Governor Biodun Oyebanji of Ekiti State said his administration would reposition Ekiti State University, EKSU, Ado-Ekiti, as a centre of academic excellence.
The governor stated this on Saturday evening in his office while receiving a delegation of the National Association of Nigeria Students (NANS) led by its Vice President, Mr Akinteye Babatunde.
He said the University Council was constituted after rigorous but careful consultation to come up with people he believed could add value to the institution and help solve the myriad of problems bedevilling it.
He assured that his government would do what is administratively possible to return EKSU to its pride of place and save it from total collapse.
The NANS Vice President had requested the intervention of the governor to prevail on EKSU management to reverse the hike in tuition fee, noting that education is a right of every Nigerian and should not be commercialised.
Governor Oyebanji, while he identified what he called “politicisation of school fees” by some political leaders as one of the sources of crises in the university, however, said a situation where school fees are reduced for political reasons without recourse to or consultation with council and management in order to arrive at a realistic fees chargeable would always lead to crisis.
He commended the maturity displayed by all unions in the institution thanking them for their perseverance, sacrifice and for having interest of the state and the students at heart.
“I’m obligated to EKSU. EKSU produced me and I’m proud of it. So, I plead with you to show patience and see what we are going to do, because I have confidence in the ability of the newly appointed council members to bring to bear their wealth of experience in ensuring that we have a university that works, a university that gives you pride and which guarantees a stable educational system.
“As a government, we are working so hard to ensure that we get electricity to that place, we are constructing the road to Iworoko. Part of the reason why we are doing that is to ensure that you have thoroughfare to campus and we’ve spent billions of naira on that road just to make life easy for you.
“We have a choice either to push for a 21st century institution or a glorified secondary school. For the past ten years, EKSU has had no electricity, despite having students studying Engineering and Computer Science. Last week, I asked what it would cost the government to extend the state’s IPP to the university and they said it would cost N500 million. I will rather do that than ask the university to bear the cost.
“The reason I am saying this is for you to know that we have a stake in the University because most of the cabinet members including myself were alumni of EKSU. I have an endowment of N250,000 in the institution for the best student. So, all of us are critical stakeholders in that university,” the governor stated.
Also at the meeting were the Secretary to the State Government, Dr Habibat Adubiaro, Head of Service, Barr. Bamidele Agbede, Special Adviser on Education, Science and Technology, Dr Bimpe Aderiye, Special Adviser, Media and Strategy, Yinka Oyebode, Chairman, Academic Staff Union of Universities, Dr Kayode Arogundade and former President of NANS, Sunday Ashefon.