Leadership Complicity, Cause of University Education Decline in Nigeria – Prof Omaji
The Issues mitigating development of education, especially University education has been attributed to leadership complicity in the management of educational issues in the country.
This was the observation during the 2022 University of Ibadan Alumni Association, Asaba Chapter by the guest lecturer, Prof Paul Paul Omaji of the Admiralty University of Nigeria, an event held at the Press centre, Government House on Thursday, June 23 2022.
Prof Omaji who was speaking on the Theme, “Revitilising University Education: The Leadership Question” said that the issues such as inadequacies in facilities for teaching, learning and research, inadequate funding, deficit in teacher quality and quantity, governance deficits, depressed quality of graduates, inadequate in access, amongst the 12 identified items by the National university Commissions, NUC that are militating against University education, and they are artefacts of leadership failure.
He stated that in the past 30 years, the political leadership in the country had failed, and thus had plunged the university education in Nigeria into several challenges, which he attributed to the implementation of the Structural Adjustment Programme, SAP which the country implemented in mid-1985, after obtaining a loan from the International Monetary Fund.
He pointed out that the programme was done in a manner that seriously devalued and defunded higher education, as the unfettered political interference resulted among other things, Vice Chancellors were appointed by the Military Government into university administration, with their professorial positions influenced, resulting in the silencing of intellectual voices and others led to massive exodus of lecturers from Nigerian university system.
Prof Omaji further stated that the implementation of the IMF also made the country a dumping ground for imported products in the name of economic liberalization, away from the policy of indiginisation, as the then government promoted patronizing of foreign goods.
He also stated that the continuous appointments of education ministers was a problem, as different ministers always jettison exist policies to introduce what they think is best for the country.
He also did not spare the leadership of the various universities in the country, as they in one way or the other contributed to the failure being currently experienced, regretting that failure of institutional leadership of universities to enact core corporate objective, has compounded the challenges bedeviling the university education, as academic corruption and other social vices has continued to thrive in our universities.
Prof Omaji however gave insight on how education can be revived, and this can only be achieved through an insight leadership, as being done by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, as he had made commitment to reverse the decline since 2016, which led to the development of a Ministerial Strategic Plan 2016-2019 to begin the process of developing a Blueprint for rapid revitalization of university education in Nigeria, advising the government should facilitate the passage of the document into law.
Meanwhile, the Special Guest of Honor, Governor of Delta State, Senator (Dr.) Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, noted that the University of Ibadan (UI) has contributed a lot to the development of Nigeria’s human resources. That it should also be supported in every facet of its development plans and sustainable growth.
The governor who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Office of the Secretary to the State Government Comrade Samuel Dieatake, noted that “the University of Ibadan has continued to produce very productive, capable and dependable work force both within the country and beyond”.
He said the University of Ibadan Alumni Association, Asaba chapter, has a rich history and proud heritage, especially with an assemblage of eminent Nigerians who have continued to live up to the high expectations of both Nigerians and the world at large.
Earlier, the chairman of the UI Alumni Asaba branch, Dr. (Mrs) Felicia Nkem Adun, identified the importance of the annual lecture series as an initiative, drive and dedication to building an association committed to best practices and robust articulation of ideas.