*As Unilorin VC says funding biggest challenge of Nigeria’s education system, not leadership

By Luminous Jannamike, ABUJA

The Vice-Chancellor, University of Ilorin, Prof. Sulyman Abdulkareem, has said that the major challenges facing the education sector in Nigeria are lack of funding and improper utilisation of funds, not good corporate governance.

Speaking after receiving the Nigeria Most Respected CEOs Awards (Public University category) in Transcorp Hilton Abuja, the weekend, Abdulkareem also proposed strategies for improving access to education in the country.

According to him, beyond policies and strategic plans; public-private partnerships, digitisation of academics in tertiary institutions, staff discipline, conflict resolution and work ethics, as well as university autonomy, were urgently required.

He said, “The biggest problem in academics today is finance not good leadership or corporate governance.

“The Federal Government, I believe, is doing the very best possible, but it is short of what is needed for us to measure up to our colleagues globally. My prayer is that companies and individuals will come to the aid of the Federal Government so that we can give very quality education to our students.”

“Above all, we will continue to give what the students need, and make the university system able to measure up globally, so that we can have a semblance of true education for our students.”

Aside from Abdulkareem, other recipients of the maiden edition of Nigeria Most Respected CEO Awards were the Vice President of Silverbird Group, Guy Murray-Bruce (Cinema category), and 28 other captains of various industries.

The awardees include Dada Aigbe, CEO, Confidence Cargo Ltd. (Freight Forwarding and Logistics), Amb. Lawrence Oloche, CEO, Promise Land Estate (Commercial Real Estate),
Olugbenga Adebayo, CEO, Gadeshire Travel and Tours Ltd (Travel and Tour), and Pharm (Mrs) Nnadumijie-Nwosu Leoni, CEO, Eudora Pharmacy (Pharmaceuticals).

Others were Patience Madlion, CEO, Shedrack Madlion’s Foundation (Non-profit), Mohammed Olantunji, CEO, Starnet Technologies (Information and Communication Technology), Ifeanyi Samson, CEO, Sam Mog Nig. Ltd. (Building Construction), Halifa Rabiu, CEO, Halba Plastic and Recycling Company Ltd. (Plastic Recycling), Adedokun Johnson, CEO, Changes Concept Mega Ventures Ltd. (Telecommunication), and many more.

In her address, Baroness Paulette Kporo, CEO, The Nigeria Business Executive Limited, organisers of the event, said that the initiative was designed to identify and publicly recognise the CEOs in each sector of business and industry who were the most highly regarded and appreciated by various stakeholders.

According to her, “We realised a vacuum in the reward system in the corporate community of the country. We then reckoned that there were many Chief Executive Officers in Nigeria who had achieved a lot in the various sectors in which they operated but who were not well celebrated.”

She explained that the winners in each category were chosen from a broad base of socio-economic activity by the general public, adding that the selection process was very comprehensive.

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