Professor Julius Okojie has ended his two-year-tenure as the Executive Secretary of National Universities Commission, NUC.
Handing over to his deputy, Professor Chiedu Mafiana, Prof Okojie said that during his 10-year-stay in office, access into tertiary institutions was expanded without compromising quality.
Okojie stated that new programmes were introduced into Nigerian universities with a consistent regulation of the curriculum.
“We cannot play God in our jobs but we were able to put new programmes in place. We regulated postgraduate programmes; we regulated curriculum and at a point, we had reasons to suspend certain licences. Most importantly access was expanded and we were able to strengthen quality,” he said.
He emphasized courage as a key instrument in restoring quality higher education in the Nigerian university system.
The scholar stressed that the development of Nigerian universities was paramount and that opportunities of growth in the system were beyond measure.
“There is so much space in the Nigerian university system, both students and lecturers studying and lecturing abroad most of them are seeking transfer. This is a pointer that academics will get better in Nigeria,” he stressed.
Professor Okojie acknowledged that challenges still exist in the University system. He charge the current leadership of the Commission to be courageous in steering its affairs.
During a parley with the staff of the commission, he applauded members their contribution towards the rebuilding of Nigeria University system.
“To talk about my achievement is modest, but we have more than double the numbers of the universities we met and we all have work together to ensure the sucess of today in Nigeria university system”
Professor Okojie said he will return to University of Abeokuta to teach ,he added that he
would ” return to UNAAB and I will continue to be in the system.”
He described the Deputy Executive Secretary,Professor Chiedu Mafiana, now Acting Executive Secretary as an enigma who has been part of the system.
Professor Okojie also launched the first quater publication on the 10 African Centers of Excellence in Nigeria, saying “Nigeria is making firm progress on ACE Centers.”
In his acceptance speech,the Acting Executive Secretary of the Commission, Professor Chiedu Mafiana pledged on behalf of the management team of the commission, that they would be resolute in the regulation of the Nigerian university system.
He described Professor Okojie as a mentor who gave an unprecedented education policy to Nigerian tertiary education.
“On behalf of my colleagues, we give a covenant that we will continue to be resolute in regulation of Nigeria university system. To my colleagues, nothing much will change. I count on my colleagues to give support to me as it was fully given to professor Okojie,” he said.
When Professor Julius Okojie was appointed as the Executive Secretary of the National universities Commission, Nigeria had 7 private universities with less than 30 federal universities and about 12 state universities.
But now 61 Private universities exist in Nigeria with 40 Federal Universities and about 30 state universities.
Prior to his appointment in 2006 Professor Okojie was a former vice chancellor of University of Agriculture, Abeokuta and Bells University, Otta before spending two years at the National Universities Commission as a visiting professor.
His second tenure of five years will end officially on the Wednesday, 3rd of August.