In a bid to improve the quality of staffing in the higher institutions and encourage staff development for all public institutions through the tertiary Education Trust Fund, the Federal Government has earmarked the sum of N3billion for research in Nigeria universities.
President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan dropped this hint today on the occasion of the 2012 Convocation and 64th Foundation Day Ceremonies of the University of Ibadan (UI) held at the newly commissioned International Conference of the institution.
The president who was represented by the Minister of Education,noted that the government would not relent in supporting research in the universities and that the Federal Government has also approved the training of 100 first class graduates for PhD in best 25 universities in the world.
He, however, called on the private sector under the Build-Operate-and Transfer Scheme and other appropriate programmes in the provision of halls of residence, academic buildings and research facilities to partner with the government to ensure that necessary facilities in the universities are provided.
President Jonathan commended the owner of the Ibadan-based Splash FM, Chief Bayo Akande and the Pro-Chancellor of UI, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN for their donation of 120 bedroom hostel for postgraduate students and a 350 seater Law Faculty Lecture Theatre respectively.
Ruqayattu, in her own speech while commissioning the newly constructed Ajibode Road on campus at the cost of N1.3b and Auditorium/Law Lecture Theatre appealed to well meaning Nigerians to partner with the Federal Government to improve the education sector.
Stressing the need to ensure adequate maintenance of infrastructure in the universities, she said that no matter how rich in resources a government is, it cannot adequately provide all the needs of education.
Acknowledging Olanipekun’s initiative in helping to transform the University, the minister said, “This gesture will go down in history not only for UI but Nigeria as a whole. We thank you very much our own Chief Wole Olanipekun. I urge other Pro-Chancellor to emulate his good gesture. We are inviting other stakeholders to come and partner with us in the area of education. If they do, the level and quality of education will be higher. No matter the resources a government may have it cannot sufficiently cater for education. What we mean is that people should come and partner with government. What the Pro-Chancellor has done goes beyond partnering only with the Faculty of Law but affecting the entire University and the entire nation by extension”.
She expressed the hope that the newly inaugurated Ajibode Road linking with the new Law Faculty and other part of the University would serve as the gateway to the institution and the adjoining communities.
In his remark, the UI Vice Chancellor, Prof. Isaac Adewole, said, “We were constrained to about 600hectares of land which over the years had been fully built up. Thank God a couple of years ago an administration in the University succeeded in acquiring another 583hectares of land from the good people of Ibadanland. But, nothing could be done on that land for quite a number of reasons. The prime one happens to be financial. A couple of years ago, the previous administration brought up a concept of opening up this new expanse of land. The Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of council used his ingenuity in getting us money to open this land through the instrumentality of the National Assembly and the Presidency. We succeeded in getting about N1.3bn to construct this road. The road will help us in building this new land for the 21st Century to relocate key complex of the University”.
The road, he said, enabled UI to offer access to some communities adding that during the flooding of last year, the Ajibode community made use of the road.
On the new Law auditorium, he said, “We are opening up UI for the 21st Century development. The chairman of Council is the first to erect a self-financed building in this University”.
In his remark, Olanipekun said, “The life we are in is a continuum. UI is a continuum. We worked together with past administration under Prof. Olufemi Bamiro to make Ajibode a reality”.
Recalling that late President Umar Yar’ Adua took interest in the project, he said, “We thank God that Ajibode is a reality. I believe that life is not just about taking but also about giving. The council has decided that the Law Faculty of the University must move down to this area. The new auditorium is to encourage the University. We would do more as far as God enables us”.
He however faulted the Federal Government over what he described as “Poor funding of UI and other Nigeria universities”, noting that in terms of global ranking, Nigeria Universities have been lagging behind for quite some time.
According to him, “UI is being underfunded and the amount being released for the capital and recurrent projects are just inadequate. The institution is not just any other university and should not be so treated, bearing in mind that it is Nigeria’s first and pride”.
The pro-chancellor stated that the standard of education in Nigeria is falling and failing because government does not give the education sector its due, adding that, “Our ranking with the UNESCO’s education for all development index is abysmally low and poor”.
Professor Chukwuka Okonjo, the Obi of Ogwashi-Uku in Delta and farther of the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was among the four eminent Nigerians honourary doctor was conferred on by the university. Others are: Professor Mrs. Adetoun Omolara Ogunseye, Emeritus Professor Jacob Festus Ade Ajayi and Emeritus Professor Umaru Shehu (CON).