By Olubusuyi Adenipekun
Before the nationâ€™s tertiary institutions can be transformed into modernity, their bursars and directors of finance must not only be innovative but they must ensure probity, transparency, accountability and must be ready to follow due process in all financial transactions and procedure.
This counsel came from the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Education, FME, Professor Oladapo Afolabi while delivering his keynote address at an interactive workshop in Lagos organised by the FME for principal officers of federal tertiary institutions and parastatals at Yaba College of Technology.
According to him, bursars are the life-wire of tertiary institutions, explaining that the important post they occupy actually places them at a vantage position to influence decisions and the school curriculum that will lead to the transformation of the higher institutions where they work.
He expressed disappointment at the complacency of the nationâ€™s universities which are still largely doing things in old ways, adding that lecture halls and the method of teaching that were in use in 1990 when he left the university system are still the order of the day.
This same scenario is playing itself out in the management of financial transactions in tertiary institutions, he says, as evidence of expenditure is still in hard copy in spite of the opportunity of full automation offered by ICT. He charged the bursars and the finance directors to feel challenged by the workshop by becoming versatile and innovative in carrying out their duties.
The Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Prof. Tolu Odugbemi who is one of those who gave goodwill messages said that the financial situation of higher institutions in Nigeria is in deplorable condition, a development which underscores the relevance of the workshop.
Odugbemi said further that there is the need for higher institutions to harness and optimise their financial resources which can only be achieved through accountability, transparency and probity.
The University of Lagos, according to Prof. Odugbemi, has tapped to its advantage the financial resources available by forging partnership arrangements with many individuals and organisations such as MTN, The Redeemed Christian Church, LG and so forth which have been highly rewarding.