Babalakin decries rot in varsities, says it is endemic
‘Funding not commensurate with returns’
Former Chairman, Governing Council of University of Lagos (UNILAG), Wale Babalakin, has called for a reform of higher institution systems.
Besides, he canvassed an international accounting firm and judicial panel with a judge knowledgeable in finance to look into the affairs of government-owned universities.
He said this was necessary to uncover misappropriation of funds in universities, adding that the Federal Government funding of the institutions is not commensurate with the returns.
Babalakin, while speaking as a guest on Arise News, yesterday, said that corruption in UNILAG did not start under the administration of the incumbent Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Toyin Ogundipe. He said that it is endemic and cannot be unveiled by any visitation panel no matter how strong.
He added that the recent events at the institution were a manifestation of the decay that had been going on for so long in the system.
He said: “The university system has completely collapsed. All the issues of UNILAG stemmed from only one issue, that I refused to be ‘one of the boys.’ The President struggles to find money to fund the university and these monies never get used for their purpose.
“The first panel that vindicated Ogundipe was inappropriate, clearly inappropriate. The technocrats in the ministry, without knowing what had happened, came to the conclusion that there was no fair hearing for the VC.
“I exonerated the minister of education because he was taking medical treatment abroad as at that time. So, he was not part of it. The panel met and came to the conclusion that there were some infractions. Meanwhile, the report of that panel has been shielded in secrecy. Nobody has seen that panel’s report.”
He noted that public universities in Nigeria would continue to rot unless they are out of full control of the government, lamenting that public universities were being handled like government parastatals where “anything goes.”
“Universities have become just another government parastatals where all sort of things happen. For the universities to thrive, they have to be out of the full control of the Ministry of Education. All the new appointments made in UNILAG were presided by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Sonny Echono, whereas he has no business with the school,” he insisted.
He, therefore, questioned the authority of the permanent secretary whom he claimed tried to stop him from looking into certain issues affecting the institution.