Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has taken exception to a proposed plan to establish a private university to be named after President Muhammadu Buhari by his wife Mrs Aisha Buhari saying the move is antithetical to the development of existing public universities in the country.
While advising the President and his wife to be hesitant in establishing the proposed university, the academic union, said if the plan comes to fruition, it will spell doom for public varsity education and also an indication that the presidency does not take funding of public universities as a priority.
The Union, through its UI branch Chairman, Professor Deji Omole and Former National Treasurer of the Union, Professor Ademola Aremu, alleged that plan which is still in embryonic stage has confirmed why President Buhari has “continued to reduce budgetary allocation to education since he assumed office in 2015”.
The union leaders said this while speaking with newsmen in Ibadan.
Wife of the President, Aisha Buhari, had at a Town hall meeting in Yola disclosed that she would establish a private university to be named after President Buhari in partnership with some foreigners.
Prof Omole said, “When I also heard about the proposed private university to be named after Mr President, I just looked at it as a joke taken too far. If we have a president in a country that has simply refused to fund public education and all we get from the family of the first lady is to establish a private university in collaboration with some foreigners.”
“To me, I think, it is a disaster for this country and for a sitting president. The implication is that Nigerians should know that this leadership does not believe in publicly funded education”.
He called on Nigerians to support the struggle for the government to take education as a core investment upon which this country will be liberated.
“It is not the children of the rich that will solve the problems of Nigeria but the children of the poor and the tool they need is quality education,” he noted.
Professor Aremu, in his own comments, said, “I don’t think that she is serious. We already have a proliferation of universities and they are not taken care of. Since they are policymakers, they will now formulate policies that will run public universities aground for their interest to thrive. I thought we have actually left that era. I could remember that Obasanjo established Bells and we condemned it. Atiku established his own as Former Vice President. If you have a private interest, you should not hold public office. If you have interest in anything private thing, I think it is proper to actually leave the public space for those who are eager to serve the masses.”
“How many people can afford the existing private universities in the country? If you want to help educate, then increase the capacity of the existing ones. When you are holding a public office, don’t establish a private concern. She should wait until Buhari is completely out of office before thinking of bringing a private university in whatever name,” he stated.