The Senate Committee on Education on Monday advised the University of Lagos (UNILAG), recently renamed Moshood Abiola University, to include in its budget the estimated cost of the name change.
The Chairman of the committee, Uche Chukwumerije, made the call when he led a seven-member team on a visit to the institution, as part of its oversight functions.
Members of the committee, Oluremi Tinubu, Joshua Dariye and Olusola Adeyeye, are on a three-day working visit to major federal educational institutions in Lagos State.
At an interactive session with UNILAG management, Mr. Chukwumerije said that the committee is interested in knowing the cost implication should the bill before the National Assembly sail through.
He added that the committee is also interested in knowing the extent of consultation between the Federal Government and the University authorities before the name change.
Mr. Chukwumerije noted that peace in the university is a pre-requisite to the sustenance of a conducive environment required for development and efficient utilisation of resources.
President Goodluck Jonathan had announced the renaming of the institution on May 29. The Pronunciation angered the University community with students and lecturers protesting vehemently against the move by the president, describing it as unconstitutional.
The University stakeholders sought a court redress and got an interlocutory injunction restraining the Federal Government and the National Assembly from renaming their institution.
Mr. Chukwumerije also sought to know the status of the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the university between 2005 and 2011.
According to him, UNILAG’s unique location in the country’s industrial and commercial hub, Lagos, is of special interest to the committee.
“The location of the university in Nigeria’s most industrialised city is a location at the junction of theory and practice, posing challenges in a dynamic relationship between town and gown.
“UNILAG has the challenge of growing the city of Lagos and the city will also grow the university,” Mr. Chukwumerije said.
He said that it is disturbing to realise that the 2011 budget performance report of the university indicated that from the total of about N2.6 billion IGR, tuition accounted for almost N1.36 billion, while business operatives and other incomes accounted for the rest.
On the capital expenditure, the committee chairman also sought to know the progress in the implementation of the capital projects and what their performance was like in 2012.
He added that the committee would like to know the mid-year performance of the 2012 budget, especially in the area where the vision of the leadership of the institution demanded priority attention in the 2013 budget, as well as how the institution had been able to tackle the perennial problem of under-funding.
The committee chairman, however, noted that if the various questions challenged the entrepreneurial creativity of the university authorities, it is because the committee wanted to get some insight into the university’s effort in exploiting the opportunities beckoning on the institution.
The Acting Vice Chancellor, Rahamon Bello, in his response, said that the institution had been doing all it could to boost its IGR, through the UNILAG Consult.
Mr. Bello, however, said that the University has been having hitches in terms of getting enough clients for service delivery.
He held that the University has achieved a lot through the Consult and that it would not relent in its quest to ensure that it achieved the desired goal.
According to him, the university has enjoyed some forms of partnership with corporate organisations and individuals as a result of the management’s effort to move the institution forward.
“Taking advantage of the location of the university, in terms of IGR, we have a Consult that has been running for about 15 years, whose major function is to offer consultancy to all arms of government, as well as state governments.
“We have been able to make some money through this means but I can say we have not yet got to where we would like to be,” he said.
Mr. Bello noted that the university is set to put a new strategic plan in place during the institution’s 50th anniversary celebration.
He stated that accommodation is a major challenge to the university, adding that the bed space of about 9,000 that is being currently provided for the students is grossly inadequate for the population of more than 30,000 students seeking accommodation.