It is quite disheartening for anyone to deliberately or out of ignorance spread lies, disseminate wrong information or give bad impression about any issue of public interest. The historic signing of memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Gombe State Government and Lincoln University College of Malaysia on March 2, 2022 remains an unprecedented achievement that comes at a time when we needed it the most.
Signing the MoU came after multiple voices echoed the need for Gombe State Government, under the leadership of Governor Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya to open the erstwhile abandoned university which was handed over to the governor just a day to his taking over of mantle of leadership with huge debt and myriads of needs and problems. Ironically, some unscrupulous elements see the gesture as an opportunity to achieve their political interest at the detriment of our collective good. These elements are using both social and conventional media to spread rumors, false stories, raise unfounded alarm and cry foul where there is none.
Though I respect everybody’s right of expression as enshrined in the constitution, I found it morally compelling to refute some baseless allegations raised by these unpatriotic agents who claim intellectualism but act in contrast to serve their selfish interest.
Most of these false activists claim to be the mouth piece of the people. These self-crowned people’s opinion representatives need to know that the calibre of true representatives of people that gathered to witness the historic event and thousands of people who thronged the venue was a clear manifestation of people’s solidarity with the development initiatives of the state government.
Governor Inuwa Yahaya and his representatives had been searching for partners with the requisite capacity and will to join hands with the state government to save the university from hibernation that could lead to its eventual death. The governor had not rested until he found Lincoln University College of Malaysia, a reputable tertiary institution that agreed to come to Nigeria and invest millions of US dollars as their gesture of serving humanity through investment in education.
Nothing can be farther from the truth than the wrong impression that Lincoln University College (LUC) is a low ranking university. Far from that, LUC is an internationally-recognised university based in Malaysia. The university was established in the year 2002 as Lincoln College (LC) and later upgraded to Lincoln University College in the year 2011. Lincoln University College is one of the premier private institutions of higher learning approved by the Ministry of Higher Education and Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA- National Accreditation Board).
The University College is also crowned with five star ranking by the Ministry of Higher Education, Malaysia in 2017. Lincoln University College is listed among the top nine Malaysian universities according to the Times Higher Education (THE) University Impact Rankings 2019. Lincoln University College is also a member of the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU), London and a member of ‘International Association of Universities (IAU).
Another argument these people are putting forward is that a fully functional university was handed over to the Yahaya Inuwa administration and that his government abandoned it. While it is true that billions were sunk into building the structures, the fact remains that the school was not commissioned as a university until a day to the handing over, a decision that was clearly meant to incite people against the incoming government.
For the sake of record, no student had ever collected his admission letter, lectures had not commenced while many things were not in place. Is that then a ‘functional’ university? No! Of course it is not! More so, the self-acclaimed critics will not tell you that the immediate past administration of Mr. Ibrahim Dankwambo left a debt burden of 1.9 billion naira of unsettled contracts in the University.
These people also alleged that the Inuwa-led administration has ‘auctioned’ the university structures and that there is a hidden agenda to serve the interest of some people. Well, the terms and conditions of the PPP agreement were clearly stated and are there in the media for public consumption.
Let me give them a free tutorial on the clear and transparent agreement entered by Gombe State Government and Lincoln University College of Malaysia. The agreement undoubtedly has myriads of benefits to the government and good people of Gombe State.
It may interest people to know that within the 30 years period of the agreement, Lincoln University College will establish six new faculties including that of Medical Sciences. The faculties will offer 21 First Degree, 18 Master’s Degree, six Ph.D and two other certificate courses totaling 47 programmes.
Furthermore, the signed MoU offered 25% academic staff positions and 70% ration of the non-academic cadre to Gombe State indigenes. The development will definitely engage both skilled and unskilled workforce of the state in direct labour thereby reducing unemployment and boosting individuals’ income.
On admission of students, Gombe State indigenes will be offered 20% quota for all intakes. The indigenes will also enjoy 50% cost reduction in school fees and other related expenses. More so, scholarships will be awarded to indigents who may not have financial strength to get university education. A significant number of the indigenes from poor families will be sponsored by the state government in collaboration with LUC, to study freely in the university.
Apart from the tax the university will be paying, Gombe State Government is also entitled to 10%, 20% and 30% accrued profits corresponding to the first, second and third 10 years of operation respectively. The rest will extensively be used for the earmarked developments and running of the school affairs such as continuous infrastructural maintenance, development of facilities and services within the institution.
Another notable development that will greatly benefit the state is the adoption and upgrading of the General Hospital, Kumo which is currently undergoing complete rehabilitation by the Inuwa-led administration to a teaching hospital of the Lincoln University College, Kumo. This will go a long way in boosting the capacity of healthcare personnel and improve effectiveness and efficiency in healthcare delivery in Kumo and Gombe State in general.
The claim that the University has no legal backing is an utter fabrication. Mr. Chris Maiyaki, the Deputy Executive Secretary of the NUC was present and he even delivered a speech during the signing ceremony. He gave the assurance that NUC has given its green light for the kick starting of the university. The Speaker of Gombe State House of Assembly said they are ever ready to support the University with enabling legislation that will guarantee its smooth take-off and operation in the state.
Anybody who goes through the gibberish submissions of these people will never see them citing any established law or policy which the government of Gombe State violated. They just could not withstand the pain of seeing academic activities running in the varsity under Governor Inuwa Yahaya (Dan Majen Gombe).
The previous administration tactically dodged running two state universities in addition to other numerous tertiary institutions in the state considering the obvious economic realities. But these people and their sympathisers want the present administration to do it.
If we keep politics and selfishness aside, we would all accept the reality that Gombe cannot afford two state universities and that the best option that strikes the balance between impossibility and necessity is the Public-Private-Partnership. That is the only wisdom that can save our dear Gombe State University of Science and Technology, Kumo.
The sound and qualitative leadership plus political sagacity of Governor Inuwa Yahaya is what makes this PPP agreement possible. The MoU is the treaty that brought life to the established and abandoned varsity. It is the wand that would make it a world class university that would favourably compete in the comity of international universities. This is an intergenerational legacy that will continue to benefit the people of Gombe State and beyond for many decades or even centuries to come.