The Committee of Vice-Chancellors (CVC) has urged the Federal Government has told the government to build trust between it and all unions operating in universities across the country.
The Secretary-General of the Committee of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (CVCNU), Prof.Yakubu Ochefu, said this in Abuja on Friday at a news conference to mark the celebration of 60 years of leadership in Nigerian universities.
Ochefu said the committee was hopeful that government would have robust engagements to ensure that all issues that led to the 2022 strike in Nigerian universities are permanently resolved.
“We stated right from day one that there is fundamental trust issue between the federal government and the unions operating in the universities.
” That trust issue arises from the fact that federal government will agree on issues that have caused the strike and make commitment to pay or deliver certain reports.
” They commit themselves to resolving issues that has caused the strike and then they implement that position onto a point and they go to sleep.
“But we are happy that finally ASUU and the FG have been able to reach some agreements.
“What we desire is a situation whereby never again Nigeria will have disengagement of academic activities and fundamental issues that drive the whole process of strike should be sort out,” he said.
Speaking on the conditional suspension of the strike, he confirmed that government and ASUU must have reached certain compromise which possibly included clearing of backlog of salaries and payment of stabilisation funds included in the 2023 Appropriation Bill.
“That is why ASUU must be saying let us be sure it is conditional, you have said you will clear backlog of salaries in two installments and you commit yourself to a timeline.
” You commit yourself to address stabilisation fund and it has been included in the project and we have seen it.
” But what then happens is that by 2023 when budget is been implemented that aspect of the budget will now take secondary position and ASUU will begin to write letters again and again, that is a situation the CVCNU hopes to never see again,” he said.
The secretary-general also said the core objectives of the founding members at the time of establishing universities were to identify common problems impacting Nigerian universities at the grassroots level.
He said there was the need to make decisions on how to address the problems and implement sound leadership practices and educational value in the universities.
According to him, from 1948 till October 2022 , the number of Nigerian universities has grown to 219.
“On the Oct. 14, 1962, five gentlemen assembled in the Office of Dr Kenneth Dike, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, for what we can now say was the inaugural meeting of what came to be known as the Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities.
” The other gentlemen were; Prof. Norman Alexander, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria (1962-1966), Dr George Johnson, University of Nigeria, Nsukka (1960-1964), Prof. Oladele Ajose, University of Ife (1962-1966), Prof. Eni Njoku, University of Lagos(1962-1965).
“The inaugural meeting discussed how to harmonise the academic calendar between secondary schools and universities, how to improve the number of admissions for students and how to improve funding to the Universities.
“Three of the five universities were owned by the regional government, two of which opened earlier that year. Ibadan had operated as a University College since 1948, while Nsukka opened its doors to students in October 1960,” he added.
He also said that over 554 persons had been VCs and 144 in acting capacity.
“Of this number, academics from the Faculty of Science have contributed 77 Vice-Chancellors , Social Sciences 48, Humanities 42, Medicine and Law, 21”
“The Nigerian University system has also produced 35 female Vice-Chancellors with 19 of them currently serving,” he said.
Meanwhile, he said the committee cancelled all scheduled events to commemorate the 60 years anniversary of the establishment of universities in Nigeria due to the ongoing strike affecting public universities.
He, therefore, commended the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) , the National Universities Commission (NUC) on their roles in advancing the educational sector in the country. (NAN)

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