REPOSITIONING OUR TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS
BEING TEXT OF SPEECH DELIVERED BY HIS EXCELLENCY, UMARU TANKO AL-MAKURA, GOVERNOR OF NASARAWA STATE ON THE OCCASION OF THE INAUGURATION OF VISITATION PANELS CONSTITUTED FOR ALL THE STATE-OWNED TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS, LAFIA: THURSDAY, 10TH JANUARY, 2013
It is with great sense of duty that I address you today on the occasion of the inauguration of Visitation Panels for the following State-owned tertiary institutions:
i. Nasarawa State University, Keffi;
ii. College of Education, Akwanga;
iii. Nasarawa State Polytechnic, Lafia; and
iv. College of Agriculture, Lafia.
2. I, therefore, welcome you all to this important event aimed at repositioning our tertiary institutions in the State for better performance. I note with immense satisfaction the presence of notable academics who are here as a demonstration of their concern and solidarity with us in our determination to take Nasarawa State to greater heights. Today’s occasion marks a significant milestone in the history of Nasarawa State in view of our commitment to the holistic development of the State.
3. As you are aware, education is the bedrock for the growth and progress of society. There is no doubt that the necessity to train and build capacity of the citizens of our State in various fields of endeavour had spurred Government to establish a number of tertiary institutions across the State.
4. It is worthy to state that the enormous challenges we faced in the process of our development as a State informed the decision to establish a State University and the State Polytechnic among other institutions of learning. In doing so, our goal was to nurture a society that is responsive to the needs and aspirations of its people. Indeed, our obvious disadvantage as a new State made it imperative for us to hasten to catch up with older generation States. Without doubt, the vehicle for the achievement of this noble dream is the development of education.
5. It is for this reason, ladies and gentlemen, that Government did not hesitate in the commitment of huge resources in the development of this critical sector. In this regard, Government has continued to ensure the provision of infrastructure, equipment, welfare, as well as training and retraining of personnel in our educational institutions over the years. As in all investments, it had been our hope that our tertiary institutions would grow in leaps and bounds with time. It is, however, regrettable to observe that today the reality on ground is a complete departure from our expectation. This is a sad paradox.
6. Ladies and gentlemen, it is rather appalling that the State University which was rated among the best Universities in the country less than six (6) years ago has not only plummeted, but is gradually assuming a desolate status. In consequence, many of its courses have lost accreditation; admission processes have become bastardised; resources have been inappropriately channeled; while brain drain has become the bane of the institution. Similarly, projects and procurement administration is being conducted without recourse to due process. This situation is completely at variance with the ideals of a centre of learning of repute that a University should be.
7. In the same vein, the College of Education is an institution whose primary responsibility is to train teachers who will, in turn, impart qualitative knowledge and morals at the primary and post-primary levels of our educational system. The State-owned College of Education, Akwanga is not an exception to this convention. However, a cursory look at the state of affairs at the College leaves a sour taste in the mouth.
8. It is disheartening to state that events at the College in recent times indicate that the institution has become an avenue for mismanagement of available resources in a midst of decaying infrastructure and waning academic performance. The College, to say the least, is not living up to its billing as it now produces less than half-baked teachers.
9. On its part, the Polytechnic is established to cater for the middle cadre scientific and technological needs of the State by teaching a broad spectrum of relevant disciplines. This is in consonance with the skills acquisition initiative of Government aimed at wealth creation, employment generation and poverty reduction through the harnessing of the creativity of our young men and women. In contrast to this fundamental objective, our State Polytechnic would appear to have abandoned the pursuit of knowledge and skills acquisition. Tragically, students have cashed-in on the situation by being enmeshed in sundry social vices which will not benefit society in any way.
10. In the same token, the College of Agriculture was established with a view to training requisite manpower to enable the State fully exploit its enormous agricultural potentials for socio-economic development. Yet, several decades after its establishment, the College has remained more of a glorified secondary school with low-level of research, visionless academic planning and inept management. The result is the turn-over of inefficient and ineffective products that hardly add value to the development aspiration of the State in the agricultural sector.
11. Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, the foregoing scenarios are not only unfortunate, but unacceptable to this Administration. It is, therefore, in keeping with our covenant to provide qualitative education to our people that I approved the constitution of Visitation Panels to the four (4) tertiary institutions in the State.
12. Conscious of the importance of this assignment, the chairmen and members of the Panels have been carefully selected based on their professionalism, expertise, experience and track record of achievements in their respective fields of endeavour. I have no doubt that with the calibre of members, the Panels will meet the expectations of the Government and people of Nasarawa State.
13. Let me, therefore, congratulate members of the Visitation Panels for accepting to serve the State in their various capacities. This gesture of yours is a demonstration of your patriotism and partnership with this Administration for the socio-economic development of our beloved State.
14. My dear Panel Chairmen and Members, in carrying out your assignments, you will be guided by the following terms of reference:
i. To examine and appraise the general administration of the institutions in terms of the role of the Governing Councils, the Management and the Senate/Academic Boards;
ii. To examine the financial management of the institutions and determine whether they are in compliance with appropriate regulations;
iii. To investigate the sources and application of funds, particularly the internally generated revenue and grants;
iv. To examine staff recruitment, qualifications and staff development policies of the institutions;
v. To appraise physical development and facilities available in the institutions;
vi. To examine the disciplinary mechanism of both staff and students of the institutions;
vii. To examine the admission policies of the institutions and determine their levels of compliance with the admission policies of the State and entry requirements by the various admissions/examination bodies;
viii. To highlight any other matter incidental to the above terms of reference and make appropriate recommendation(s).
15. The Visitation Panels are to submit their reports within six (6) weeks from the dates of their inaugural meetings.
16. Ladies and gentlemen, the tasks before the Panels are enormous and daunting. The Panels will, therefore, need the support and cooperation of all and sundry to achieve the desired success in the interest of the State. In this regard, I urge the management, staff, students, host communities and, indeed, all stakeholders to avail the Panels of all vital information that will facilitate the accomplishment of these assignments.
17. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, it is now my pleasure to inaugurate the Visitation Panels to the four (4) tertiary institutions in Nasarawa State.
18. Thank you and God bless.