The Pro-Chancellors of state-owned Universities on Thursday visited the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr John Kayode Fayemi, with a bouquet of requests to governors that they hope would address the problems of state assisted tertiary education throughout Nigeria.
The meeting was held in the Instruction room of the NGF secretariat, in Abuja.
Dr John Kayode Fayemi told the team that the ‘issues you have raised are issues that have agitated us governors for a long time. We are also victims of this unitary approach to a federal structure.’
“You can’t impose a federal salary structure on states because we do not all have the same economic or financial situations. I, for example, do not have the resources of Lagos state, so you won’t expect me to earn the same salary as the governor of Lagos,” Fayemi stated.
Governor Fayemi went on to explain that, “It’s true that no state has fulfilled payment of salaries to states universities, but states are not always solely responsible for this. The people you appoint as Vice Chancellors need to speak truth to power, they need to be able to bite the bullet, and not just be a YES person”.
“We need to work together to confront these issues, we are running glorified secondary schools as universities by this system” and “you have to help us in insisting that the institutions too, do the right thing”.
Fayemi also agreed with Ali that Politics should not be involved in our school system, even though he argued that there are very smart people in politics in Nigeria.
It’s a university system. “You need people who understand the structure. However, we have a lot of smart people in politics too who can add value, who know that it is not about winning souls for the party. You can draw up a framework and guide. We can have the same criteria and achieve purpose.”
Earlier, the team which was led by Mallam Yusuf Ali SAN and Pro Chancellor of Osun State university, told Governor Fayemi that it is no longer news that education in Nigeria is in shambles, saying that the seamless educational progression that this country should be experiencing is being hampered by paucity of finances, the unions, like ASUU, SSANU, NASSU etc and the students themselves.
The team which represents all the 48 universities owned by states pleaded with governors to take over the burden of payment of salaries of state universities, reintroduce scholarships for students for needy students and assist the Committee of Pro-Chancellors of states universities to erect a secretariat of their own to facilitate their activities.
Barrister Yusuf Ali SAN also admonished the owners of state-owned universities to relegate politics to the backgrounds when considering their appointees and ensure that only the best and brightest with sound academic profiles are made to engage in matters relating to education.