National Universities Commission on Tuesday advised state universities to constitute their governing councils or risk the hammer of the commission.
The NUC Executive Secretary, Prof. Julius Okojie, stated this in Abuja at the inauguration of the governing councils for 21 federal universities.
Describing the situation as unhealthy for the university education, Okojie stressed that no university could operate properly without a governing council performing its oversight functions.
He bemoaned a situation where governors acting as council members “sit in government houses and award contracts as well as appoint vice-chancellors”.
The NUC Executive Secretary, who called on the council members to deploy their wealth of experience in changing the fortune of the universities, urged them to address the challenges facing the university system.
He said, “I must tell you that there are challenges within the university system; the issue of relationship between the immediate community and external community, the issue of examination malpractice, selection of students and in some cases the issue of land acquisition. So, there are many issues bordering the system.”
Okojie said he had received instruction from President Goodluck Jonathan to fire vice-chancellors who run programmes not accredited by the commission.
He added, “This time, the President has given us a marching order that any Vice-Chancellor who runs any programme that is not accredited will go. If the Governing Council makes it difficult for us to fire such a VC, we will dismiss the Council and fire the VC.
“The issue of integrity and responsibility is also very important. Yes, there are a lot of us going into the university system. Accountability is an issue.
“Soon and very soon any university that has no governing council would be closed because there is no way a university can survive without a governing council. We don’t want a situation where the governor of a state will sit in government house and all the contracts go from there and promotions go from there”
Inaugurating members of the councils, Education Minister, Prof. Ruqayyatu Rufa’I, urged them to use their good offices to attract more funds to the schools.