By LAIDE AKINBOADE-ORIERE
Abuja – PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari Wednesday, said he was deeply worried over low ranking of Nigerian universities and pledged to ensure that the lost glory of the nation’s Ivory Tower is restored.
He therefore tasked the new Executive Secretaries of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFund, and National Universities Commission, NUC, Dr. Abdullahi Bichi Baffa and Professor Abubakar Rasheed respectively to close rank in ensuring Nigerian universities become globally competitive.
Dr. Abdullahi Bichi Baffa, who is the newly appointed Executive Secretary of TETFund, revealed this on his official assumption of Office in Abuja.
Baffa, said President Buhari’s clear directive was for him to work with relevant stakeholders towards ensuring that Nigerian universities rank among the best 100 universities in the World.
He said this could not however be achieved if the culture of impunity that pervaded most of the agencies in the education sector in the past was allowed to continue.
He, therefore, warned the Vice Chancellors and heads of beneficiary tertiary institutions that the “era of everything goes is over”.
He charged all the heads of beneficiary institutions to ensure judicious utilisation of the intervention funds allocated to them.
Meanwhile, the newly appointed Executive Secretary of National Universities Commission, Professor Prof. Abubakar Rasheed has described as vain the assumption and air with which many Vice Chancellors of universities carried themselves as though they are Chief Executive Officers.
Speaking in Abuja when he assumed duty as the substantive Executive Secretary of the Commission, Rasheed said it was wrong that many Vice Chancellors thought that they were CEOs. “They are not Chief Executive Officers,” he said.
According to him, “University administration requires team work and everyone in the system has a role to play from the driver to the VC” he said .
Rasheed, a former Vice Chancellor Bayero University Kano, said he was appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari with specific mandate to ensure that Nigerian universities were restored to their lost glory, working with relevant stakeholders.
He pledged to give welfare of staff of the Commission priority attention by ensuring that the workers get their salaries, promotion and due allowances as at when due.
Acting Executive Secretary of NUC, Prof. Chiedu Mafiana, handed over the mantle of leadership of the Commission to Rasheed at a brief ceremony attended by two former Presidents of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Prof. Abdullahi Sule-Kano and Dr Nasir Fagge.
The new NUC boss, however, disclosed that the immediate past Executive Secretary of NUC, Prof. Julius Okojie, would properly handover to him (Rasheed) on Friday while also appealing the staff of the Commission to work together in the efforts to transform the nation’s university system.