*** Urges Senate to review the law to ensure that they are Penalised
By Henry Umoru
On-call for the conversion of the University to a Conventional one, the former Vice President said, “it is in the overall national interest that you favourably consider the conversion of Modibbo Adama University of Technology, Yola to a conventional University (Modibbo Adama University, Yola) which in addition to courses in Science and Technology will have the mandate to run courses in Medicine, Pharmacy, Law, the Arts and Social and Management Sciences etc.
“This indeed is the surest way to accelerate access, quality, relevance and equity for our people in Adamawa State, the Northeast and indeed Nigeria. It is equally part of a right step toward rebuilding a broken people. We lose nothing and gain everything if we just get this done.
“Converting MAUTECH to conventional University would expand the chance of qualified candidates to get placement beyond the limited confines of Engineering and Sciences.
“When in 2016, the Federal Executive Council directed that admission into non-specialized Science and technology courses be stopped, there was adverse effect on the University and even the host Community.
” For instance, student enrolment drastically reduced from 7,309 in 2016/2017 session to 3,795 in the 2018/2019 session, and 2,556 in 2019/2020. This is aside the social and economic multiplier effect on the host community and beyond.
“The reduction in student enrolment resulted in drastic decline in Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the University and the attendant difficulty in providing basic services needed for teaching, learning and research.
“There is also the fate of the lecturers in the Management Sciences to be tackled.A compelling justification for the conversion is the location of the University. MAUTECH Yola, is located in the North-East region of the country, a region just emerging from a gruelling insurgency whose central creed is antagonism with conventional education. Limiting access to higher education to large number of youths in the region will not only mean submitting to the defeat of the insurgents but worsening the challenges of youth bulge in the area.
“The general state of fear – both imagined and real, that has enveloped the region as a result of the activities of the dreaded Boko Haram and general insecurity on the roads, has extinguished the motivation in parents to send their children to neighbouring conventional Universities that should ordinarily absorb the candidates.
“Added to this, is the worsening economic situation in the region, which has been deepened by the insurgency. The conversion of the University would create more access to students and lessen the burden on parents and guardians who would ordinarily find it difficult to send students far for academic pursuit.
“Generally, Nigerian public Universities are over-subscribed. It is also becoming increasingly difficult for Adamawa State candidates to get admitted into neighboring conventional Universities. For example, not more than 2 candidates get admitted to read Law, Medicine and Pharmacy in nearby Universities.
“All the States in the Federation now have conventional universities. For the purpose of equity and fairness, it is just rational for the University to be converted. At least, qualified Adamawa citizens and other students within the catchment area would have the advantages of accessing admission into highly competitive courses like medicine, law, pharmacy, etc. which the country badly needs and sadly lack in sufficient numbers.
“The conversion would confer a lot of advantage to an already educationally disadvantaged region. It would especially, lead to the improvement in gender mainstreaming and girl-child education. It is on record that the region is already a leader in poor girl-child mobility from secondary to tertiary education. For development purpose, this would aid tremendously in reversing the trend and entrenching equity.
“Almost one in four Sub-Saharan people reside in Nigeria, making it Africa’s most populous country. It’s also the seventh most populous country in the world, one with ongoing growth. From an estimated 42.5 million people at the time of independence in 1960, Nigeria’s population has more than quadrupled to 186,988 million people in 2016 (UN projection). The United Nations anticipates that Nigeria will become the third-largest country in the world by 2050 with 399 million people.
“Nigeria’s exponential population growth is exerting immense pressure on the country’s resources and overstretching public services and infrastructure. At the center of this pressure is the nation’s education sector. More profound is the access gap that characterizes the higher education sector in the country. Record from JAMB indicates a wide disparity between the number of applications and the actual number of successful admission in the nation’s tertiary institutions.
“There is largely overwhelming unmet demand among college-age Nigerians. Nigeria’s higher education sector has been overburdened by strong population growth and a significant youth bulge. More than 60 percent of the country’s population is under the age of 24. And rapid expansion of the nation’s higher education sector in recent decades has failed to deliver the resources or seats to accommodate demand: A substantial number of would-be college and university students are turned away from the system. About two-thirds of applicants who sat for the country’s Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board Examinatio
“In the North East of Nigeria, the situation is even more precarious. With the insecurity attendant upon by the activities of the Boko haram insurgents, even where admissions are offered, movement within the sub-region to access the required education becomes
“Thus, our advocacy for the conversion of MAUTECH from a specialized University to a conventional University is advocacy for access and equity. This is informed by our verifiable peculiarities.”
Earlier in his remarks, while declaring open the Public Hearing, the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo – Agege, APC, Delta Central who noted that the two institutions are important, said that was required was the need to be dispassionate and ensure that justice was done on the proposal in establishing the institutions.