Don wants varsities to remedy economic woes
Former Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof Peter Okebukola, has urged Nigerian universities to proffer lasting solutions to the economic woes besetting the country, including the recession.
Speaking at the sixth convocation of Caleb University at Imota, Lagos State, Okebukola, who is also chairman of the school’s Board of Trustees, expressed deep concerns over the economic challenges, insisting that universities have vital roles to play in nation building.
According to him, “In the history of development of the world, recession is not new. Nations sink into it and rise again. During such periods, nations turn to their universities, calling them to duty to offer creative solutions and sustainable models. During the global recessions of 1975, 1982, 1991 and 2009, universities in Europe and North America played these roles. Here we are in 2016, bitten by the recession bug. Nigerian universities should not fold their arms and groan helplessly like the common man or woman on the street. We have been accused of not showing sufficient relevance to the socio-economic development of the nation. This is a time as good as any to shake off this ignoble garb.
“We should offer a practical and sustainable roadmap to tackling the recession, especially the four major catalysts namely: unbridled corruption, weak diversification of the economy by overdependence on oil; Niger Delta militancy causing severe reduction in the output of oil and gas, and the Boko Haram insurgency, which is sucking away precious financial resources, and of course lives.
“The NUC should urgently convene a meeting of relevant university experts to avail government at the federal, state and local government levels, the benefit of their practicable solutions,” he said adding that, “Our universities should provide models of practical ways of running a nation on lean budget, by being centres of excellence in running their institutions on lean budgets.
Speaking further he said, “We are informed of the intention of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme to significantly reduce the number of graduates to be mobilised this year, ostensibly on account of the recession. If true, this will be an unfortunate development given the importance of the scheme for fostering national unity and taking a bite at graduate unemployment. We urge government to rethink this plan, and seek creative ways of funding the scheme. Perhaps if we chase more of our national, state and local government looters, we will get more than enough recovery funds to mobilise all our graduates for the next 10 years.
Vice chancellor of the school, Prof. Ayandiji Daniel Aina, in his remarks said a total of 355 undergraduate and postgraduate students were churned out, with 15 of the undergraduates in First Class Division.
He further said that the school has set ten strategic goals for the quinquenium (2016-2020), adding that it has also signed an MoU with New Horizon and launched additional partnership with global CompTIA Academy USA, to provide the graduates with competencies in the three core global IT certifications.
Group Managing Director, Access Bank, Mr. Herbert Wigwe, who spoke at the event restated the importance of public-private partnership in efforts aimed at revamping the economy.
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