When journalists reached out to Osodeke on the issue of financial autonomy for the universities, he said that their position remains the same, i.e the sole responsibility of the government is to fund the university education in the country and not the universities themselves.
He said “The children of the poor suffer here in Nigerian universities while their children get quality education outside the country, graduate and come back here to take the juicy jobs, and keep lording it over children from poor backgrounds. It’s a class issue. For us, the option is for them; its either they shut down all the universities and let all the children go and learn mechanics or they fund the universities.”
Also, according to a Professor of Plant Biology and Biotechnology at the Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba, Olumekun Victor, the government cannot absolve itself of its duty of funding education.
Olumekun, who is also a founding member of the ASUU, AAUA chapter, noted that the proposed plan would lead to increase in the fees of universities.
He said, “We know that’s the plan of the present crop of leaders but what does this say for the educational system? What then is the business of the government? Universities only need to jerk up school fees but what does that say for the underprivileged?
“Education is an essential ingredient for national development; hence the government needs to substantially invest in it. However, universities can then look out for other sources to complement
Corroborating Olumekun’s point of view, the chairman of ASUU, Federal University of Technology Minna, Dr. Gbolahan Bolarin, told our correspondent that such plan would make the government shy away from its responsibilities.
He said, “This plan is just going to make the government shy away from its responsibilities. It is the duty of the government to fund universities. You cannot just say you want the universities to source for funds. How will they source the funds? Will it be by increasing school fees? What happens to the students? How will they pay?
“I think the government is not ready to do the needful. We are not at the point where you can say that the government should not fund universities. It cannot work. It will lead to a high level of illiteracy as people won’t be able to access university education.”