The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has again cautioned both the federal and state governments to stop establishing new public universities in the country, saying there is no need for such at both the present time and the near future.
The president of the union, Prof Emmanuel Osodeke, made this assertion in an interview with Tribune Online.
He said government at both federal and state levels are not being sincere as regards the need for establishing additional public universities.
According to him, virtually all the existing public universities in the country are being starved of funds, a situation that is causing frequent frictions between the union and the government.
Citing an example, he said all public universities are now depending mainly on the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) money to fund their activities just because governments have abandoned such roles for the agency..
He noted that all the nine federal universities that were established in 2013 are all still crawling eight years after because, according to him, they are poorly funded just like those before them, and yet the government at federal and state levels are creating many more.
ASUU boss maintained that the country’s political leaders have no genuine interest in establishing universities other than to use such to score cheap political points among their constituents for purpose of re-electing them into office.
He said, “Many of them think only about what they will gain personally and for their families without minding what could become of the generality of people by that action let alone the country as a whole.”
He said it was disheartening that Nigerian universities are not attracted to foreign students whereas the political office holders and their cohorts don’t see such as anything, instead continue to send their own children abroad and pay huge school fees in hard currencies.
He said that was part of why ASUU is currently proposing a bill to the National Assembly to compel all public office holders at both the federal and state levels not to send their children abroad to study and also to bring back home those already schooling abroad.
“We believe if their children are schooling at home and feel the same heat with their peers from poor homes, they would be interested in fixing our university challenges,” he stressed
He said this is the right time for the Nigerian population to join hands with ASUU to stop the government from the further proliferation of public universities in the country.