By Is’haq Babatunde
The Governor of Osun State,Adegboyega Isiaka Oyetola has advocated sufficient funding and administrative autonomy for all state-owned universities in Nigeria for them to achieve the purpose for which they were established.
Governor Oyetola made the call on Tuesday (March 22, 2022) in his address at the opening ceremony of the ongoing 6th Biennial Conference of Committee of Pro-Chancellors of state-owned Universities in Nigeria held at the Olagunsoye Oyinlola main auditorium of the Osun State University, Osogbo.
Oyinlola who spoke through his Deputy, at the occasion, Benedict Olugboyega Alabi, maintained that state-owned universities must be strengthened and sufficiently empowered.
The Governor explained that to confront the perennial monster of underfunding, states with Universities must accept the challenge of thinking outside the box and come up with innovative means of running enterprising institutions in a manner that does not only deliver more with less, but also depend less on the dwindling revenues from the states.
According to him, “this empowerment should go beyond seeking administrative autonomy to incubate our Ivory Towers as responsible and responsive partners that work assiduously with the respective governments and owners to solve prevaling developmental challenges.
The Governor explained further that all steates that own University must accept the challenge of leading focused, disciplined and visionary universities as a way of ridding our institutions of ethical crises, corrupt and criminal tendencies, among other similar vices that have conspired to render them acutely ineffective in recent years.
“There is also a need for us as state universities to give attention to academic stability, which is a critical component of attaining internationalisation of our Ivory Towers.
He added, “We engage in self delusion if we crave academic excellence when our institutions go on strike at the slightest occurrence of industrial dispute”.
The Osun State number one citizen observed that Nigeria has become a nation that is at a crossroads and as such, requires an urgent compass to redirect her affairs into a more prosperous future that is truly reflective of our inherent potential as a people.
“We must consider, in a missionary sense, our duties in training our young people in the way they should go as direct solutions to our societal challenges as being critical to the survival of our society.
“This same functionalist orientation must pervade our research enterprises to the extent that we are fully persuaded that our states and country can only work if we are really determined to make it so as central and coordinate components.
He commended the organizers of the event for coming up with the theme for the Conference, “State Ownership Dynamics, University Councils and the Need for a New Social Contract between Society and University”, saying that this topic couldn’t have come at a better time than now when University education is facing plethora of problems.
I am indeed hopeful that this distinguished audience will throw up other useful ideas through which we can collectively squeeze water out of the rocks in our focused quest of building a better and greater country.
He pointed out that the event is another indication that the COPSUN is a concerned body that is genuinely interested in deploying its collective social and intellectual capital in strengthening Nigerian University system.