The Pro – Chancellor of the University of Lagos , Dr Wale Babalakin , has called for the immediate revitalisation of Nigerian universities so they can go beyond the 800 th position in the world universities’ ranking .
Babalakin , who said that at least one Nigerian university should be among the top 100 in the next five years, made this known at the University of Ilorin ’ s Third Annual Registry Lecture Series , titled ‘ Public Service Rules And University Administration:
Re – engineering For Excellence ’ .
In a statement on Sunday , Babalakin , who is also the Chairman of the Federal Government Renegotiation Committee with the Academic Staff Unions of Universities said his committee had realised that for Nigeria to position itself as a leading nation , it must improve its educational system.
“ We have discovered that one of the challenges of the educational system in Nigeria is funding .
We have also determined the average cost of funding every course . For example , for UNILORIN , with a population of 50, 000 students , based on the average cost of N 1 . 2 m required yearly per student , the university requires N 60bn per annum to reposition itself as a first – rate university in the world .
Where is this money going to come from ?
“ From my experience with various universities, all UNILORIN has today is government allocation to pay salaries ; some insignificant figure for recurrent and capital expenditure – definitely less than N 1 bn annually – and TETFund , which cannot afford to give the university N 1 bn yearly. In total , you have about N 12bn and you require N 60bn . Where will the difference come from ?” Babalakin asked .
Explaining that various arguments have been put forward on where the difference should come from , the legal practitioner said , “ A school of thought is that the money must come from government .
If the government can afford it , why not? But where will it come from ?
Our position , as negotiators for the government , is that somebody must pay – either government or someone else – but we are not willing to delay the revitalisation of Nigerian universities.
“ We are not willing to be number 800 in the world . In the next five years, one Nigerian university must be in the top 100 .
It will be a celebration if there are many more .
Our employers will decide where the money is going to come from but this is the volume of money required to revitalise universities.
“ Nigeria is not a wealthy country. By the time you divide the gross income by the population, you will see that the country is very poor .
That is why leaders have been warned that Nigeria may become the poverty capital of the world , ” he said .
Proffering solutions to the problem , Babalakin said the situation was not hopeless .
“ We must use our capacity and intellect to create a larger economy to create greater resources that will be enough to go round everyone. ”
He advised the university to review its rules every 10 years, as opposed to annually, so as to have a harmonised guide for administrators .
Urging Nigerians to remain committed to the task of restoring the country ’ s lost glory in spite of the many challenges , Babalakin said , “ Whatever happens , I assure you with the words of former United States President , John F. Kennedy that the torch has been passed to a new generation that will not be deterred by obstacles . ”