OBASANJO: One of the core principles of tertiary education in Nigeria in respect to economic development and socio-political order made available by 1960 Report of the Ashby Commission on creating a national elite and engendering development and promoting unity and nation-building.
General Yakubu Gowon’s administration accelerated the need for tertiary education to be an instrument of national unity, peace and social cohesion when the Federal Government at that time took initiative to set up universities and expand the scope.
However, the realities today show that rather being the manpower for social integration and exponential economic development, higher institutions have become hubs for tribalism, nepotism, marginalisation etc.
Nigeria’s former President, Olusegun Obasanjo and Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, current chairman, National Universities Commission, NUC have expressed worry that poor leadership, mismanagement and federal character principle, were factors responsible for the alleged low standard of higher education and the rise of incompetency, tribalism and nepotism among higher institutions in country.
Obasanjo said until Nigeria got the issue of leadership, development, governance and values right, higher institutions in the country would not be ranked among the best in the world.
Nigeria’s higher institutions can achieve their core aim of unification and social cohesion if we get the issue of leadership, governance, development and the promotion of values which remain our culture right.
The ex-military Head of State, added that mismanagement has caused the problems we are facing in country today.
One would wonder why we have 164 universities in the country, the questions are; how, where, why, when and what we have done to make our higher institutions; achieve the unity needed for Nigeria to move forward. I am still wondering that we go out to hire manpower outside the country, the chairman said.
Prof. Rasheed said the role of the higher education remained the building of human capacity at the highest level and the production of the citizens to serve the need of the society in promoting stability, development and progress.