COMMUNIQUE AT THE INTERACTIVE SESSION BETWEEN NATIONAL COMMITTEE ON CIVIL SOCIETY AND MASS MEDIA ON NIGERIAN UNIVERSITIES AND THE SWISS AMBASSADOR TO NIGERIA: His Excellency, Dr Hans -Rudolph Hodel.
THEME: PRIORITISING ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE IN THE 3RD WORLD NATIONS CHALLENGES & PROSPECTS.
FOCUS : BENUE STATE UNIVERSITY, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY OF NIGERIA, UNIVERSITY OF IBADAN.
Held at the Swiss embassy Abuja on the sidelines of the American University of Nigeria annual lecture series.
Ladies and gentlemen of the press , thank you very much for your patience with us. I would like to put on record the deep appreciation of the committee and the Swiss government to your commitment in the promotion of tertiary education in Nigeria.
Let me thank his Excellency Dr Hans-Rudulph Hodel and his team for his passion for a greater and effective educational system in our country. The privilege of addressing you today is also at the instance of His Excellency, who graciously offered the audience and made amazing inputs going forward .
As you are aware, the mandate of National Commitee on Civil Society Mass Media on Nigerian Universites is an ad-hoc committee charged with the responsibility of monitoring and ensuring that the policy direction of the the country’s tertiary education system is always in line with the true intent of government and in tandem with set objectives. This, to a very large extent, has been achieved through Consistent appraisal of reforms implementation embarked upon by various universities in the country.
The committee has chosen the government of of Switzerland for this quarterly interactive session in order to exchange views and explore possible areas of mutual interest and collaboration. The magnanimity of the Swiss ambassador in the this regard is amazing and to this Nigerians are thankful.
Ladies and gentlemen, the decision to highlight (3) universities namely, The Benue State University, The American University of Nigeria and The University of Nigeria is deliberate. It is of course to represent the spread of state owned universites, federal government owned universites and of course, the Privately owned universites. This in fact represent a microcosm of the entire Nigerian university system.
Need most be particularly mentioned that the three universities are being selected and sampled to feature in the committee’s high level discussions with the Swiss government based on various indices of academic excellence and milestone infrastructural developments recorded in this institutions.
The Special recognition therefore of this three institutions is meant to encourage the other in their various categories of state owned, federal owned , and privately owned to look up to their counterparts in the various areas of excellence as a model to fast track development in the remaining universities across the country.
Our interactive session with the Swiss government is to enhance the platform for more foreign and corporate partnership with our universities in terms of research and funding. This has become imperative due to the rising need for advanced agriculture, advanced medicine and engineering as well as science and technology to be institutionalised in our country. This can not be achieved without the Nigerian universities.
Going, forward, our committee is able to get commitment from the Swiss government on multiple areas of cooperation with the Nigerian universities. Of course with pioneering programs starting in the above three universites.
It is to this end, that Swiss ambassador to Nigeria, Chad and Niger is joining the president of the American University of Nigeria (AUN) Mr Margee Ensign to deliver a keynote address on “DEMOCRACY, FEDERALISM AND CONFEDERATION ” in the days ahead.
The choice to pioneer the tour of the Swiss government to our universities has started in AUN in order to give the private sector the sense of encouragement which is critical to national development.
Ladies and gentlemen, during the session with His Excellency, Dr Hans-Rudulph , the committee drew his attention to the giants strides in academic and infrastructure developments in Benue State University under the leadership of Prof Moses Msugh Kembe. Of course, we have sampled the vice chancellors exploits in the following areas :
(a) Securing accreditation of the medical students and graduating multiple sets within 3 years since the inception of the medical college.
(b) securing the accreditation of the law faculty in line with the demands of council for legal education and NUC.
(c) Accreditation of faculty management sciences and restocking of IT equipment to ICAN and ANAN standard as well as NUC within 3 years of administration.
(d) completion and stocking of the largest library amongst state owned universites in the country.
(e) Total eradication of cultism on campus.
(f) Massive expansion of university infrastructure.
(g) Enhanced partnership with international research and development partners.
(h) Enhanced labour relations with staff and management as well as stakeholders and students relations.
(I) Sustainability in academic calendar and seamless progression of university timeline in line with set objectives of the University.
(j) Enhanced relations with host community.
(k) Enhanced human resource development programs and training for staff of the University both locally and internationally.
(l) Expansion of university admission quota alongside with the needed infrastructure in order to accommodate the growing desire for education.
Ladies and gentlemen, our committee resolved on the use Benue State University and the various development indices as a model for other universities for the purposes discussion with the Swiss government. This decision was successfully implemented .
Going, forward His Excellency Dr Hans-Ruduph Hodel assured our committee of sustained partnership with Nigerian universities with emphasis on the pilot partnership programs in the Benue State University, university of Ibadan, and American University of Nigerian.
This commitee is particularly greatful to the president of the President of AUN, The vice chancellors of Benue State University and of course The University of Ibadan for providing an exemplary leadership for the rest of the nations universities to emulate.
Our committee is determined to further work out modalities on an advocacy visit by the Swiss ambassador to Nigeria, Chad and Niger to Benue State University and university of Ibadan after the scheduled lecture series in the American university of Nigeria.
We are hopeful that such more partnerships will be built by the nations universities and foreign governments and international corporations for the entire development of education in Nigeria.
Thank you very much for your attention.
Ms Ova Shidoo.
(Committee on Civil Society and Mass media on Nigerian universities)
Swiss clerk on corporate relations
Dr seun Adebayo
Barr Emeka Etaiba.