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Trophy hunters of the republic

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Sir: “I never tell you finish,” as Fela would say. Chief of Air Staff has already announced the establishment of a NAF University in his home state of Bauchi. For which Bauchi State governor has expressed gratitude. And of course he has built a modern NAF reference hospital in Daura. Only the Chief of Naval Staff is unlikely to go that route, given his reputed dislike of frivolity.

The University of Transportation is a promise made by the Minister of Transportation – and fulfilled, even as he admitted it was an act of sycophancy He also promised to establish a Maritime University in Rivers State, to bring to three such institutions in a country with no known reputation for seafaring.

Actually, governors have been in the forefront of the “trophy hunting” since1999. Many of them have established institutions and other infrastructure in their hometowns way beyond their absorptive capacity. Adams Oshiomhole is the latest example with his Edo State University, Iyamho.

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There are many other such imponderable decisions which clearly show that impunity and indulgence are the driving force in public policy in this dispensation.

It’s indefensible that private universities should access funds available under TETfund. These are for-profit institutions, unlike the public ones. The northern regional government also provided grants to missionary schools in the region in recognition of their immense work which should ordinarily be shouldered by it. They were not for-profit either.

The National Universities Commission is absolved from blame because since1999 its powers have been eroded, even without amendment to its laws beginning with allowing universities to approach National Assembly directly for funding.
M T Usman.

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