Jega criticises bread, sachet water production in Nigerian universities

Attahiru Jega
Attahiru Jega

The former Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Attahiru Jega, has criticised the trend where universities engage in bread and sachet water production to generate funds.

Mr. Jega, who is the Pro-Chancellor, Plateau State University, Bokkos, expressed displeasure over the trend at the opening of the three-day 2016 Nigerian Higher Education Summit on Monday in Abuja.

Organised by the Association/Committee of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (AVCNU/CVC) and TrustAfrica, Dakar, Senegal, the summit has “Exploiting Diversity, Differentiation and Quality Assurance in Revitalising the Nigerian Higher Education System” as its theme.

According to Mr. Jega, the crisis of funding in Nigerian universities is acute but the primary responsibility of funding universities is that of government.

He said that “putting universities in such a dire situation where they have to be doing things like producing and selling sachet water is sad; frankly, it is not the business of universities.

“We want young unemployed youths to be involved in such entrepreneurial activities to generate income for themselves and to build businesses.

“For a university to become in dire and desperate need for money as to bake bread and produce sachet water is unwholesome and needs to be discouraged.

“Government needs to provide sufficient funding to universities,” Mr. Jega, former President of Academic Staff Union of Universities, said.

The don said universities were in the business of knowledge production and should strive to produce patents or prototypes which they could engage Nigerian industries to manufacture.

He added that the problem was not that government lacked money but for it to re-arrange its priorities so that it recognised the importance of education and provide commensurate funding to universities.

The former INEC boss said there was also the need for the management of Nigerian universities to have an inclusive and transparent process of managing resources.

According to him, it is unhealthy for universities to be struggling to generate funds to carry out their mandates.

He said that for strikes to be avoided, there should be mutual respect between the Federal Government and the unions.

“It is important for government to bend over backwards and it is important for unions to be realistic in their demands in order to find solutions,” he said.

On his part, Michael Faborode, the Secretary-General, AVCNU/CVC, said a lot had been achieved by Nigerian universities despite the numerous challenges.

He said that out of 22 centres of excellence in Africa, 10 were in Nigeria, noting that this was worth celebrating.

“The fight against Ebola virus spread was led by the Centre for Infectious Diseases in Redeemers’ University, Osun State and they have some of their products here to display.

“Let us bring all these into the fore; it is not all about mourning the Nigerian university system all the time; we need to celebrate the successes,” he added.

In a keynote address, Benedict Oramah, the President, African Export Bank, said there was need for Africa to move away from the colonial-style education it inherited.

Represented by Stephen Keuma, the Director, Human Resources, AFREXIM, Mr. Oramah said the way forward was to refocus on technical education that would equip the continent for manufacturing.

(NAN)


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  • Arabakpura

    I don’t see anything wrong with doing these things!

    • Daniel

      Jega is used to being spoon fed. He doesn’t think the Universities should be involved in bread and butter issues. He says moreover that the federal government has the money to fund the Universities adequately only that the government is just distracted. This man obviously hasn’t been living in this country. Government has been having difficulty paying salaries and can’t even patch the roads and yet he says the money is there. Government revenues have been falling steadily; we are in a recession, he doesn’t know it? So much for the Nigerian academic!

      • Otile

        Daniel Arabakpura,
        See what I am talking about. You guys have been yelling at the people of SE that they don’t speak with one voice. Today
        Jega is confirming that the government has plenty of money, in the afternoon Buhari will come out to say tha Nigeria is broke. These are the most powerful Northern elites enjoying the fruits of the same party but yet not speaking with one voice. Whom do you believe now, Imam Buhari or Prof Jega who has good knowledge?

  • North/West Allies

    Enjoy the money APC and the west gave you to rig election for Buhari and allow these young lads to work for their money to pay school fees and feeding. Economy is bad what do you expect them to do????????????

  • Okokondem

    “The don said universities were in the business of knowledge production and should strive to produce patents or prototypes which they could engage Nigerian industries to manufacture.”

    I couldn’t agree more. It’s important to remember that the likes of Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Michael Dell of Microsoft, Facebook and Dell computers respectively began their foray into technological inventions while in college and later dropped out to pursue their dreams full time. It’s therfore in that spirit that reducing university students to baking bread and tinkering with water sachets not only limits their potentials to creativity and invention which is badly needed for Nigeria to achieve economic freedom and independence, but it is also a waste of the students time damn right counterproductive. So, let us not be quick to shoot down any and all suggestions that the country could benefit from. I think the Don is damn right.

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  • Dazmillion

    If you hear unilag lecturers talking about the quality of their pure water you would think they have discovered the cure for cancer

    • kolly

      I cant laugh oooooo

      • Sincerely Yours

        Same here.

  • henry

    Prof Jega,I disagreed with you sir ,university can generate fun internally by producing bottled water, Bread,books, exercise books, construction, and not patent prototype only.The population is at their advantage, what is wrong in university constructing her own roads, building own toilets , hostels, generating own light and even give light to the neighbourhood. Let us think, money generated from all these can also help maintain the university or help to defray research expenses if well manage.

  • kolly

    Jega is telling the university not to look on production of bread and water only,but also look into technology innovations and inventions that can grow our economy.

  • Hamza

    The truth is government alone can not “quality” education. Go to places where they have developed and you would soon realise the mistake Nigerians keep making. Education (tertiary) is never free. Until the education managers stopped deceiving themselves, and woke up to the reality, Nigerian education system would continue to remain in terrible state. Universities elsewhere that are really autonomous don’t get funded (fully like in Nigeria). The policies in Nigeria are simply unworkable.

  • Hamza

    I recommend introduction of tuition fees and increasing school fees. Then provide scholarships to needy deserving students. This will help greatly to shore up revenues, improve quality, provide facilities and ensure standard like that in developed world.
    That’s the hard and only way. University degree/diploma is not necessarily for everyone like currently obtained in Nigeria.

  • ukoette ibekwe

    And one wonders why our society is so backward. So with all the brains in the academia the best business ideas they can up with are ventures that any serious thinking primary school graduate with financial resources can successfully operate.