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Nigeria Working To Reintroduce University Autonomy, Tinubu Says

He argued that autonomy undoubtedly transfers the responsibility of performance directly to the individual institutions.

Nigeria President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has stated that the federal government is working towards the re-introduction of the policy of full autonomy for universities, arguing that autonomy undoubtedly transfers the responsibility of performance directly to the individual institutions rather than the current state of uncertainties. 

Tinubu stated that the new policy direction was premised on the conviction that university autonomy provides the platform by which the institutions could develop at the pace set by their councils and senate rather than being bugged down by any external bottlenecks or red tape.

The president, who is the Visitor to the  University of Benin, spoke at the institution’s 48th convocation ceremony at the weekend in Benin, Edo State, where he also assured that the current administration would formulate sustainable policies that would outlive it. 

In his address, Tinubu who was represented by the Minister of Niger Delta Development, Abubakar Momoh, said: “Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, the federal government is working towards the re-introduction of the Policy of University Full Autonomy.

“This new policy direction is premised on our conviction that university autonomy provides the platform by which the institutions could develop at the pace set by theirCouncils and Senate rather than being bugged down by any external bottlenecks or red tapism.

 “University autonomy, no doubt, transfers the responsibility of performance directly to the individual institutions rather than the current state of uncertainties. 

“This administration believes that this is a right step in the right direction and will do all that is possible to re-position tertiary institutions and indeed the education sector in the country for excellent service delivery.”

His government, he stated, was not unmindful of the concerns arising from months of unpaid salaries of all categories of university staff, in particular, members of the teaching staff unions, as a fall out of the eight months industrial action. 

“You are all aware of the fact that I recently announced a four-month salary payment for all university workers to minimise the impact of the non-payment of salary during that period for work not done. 

“This waiver was considered necessary and does not in any way obviate the “No Work, No Pay” policy of government.

“In that regard, the federal government will continue to demonstrate its commitment to improved conditions of welfare in the universities by the provision of needed infrastructure such as lecture theatres, students’ hostels, administrative offices and learning tools,” he said.

These, he said  are currently being executed consistently through the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), adding that the gesture was expected to galvernise staff and students to put in their best.

He stated that “as a responsible government, we would continue to dedicate tangible resources to education and to formulate sustainable policies that would outlive this administration.”

Tonubu called on education policy formulators and the universities to strive to modify such policies to accommodate every segment of the youth population, through specialised skills acquisition programmes and internships. 

According to him, the universities have the multiple responsibilities of helping to expand horizons through research and technological breakthroughs, impartation of relevant skills and by being more entrepreneurial in outlook. 

“They must also take up the onerous task of re-directing the teeming youths on the path of moral rectitude, love for nation and respect for constituted authorities.

Certainly, we must return to the Nigeria our founding fathers fought for and bequeathed to us. Our journey to industrialisation, economic prosperity and self-reliance as a nation, can only be realised, if all hands are on deck. It is only in togetherness that we can achieve greatness,” he stated.

While applauding the University of Benin for its strides, he noted that the instution was positioned to deliver on its mandate of training the critical manpower needs of the nation, taking into consideration the pedigree of staff and cutting-edge .

He expressed optimism that the University will attailn new heights in the  current infrastructure dispensation, adding that his administration was poised to change the narrative of higher education for the better and to place institutions of higher learning on pedestals by which they could compete favourably with their peers globally.

While commending the commitment of the University of Benin community to the advancement of the institution, he stated: “Your service to our fatherland is greatly valued. I charge you all to place the overall interest of the university above personal or sectional interests and to strive at all times to justify the investments of government in the education enterprise.”

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