Former chairman of Independent National Electoral commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega has said it is unhealthy for universities to be struggling to generate funds to carry out their mandates saying education is the only way Nigeria can get back from its current situation.
Jega spoke during the higher educational summit Themed: “Exploitation Diversity, Different and Quality Assurance in Revitalizing The Nigeria Higher Education System” in collaboration with Trust African in Abuja on Monday.
According to him, since the 80s, Nigeria has been struggling to have a leader who understand and attach top priority to the educational sector.
“In Nigeria our higher education system is characterized by misplaced priorities, instability and of course by clear lack of focus by people who are suppose to ensure that education contribute to the development of our national economy” he said
Jega also pointed out the primary responsibility of funding universities is that of government.
He said, “Putting universities in such a dire situation where they have to be doing things like producing and selling sachet water is sad; frankly, it is not the business of universities.
“We want young unemployed youths to be involved in such entrepreneurial activities to generate income for themselves and to build businesses.
“For a university to become in dire and desperate need for money as to bake bread and produce sachet water is unwholesome and needs to be discouraged.
“Government needs to provide sufficient funding to universities.”
He asserted that for strikes to be avoided, there should be mutual respect between the Federal Government and the unions.
“It is important for government to bend over backwards and it is important for unions to be realistic in their demands in order to find solutions,” he said.
Also speaking at the event , Prof. Desmond who spoke on behalf of the committee of vice chancellor noted that education is sector which is critical to national development.
While harping on the importance of education, he urged leaders to give education the attention it deserves and make it a focal point.
According to him,”education is a dividing line between the frontliner and the backbenchers, the powerful and the weak.
The executive secretary of National universities commission ,Prof. Rasheed Adamu said during his speech that education Is the gateway of economic, spiritual and social well being of the nation .
He advised government to put their priority in the educational sector in order to ensure quality higher education in the country.