Government should grant Nigerian universities autonomy —Professor Oyedele

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As UNIOSUN holds lecture

Abimbola Abatta, Osogbo

To combat the major challenges that confront Nigerian universities, Professor Lukumon Oyedele has urged the government to grant these universities autonomy.

The professor also noted that ineffective governance model, poor academic quality, and structural problems are part of the problems that affect Nigerian Universities.

Professor Lukumon disclosed the above on Tuesday during the 2nd Prince Tunde Ponnle Annual Lecture held at UNIOSUN main campus.

At the lecture themed “Internationalisation of Higher Education in Nigeria: A Change in Attitude and Strategy”, Prof Oyedele explained that no Nigerian university ranked within the top four hundred among universities in the world.

Stating that Nigeria is not within the top five hundred universities, he expressed confidence in the fact that Nigeria can reach that height.

He said, “The only way we can do it is to ensure that we embrace full autonomy in terms of everything that we are doing within the university system in Nigeria. I think that will give opportunities for universities to fund themselves and be able to do exactly what they want.

“It will cause issues definitely, there is no doubt about it. Some universities will collapse, some universities will merge, but the reality is that the ones that are existing will do well, and new ones will also emerge.”

The guest lecturer further stated that competency-based appointment and performance-based management can go a long way to increase academic quality in the country.

“It’s not about ethnicity, it’s not about tribalism, it’s not about where you come from or state of origin. It’s about who can do the job,” he said.

Speaking on incessant strike in Nigeria, he said,

“The issue of not working and still getting paid is a panacea for failure and future strike.

He, however, maintained that giving universities full autonomy will enable each institution to determine and manage their resources.

He added that “the role of the government will just be about monitoring and ensuring accountability within the university system.”

He further underscored that Nigerian universities must embrace entrepreneurship.

According to him, “This is not just about teaching entrepreneurship. They must be entrepreneurial in nature by connecting with industries, ensuring startups from their graduates, and also generating their money through robust IGR to manage their operations. If these are put into place, I am very sure Nigerian universities can stand up and be counted.”

In his remarks, the VC, Professor Labode Popoola who noted that he is an advocate of autonomy, said, “When you have autonomy, there are some basic things you must do. You have to be accountable, transparent, and can employ from wherever you want. You can charge your own fees based on the quality you give.”

However, the VC stressed that while autonomy has numerous advantages, it comes with responsibility.

Osun State Governor, Mr Adegboyega Oyetola, in his address said “this year’s topic is not only interesting but very apt. Our government is ready to leverage on well-informed contributions like this reform our state-owned tertiary institution.”

The governor who was represented by Commissioner for Education, Hon. Folorunsho Bamisayemi noted that he is committed to making Osun state globally competitive.

“And as such, we are receptive to every well-articulated idea to achieve our goals,” he added.