State universities must look for other sources of funding – Pro-Chancellors

Concerned about the threat of brain drain in the nation, the Committee of Pro-Chancellors of State-Owned Universities of Nigeria (COPSUN) has called on the federal government to declare the trend a national emergency requiring immediate attention.

The association asked vice chancellors of state universities to explore for alternate sources of income in order to guarantee there were adequate funds, even as it urged state governments to give priority to funding public universities.

Journalists were able to get a communiqué signed by COPSUN Secretary Marcus Awobifa at the conclusion of the 62nd Quarterly Meeting, which was held in Abuja, which included some of the decisions made.

Senator Joshua Lidani, the pro-chancellor and head of the council at Gombe State University, was chosen as the next COPSUN chairman during the meeting.

Former senator for Gombe South in Gombe State and deputy governor of Gombe State Lidani takes over for Yusuf Ali (SAN), who resigned as pro-chancellor of Osun State University after the Governing Council of the university disbanded.

Also elected was Prof. Ayodeji Omole, Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council of Ladoke Akintola University, Ogbomoso (Vice Chairman).

The Pro-Chancellors of Dennis Osadebay University, Asaba, Prof. R.B. Ikomi; Lagos State University of Education, Ijanikin, Alhaja Sakeenat Yusuf and Kebbi State University of Science and Technology, Dr. Hahiru Bala were elected members of the new executive council respectively.

The communique reads, “COPSUN observed that the brain drain syndrome has taken its huge toll on the university system in Nigeria with many lecturers seeking for greener pastures abroad. The Pro- Chancellors therefore called on the Federal Government to declare the development as a matter of national concern deserving urgent solution.

“COPSUN has appealed to state governments in the country to improve the funding of state-owned Universities. The Pro-Chancellors asserted that by virtue of their closeness to the grassroots, the state Universities have better understanding to contribute to the social, economic and technological advancement of the people and should therefore attract more government attention.

“Furthermore, the Committee charged the Vice Chancellors of state universities to be more proactive and seek for alternative sources of revenue to supplement government funding. It added that by so doing, the Vice Chancellors of State Universities will be creating a niche for themselves as the master of development of tertiary institutions in Nigeria.

“The Committee reiterated the importance of University autonomy and called on the State governments to uphold the principle of autonomy and emulate the Federal Government where the appointment of Vice Chancellors end with the Governing Council of individual Federal Universities.

“The Pro-Chancellors added that the State Universities Governing Councils should be given free hands to determine the school fees of their various universities having regard to the modern economic realities in the country.”