The Federal Government has inaugurated Governing Councils for four Federal Universities of Agriculture whose membership were appointed over a year ago. The institutions are: the Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta (FUNAAB), Ogun State; Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike; Abia State; Joseph Sarwuan Tarka University of Agriculture, Makurdi (formerly Federal University of Agriculture Markurdi), Benue State, and Federal University of Agriculture, Zuru, Kebbi State.
Inaugurating the Governing Councils last Thursday, 8th September, 2022, at the National Universities Commission (NUC) in Abuja, the Honourable Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, who was represented by the Honourable Minister of State for Education, Rt. Hon. Goodluck Opiah charged them to look outward and explore opportunities to attract funding to their respective universities.
He said: “The Council is expected to make deliberate efforts to diversify the sources of funding and support for the university. “In these trying economic times and the government’s desire to bring in more private sector participation in our tertiary institutions, I want to charge you to come up with ideas that will generate more revenue, outside government allocations. “To this end, the Councils should look outwards and enlist the support of philanthropic organisations and individuals for additional funding of projects in the institutions. In addition, the Council can explore other sources of revenue through endowments.”
Mallam Adamu noted that the government is looking forward to the success of these universities in Research, Science and Technology, to help in the advancement of agriculture. He said the government believes that agriculture is the solution to the myriad of socio-economic problems in the country. “A nation cannot assume her true status of nationhood if she cannot feed her people and this is one of the reasons for the establishment of the Federal Universities of Agriculture,” said Mallam Adamu. He also cautioned them against the ‘erroneous’ belief that any principal officer of the university must come from the locality of the institutions, saying all appointments should be based on merit. “Such ideas, which have watered down the integrity of our tertiary institutions are alien and should not be allowed to becloud your decisions, merit should always remain our watchword and guiding principle,” he said. He also advised the members of the councils to refrain from interfering in the day-to-day running of the universities as their duties do not entail such. Noting a distinction between “university governance” and “university management”, the Minister of Education said the lack of respect for that distinction has led to friction between the governing council and other organs of the university.
According to him, the duties of the governing council include setting policies, defining directions, reviewing, approving and monitoring the University budget and evaluating its performance as well as assessing the overall impact of its implementation.
He said it is the role of the council to support management in the implementation of policies and decisions of the Council. “In order to be relevant and effective institutions, the Governing Council are rather expected to be concerned with policy issues, adopting best practices, monitoring of institutions’ projects and attracting more funding outside regular Government allocation to improve the facilities and infrastructure that will promote Teaching, Research and Learning in the institutions.
“To ensure the smooth running of affairs, therefore, Governing Councils at all times should in consultation with the Management of these universities be abreast of current Laws, Government policies, White papers, Circulars, Gazettes, and other relevant documents that will help in taking decisions. Let me reiterate that your effective governance neither entails nor necessitates interference of the Councils in the day-to-day running of the institutions.”
“Activities that can disrupt Teaching, Research, Meaningful Learning and Community Service should be avoided,” he said.
Responding on behalf of other Chairmen, Pro-Chancellor and Chairman Governing Council of Joseph Sarwuan Tarka University, Makurdi, Mrs. Chidimma Uwajimogu thanked the Hon Minister of Education for the opportunity given to them to serve and pledged that they will surmount the challenges ahead of them. She also promised that they would play by the rules, encourage hard work and harmony as well as ensure that the welfare of staff and students are made paramount.
In a vote of thanks, the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC) Prof. Abubakar Adamu Rasheed, mni, MFR, FNAL, expressed appreciation to the Minister of Education and the Minister of State for Education as well as the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education and all Directors in the Education Ministry for their efforts towards lifting the education sector to higher heights.
He also applauded the Pro-Chancellors and other members of the Governing Councils for their commitment to service for the nation. He enjoined them to double up their efforts to this new assignment and prayed for God to guide them in their assignment.
Meanwhile, the appointees in the Governing Councils for each of the universities are FUNAAB: Umar Ahmed (Chairman), Inuwa Tahir (member), Patrick Omeke, (member), Adegboyega Adebajo (member) and Celina Gana (member).
For Joseph Sarwuan Tarka University of Agriculture, Makurdi, are Chidinma Uwajimogu (Chairman), Enadeghe S.E (member), Nancy Torhee (member), Antibas Elnathan (member) and Adamu Sani (member).
For the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abubakar Sodangi, a former senator, (Chairman), Leonard Nzadon (member), Kevin Ojob, an engineer (member), Aliyu Shungurun (member) and David Emaniru (member).
The Federal University of Agriculture, Zuru, has Chinedu Nwajiuba (Chairman), Ahmed Mohammed, a professor, (member), Hussaini Zimbo (member), Ayodeji Alonge, (member), and Podar Yuwan (member).