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In a press release commemorating the June 12 Democracy Day celebration, Professor Ayo Akinwole, the Chairman of ASUU at the University of Ibadan, called upon the federal and state governments to prioritize the development of public universities across Nigeria as a means to address the country’s challenges.

Titled “Twenty-Five Years of Democratic Era in Nigeria’s Fourth Republic: The Experience of the University System,” Akinwole expressed his concern that, despite 25 years of civilian administrations, Nigerians are yet to experience the full benefits of democracy. He emphasized that the public university system has suffered under successive democratic leaderships.

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Highlighting the need for adequately empowered universities, Akinwole urged the president and state governors to equip existing federal and state universities to provide innovative solutions to the problems facing the nation. He stressed the importance of Nigerian universities standing shoulder-to-shoulder with their international counterparts.

Akinwole lamented the absence of basic social amenities, such as reliable power supply, functional healthcare systems, well-maintained road networks, and a robust educational system. He attributed these challenges to poor funding and neglect by the government and the ruling class.

Furthermore, Akinwole highlighted the lack of liberty and equality in the Nigerian democracy, citing the continuous infringement on citizens’ rights by the ruling class and their representatives.

To address these issues, Akinwole referenced a draft bill submitted by a joint committee of ASUU and NUC during the previous legislative session. However, the bill did not progress further, resulting in the haphazard establishment of universities without adequate preparations for their funding.

Nigeria currently has over 170 universities, with 79 privately owned, and 43 and 48 under federal and state ownership, respectively. However, approximately 95% of students are enrolled in public universities, underscoring the urgent need to prioritize the development and support of federal and state universities in Nigeria.

ASUU’s plea to empower public universities reflects their commitment to national progress and the belief that these institutions can play a vital role in addressing Nigeria’s challenges and standing as equals among prestigious universities worldwide.