The academics say the NUC as presently constituted is destroying the university system
The academics argued that the commission is chiefly responsible for the steady decline of Nigerian universities’ standards over time.
“For the much-needed rebuilding of the university system, a condition for the rejuvenation of the education sector in Nigeria, the NUC must be disbanded,” the group of 12 academics said.
“We would like to submit that it is time to disband the NUC and constitute regulatory institutions that reflect the federal structure of Nigeria and, the democratic tenor of our polity as at present constituted.”
The lecturers described the NUC as a totalitarian commission and a relic of military rule that does not conform with the existing democracy and federalism in Nigeria.
“It was the military that transformed an advisory Higher Education Division of the Federal Ministry of Education into a hydra-headed executive monster that now lays down policies for the institutions it regulates; policies that they have no option of refusing!” the petitioners said.
“The centralization of control and the concentration of power in the NUC is one of the worst distortions of life and thought wrought by military rule. It is past time it was undone,” they added.
Part of the reason the group wants the NUC disbanded is the possession of an “overwhelming evidence” that the decline of Nigeria’s universities accelerated as the powers of the NUC grew under successive administrations, civilian and military.
They said the commission’s ‘benchmarks’ and one-size-fits-all policies have stifled the creativity and growth that characterized pre-NUC Nigerian university days.
“Before the emergence of the NUC, each federal university carved its own identity in competition with the others and, later, with regional universities, all under the guidance of their respective governing councils,” the academics said. “Uniformity cannot yield excellence.”
Although the dons admit the NUC is a constitutional body in Nigeria, they said the constitutionality of the law is ripe for challenge.
When contacted, officials of the commission declined to comment in defence of the issues raised by the petitioners.
The lecturers called on “brave private proprietor or a consortium of private proprietors” to challenge the constitutionality of NUC’s powers, on behalf of all other disenchanted academics.
Below is the list of the twelve academics that signed the petition and their institutions.
Wale Adebanwi University of California, Davis, CA
Adeleke Adeeko Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Adewale Adekunle Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa, Accra, Ghana
Akin Adesokan Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Revd. Fr. Iheanyi Enwerem, O.P. University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada
Femi Euba Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA
Olubunmi Fatoye-Matory University of Massachusetts, Boston, MA
Ebenezer Obadare University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
Tejumola Olaniyan University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
Olasope Oyelaran Kalamazoo
College, Kalamazoo, MI Tola Pearce University of Missouri, Columbia, MO
Olufemi Taiwo Seattle University, Seattle, WA
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