The Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, on Thursday July 15th, 2021 inaugurated the Governing Councils of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) as well as other eighteen Federal Universities, and four Inter-University Centres.
The event, which took place at the National Universities Commission (NUC) auditorium in Abuja, also involved the public presentation of the new Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council of the Federal University of Health Sciences, Otukpo, Benue State.
NOUN’s Governing Council Chairman, Prof. Peter Okebukola, who returns to the position for the second time, was particularly eulogized by the minister for being a selfless human being, and known to be a hard-working person.
The minister, while inaugurating the councils, said it was in line with universities’ miscellaneous provisions Act of 2003, that the selection was premised on the proven integrity of men and women, who are knowledgeable in the university affairs and equally familiar with the policy options of government in the tertiary education sector.
While congratulating the appointed chairman and members of the councils, the minister informed them that President Muhammadu Buhari “has always exercised great caution in the appointment of Pro-Chancellors/Chairmen and members of Governing Councils of the nation’s Federal Universities and Inter-University Centres.
“Your choice for this important assignment is a testimony of your records of successful endeavours in the past, either in your private or public capacity. You stand among Nigerians who have recorded tremendous achievements in life and have garnered vast experiences which you are now willing to deploy in the service of our father land.”
Adamu also charged them to be guided by Universities (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act of 1993 and its various amendments, stressing that Section 3 (4) of the 2003 Amendment has reposed on the Council the power to appoint the Vice-Chancellor of the university.
“I urge you to exercise this power with utmost sense of responsibility and in the best interest of your universities,” he exphasised.
He said the various Visitation Panels constituted by the federal government have recently rounded off their assignments, saying that “as soon as the Visitation Reports are received, government will study them and issue White Papers, in the recommendations of which will guide Councils and management on how to improve their systems and services by taking necessary steps to address the lapses and weaknesses identified by the Visitation Panels.”
The minster also read a Riot Act to the appointees, as he stated that the “the president and Visitor to your university will not hesitate to dismiss any Council found to be corrupt and/or incompetent.”
In his welcome address the Executive Secretary (ES), National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Abubakar Rasheed, stated that the task of ensuring the orderly development of university education is an enormous one, adding that it is a noble call, one for which the inaugurated chairmen and Governing Councils are most eminently qualified.
“Your roles therefore are critical. Our collective efforts towards this aim will enable our institutions drive Nigeria’s successful and inevitable transition to a wealthier knowledge-based economy.
“We have continued to carry out our mandate, as the flagship regulatory agency, in spite of the recent challenges and restrictions imposed by the pandemic. I am pleased to inform this gathering that we have, among other things, actively engaged in the re-engineering the curricula of various disciplines and programmes being run in the universities, whilst strengthening the pedagogical skills of our academics for national relevance.’’
Executive Secretary also stated that the commission expects the new councils to partner with it in ensuring that their institutions thrive to be centres of knowledge production, human development and the direly-needed reputational capital.
Chairman, Governing Council, Bayero University Kano (BUK), Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, who spoke on behalf of the newly inaugurated Governing Council Chairmen, thanked the minister for the opportunity given to them to serve the nation.
“We have noted the responsibilities and we are assuring you that we will keep to all. We appreciate the confidence you have in us, and we will ensure we don’t disappoint you,’’ Udoma said.
According to him, “we realized the importance of education as the bedrock of any society; we will work hard to ensure that we improve the quality of education by assisting you in all ramifications, he stated.”