Jega, Aremu, others make list of governing council members for Nigerian tertiary institutions

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Barely 72 hours after the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) called for the immediate reinstatement of suspended governing councils of universities and the composition of others, the Nigerian government has released the list of governing councils for 111 federal universities, polytechnics, and colleges of education.

The former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Attahiru Jega; two prominent Nigerian lawyers and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Wole Olanipekun and Yusuf Alli; former Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Peter Okebukola, and labour activist, Issa Aremu, are among the individuals appointed to lead the councils of various academic institutions.

ASUU had on Tuesday issued a two-week ultimatum to the Nigerian government to address its key concerns including what it described as the illegal dissolution of governing councils of the universities, continued payment of its members’ salaries using the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), among other issues.

But in response to the threat, the Federal Ministry of Education said the concerns were being addressed, noting that the list of the council members would soon be released.

Composition

As released by the Federal Ministry of Education and signed by its Permanent Secretary, Didi Walson-Jack, the list comprises five names each for 50 universities, 37 polytechnics, and 24 colleges of education.

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While Mr Jega will serve as the Chairman of the Governing Council of the Usmanu Danfodio University, Sokoto (UDUS), Messrs Olanipeku, Alli, Okubukola and Aremu will chair the councils for the University of Lagos (UNILAG), the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT), Rivers State, and the Federal College of Education (Technical), Keana, Nasarawa State, respectively.

Others on the list include the former Governor of Bauchi State, Isa Yuguda, who will chair the governing council of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN); Joy Emordi, a former Senator, who will chair the council of Alvan Ikoku Federal University of Education, Owerri, Imo State, and a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Yayale Ahmed, who is appointed to lead the council of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, Kaduna State.

The immediate-past Executive Secretary of NUC, Adamu Rasheed, who resigned from his office a few months ago was also named to chair the governing council of the Federal University of Health Sciences, Otukpo, Benue State.

According to the statement, the inauguration and retreat for the new governing council members will take place on Thursday and Friday, 30 and 31 May, at the National Universities Commission (NUC)’s headquarters in Abuja.

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Recall that in June 2023, President Bola Tinubu announced the dissolution of the governing councils of major government agencies and institutions including those of the higher institutions of learning.

Concerned individuals and organisations condemned the President’s decision at the time, saying the governing councils of the universities are guided by the University Miscellaneous Act, which grants the ivory towers and the councils the power to be self-regulated.

Meanwhile, in his address to the media recently, the ASUU president, Emmanuel Osodeke, a professor of soil science at the Federal University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State, described the dissolution as illegal and contrary to the Universities Miscellaneous Act.

The union said the “illegal dissolution” has paved the way for illegalities in the Nigerian university system.

ASUU therefore tasked Mr Tinubu to reinstate those whose tenure had yet to elapse and reconstitute those whose members had spent out their tenure.

ASUU noted that it would reconvene in two weeks to review the situation and “take a decisive action to address the issues.”

“Nigerians should hold the federal and state governments responsible if the matter of governing councils is allowed to snowball into an avoidable industrial crisis,” it said.

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It is, however, unclear if ASUU will accept the decision to appoint fresh councils for the universities without reinstating the suspended ones.

View the full list below.

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