Prof. Eyitope Ogunbodede, the Vice Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile Ife, has urged Nigerian universities to explore and harvest resources lying fallow in society.
Ogunbodede stated this at the 11th Anniversary Foundation Lecture of Achievers University in Owo, Ondo State.
The lecture was entitled: “University Education in Nigeria:Matters Arising.”
He said that OAU was taking the lead in this direction in spreading its tentacles and extending invitation to all those who wished to sow their knowledge and experience in the development of the university system.
“It must be noted that each university must carve a niche for itself, achieving some uniqueness, if it must enjoy national and global recognition.
“In a fast changing and challenging world ruled by vision, clarity of mission and creativity, developing efficient, relevant and functional education system has become the linchpin of socioeconomic development.
“There is a retinue of skills, knowledge and experience outside the university that can be tapped,“ he said.
According to him, enterprising from primary school to tertiary education should not be taken lightly.
“How will you graduate and you cannot do something on your own for survival? Our universities should change the orientation of our education and be proactive,” he said.
He decried the use of archaic curriculum, saying it would not work in present day Nigeria.
Ogunbodede also enjoined the Federal Government to include private universities in allocation of TETFUND funds, saying that the students there were Nigerians as well.
He said a time would soon come when private universities would take the lead in Nigerian tertiary education as had happened in primary and secondary school education.
“Government will be caught unawares if it is not sensitive to this move. The decay that affects public primary and secondary schools is now rapidly creeping into our public tertiary institutions. This aberration should never have been allowed in the universities.
“A university is meant, among others, to generally cultivate the mental skills of both staff and students, to symbolise and maintain in the society the respect for intellectual excellence, truth, honesty, curiosity and inquisitiveness,” he stated.
He noted that it would be deceitful for the educational system to achieve its optimal level without attaining sanity in the general society.
Earlier, Prof. Tunji Ibiyemi, the Vice Chancellor of Achievers’ University, said that the institution currently had 1,700 students with 13 professors and three readers.
Ibiyemi added that the university had graduated eight sets, with 11 courses fully accredited while Nursing Sciences and three courses werer temporarily accredited.
According to him, the institution started officially in 2008 with two colleges, adding that it now has College of Law and three others as well as School of Postgraduate Studies.
The Chairman of the occasion and Archbishop of Ondo Ecclesiastical Province, Prof. George Lasebikan, said that the university was bound to be successful because it was founded on Christian faith and belief.
Dr Bode Ayorinde, the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Governing Council of Achievers’ University, said that he sited the institution in his country home for the love he has for Owo.
Ayorinde, who is also the member of House of Representatives for Owo/Ose Federal Constituency, noted that no financial assistance had been given to the school from any government.
He added that only two individuals from the community had extended financial help to the school, urging Owo and other indigenes of the state to come to the aid of the institution being the first private university in the state.
Ayorinde said that the focus of the institution was to improve its facilities and compete favourably on researches and quality output with first generation private universities in the world.
According to him, many academic programmes of the school are run in the postgraduate studies of the institution.
“We have tremendous support from the community, staff, the students and most importantly from God.
“Our developmentmental plan for our 15th anniversary is to start doing more research to compete with first generation world private universities.
“Currently, we are running postgraduate school studies because at 15, we are rolling out the drums to ensure achievement of the National University Commission’s mandate.