chairing the board of UNIBEN is Senator Effiong Dickson Bob with Jamila Fakik; J.K.A Gazama, SAN; Chief Samuel Edohoeket and Arch. Shettima Mohammed Sale as members.
Members of the council for the University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State include Prof. Anya O. Anya, chairman, while Chief Chris Iroegbe; Rasheed Kola Ojikutu, Ph.D; and Mr Akinboro Muyiwa are members.
Chairman of the board of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, is Prof. Rowland Ndoma-Egba, chairman, while the other members are Moses Otazi; Omoyele Daniel; Hon. Tijjani Goni Guzamala and Sunday Ibrahim Ameh, SAN.
Prof. Ahmed Rufa'i said government is aware of the challenges facing the nation's tertiary institutions and therefore urged the new governing board to brace up and bring their wealth of experience to bear in the new assignments.
"The sector is at present beset with some challenges which have incapacitated the sector from achieving its set goals within the record time. These challenges include inadequate human resource and physical infrastructure; unstable academic calendar, general insecurity, examination malpractice, inadequate space for teeming population seeking admission into tertiary institutions, decline in academic standards, poor management of funds and human resources as well as many others which have impacted negatively on the development of tertiary education in Nigeria.
"I admit that these challenges did not come overnight, but an outcome of a long time of neglect and poor management. Consequently, the present government is tackling these challenges head-long, In fact, the government has continued to increase the budgetary provision for the education sector."
Speaking on behalf of the new councils, Unilag chairman, Prof. Jerry Gana thanked the Federal Government for the opportunity given to them to serve, stating that the new council will do their best in the discharge of their duties.
"We shall do our very best by the grace of God to give effective leadership with integrity, fairness, justice and honour to the various universities."
He reiterated, "as men and women of caliber, we shall do our very best to be fair, to be just and to be honourable in our various universities. And we shall be guided by the laws and statutes of the universities."
Prof Gana also commended President Jonathan for retaining the name of the University of Lagos.