SUCCESSIVE governments have been unable to effectively resolve the various issues dogging the nation’s education sector, notably inadequate funding, lack of access, corruption, inadequacies in facilities for teaching, learning and research, among others.
Against this backdrop, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mallam Yusuf Ali, believes that to solve this problem and others besetting the system, the Federal Government should encourage the establishment of more private universities as, according to him, it is becoming clear that they may be the stables that will produce forefront intellectuals in science and other disciplines.
Ali made the call recently during the convocation of the Oduduwa University, Ipetumodu, Osun State, where he was conferred with an honorary Doctor of Public Administration.
Honoured alongside him was a fellow silk, Olusola Oyeyemi, SAN, son of a retired justice of the Supreme Court (Justice Oyeyemi).
“The acknowledged best universities in the world today –the likes of Cambridge, Harvard, Oxford and so on –were products of such efforts,” Ali noted.
He said private universities should be encouraged to maintain the educational standard for which they are now known, expressing the hope that “as Cambridge and others in that league have become centres of educational excellence and reference points, so shall Oduduwa University become in the nearest future.”
“Today, the distinguishing factor between our public universities and other universities all over the world is the stability of academic calendar. Whereas, stability of academic calendar is assured in other universities all over the world, that is not the situation with our public tertiary institutions, except the University of Ilorin, where there has been a consistent stability of academic calendar since 2001,” he noted.
This instability in the academic calendar, he lamented, has eroded the credibility of certificates from these institutions.
He then called on stakeholders in the educational sector, especially the federal and state governments and the various academic and non-academic unions, to find common grounds on issues affecting the institutions in order to engender stable, progressive and workable academic calendar.
Ali has been using the vehicle of the Yusuf Ali Foundation, of which he is the founder and sole financier, to intervene in many public institutions through donations and institution of scholarship, including payment of WASSCE & NECO examination fees of 50 students of his alma mater, the Ibadan Boys High School.
His other philanthropic efforts include a donation of a twin dormitory to the University of Ilorin; an 80-bed hostel to the Osun State University; 30-unit ICT Centre to the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife; a 10-bed advanced trauma centre to the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital; 30-unit ICT centre to the College of Law, Crescent University, Abeokuta, Ogun State; 40-unit e-resource centre to the Kwara State Polytechnic, Ilorin; and a brand new Kia Rio 2014 model to the University of Ibadan for the use of the Department of Arabic and Islamic Studies; and donation of 20-room luxurious hostel to the Fountain University, Osogbo.
On behalf of himself and the other recipients, Ali thanked the chancellor, board of trustees, governing council, management, staff and students of the Oduduwa University “for this rare honour.”
Earlier the chancellor and founder of the university, Dr. Rahman Adedoyin, described Ali and Oyeyemi as great men of noble birth who had been using their profession and hard-earned wealth to touch lives and reshape society for good.
He said since the university was founded about 10 years ago, only six Nigerians had been honoured with its doctoral degrees. These are the ex-Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and now Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi; and the former Accountant-General of the Federation, Mr. Jonah Otunla.
The others are the executive secretary of Muslim ummah, South West Nigeria, Professor D. O. S. Noibi, and deputy president, Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) and proprietor of Al-Hikmah University, Ilorin, Alhaji S. O. Babalola.
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