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CSOs Condemn Dissolution Of Universities Governing Councils By Tinubu

 

A coalition of Civil Society Organisations in Nigeria has condemned, in strong terms, the dissolution of governing councils across federal universities in Nigeria saying it is a fragrant disregard for the provisions of extant laws governing the administration of the universities.

 

At a press conference in Abuja on Wednesday, addressed by its national president, Obiora Chidozie and the national secretary, Alhaji Husseini Ibrahim, the coalition spoke on the dangerous impact of dissolution of the governing councils of all federal universities by President Bola Tinubu.
According to them, “It is no longer news that last year, President Bola Tinubu dissolved the governing councils in universities across the country and this singular action has already become inimical and a major setback toward the growth and development of university education in Nigeria barely seven months after.

“More so, the step taken by the President flagrantly opposed to the provisions of extant laws governing the administration of the universities”.
The coalition said university system, virtually all countries of the world, is considered one of the most valuable national institutions, but in Nigerian, the system has been plagued with tremendous challenges.

“Across the world, universities are autonomous, they operate where ideas are not clobbered and restricted, but are made to flourish as a place where ideas are allowed to thrive without hindrance. Likewise, led by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the fight has been that our universities must be environments in which teaching, and research, and our students can engage in vibrant exchanges of knowledge and vice versa.

“That is why even those who exercise supervision such as Governing Councils all over the world are given free hand to run the system following broad laws and guidelines well established by the government and where necessary, inform the government of their actions.
“It noteworthy that the battle for university autonomy in Nigeria has been on for a long time in line with what obtains in most other countries, including our neighbouring Ghana, South Africa, Kenya, etc”, the Coalition said.

The Coalition appreciated President Tinubu for his interest and commitment to improve universities, but in the light of this commitment, said it believed that it is an error for the Governing Councils of federal universities to be dissolved without reference to the Universities (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Amendment) Act 2003 which is also referred to as the Universities Autonomy Act No. 1, 2007.
Obiora Chidozie quoted Section 3(2A) of the Amendment Act as saying, “The Council so constituted shall have a tenure of four years from the date of its inauguration provided that where a Council is found to be incompetent and corrupt it shall be dissolved by the Visitor and a new Council shall be immediately constituted for the effective functioning of the university”.

He insisted that the Federal Government, by the existing laws have no power to dissolve governing council, unless they are found incompetent or wanting, sadly the university system is left hanging without a head and now subjected to political dictates.
Chidozie said another clear example of the dangers of dissolving governing councils in varsities comes handy with the raging brawl at the Federal University of Health Science Otukpo, where fear of implosion had gripped the institution after the vice chancellor had reportedly sacked his deputy over lack of cooperation. Such a development would not have happened if Council was in place.

“From what we observed the booming chaos is worsened because the Registrar is not fully acquainted with his duties as a university Registrar. Like the Vice Chancellor, he is inexperienced at the university level where he had not worked prior to his been smuggled into the University from National University Council (NUC) on the altar of nepotism. Hence, all these happening should be of serious concern to President Tinubu”.

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