A high-powered delegation from the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) led by the Chairman
of the Governing Council, Professor Emeritus Peter Okebukola, OFR, last Friday, 24th March, 2023,
visited the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Abubakar Adamu
Rasheed, mni, MFR, FNAL, in his office.
Receiving the team, Professor Rasheed expressed his elation to host such delegation, stating that the name
of Professor Okebukola resonates in higher education ecosystem due to his contribution and support to
the entire Nigerian University System (NUS).
He said Professor Okebukola left NUC as the Executive Secretary more than two decades ago but had
remained very apt and relevant to the system. He therefore thanked God Almighty for sparing his life and
encouraged him to continue to intervene in the quality assurance activities.
The NUC Scribe also said that the NOUN Council Chairman had done a lot in revitalizing higher
education which had been identified as critical and crucial in the efforts towards finding solutions to the
challenge bedeviling the nation.
Talking about NOUN, he said, the Council was blessed with erudite and experienced Council members as
well as a determined Vice-Chancellor. The University, according to him, had been the largest institution
with campuses all over the country, adding that it produced graduates up to PhD levels that represented
The Executive Secretary said that the University had also created enabling ground and opportunity for
personalities and intellectuals to further their education in spite of their tight schedules thereby using the
platform to actualize their dreams. He cited the former President Olusegun Obasanjo GCFR, who took a
Masters and PhD degrees from the University as one of the beneficiaries of the intellectual advancement
through the medium.
The NUC Scribe recognized the harmonious working relationship between the University Council led by
Professor Emeritus Peter Okebukola and the management of the University headed by the Vice-
Chancellor, Professor Olufemi Peters. He described both as highly competent Council and Management
Harping on Corona Pandemic, the Executive Secretary said it had changed the narrative of how
universities were run including mode of course delivery and processes, adding that this had forced
universities to borrow a leaf from the workings and model operation of NOUN. He opined that online
delivery mode was seen as a strong option where professors could share knowledge besides being
physically present at the lecture hall.
Professor Rasheed also welcomed the guest lecturer and current Vice-Chancellor University of South
Africa (UNISA) Professor Edith Dinong Phasunam, describing her as an erudite Scholar and an astute
administrator. He stated that she became the first female Vice-Chancellor of the University after 150
years of its existence. This, he continued, attested to her academic substance and administrative prowess,
stressing that her appointment would inspire other women in Africa while her invitation to be NOUN’S
guest lecturer would also have a positive impact on women particularly in NOUN.
The Executive Secretary explained that UNISA was said to be the largest Open Distance Learning (ODL)
institution in Africa and the largest standing dedicated Open Distance Education (ODE) University in the
world. He informed the delegation that NUC regulated, advised and coordinated activities of the Nigerian
University System (NUS) as well as processed applications for the establishment of new universities in
He added that currently, Nigeria has 222 universities comprising of 50 federal, 61 states and 111
privately-owned universities, adding that, however, the total enrolment of all of them accounted for only
2.5% of the 200 million populations.
Professor Rasheed further stated that Nigeria needed more universities considering the population and the
eligible candidates who applied for university education on yearly basis but could not get the admission
due to space. He, therefore, encouraged corporate organizations and wealthy Nigerians and those in the
diaspora who wished to give back to the society to invest in higher education by establishing universities.
The NUC Scribe mentioned that NOUN created a huge opportunity for those wishing to actualize their
dreams in earning a degree to do so while combining it with their career or business, adding that NOUN
had the largest graduates cutting across several disciplines. He expressed NUC’s satisfaction with
activities of NOUN and commended Professor Okebukola and his team for the milestone recorded in the
In her remarks, the guest lecturer and first female Vice-Chancellor of UNISA appreciated the Executive
Secretary and his management for the warm reception accorded them at such a short notice.
She said her University would be willing to partner with Nigerian universities and foster collaboration in
a number of programmes and projects particularly in research and innovation. She particularly mentioned
that NOUN and UNISA could collaborate on social justice, African education, African heritage and
knowledge system to reclaim the African esteemed position in the comity of nations.
Professor Phasunam encouraged NUC to take up the Challenge by facilitating the process making the
universities to research and translate such works of great leaders into fruition thereby reclaiming the
African knowledge system.
In the attendance included the Pro-Chancellor from NOUN, Emeritus Professor Peter Okebukola, Vice-
Chancellor, NOUN, Professor Olufemi Peters, Professor, Jimi Adeshina, UNISA, Mrs. Amina Yusuf,
NOUN Council member, Hon. Abubakar M., Mr. Oladapo Ajani, Registrar, NOUN, Ms Pilngina Lessa,
Deputy Director, NOUN, as well as Mr. Emeka Don-Onu, Chief Protocol, NOUN, among others.
In the NUC attendance included the Deputy Executive Secretary, Administration, Mr. Chris Maiyaki,
who delivered the vote of thanks on behalf of the NUC, as well as other NUC management members.