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UNILAG crisis: Why I took Ogundipe’s suspension personal ― TETFund chairman

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Kashim Ibrahim-Imam

***Recommends LASU’s Fagbohun to Presidency
***Why TETFund won’t support private institutions

By Adesina Wahab

The Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETfund, Alhaji Kashim Ibrahim-Imam, on Wednesday said he and the Executive Secretary of the Fund, Professor Suleiman Bogoro, took the suspension of the Vice Chancellor, University of Lagos, UNILAG, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, personal when he was suspended by the Governing Council of the institution last August.

Ibrahim-Imam, who spoke at Ikeja, Lagos during the TETfund/FIRS 2020 Joint Interactive Forum, said he took the matter personal because of the track record of Prof. Ogundipe.

“I can say it here and publicly that tertiary institutions in Lagos State are run by some of the brightest minds. So, when the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Professor Ogundipe was suspended, I and the Executive Secretary took it personal not because of anything but because of his track records.

“I commend the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Folasade Ogunsola, for her steadfastness. I also commend the Senate of the institution too for what they did.

“The same commendation goes to the VC of LASU, Prof. Olanrewaju Fagbohun. I really commend his efforts. As he is leaving office next month, we are waiting for him in Abuja. I have discussed his matter with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN. The VP holds him in high esteem.

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“I don’t know yet whether Professor Fagbohun will work with the President or the Vice President. This we are doing because we must encourage those doing well in the public space,” he said.

On the call by some people for the Fund to also assist private institutions, Ibrahim-Imam said that would be against the reasons for setting up TETfund.

“We are not competing with the private institutions, we are competing against them. Our mandate is to get our public universities to surpass the level of the private institutions. So, the answer to that is capital NO. We cannot fund the private institutions,” he said.

On the revenue receipt by the Fund for the year, he explained that out of the projected sum of N277 billion, about N251 billion had been received as at October this year.

He added that the Fund expects a revenue of N500 billion next year.

On the issue of hostel accommodation for students in universities, the Board Chairman opined that the Fund would soon embark on the construction of 2000 bed space hostel accommodation across institutions in the country.

READ ALSO: Triumphant entry: Unilag VC, Prof Ogundipe, returns to office (VIDEOs)

“It is to be done in partnership with the private sector. I think the parents and guardians should be willing to pay maybe N50,000 annually for a bed space. In some private universities, people pay about N1 million annually for a bed space,” he said.

He stressed that for the about 226 public institutions being supported by the Fund, for the year 2020, each university gets an average of N800 million support and each polytechnic about N750 million.

The ES of TETfund, Professor Bogoro, while reacting to some questions, said those calling for the inclusion of Colleges of Agriculture and the Law School in the support list of the Fund were not considering the law that set up the Fund.

“The Colleges of Agriculture were delisted in 2011 because the law that set up the Fund does not incorporate mono-technics that they are.

“Those also canvassing supporting private universities are not conversant with the data of students in public and private universities. Over 96 per cent of the students in our universities are in public ones,” he said.

The Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Muhammad Nami, in his speech, said the Service would continue to support the Fund and that it would do everything to let the Fund meet its target.

“We are pleased with what TETfund has done with the money given to it and we are ready to also support it the more. We are partners on progress and we will continue to be,” he said.

Ogundipe and Fagbohun, who sent representatives to the event, praised the Fund for its support to their institutions.

The Rector, Yaba College of Technology, Yabatech, Engineer Obafemi Omokungbe, said the testimonies by the institutions supported by the Fund were enough evidence of its usefulness and effectiveness.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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