Lai Mohammed advocates public-private partnership to rebuild infrastructure in tertiary institutions


The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has called for Public-Private Partnership (PPP) rebuilding and reinvigorating infrastructure in tertiary institutions across the country.

Mohammed spoke on Tuesday at the unveiling of the refurbished, and equipped Lecture Theatres,  Faculty of Science,  by Platform Capital, at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.

Represented by the Managing Director of News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Mr Buki Ponle, the Minister said in spite of the best efforts of government, there was still a discernible infrastructure gap across the nation’s tertiary institutions, including universities.

He said  due to neglect over the years, many structures and facilities on campuses were today in decay.

“This much, President Muhammadu Buhari, stressed at the 33rd Convocation Ceremony of the University of Calabar.

“The President advised Nigerian universities to find creative ways of exploiting the existing Public-Private Partnership policy to meaningfully bridge the infrastructure gaps existing on their campuses.

“Platform Capital has singled itself out for commendation by this initiative of refurbishing, renovating, refitting and equipping AJOSE, BOOA and BOOB Lecture Theatres as well as White House, Faculty of Science,” he said.

According to Mohammed,  the refurbishing of the lecture theatres by the organisation, at  this  time of grave economic challenges resulting in many tertiary institutions contending with diverse challenges, including dearth of infrastructure, is a heartening development between a university community and a good corporate citizen.

He commended the management and staff of Platform Capital for embarking on the project and seeing it through to completion for the overall benefit of this university community.

“It is especially heartwarming that the project was funded, redesigned, project-managed and delivered by Platform Capital.

“This is  a pointer to the limitless opportunities offered by close collaboration between government and the private sector.

“To drive growth and development across sectors and institutions in the country.

“Platform Capital is indeed truly true to its core values — to be our brother’s keeper, to be loyal, authentic, build capacity and knowledge,” the Minister said.

Mohammed also called on other players in the private sector to drive corporate social responsibility initiatives which would impact positively on the communities where they are doing business.

The Minister commended the  university’s Council and Management for working in unison with Platform Capital in bringing the project to fruition.

The Minister, however, urged the management of the university and the students to ensure adequate and proper maintenance of the facilities.

He said, “The story of initiating and sustaining public infrastructure in the country over the years has been an unedifying one with projects built with humongous sums left to rot away due to lack of maintenance.

“We must change this unhappy narrative and one way to do this is for beneficiaries to take ownership of such projects.

“My charge, therefore,  to members of the Obafemi Awolowo University community, particularly the students, is to take ownership of these structures and ensure they do not return to the decrepit state they were before the intervention by Platform Capital.”

In his remarks, the Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Eyitope Ogunbodede, commended the Chairman of platform capital, Dr Akintoye Akindele, for  the initiative.

“I do not know how to thank Dr Akindele for all he has done or what he is going to do for his Alma mater, but it is certain that his love and labour shall not be in vain,” he said.

Ogunbodede also urged stakeholders in the education sector to emulate Akindele to support the university in any way they deem fit.

“I humbly appeal to the government at all tiers to invest more funds into education sector so that other aspects of our socioeconomic life would be rejuvenated,” he said.

Also, the Chairman of Platform Capital, Dr Akintoye Akindele, the initiative of refurbishing th lecture theatres was borne out of his desire to give back to the society.

Akindele, who is an alumni of the university said that majority of his set in his university days benefitted from free education, hence the need to give back to the society.

“To him who much is given, much is expected. Majority of us benefitted from free education and now is the time for us to give back.

“I am glad to have the privilege of giving back to the society,” he said.