Nigeria needs more universities to accommodate population expansion – Head of NDPHC, Oyedele

Head of NDPHC, Ifeloluwa Oyedele

According to Ifeoluwa Oyedele, Executive Director (Networks), Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) Limited, there are not enough universities in Nigeria to accommodate the nation’s expanding population.

He was responding to ideas that the National Universities Commission (NUC) had been compromised when awarding licences for the establishment of private universities in Nigeria.

These were said by Oyedele in a speech given to journalists in Abuja on Wednesday following his award of an honorary doctorate degree in engineering (D.Eng) by the administration of Achievers University in Owo, Ondo State.

“While I agree that NUC appears to be granting too many licenses for the establishment of private universities, I am not sure it can be attributed to compromise.

“Nigeria with its population needs more institutions. However, there must be corresponding number of lecturers and top rate facilities.

“The truth is that Nigerians are good at presenting documents that can persuade any organisation to issue approval. What NUC needs to do is that it must graduate its approval process so that when an applicant meets the conditions in one stage it can proceed to the next stage until final approval is given to commence the programs. Innocent students should not be used as guinea pigs for running a University”, he said.

Oyedele also offered suggestions on how to resolve the conflict between the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Federal Government.

He said, “The government and ASUU need to be sincere with each other to end incessant strikes. While government should be open on all the issues, ASUU must show understanding of the financial position of government. Both parties must come to the painful realization that the present model of funding University education is not sustainable and therefore there must be a new thinking outside the box.

“The issue of autonomy should be re-visited so that Universities can use their talents to generate more funds. The failure of government to implement agreements freely entered into with ASUU is unacceptable.

“Government must take steps to implement such agreement and where it cannot, it must quickly seek renegotiation and not wait until ASUU declares another strike before revealing the reasons why it is unable to implement agreed terms.”

Oyedele added that he does not believe ASUU is using strikes as a means of extortion, but rather that it is merely responding to administrative bottlenecks that prevent the government from complying with its requests.