By Olubusuyi Adenipekun & Wole Mosadomi
With a monthly subventionÂ of N80m as well as the N2 billion annual budgetary allocation to the NigerÂ State-owned Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University (IBBU), Lapai, the state government expects an accelerated development of outstanding projects at the young university. But this has not been the case and the state governor, Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu is far from being happy.
The management of the institution has been blamed for the slow pace of progress at the institution as they do not act promptly in utilizing the stupendous funds being released for the development of the university.
According to Governor Aliyu, funding the university is not the problem but the utilization of the funds allocated to it.Â He explained that IBBU is even overfunded when compared with other state universities, adding that it is unfortunate that rather than accelerated development in the university, most of the infrastructures are still begging for attention.
Explaining that his administration has been funding the university properly, Aliyu said that the sum of N150m was released to the university recently for the sole purpose of establishing the School of Remedial and Preliminary Studies in Agaie, New Bussa, Tegina and Ibeto after it was decentralised as a way of moving the school to the doorsteps of candidates preparing for WAEC and NECO-conducted examinations, adding that this will enhance their qualification not only for IBB University but for all universities in the country.
Regrettably enough, says the governor, only N60m out of this N150m was spent by the management of the university six months after the release of the funds, a development that has stagnated various capital projects at the four centres of the Remedial School which was formerly in Lapai.
He said: â€œIt is a pity that all these are happening and the only impression this attitude by the principal officers of the university are creating to the world is that government is deliberately underfunding the university, which is not so.â€
The revelations from the investigations carried out by the sub-committee set up by the new Governing Council of the university as well as those of the state Ministry for Higher Education indicted the institutionâ€™s management of deliberately slowing down the pace of development of the university, occasioned by unnecessary bickerings and poor inter-personal relationship.
According to the Commissioner for Higher Education, Dr. Peter Saleh Sarki, his ministryâ€™s investigations discovered the existence of bad blood among the principal officers of the university which goes to the extent of notÂ relating to one another, adding that for a university which has to move to a desired height, we cannot continue to harbour or tolerate a team of management that does not relate to each other.â€
Dr. Sarki said his ministry had earlier briefed the institutionâ€™s formerÂ Vice Chancellor, Prof. Ibrahim Chado on the special interest which the state government has in the four centres of the School of Remedial and Preliminary Studies and the need to accelerate the execution of all the projects at both Lapai campus and the four centres without adequate response from him.
The commissioner added that this failure on the part of the University management forced government to order the university Vice Chancellor, the Registrar, the Librarian and the Bursar to resign, explaining that while the first three principal officers turned in their letters of resignation, the Bursar refused to do so which made government to sack him.
However, Sarki absolved the management team of any fraudulent practice, saying â€œwhat we have established so far is that rather than underfunding, the university is being overfunded and that there is foot-dragging on the take off of various projects at the main campus and the four centres,â€ explaining further that the administration of Dr. Aliyu has no plans to close down the university, relocate it or starve it of funds but rather, it has taken steps, towards making it more functional and one of the most vibrant in the country.
Following the exit of the pioneer Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Mohammed Daniya, the former Vice Chancellor of Federal University of Technology (FUT), Minna has been appointed as Acting Vice Chancellor for six months after which a substantive Vice Chancellor and a new management team would be appointed. Prof. Daniya was, until his present appointment, with the National Universities Commission (NUC).
IBB University was established in 2006 by the immediate past administration of Engr. Abdulkadir Kure. It was originally billed to take off in Minna, the state capital, at the present campus of the stateâ€™s College of Education in Minna which has enough facilities for the take off of theÂ university.
However, a steering committee under the chairmanship of the former President of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), Mallam Abubakar Gimba advised Kure to locate the university in Lapai, the home town of Engr. Kure, and within 12 months before the expiration of Kureâ€™s second term as Governor, developmental projects were carried out at a frenetic pace.
When Aliyu came on board as Niger State Governor, he set up a committee to look into various ways of ensuring proper funding of the university as well as making it a standard institution that will rank among the best leading universities in the country, having realised that the Niger people must be well educated if his aim of making the state one of the best three economies in the country is to be realised.