President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday said in Ibadan, Oyo State that the agitation by the Academic Staff Union of Universities for improved welfare, infrastructure, funding and other contentious issues affecting the nation’s universities were genuine.
Buhari, who was represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the 70th Foundation Day ceremony and award of certificates to the PhD graduands and honorary doctoral degree awards to some notable Nigerians by the University of Ibadan, however, said the government could not do it alone. He called for alternative sources of funding education.
The celebration peaked with the conferment of honorary doctoral awards on six Nigerian: Chief Bode Akindele; Prof.(Mrs.) Bolanle Awe; Prof. Grace Alele-Williams, Mrs Olufunmilayo Olopade, Prof. Akinlawon Mabogunje, and Prof. Omoniyi Adewoye.
Buhari agreed that the nation’s education was underfunded but regretted that the Federal Government could not meet all the demands of the lecturers.
He therefore called on the authorities of various institutions to explore other sources of fund to meet their demands.
Th President, who said basic issues such as population growth, climate change and education called for insightful thinking, singled out education as a major source of concern to the Federal Government.
The President pointed out that the best efforts of the government could not provide what was needed for education in the country, stressing that government alone could not provide everything needed for the nation’s education, saying ASUU’s agitation was valid.
While emphasising that the country could not achieve accelerated development without substantial investment in education, he canvassed the idea of raising money from the capital market to fund education.
In his remarks, Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State called on all the stakeholders to come together to develop the nation’s education sector.
A former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (retd.) called on members of the university community to continue to hold on to the tenets of academic excellence, integrity and patriotic zeal in the country.