'Why There Is Infrastructure Decay In Universities'

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The national president of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), Mr. S. C. Ugwoke, has commended the University of Ilorin for the myriads of “excellent developments” he noticed on the campus.

Mr. Ugwoke, who gave the commendation last Friday, at the maiden edition of SSANU Annual Merit Award hosted by the University of Ilorin chapter of the association, praised the management of the university which, he noted, was responsible for the rapid development and drive for excellence by the institution.

According to the labour leader, “if all vice-chancellors use the public resources under their control the way Prof. Oloyede is doing, we wouldn’t be talking of decayed infrastructure in Nigerian universities.” He also commended the university for the use of the directorate system in the administration of the institution.

Mr. Ugwuoke called for special consideration for members of staff while filling vacant positions within the university system, saying preference should be given to internal staff before outside considerations because people within the system who have acquired knowledge and experience on the job would perform better.

Saying that the Federal Government has not done much to implement the 2009 agreement it had with the association because it is yet to set up a committee to renegotiate with the unions, Ugwuoke solicited the support of vice-chancellors of Nigerian universities to push for the 65 years retirement age for members of the body. He also tasked members of the association to develop themselves especially in the use of ICT.

In his address titled: “It Is Good To Be Good”, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Is-haq O. Oloyede, said the country today is facing several problems, chief of which are insecurity, poverty, injustice and corruption. He noted that there is a serious decline in morality in the nation, lamenting that “this is why many people believe that ours is a country where anything goes.”

The Vice Chancellor stressed the need for national rebirth in the country where, he said, the rank of honourable people is being depleted as a result of misplacement of priorities.

“I believe that one major cause of the problems in Nigeria is materialism, which is now a culture on its own. Though not peculiar to Nigeria, the tendency to acquire or possess is one major problem that has made us sink into this abyss. Instead of misplacing priorities by assuming that money is everything through which a whole generation seems not to know the meaning of contentment any longer, what Nigeria needs are discipline and Godliness, which are a counter force to the virus of materialism. In the past days of our fathers, people needed less, worried less and lived longer. Today, we buy what we don’t really need, live miserably and die early,” he said.

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He advised that all hands must be on deck to ensure that all sorts of indiscipline currently plaguing the country are reversed, while urging all Nigerians to be good in everything good that they do.

He commended SSANU for being tactical and pragmatic, tasking members of the association to ensure stability in the Nigerian education system.

In his address delivered on the occasion, the Chairman of SSANU, University of Ilorin Branch, Mr. M. A. Alfanla, described the programme as a turning point in the history of SSANU and in the lives of the individuals honoured at the event.

“Let me also thank the management of this university under the leadership of Professor Is-haq O. Oloyede the man who has turned around the university and also one of today’s awardees, and his management team for their understanding and support,” he added.

At the occasion, chairmen of sister bodies like the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) and the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) took turn to address the gathering.

The Chairman of ASUU in the University of Ilorin, Dr. Wahab Egbewole, in his remarks, stated that the developmental transformation witnessed in the university was a result of the dividends of constructive unionism.

He said he hoped a time would come when there will be a responsive government in the country and industrial unions will no longer have to resort to “struggle” by way of “strikes.”