The Federal Government in Abuja on Tuesday inaugurated the governing councils of 21 federal universities across the country.
They are: Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, Ahamadu Bello University, Zaria, Bayero University, Kano, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, and Federal University of Technology, Akure.
Others are: Federal Universities of Technology, Owerri, Yola and Minna, Nnamdi Azikwe University, Awka, Universities of Abuja, Calabar, Ibadan, Jos, Maiduguri and Port Harcourt.
Others are Usman Dan Fodio University, Sokoto, Universities of Nigeria, Nsukka, IIorin, Uyo and Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun.
The Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqayyatu Rufa’i, who inaugurated the council, said it became imperative because of allegation of poor governance of universities and total disregard to due process.
Rufa’i said the councils were constituted according to the law establishing them.
``The councils so constituted shall have tenure of four years from the date of its inauguration provided the council is not found to be incompetent or corrupt.
According to her, any council can be dissolved by the Visitor at anytime.
``The powers of the council shall be exercised as in the law and statues of each university.
``Establishment circulars that are inconsistent with the law and statutes of the university shall not apply to the universities.
``Government constitutes the governing councils of these universities for good management, growth and development.
``The council will, therefore, be free in the discharge of its functions and exercise of its responsibilities accordingly,’’ she said.
She advised the councils to be in consultation with the management of the universities in order to be abreast with current laws, policies and white papers circulars that would help them in taking decisions.
Rufa’i, however, said that the sector was beset with some challenges such as decline in academic standards, poor management of funds, inadequate human resource, physical infrastructure, and access to university education, among others.
``It is clear that the governing council cannot do it all alone, but you shall come up with ideas that will improve and generate more revenue outside government allocation,’’ she said.
Earlier, Prof. Julius Okojie, the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), commended the Federal Government for reconstituting the councils of the 21 universities.
Okojie said that that any state university which did not have a governing council would soon be sanctioned.
``We do not want a situation where a governor will be running the state university from his house without following the rules and regulations establishing the university,’’ he said.
He called on the newly inaugurated councils to be accountable, and urged them to maintain good relationship with the universities management to collectively address the challenges in the Nigerian university system.
The Senate Committee Chairman on Education, Sen. Uche Chukwumerije, said the challenges of funding and indiscipline remained the major problems of the university system.
----------Augustine Aminu, Daily Times Nigeria, April 9, 2013