Pathways to Sustainable Education in Nigeria – Keynote Address to 29th Committee of Vice Chancellors



I feel a great honour and privilege, as the Founder of this University to address this large gathering of eminent Vice Chancellors. As it is agreed world over that education and particularly Universities hold the key to the economic, political and social development, the opportunity to address a gathering such as this is one that I welcome wholeheartedly. This Committee whose laudable objectives I have always identified with, aside from providing a platform for the cross-fertilization and exchange of ideas on how to reposition Nigerian Universities to attain global recognition and excellence also provides an intellectual space to exchange and discuss issues common to all Nigerian Universities. Such issues include university autonomy, funding, strike, indiscipline, sound administrative practices, maintenance of academic standards, staff recruitment, students’ affairs, etc. This Conference is another excellent opportunity for all Vice Chancellors in Nigerian Universities to come together, reflect, take stock, explore and learn new strategies for furthering the development of sound University education system in Nigeria.

My joy also stems from the fact that of the over 129 accredited Universities in Nigeria, ABUAD, which is just four years old has been chosen to host the 29th Conference of Vice Chancellors. I consider this as an acknowledgement and appreciation of the vision behind the establishment of this non-profit University and the uncommon success recorded thus far in the actualization of that vision.  ABUAD has been recognized as the fastest growing private University in Africa, a pace setter in University reformatory education by many stakeholders and lately by UNESCO as “a shinning beacon of excellence and one of the best universities in the world and earlier by NUC as the benchmark, model and reference point”. ABUAD has won numerous awards within and outside Nigeria including the “2012 Socrates Best Enterprise Award” of the Europe Business Assembly in Oxford.


The theme of this Conference is “Pathways to Sustainable Education in Nigeria”. I consider this to be most appropriate at this time in Nigeria. It is easily discernible from the theme that this body has identified a need to address means of sustaining education and academic development in Nigeria. This is quite understandable as no right thinking Nigerian would deny the fact that there is urgent need for a revolution in our education system that would bring about sustainability in education having regard to the ever growing number of unemployable and unemployed graduates, the poor quality of teachers, cases of fake certificates, the rising list of illegal institutions, strikes and the unprofessional attitude of some teachers to education etc.

Indeed, it is right that Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities are concerned with discussing the subject – “Pathways to Sustainable Education in Nigeria”. If Vice Chancellors are not concerned, who else should? Ours is a country in which Government is blamed, rightly in many cases, for many of the ills which continue to negatively affect education in Nigeria. Afterall both Federal and State Universities are involved virtually in all aspects of University administration including staff recruitment, matters of discipline, curriculum development, budget planning and implementation. Financial expenditure are either decided by government or regulated to such an extent that Universities have little or no autonomy in matters which ordinarily should be within their exclusive prerogative to decide.

In spite of the unwholesome situation, I have always believed that a pro-active Vice Chancellor, a creative and committed Pro-Chancellor and a dedicated Governing Council can find means of ameliorating the seemingly insurmountable difficulties afflicting our public universities.

Ladies and gentlemen, it was the uncommon commitment to the cause of quality education demonstrated and practised by the Governing Council of University of Lagos, the dynamic and understanding Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Oye Ibidapo-Obe and my determination as the Pro-Chancellor to reform education that brought about the uncommon award of university, Best Vice Chancellor and Best Pro Chancellor by the NUC in a year.

Today, I intend to share with you from my practical experience my views on pathways to sustainable education in Nigeria


The phrase ‘sustainable education’ was coined by Stephen Sterling in 2001 to provoke debate on education itself and not necessarily the effect of education on other aspects of human existence and development. In his own words, his aim was to provoke a little cognitive dissonance and the question: ‘what does that mean?’. I wanted people to move from ‘how do we educate for sustainable development’ towards deeper attention to education itself: its paradigms, policies, purposes and practices (these are linked of course) and its adequacy for the age we find ourselves in”. He went on to define sustainable education as:

“a change of educational culture, one which develops and embodies the theory and practice of sustainability in a way which is critically aware. It is therefore a transformative paradigm which values, sustains and realises human potential in relation to the need to attain and sustain social, economic and ecological well being, recognising that they must be part of the same dynamic”

Accordingly, the phrase is designed to stimulate change in the way educational policies are formulated. The aim is to make education address several environmental and developmental issues which for several years have been identified by the international community but without any meaningful progress in addressing them. Sustainable education is said to imply four descriptors namely educational policy and practice which are:

1.    Sustaining: it helps sustain people, communities and ecosystems;

2.    Tenable: it is ethically defensible, working with integrity, justice, respect and inclusiveness;

3.    Healthy: it is itself a viable system, embodying and nurturing healthy relationships and emergence at different system levels;

4.    Durable: it works well enough in practice to be able to keep doing it.

In a nutshell, sustainable education requires that vigour and life be returned into the educational system and that education should not be regarded merely as a manufacturing process which is guided by automation. Education must address real issues affecting human lives. Another writer, Mary Cathrine Bateson, stated that:

“Our machines, our value systems, our educational systems will all have to be informed by (the) switch, from the machine age when we tried to design schools to be like factories, to an ecological age, when we want to design schools, families and social institutions in terms of maintaining the quality of life, not just for our species, but for the whole planet”

In relation to Nigeria, the approach to education and anything having to do with education appears to be a cosmetic adherence to a checklist. If a school has a required number of laboratories, a certain number of teachers, a certain classification of infrastructure, all is well. However, as stated above, education requires much more. In the words of the World Commission on Environment and Development, education must meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Education must build cultural practices, identity and values and play a big role in setting directions and building common commitment.

Therefore, education must as a matter of necessity be tailored towards addressing many problems which are today preventing the country from achieving its huge potentials such as the Boko Haram insurgency, strikes and riots, religion, insecurity, poverty and unemployment. Education must itself be capable of addressing all these problems and more. If religion has polarized certain sections of Nigerian society, the concept of sustainable education requires that an examination be undertaken to determine how education can bring about a change. If we complain of unemployment, the concept requires that an examination of our educational policies be examined to determine if our graduates, by the education they receive in our institutions, are tailored to be entrepreneurs or job seekers.



As I will discuss in the course of this address, several factors such as inadequate funding, government involvement in the running and management of universities, strikes, corruption, indiscipline, etc currently contribute to the poor state of education in Nigeria. More importantly, these factors make education in Nigeria to be unsustainable. The media has recently been awash with news that students of certain universities across the country are preparing to protest the decision of university authority to increase tuition fees in their institutions. This is despite the fact as I will also show that the government alone cannot fund education and that other means of funding including tuition need to be explored to shore up the revenue base of public and private universities. In the long run, this Committee of Vice Chancellors has a huge role to play in ensuring the sustainability of education in Nigeria.



In Nigeria, the statutes or establishment Acts of all Universities provide for the Principal Officers and bodies of the University including the office of Vice Chancellor. For the University of Lagos, this provision is to be found in Section 3(1)(c) of the University of Lagos Act. The functions of the Vice Chancellor are stated in Section 9 of the University Act which read as follows:

Functions of the Vice-Chancellor

(1) The Vice-Chancellor shall, in relation to the University, take precedence before all other members of the University except the Chancellor and, subject to section 6 of this Act; except the Pro-Chancellor and any other person for the time being acting as chairman of the Council.


(2) Subject to sections 7 and 8 of this Act and the provisions of this Act relating to the Visitor, the Vice-Chancellor shall to the exclusion of any other person or authority have the general function, in addition to any other functions conferred on him by this Act or otherwise, of directing the activities of the University, and shall be the Chief Executive and Academic Officer of the University and Ex-Officio Chairman of the Senate.


The provisions of older Universities’ legislations are similar. A careful reading of the relevant sections of all the Universities legislations in Nigeria shows that the functions of a Vice-Chancellor primarily are:

(a)              To take precedence before all members of the university, except the Chancellor and Pro-Chancellor

(b)              To have the general function of directing the activities of the University

(c)              To be the Chief Executive and Academic Officer of the University

(d)              To be Ex-Officio Chairman of the Senate

The Vice Chancellor is therefore expected to know something about all aspects of the University. Literally, he must be a supper man. Vice Chancellorship is a demanding role that is highly visible internally and externally. He is expected to provide leadership academically, administratively and socially to all the officers of the University. He is to lead development activities including fund raising and the reinforcement of the University reputation and scope. He is to achieve the University’s objective in a timely, inclusive and purposeful way. He should exercise leadership to secure a sustainable financial base sufficient to allow the delivery of the University’s mission, aims and objectives.

In view of all the foregoing demands, a Vice Chancellor should have strong academic credibility, intellectual curiosity, sympathy for the values and culture of the University including the students and their concerns. A Vice Chancellor should not confuse public office with sources of making personal wealth. Indeed a corrupt Vice Chancellor does not make a good leader.

A Vice Chancellor who is aware of these enormous functions and responsibilities ought to derive enough joy and satisfaction from the exalted position as Vice Chancellor and should be so proud of the power and responsibility bequeathed to him by virtue of his position as a Vice Chancellor so much so that he should be able to consider his status higher than other positions not only in the university campus, but also in the immediate community and the country at large and should derive so much satisfaction from the job to enable him shun other political appointments. As a successful legal practitioner, I coveted and considered my status in my profession higher than that of any political office holder so much so that I confidently and proudly refused offers of appointment as Federal Minister four times. Unfortunately, as would be shown later, the manner of appointment of Vice Chancellors reduces them to mere civil servants which ipso facto reduces the pride associated with the high position and makes them feel inferior and consequently ineffective in performance.

It was Lord Lugard in 1926 who said, “… The African of this race type loves the display of power but fails to realize his responsibility…”

What ails the Nigerian Vice Chancellor from achieving the laudable objectives inherent in the powers and functions stated herein and which are the causes of poor quality in our education system is the next item.


In appointing a Vice Chancellor, the Governing Council  of the University is required to recommend three candidates of the members of the university which in its own wisdom appoints one of the nominated persons without giving reasons. In exercising this exclusive and dominant power, the Visitor who does not have to give reason for rejecting the Council’s number one candidate some of the time appoints the second or third candidate on the list or appoints somebody outside the list.

Both in fact and in Law, the Government is the Appointor of a Vice Chancellor. This constitutes a serious dent on the coveted and conventional autonomy of the Universities.

There is an adage which says “he who pays the piper dictates the tune”. It is therefore no wonder that many Vice Chancellors do not enjoy the independence of mind required to carry out their functions. Consequently, Vice Chancellors take orders from above. There are cases where Vice Chancellors receive letters from the top ordering them “to admit” unqualified students or “appoint” unqualified teachers. When I was the Pro-Chancellor of University of Lagos, my Vice Chancellor, Prof. Oye Ibidapo-Obe brought to me letters from Abuja directing that some unqualified students be admitted. I took the letters from him and replied that admission to University of Lagos was strictly on merit and not otherwise as long as I remained the Pro Chancellor of Lagos University. Only a Pro-Chancellor who did not beg for the job could do that.


Another area of concern is the constitution and powers of Governing Council. A University Council is the governing and executive body of the university and it regulates all the affairs of the university either by way of policy making or by executing the statutory powers given to it under the Act. Unlike the Board of companies, corporate governance cannot go on in a university in the absence of the Council. There is statutory limit to what the Vice Chancellor can do alone. He cannot for instance appoint or promote or discipline principal and senior officers of the University single-handedly, nor dish out contracts above amount fixed by law. Governing Councils, much like Chancellors and Pro-Chancellors, owe their existence to the provisions of the various Acts of the Universities. A perusal of these Acts will reveal that the following functions are common to University Governing Councils:-

·                                             The Council of the University is responsible for the administration and management of the affairs of the university, including ensuring an effective system of internal control and is required to present consolidated audited financial statements each financial year.

·                                             The Council is responsible for keeping proper accounting records which disclose with reasonable accuracy at any time the financial position of the university and to enable it to ensure that the financial statements are prepared in accordance with the university’s statutes;

·                                             Ensure that there are appropriate financial and management controls in place to safeguard public funds and funds from other sources;

·                                             Safeguard the assets of the university and to prevent and detect fraud; and

·                                             Secure the economical, efficient and effective management of the university’s resources and expenditure.



Having served as Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council of the University of Lagos, I find it rather convenient to use that University as a reference point. Article l(i)(a)-(i) of the University of Lagos Act makes provisions for a 23-member Council of the University. These members include the Pro-Chancellor, the Vice Chancellor, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, 12 persons representing a variety of interests, four persons appointed by the Senate from among members of that body, one person each appointed by congregation and convocation from among the respective members of those bodies, the Directors-General of the Federal Ministries of Finance and Education, or, in their absence, any members of their Ministries as the Ministers may designate.

The most interesting aspect of the composition of the Governing Council relates to the appointment of the 12 persons who are supposed to represent a variety of interests. However, what most governments at the State and Federal levels do is to appoint people based on political considerations. There have been reported cases of Council Members requesting either contracts or even cash for members of their constituencies in the belief that they were appointed to serve the interests of the said constituencies and not the institution itself.

However, to allow Councils to function, members must be assured of the certainty of their tenure. This entails the immediate composition of Council as and when required. The situation in which Government will fail or refuse to constitute the Governing Councils of Universities for several months is not one that augurs well for proper administration and accountability. Government must also do away with the habit of arbitrary dissolution of Councils before the expiration of their tenures. Each Council has a tenure guaranteed by law. However, it is now fashionable for a new Government to dissolve Councils the moment it takes power so as to be able to appoint its own cronies or political loyalists into the Councils as a means of reward for their support in the electoral process. Aside from the fact that this development is retrogressive and does not portray Nigerian Universities in good light, it also discourages well-meaning Nigerians from accepting to serve on University Governing Councils. Who after all will be willing to accept such an appointment when he is likely, before the expiration of his tenure to face the indignity of having the dissolution of Council of which he is a member announced on the media without any prior notice and without even the simplest appreciation or acknowledgement of services rendered by him.

To bring about a lasting solution to the problem, I suggest that the process of appointment into Governing Councils be made an exclusive affair of Universities. A system should be put in place in which members of Council will be elected by the University community. This will ensure the ability of the Governing Councils to formulate growth policies and strategies for the University without undue governmental influence. This is the practice in the United Kingdom.

The 1997, UNESCO recommendation concerning the status of higher education teaching personnel contains an elaborate elucidation of the university autonomy. It defines autonomy in the following words

“Autonomy is that degree of self-governance necessary for effective decision making by institution of higher education regarding the academic work, standard, management and related activities consistent with systems of public accountability especially in respect of funding provided by the state and respect for academic freedom and human right. Again, autonomy is the institutional form of academic freedom; a necessary precondition to guarantee the proper fulfillment of the functions entrusted to higher education teaching personnel and institutions.” It places an obligation on countries to protect higher institutions from threats to their autonomy coming from any source.

In America and Europe, Universities enjoy almost complete autonomy in

(i) academic freedom, independence and freedom to select staff, students, chairs of Governing Councils including Visitors and Pro-Chancellors who were elected by staff, students and other stake-holders.

(ii) Procedural Self-Governance which means independence and freedom of Universities to formulate and design their own strategies and to freely implement them, and

(iii)     Funding. The Government gives grants which the Universities are free to use according to their priorities

University autonomy involves complete authority of individual universities to determine their needs and provide their funding, illuminate and empower their governing councils, determine the academic programmes and recruitment policies as well as general administrations. The only role reserved for government is for government to regulate in the area of accreditation of courses to ensure standards in the system.


The first university in Nigeria was University College, Ibadan. It was established in 1948 and was mentored by University of London which had its root in the 13th Century system of education. The classical British university was a feudal institution grounded on a model of an autonomous, collegial and self-governing system.

As the former UK Prime Minster, Benjamin Disraeli, once famously remarked “A University should be a place of light, of liberty, and of learning”. The classical UK University was controlled solely through a democratic system operated and run by tenured Professors and scholars. It was a compact system of organization in which leadership and responsibility were decentralized on the basis of expertise in scholarship. The classical university also was funded on a very restrictive base through private endowments, or benefaction by the wealthy and by the missionary with whom the university was closely allied in its origins.

This model of University governance began to fade globally after the Second World War. After the Second World War, there was rapid growth in the so-called welfare state idea. The welfare states recognized the benefits of public investment in the conduct of advanced learning, research, technology development, foreign policy and war. Governments began to recognise the relationships between a country’s welfare strategies and its abilities to produce technology through research. There was therefore geometric rise in the level of relationships between governments and the universities. The result was the evolution of Universities and learning centers funded directly by governments. Incidentally, Ibadan University College which was the first university in Nigeria was established during this time when the doctrine of welfarism was gaining ground hence Ibadan University was funded wholly by the government. Ever since, public universities have been founded and funded fully by the government. Since that time, the average Nigerian was and is still made to believe that University education is the business of the government who must fund public universities. Unfortunately, many state governments in their bid to gain cheap popularity make promises, even at electioneering campaigns, to establish universities in their rural villages knowing fully well that there are no facilities or fund. As the provision of fund rose, governmental influence in key decisions on admissions, access, enrolment, faculty composition, tenure and the election of principal officers increase. 

With military leadership in Nigeria came the added impetus for military authorities to curtail student demands and protests, checkmate University Staff Unions and influence key decisions such as Governing Council constitutions, university quotas, policies and structure. Due to the periods between 1966 to 1979 and 1983 to 1999 when Nigeria was under Military rule, Nigerian University systems became increasingly less autonomous, less collegial, and highly dependent on government for funding and for decision making. Government involvement increased with controls over the constitution and membership of Governing Councils, direct control over the appointment of key Administrative Officers of Universities; and financial controls. Simply put, Government became a key stakeholder and decision maker in Nigeria’s University systems. These relics of military rule are unfortunately still present today. In reality therefore, education has suffered and is still suffering immeasurable damage and had become less and less sustainable.

The fact that education costs money can hardly be denied. Quality Education requires quality infrastructure, excellent and well remunerated teachers, adequate curriculum development and planning amongst others.  Most Nigerians demand the best quality education, even though they are also aware that quality education is most expensive. The pertinent question which most people never address is how much individual should pay for education and the extent to which government must subsidize if not totally funded. Questions such asHow much does it cost to educate a child? ”Why does government not spend more to fund education?”, “Why must students pay tuition when government generates so much revenue” are some of the numerous questions which daily attract debate across all strata of Nigerian society. In addressing pertinent issue of how much a government ought to contribute to education, UNESCO recommended 26% of its budgetary allocation.

The following shows the low budgetary allocation to education over the years by successive Nigerian Governments:


Percentage Allocated







































In 2012, Nigeria ranked 20th in a survey conducted by the World Bank of the budgetary allocation in twenty (20) countries. The full table is as follows:



% Budget Allocation to Education







Cote d’Ivoire












South Africa
















United Arab Emirates
























Burkina Faso
























Please note that out of the 20 countries listed above, 12 including Nigeria are African Countries. Thus, if the survey had been limited to the 12 African countries alone, Nigeria would still have been rated lowest. Note also that with the exception of Norway, USA, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), all other countries on the survey including Nigeria can adequately be classified as belonging to the developing world. So, yet again if the survey had been confined to countries in the developing world, Nigeria would have ranked last.

In order for us to better appreciate the inadequacy of funds allocated to tertiary education, I refer to an adage which says that “nothing is big or small otherwise by comparison” hence I urge you to compare the actual budgetary allocation expenditure of California State University in USA with the budgetary expenditure (not budgetary allocation) for all the 150 public universities in Nigeria.

California State University budgetary expenditure in 2012 was $7,130,137,243 which translates to N1,212,123,331,310. The Federal Government of Nigeria’s budget proposal for 50 Federal Universities and UBE (Universal Basic Education) is N495,456,130,065 which translates to 40.88% of one university, the California State University.

I admit that the government must attend to other pressing needs, but we must also admit that the amount budgeted for education is tragically inadequate.

Every Vice Chancellor must therefore identify ways of increasing the funding of his institution. Avenues such as Tuition fees, Endowment funds, loans, donations, scholarships, investment, and more importantly, contributions of the Alumni etc should be explored. The importance of Alumni Association contribution cannot be over-emphasised, for instance the contribution of 2,964 alumni of Harvard University amounted to $622 billion. Each of our Vice-chancellors in this country is an Alumnus of one University or the other in Nigeria. Unfortunately in Nigeria, the Alumni Association has failed woefully to make any serious impact. It was such a pitiable state of affairs that I met when I took over as the Pro-Chancellor of University of Lagos. Today, the Alumni Association of University of Lagos has made substantial contribution to the sustainability of education in the university.

I have on many occasions addressed the need for tuition in particular. I am an unrepentant advocate of payment of tuition fees in university. However, a University may decide to charge discriminatory fees based on the financial situation of each student. By way if analogy, there is no reason why children from well to do homes including Vice Chancellor should not be made to pay tuition commensurate to the cost of the education they are receiving while students from poor homes pay subsidized fees.

However the ability of a Vice Chancellor to substantially increase the level of funding available to his university will account for nothing if the University is hamstringed by stringent regulation by the government with regards to how it can utilize or disburse its funds. A good example is the case of Lagos State University and Obafemi Awolowo University where students are protesting the hike in hostel fees. At the moment, expenditure by Universities is still highly regulated. Such is the level of regulation that the Universities themselves have little or no say in the projects which government occasionally decides through the Education Trust Fund to execute in Universities. It is therefore common to see buses donated to Universities and bearing the inscription of the ETF when the funds spent in the acquisition of the buses could have addressed more pressing needs such Laboratory equipment.

Stakeholders world over agree that financial freedom is one of the most important aspects of university autonomy. Why should Nigeria be different? This lack of financial autonomy accounts for the inability of many Universities in Nigeria to compete with their foreign counterparts in recruiting the most qualified Professors and teachers, some of whom are Nigerians, but are now scattered in foreign destinations. To stem the tide of this brain drain, Universities must have the budget, freedom and financial independence to be able to recruit the best at all times. For example, at Afe Babalola University being a private university, we continuously scout for the best talents and recruit them. This is because we do not have to seek any governmental approval before doing so. It is this independence that has allowed a young University like ours to have recorded many landmark successes within the last five years. Without financial independence, a University’s wings to fly are clipped and it is left to crawl, or at best walk.




Many well meaning Nigerians have suggested other means of funding education in public universities. They have suggested tuition fees, scholarships, loans, donations, endowment, examination fees etc.


I have in the course of my address referred to tuition fees as a source of funding university education. In a paper titled “Higher Education Funding; International Comparison, by Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), it was stated that tuition fees are becoming international rule. Eight of the 13 OECD countries analysed in the paper charged tuition fees of some sort. In Canada and US, tuition fee is on the rise. In Japan, with effect from 2000, state universities were given freedom to set their own tuition fee level.


It is heart-warming that as far back as 1996, the Committee of Registrars of Nigerian University sent a powerful memo to the Federal Government on diversification of funding system. The solutions suggested by the Registrars in 1996 include the following:

(a)          Parents who can pay fees should be allowed to pay instead of preventing them by declaring a free education policy which is not matched with commensurate financial backing .

(b)          No student who qualifies for admission should be denied higher education merely because of his / her inability to pay fees

(c)          All tiers of government from Local Council to Federal Government should be part of the fee paying process.

(d)          The private sector should be encouraged to be part of the scheme

To achieve the objectives stated above the Registrars suggested the following guidelines:

1.       The Federal Government may provide Scholarships on merit covering 100% tuition to about 30% of those who properly gain admission to the universities. Tuition will of course be different from institution to institution as indicated above. Additional loans may be granted to cover a proportion of other cost of living and books, while parents or guardians take care of the rest, which will be minimal.

2.       Again, scholarships may be granted to cover about 75% of tuition for the next 30% on merit. And additional loans may be granted to cover another segment of the cost of living and books.

3.       State governments should also follow suit by granting scholarships and loans according to their own criteria to cover the remaining 40% of the population of admitted students from their states.

4.       Local Councils may grant scholarships and loans to indigent students from their Local Council communities. Local authorities are best at determining criteria for indigence and membership of a Local Council.

5.       The Federal Government may again grant scholarships and loans to those from disadvantaged areas who have not been adequately covered by 1 – 4 above.

6.       Universities themselves may grant scholarships based on their own criteria.

The above guidelines will work on the following conditions:

·                     That no one will benefit, in the same year, from more than one award of scholarship and from loans to cover the same item of expenditure.

·                     That universities publish verifiable and approved costs of tuition and other charges.

·                     That each student has a university identity card.

·                     Continuation of scholarships and loans will depend on continued good academic standing.

·                     That students take the first step to apply for these scholarships and loans

·                     Each Registrar’s Office will have a unit clarifying applications yearly on the basis of good academic standing.


It is sad indeed that the resolution of the Registrars of 1996, which are still valid today, has not been acted upon by the Federal Government. I urge this Committee to revisit the Registrars’ recommendation of 1996 and make it part of the decision of this year’s communiqué.



Scholarship constitutes a form of financial aid in the funding of education. In other countries, scholarship are given to students for different reasons including

(a)          Merit – based scholarship

(b)          Need – based scholarship

(c)          Student – specific scholarship

(d)          Career – specific scholarship

(e)          College – specific scholarship


In ABUAD, we have scholarships for:

(a)          outstanding brilliance,

(b)          Merit scholarship

(c)          students who demonstrate leadership qualities,

(d)          outstanding sports men and women, and

(e)          indigent students


The award of scholarship should not be restricted to government alone. It should be extended to philanthropic and patriotic Nigerians, private and public companies, multi-national companies, charity organizations, Foundations, NGOs, clubs such as the Rotary International and the Lions Club, professional bodies like NUJ, NBA, ICAN, COREN etc



History tells us that the early universities were funded by scholars and wealthy people or groups of people and generally by people who are interested in learning. Nigerian universities appear not to appreciate the importance of endowment. A classical example of the university that utilizes endowment to the fullest is Harvard University. The Harvard’s Endowment Fund is indeed a success story worthy of being told over and over. The Harvard University Endowment as at year 2013 is $32.7billion which at exchange rate of N170 to $1 amounts to N5,559,000,000,000. It remains the largest source of revenue to support the university budget which in year 2012/2013 amounted to $7,130,137,243 which at exchange rate of N170 to $1 amounts N1,200,000,000,000.


In the year 2012, 48% of Harvard undergraduates received scholarship grant averaging $18,700 each, while 17% of undergraduates received some form of financial aid totalling more than $81million. This means that all students at Harvard University are on financial aid because the actual cost of Harvard Education exceeds the cost of tuition by approximately $10,000 per student



University education in Nigeria is now synonymous with strikes actions. There are several unions operating within the university system such as Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Non Academic Staff Union (NASU), Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), and National Academic Association of Technology (NAAT) etc. In the past decades and beyond, most if not all of these Unions have embarked upon various strikes actions to press home one demand or the other. Every strike action embarked upon has had devastating effects on University education in Nigeria. Many public universities have been forced to cancel entire academic sessions. Most, if not all public universities, have suffered a drop in standard owing to incessant strike actions.

Most of these strike actions have been blamed on the insensitivity of government to the plight of universities and education in general with regards to lack of adequate funding. Most universities have been rightly said to lack modern tools necessary for impartation of knowledge as most still rely on dilapidated structures and equipment put in place several decades ago, some dating as far back as the establishment of the universities themselves. Students and staff suffer the same state of poor accommodation and facilities.

I agree that these are legitimate matters which should be of concern to anybody with an interest in the educational sector of the country. However, I do not believe that strike actions offer the best solution available in all cases. I have stated it elsewhere in this paper that government alone cannot fund education. I have earlier in the course of this speech highlighted the roles which Vice Chancellors can play in diversifying the sources of funding available to the Universities. Therefore, if Vice Chancellors tread the paths which I have highlighted and succeed in raking in much needed funding for their institutions, they would by so doing reduce the probability of strike actions occurring in their institutions.

I am also aware that some Vice Chancellors tacitly encourage strike actions by their staff in the belief that such actions will ultimately make the government provide funding to their universities. Such Vice Chancellors publicly condemn the strike actions whilst in private they encourage Union leaders to continue with the strike. It is said that fear of security of tenure encourages some to adopt this behaviour as they fear that government may have them removed if they either appear to support the strike actions publicly or if they personally make demands from governments for increased funding of their universities. This again reiterates the need for autonomy of universities. A Vice Chancellor who is appointed by members of the university community with little or no input from the government will entertain no such fear of security of tenure and will be better positioned to fight the cause of the university.

However, security of tenure should not under any guise be used as an excuse by any Vice Chancellor to support directly or indirectly such incessant strike actions in the Universities. Sustainable education cannot be achieved even with the most advanced of facilities when students are made to spend months on end idling at home because of strike actions. Academic programs which ordinarily should last no more than four years now take about five or even six years to complete. Incessant strike actions in Nigerian Universities have forced many parents to send their children and wards out of the country for tertiary education. Universities in Ghana and even Republic of Benin now compete with Nigeria Universities for enrolment of Nigerian students.

There is also the point that in embarking on these strike actions, little regard is often had for the law which limits strike actions to matters connected with employment and no more. Whilst I do not intend to dwell extensively on legal matters, I consider it pertinent to refer to Sections 1 and 48 of the Trade Dispute Act Cap T8 which defines “dispute”, “strike” and “trade dispute” as follows:

Strike means the cessation of work by a body of persons employed acting in combination, or a concerted refusal or a refusal under a common understanding of any number of persons employed to continue to work for an employer in consequence of a dispute, done as a means of compelling their employer or any person or body of persons employed, or to aid other workers in compelling their employer or any persons of body of persons employed, to accept or not to accept terms of employment and physical conditions of work;…

Trade dispute means any dispute between employers and workers or between workers and workers, which is connected with the employment or non-employment, or the terms of employment and physical conditions of work of any person;”

In spite of the clear provisions of the law forbidding strike in matters not connected with employment, the staff of our educational institutions both academic and non-academic, and even students embark on strikes. Sometimes, it is an instrument of blackmail to compel those in authority to meet one demand or the other. But most of the time, the motives are sometimes ridiculous, illegal and totally unconnected with the conditions of service of the staff or terms of employment.

This is in total disregard to the decisions of the Courts of the law in so many cases. For example, in the case of Oshiomole v. FGN & Anor. (2005) 1 NWLR (Pt. 907) 414, the Court of Appeal upheld my submission that a strike to protest government policy on fuel tax and style of government do not fall within the ambit of trade dispute. In B.P.E v. N.U.E.E. (2003) 13 NWLR (Pt. 837) 382 @ 402-403, the Court was categorical that for a trade dispute to be said to have arisen, there must be a clear case of an employer/ employee relationship between the parties and the point of agreement between them must point unequivocally to a trade dispute.

Therefore, any strike action over matters not related with the terms and conditions of the employee or employee’s appointments would be illegal and unlawful.

It is clear from the above that issues bothering on general policies of government such as whether or not to remove petroleum subsidies are not matters connected with the employment terms of staff in the Universities and therefore should not constitute grounds for embarking on strikes. Similarly, some of the issues on which ASUU went on strike for about nine months in July 2013 offended the law as they were not connected with their terms of employment. Clearly, ASUU was not competent to embark on strike on matters such as Registration of Nigeria Universities Management Company, transformation of Federal Government landed property to universities, setting up of Research Department and Development Unit by companies operating in Nigeria, Budget Monitoring Committee and Revitalization of Nigerian tertiary institutions.

Based on the above, Vice Chancellors should, as stated earlier, not regard themselves as mere civil servants. They must act like the courageous captain of a ship who is expected to do everything to save his ship and failing that must be ready to sink with the ship. Vice Chancellors must offer effective leadership to those they lead and hearken to the saying that, to lead men, one must sometimes turn his back on them. They should make use of knowledgeable lawyers to advise them on legal issues including matters on which their employees can or cannot embark on strike.


One other area where the Vice Chancellor can positively affect sustainable education is by properly harnessing the resources at his disposal towards the achievement of the University’s major objective which is teaching. To do this, he must ensure that only qualified and dedicated lecturers are employed to teach in the institution. Owing to the importance of education, only qualified teachers should be employed. It is also expected that those who are so employed will go about the discharge of their duties with utmost zeal and dedication. Most unfortunately, the Nigerian experience has shown that this is not so. 

Many teachers spend more time in other businesses than they spend in the work. There have been reported cases of employment of some University Lecturers whose credentials were later found to have been fake or doctored. Unfortunately, many of such quack lecturers had worked in schools for many years turning out graduates before the discovery of their fake certificates.

Some Lecturers using the poor funding of the Universities as excuse decided to make the preparation, printing and selling of handouts their main occupation to the detriment of the diligent discharge of their duties. Purchase of these handouts became the only way by which a student could be guaranteed a pass mark in any particular course. It did not matter to these lecturers that these so called handouts were simply reproductions of decades old lecture notes utilized by successive generations of lecturers. In recognition of the malady, sales of handouts were subsequently banned in some institutions.

However, one of the most shameful indices of the rot in our tertiary institutions is sexual abuse or sex for marks. In some cases, male Lecturers demand sex from their female students as a condition for awarding them pass marks even where such marks are deserved. In other cases, female students themselves offer sex to their lecturers as a way of escaping what they consider the rigors of attending classes, studying, writing and passing examinations. Many of such cases are largely unreported and even where reported, the culprits go unpunished. A lecturer against whom a student compiles compelling evidence will often only earn the sympathy of his colleagues and not the ridicule and disgrace which such conduct would attract in other climes. Thus, most victims would rather find some means of appeasing the errant lecturer than reporting him to the authorities.


If a Vice Chancellor has all the funding required, employs qualified and dedicated teachers and he is able to deploy all other resources available towards the achievement of the goal of the institution, he would still need to secure the co-operation of the students. He must necessarily instill discipline in all aspects of the University’s operations.  

In present day Nigeria, it cannot be argued that indiscipline is still a problem that militates against the quest of the country to achieve full social, economic and political development. In a paper delivered by A.P Idu and David Olugbade on the subject of indiscipline, it was stated that:

“Indiscipline is the negative form of discipline…..discipline in schools is respect for school laws and regulations and the maintenance of an established standard of behaviour and implies self-control, restraint, respect for oneself and others. A behaviour that contradicts the above becomes indiscipline”

Acts of indiscipline such as abseentism from work, vandalism of public property, truancy, willful disobedience of simple traffic rules are still common occurrence in Nigeria. However, it is to the educational institutions across all the tiers that one must look to find the highest incidents of indiscipline in Nigerian Society. A visit to many Nigerian schools will discover that acts such as cultism, drug abuse, assault, stealing, lateness to school, rioting etc. are common place. Yet this was not the case in the Nigeria of old.

Nigerians of adolescent ages now regard the consumption of narcotics such as cocaine, heroin and even marijuana as nothing more than a status symbol of sorts. At parties, drugs are considered a part of the menu and freely given to those willing to accept them. Anyone who doubts this should simply visit some of the Psychiatric Hospitals to find out the number of adolescents receiving treatment for drug induced Psychosis. 


Many reasons have been adduced for the high prevalence of indiscipline in Nigerian Schools. What I have discovered is that many Parents have abandoned the moral development of their children to the schools. Many parents are too busy attending to economic matters to attend to issues bothering on the welfare and development of their children. They believe that their responsibility starts and ends with the payment of tuition and the provision of such amenities like uniforms and books. Many children therefore grow up without receiving any form of moral education from their parents who as decreed by God are their first contacts with humanity. These children grow up and consider their parents to be virtual strangers. Such circumstances make them susceptible to peer pressure. This way, they pick up anti-social habits. By the time the parents realise their error, it is often too late.


There is a world of difference in the process of establishment, running and administrative set up of public and private universities. For one, the Visitor for a public university is the Governor in the case of a State University and the President of the Federal Republic in the case of a federal university. However, the Visitor of a private university is its Founder who may be a private individual or the head of an organization that established the University. From my personal experience, I know that this difference plays a very crucial role in the manner in which university staff, students and management approach different aspects of university existence.

A public university in Nigeria is normally regarded more or less like any other government establishment. There is therefore a tendency for staff of public universities including its Vice Chancellors to view themselves as mere public servants who have little or no stake in the success of the university. The situation is not helped by the fact that the Visitor of the public university is a public functionary that is a Governor or the President as the case may be. Such a person due to the demand of office finds it difficult to perform his duties as Visitor to all universities of which he is Visitor. In several instances, he ends up appointing delegates to perform his visitation duties.

However, a private university usually has an active and known owner who has a purpose, mission and goal.  He takes personal and passionate charge.  He is passionately interested in the success of his enterprise. In private universities, such virtues like discipline, punctuality, regular attendance and high standards of productivity form the yardstick for promotions, increments as against the trend in the public sector where rank, cadre, number of years in service and mere paper qualifications count the most. As a result, Vice Chancellor will also be expected to show a corresponding measure of zeal for the success of the university. Afterall, the stakes are usually very high for the private institutions because their level of patronage is a direct function of the performance they put up. This is why in the United States of America today, most of the leading universities are those privately owned and run, and they feature prominently in the first 200 best universities in the world.

The private universities are generally not vulnerable to the many common ills of public universities. There is no place for strike actions in private institutions. Students and staff are strictly bound by the undertakings they would have made at the inception of their engagements. The proprietors, not bound by any stereotype grading of remuneration are also afforded wide latitudes to appoint or employ their lecturers and pay salaries commensurate with their ascertained capacities and productivity.

In the absence of strikes, there would hardly be any interruption of academic calendars. So, if the duration of programmes as well as their standards or quality are predictable, why then would any student who has a modicum of regard for time and standard look elsewhere other than private university.


Having addressed matters or areas which should be of interest to any Vice Chancellor in ensuring the growth of his university and therefore the sustainability of education in Nigeria, it is imperative to also highlight some other factors which deserve some measure of focus.


The National University Commission (NUC) is statutorily empowered to regulate tertiary education in Nigeria. To a very large extent, the Commission has over the years discharged its duties creditably. However, there is a need for an amendment of the NUC Act which came into existence as far back as 1974 in order to further empower the Commission particularly with regards to the establishment of new universities by State and Federal Governments.


Education falls into the concurrent legislative list contained in Part II of the 2ndSchedule of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.Paragraphs 27, 28, 29 and 30 of the said Schedule provides as follows:

“27.    The National Assembly shall have power to make laws for the Federation or any pant thereof with respect to university education, technological education or such professional education as may from time to time be designated by the National Assembly.

28.     The power conferred on the National Assembly under section 27 of this item shall include power to establish an institution for the purposes of university, post-primary, technological or professional education.

29.     Subject as herein provided, a House of Assembly shall have power to make laws for the State with respect to the establishment of an institution for purposes of university, technological or professional education.

30.     Nothing in the foregoing paragraphs of this item shall be construed so as to limit the powers of a House of Assembly to make laws for the State with respect to technical, vocational, post primary, primary or other forms of education, including the establishment of institutions for the pursuit of such education.”

Pursuant to the above, both the Federal and State Government have legislative competence over the issue of universities and can both establish Federal and State Universities respectively.

At the Federal level, the National Universities Commission’s Act, Cap N81 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 is one of the statutes made pursuant to the legislative powers of the Federal Government under paragraph 27 above. What is however clear from a combined reading of the above stated provisions is that NUC which is itself a creation of the Federal Government has no power to stop a State Government from establishing a university. Indeed, by virtue of Section 4 of the NUC Act, the role of the Commission is merely to advise the President and the Governors on creation of new Universities. The power of the States to create Universities as they deem fit remains unaffected and extant. The full effect of the powers of the NUC in relation to the establishment and location of a University are only felt in the case of private Universities

As a result therefore, most State Governments establish Universities with little or no regard for the provision of adequate infrastructure and facilities. Universities are established by the States and sited, based on political rather than educational and logistical considerations in often obscure and undeveloped locations with little or no facility to accommodate the take off of the Universities.

In order to make themselves popular in their constituencies, some establish Universities and multiple campuses in their hamlets or villages which lack infrastructure like electricity, water and accommodation. Some use abandoned modern school buildings as Universities.

The Nation Newspaper edition of Thursday April 29, 2010 in its column on education reported the difficulties encountered by students of one of the universities established by one of the South-West states. It was reported that some students of the institution in order to beat the accommodation problem had taken up residence in houses originally earmarked by the indigenes of the town to keep their livestock including goats. A picture of one of the ramshackle mud buildings aptly named “Rugged Villa” by the students is contained at page 25 of the Newspaper.

The laboratories and other teaching facilities in some of the Universities are below the standard expected in secondary schools. There was the case of a graduate in Engineering who never saw an Engineering laboratory throughout his university days.

Recently, the authorities of a state University disengaged over 700 academic and non-academic staff who were found amongst other reasons, to have gained employment into university with questionable credentials. Yet, these same persons prior to the discovery of the anomaly had probably spent years in the University teaching students, some of whom are today probably also teachers in one institution of learning or another.

As far as some States are concerned, there is no room for the recommendation of UNESCO that states should allocate 26% of the revenue on education. Some states allocate less than one percent of their budget to education. In a particular case, a state government allocated only N50million to its university for capital project over the period of several years. Clearly, the time has come to revisit the law setting up NUC.

To further assist the Commission, Vice Chancellors must be innovative and resourceful in maintaining the NUC minimum standards. Vice Chancellors must as a matter of fact aim to surpass the minimum standard. I also suggest that universities be ranked annually so that the management of each university will be able to gauge how effectively it has been able to comply with NUC regulations on standards.


Recently, the National Universities Commission released a list of 36 illegal Universities operating in the country. From the list of published on the website of the body, the Universities were located in virtually all parts of the country. Many indeed had very curious sounding names which reasonably should have alerted discerning minds to the fraud represented by the institution. On the list of illegal universities were UNESCO University, Pebbles University, Atlantic Intercontinental University Okija, Samuel Ahmadu University, Makurdi, Christian Charity University of Science and Tech., Volta University College, Royal University Izhia, Houdegbe North American University, Atlanta University, Anyigba, Sunday Adokpela University, Otada Adoka, Richmond Open University, Arochukwu, Lobi Business School, Makurdi, APA University, Utonkon, Bolta University College, Aba, United Nigeria University College, Okija, Blacksmith University, Anambra State, Pilgrims University and one University of Industry, Yaba Lagos.

I am of the view that the increasing number of such schools shows that much more still needs to be done by governments and the regulatory agencies.  It is on record that after USA, Nigeria has the largest number of illegal universities in the world.

The question then is how do we get out of these embarrassing quagmire? The answer is that government should urgently and immediately amend the NUC law and give the commission sufficient powers of immediate and outright closure of illegal universities with further powers of severe sanctions including forfeiture of the university’s properties to government while the promoters, founders, councils and teachers of such illegality should face life imprisonment.


Since its establishment in the NUC has been responsible for maintaining a minimum standard in Nigerian Universities vis-à-vis curriculum development.  Without the NUC’s approval, no University can undertake academic programs in any course. Whilst the NUC has meticulously carried out this important aspect of its statutory duty, the effect has been that most universities have been satisfied with maintaining the minimum standards permissible so as to meet accreditation requirements when with some measure of policy planning and implementation, they could aim for and achieve much more in the area of curriculum development. This explains why for decades now the same courses have been taught in much the same manner in Nigerian Universities with little or no improvement in course content or outline to meet modern realities and demands. Many Lecturers still teach their students with the same lecture notes with which they received instructions themselves as students.

Such a scenario cannot aid the development of a country or the sustainability of education. Curriculum development must move with the times. I therefore advocate a situation in which the Universities would be given autonomy in the area of curriculum development. Where this is done, I am sure that most Universities will develop programs that will aid sustainable education. At ABUAD, motivated by such ideals, we successfully started programs such as Social Justice, Intelligence and Security Studies, Mechatronics, Human Biology, Events Management as part of Tourism and Media as part of Communication Studies. The Nigerian Police in particular, as an institution, has been quick to afford its officers and men of the opportunity to partake in our programs on Social Justice.


By virtue of Education Tax Law Cap 34, Companies operating in Nigeria are required to pay annual Education Tax at the rate of 2% on the assessable profit.

An education Fund was also established for the establishment and consolidation of education in Nigeria which shall be managed by the Board of Trustees.

Under Section 6 of the Act, the Board is empowered to disburse the money to “various levels and categories of education”.

However, in Section 7 of the Act, the Board shall administer the amount in the fund to Federal, State and Local Government educational institutions including primary and secondary schools.

First, it seems to me that Section 7 contradicts Section 6 of the Act. Section 6 of the Act specifically empowers the Board to disburse the money to various levels and categories of education. Whereas in the management and administration of fund under Section 7, the educational institutions which were made beneficiaries of the fund were limited to Federal, States and Local Government Institutions.

The intention of the law makers is to provide funds for advancement of education to various levels and categories of education. It does not allow for discrimination. Further, those who provide education for Nigeria are not limited to Federal, States and Local Governments.

There is no reason therefore why the Education Trust Fund (ETF) should be made the property of the Federal Government institutions alone. Moreover, the fund is collected from private sectors and no part of it is contributed by the Federal Government. .

In view of the admission of the Federal Government that the emergence of private universities is a logical response to fill the demand gap located by the inability of the governments to meet the number of the universities required, it is only logical that the fund be shared among public and private universities who are providing education to the public. This is more so, if as I have suggested, the proprietors of private universities are not permitted to make or demand profit from university account.

If there is any doubt about the legal validity of my submission, there can be no doubt about the logicality of it.


The Council of Vice Chancellors should call on the Federal Government, the State Governments and all stake holders to address the worrisome deterioration in the standard of primary and secondary education to ensure that Nigeria produce high quality materials for Universities.

The Higher School Certificate (HSC), a two year course which is equivalent to GCE Advanced Level in England should be resuscitated.

HSC and GCE Advanced Level should be made the requisite entry qualification to Universities as it is done in advanced countries including England, thereby ensuring that only mature students are admitted to Universities. That was the practice in Nigeria before it was abolished by the military.

The committee is advised to note and adopt the marked difference between the attitude to work by teachers in public universities and the attitude to work in private universities. In public universities, detachment attitude and civil service culture is prevalent. Whereas, the philosophy and attitude in private universities is one of absolute loyalty, industry, commitment, integrity, punctuality and strict discipline.

There is imperative need to amend the portion of the constitution on the concurrent power of state governments to establish universities. The amendment should provide that before a license is issued by NUC, there should be clear evidence of adequate structures and facilities including modern teaching aids.

The numerous state universities which are making use of abandoned secondary schools, rented apartments and operating without requisite facilities like library, laboratory and classrooms and relevant teaching facility should be closed down immediately by NUC.

There is need to amend NUC laws making it mandatory for any proprietor, state or federal government to acquire permanent site and have enough structure and facilities on it before commencing academic program.

The multifarious so-called University campuses established by State Governments all over the country should be scrapped. These so-called campuses were ill equipped and poorly staffed. The damage done to education by these campuses is better imagined.

Public Universities are weighed down by the bureaucratic demands, thereby preventing capacity to innovation. The appointments and decisions made from outside the university, are in most cases influenced by nepotism, godfatherism, lobbying and political patronage. Therefore, the enabling laws which vest government with undue influence and control over routine university matters should be amended. Therefore, the Chancellor, Pro-Chancellor, Chairman of Governing Council, Vice Chancellor and Members of Councils should be elected by the staff, students and other stakeholders without any imput by the government.

University authorities must be given the freedom to chart their own academic programmes and implement them without undue interference by government. Universities must have budget freedom and financial independence to be able to attract the best brains from anywhere in the world, embark on meaningful research programmes and distribute their fund according to their problems and need.

The Governing Council should be free from undue governmental influence and be given the freedom to formulate growth strategies for the universities.

Nigeria Universities must be free to decide and distribute their funding including ETF fund internally according to their priorities, needs without restrictions.

To avoid any legal technicality, the Vice Chancellors are advised to call on the government to amend the Education Tax Act Cap. E4 Section 7, Laws of Federation of Nigeria (LFN) 2004 to include private universities.


Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, having discussed a number of issues affecting instability of education, I wish to address very briefly the critical issue of security and sustainable education.

Hitherto, Nigeria has been a safe place where all Nigerians were able to move freely, travel at any time of the day and night and study, work or register in any university in any part of the country. Unfortunately, however, things have changed dramatically in recent times due to the prevalence of bombing, killings and in particular the kidnapping of over 200 innocent Secondary School students in Chibok, Borno State as a result of which parents are now withdrawing their children/wards from schools, colleges and universities in some parts of Northern Nigeria while some schools have closed down.

Matters have got to a head that teachers are now asking for protection before they could go to work. The National Union of Teachers is not left out in the orgy of fear as it recently issued a Press Release chronicling the number of University teachers mowed down in the mindless, inhuman and barbaric gory carnage as a result of which several hundreds of innocent Nigerians lost their lives and goods worth several billions of Naira. The truth is that the recent insurgency in some parts of Northern Nigeria has impacted negatively on learning, teaching and research in our schools and universities.

As the Chief Executive Officers of our Universities, you cannot fold your arms and leave this meeting of all Nigerian Vice Chancellors without addressing this grave issue affecting sustainability in education. We need to come out of our comfort zone and be counted positively on the side of history. As I speak with you even in the Southern parts of the country where there is no insurgency, there is constant fear of insecurity.

It would appear that the cankerworm of wanton violence and insurgency is predicated on the fact that both the government of Nigeria and indeed the respected Vice Chancellors have never addressed the issue of education seriously since we became independent in 1960. We have failed to emphasise the critically important place and import of education in the lives of Nigerians, that education is a veritable weapon to conquer ignorance, disease, poverty, discrimination and religious bigotry.

It goes without saying that if one is properly educated, he will be healed of the virus of the palpable ignorance demonstrated by those who assert that Western education is a sin or that a citizen who does not share one’s belief should be murdered. The government and the Vice Chancellors together or severally must share the greater share of the blame.

It is now incumbent on the Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities to cause the Federal Government to call an Education Summit to properly address the problems all of us had wittingly or unwittingly created for ourselves in not tackling the critically important issues of quality education either seriously and or adequately. In the same vein, I challenge the on-going National Conference to address the serious issues stated herein which have affected the importance, quality and functional education in our country. This is not the time to shed tears but time to act positively and aggressively, failing which the future of project Nigeria is doomed.


In summary, the education system with particular reference to public universities need urgent and drastic total overhauling and total insulation from political interference. Since such overhauling of our education system can only be addressed meaningfully where peace and safety of life and property reign supreme, there is urgent need to first tackle the issue of security to be followed by education summit to consider the pressing issue of overhauling of our education system.


In the unlikely event that any one of us in this hall or elsewhere believes that by way of innuendo, he is hurt by any portion of my address, I claim privilege under Section 36 of 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which guarantees freedom of speech. I offer no apology.

Finally, I invite you to take time to go round our clean and beautiful campus. Feel free to interact with students’ workers and teachers. Touch, feel, see and dream of ABUAD and become an apostle of ABUAD’s reformatory education agenda. I wish you a wonderful stay in ABUAD.



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