Former National Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Professor Attahiru Jega, has called on the Federal Government and striking university lecturers to embrace dialogue and end the ongoing strike.
Professor Jega said there is a need for early resolution of the controversial issues in order to end the strike, noting that government needs to provide more funds for the education sector.
Jega, who was the chairman of the 2016 Nigeria Higher Education Summit spoke on the theme: “Exploiting Diversity, Differentiation and Quality Assurance in Revitalizing the Nigerian Higher Education System,” in Abuja, identified leadership crisis and the misplacement of priorities as some of the banes of higher education in Nigeria.
The event was organized by the Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Federal Universities in collaboration with Trust Africa.
Professor Jega who was once an ASUU President said “stopping strikes is very important in worker-management-relations dialogue and discussions, of agreement and respecting those agreements; nothing is impossible to solve if there is dialogue, discussions and consultations.”
“Everybody has a responsibility and they all need to work together to ensure the end to the crisis. It is important for government as an employer of labour to bend over backwards and it is also important for the unions to also be realistic, accommodating for realistic solutions to the problems of Nigerian universities,” he added.
According to him, some of the innovations and development in education going-on in developed countries are yet to happen in Nigeria and Africa because of some of the challenges facing it.
He further said “our higher education has been characterized by misplaced priorities, instability, turmoil and of course clear lack of focus by those who are supposed to direct national and public affairs to help ensure that education contributes to the transformation of our national economy as well as making us competitive in the global economy.”
Jega stated that higher education in Nigeria had grown without coordination, careful planning and adequate funding.
According to him, lack of access to quality education remains a challenge Nigeria must find solution to.
“In Nigeria we know that the higher education system has developed almost exponentially, some will say but without coordination, careful planning and without requisite funding to make it what it ought to be in terms of contributing to our national development.”
In his remarks, the Chairman, Association of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (AVCNU), Prof. Adebiyi Daramola, said the goal of the International Summit is to build an effective platform and network for the revitalisation of the Nigerian higher education system as well as identify appropriate reform issues and strategies related to its diversity, differentiation and relevance to the critical issues of national development.
He explained that the outcome of the summit is a consensus document of stakeholders in form of a Charter for revitalizing the Nigerian higher education system, to include provision for the establishment of knowledge parks and innovation hubs to strengthen productive alliance between research, knowledge, business, industry and governance, and hence national productivity and prosperity.
Represented by the Vice-Chancellor, Redeemer University, Prof. Debo Adeyewa, he opined that the Charter will be formally presented to President Muhammadu Buhari at the close of the Summit.
Also, the Secretary General of Association of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities, Prof. Michael Faborode, said the researches done by Nigerian universities needs to be celebrated.
“Let us appreciate these things and let us bring them to the fore so that we will not just be mourning over the challenges alone let us celebrate the successes,” he said.