Chris Steven, Abuja
THE Federal Government has expressed concern about endemic crisis and poor leadership in some Nigerian universities, urging the Governing Councils to ensure accountability, due process and adherence to rule of law at the institutions.
Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, spoke on Wednesday in Abuja while inaugurating the Governing Councils of University of Port Harcourt and Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, which were recently constituted by the government.
He noted that the recent happenings in some universities have raised serious questions about the quality of leadership in the institutions, adding that a situation where “vice chancellors and their pro-chancellors would become regular visitors Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) because of allegations of mismanagement is very unhealthy for the system”.
He directed the Councils to henceforth submit comprehensive situation reports on their activities to the Federal Ministry of Education through NUC at the end of every quarter and that a reporting template would be sent to all the universities.
Adamu said: “When leadership is accountable, prudent, and transparent; when leadership is guided by the rule of law and due process; when governance through functional and efficient committee system is in place; and when leaders, at all times, put public interest first and above personal interest; there would not have been any crisis of governance in any institution”.
The Minister told the Governing Councils that the Federal Government of Nigeria remains the proprietor of all the Federal universities and would no longer tolerate situations where internal crises are escalated before the government only hears of them through the media.
On the efforts to resolve lingering crisis between the various staff unions and the government, Adamu disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari had already approved the setting up of the government team to negotiate the agreements with tertiary education unions.
He said the team under the Chairmanship of Dr Wale Babalakin, SAN, would be inaugurated on 24 January, 2017 while the unions would be informed to set up their teams and get ready for the renegotiation exercise.
While urging the Governing Councils to be bold, innovative and responsive, Adamu said they were expected to provide the governance and the type of leadership that would stimulate rapid growth of the universities and make them more competitive and attractive.
He warned the Governing Councils against meddlesomeness in the day-to-day running of the institutions, explaining that the Councils were to set the policies and define directions, while the management implement those policies and directions in a harmonious manner.
“The absence of academic culture due to poor leadership is a source of serious concern. I urge you to work hard to support the management and senate of your universities to entrench an excellent academic culture based research, innovation and quality scholarship,” he said,