FG to review composition of tertiary institutions’ governing councils

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President Bola Tinubu has ordered a review of the list of the chairpersons and members of the governing councils of Nigeria’s tertiary institutions as recently released by the Federal Ministry of Education (FME).

The directive, which was contained in a statement issued by Mr Tinubu’s Special Adviser on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, followed the controversy that trailed the composition of the list.

The statement reads in part: “President Bola Tinubu has directed a total and comprehensive review of the recently announced governing boards of tertiary institutions in Nigeria before the inauguration and retreat being planned for the nominees.

“The Federal Ministry of Education recently released names of nominees for chairmen, Pro-Chancellors, and members of the boards and councils of universities, Polytechnics, and colleges of education. It also announced that the inauguration and retreat for the nominees will take place on 31 May.”

Criticisms

Since its release about a week ago, many Nigerians have accused the Minister of Education, Tahir Mamman, of appointing more persons of Adamawa State origin into the various councils of the different tertiary institutions while other states, such as Niger, have just a few names on the list.

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The action, which is said to be against the Federal Character Law governing appointment into public offices in Nigeria, has been condemned by many persons, including the former Chairman of the Special Presidential Investigative Panel for the Recovery of Public Property, Okoi Obono-Obla.

An unconfirmed list currently being circulated on social media, including on WhatsApp, noted that 32 persons of Adamawa State origin are appointed into the various councils of the tertiary institutions, including universities, polytechnics, and colleges of education, while only about four persons of Niger State origin were appointed.

A lecturer of one of the first-generation universities who does not want to be quoted also complained about the appointment of 83-year-old former Governor of Ebonyi State, Martin Elechi, saying the appointee had been serving in public office as far back as in the ‘70s.

“Why is the government so clueless like this? How can we turn everything to political patronage? Education, for that matter? This man called, Martin Elechi was once the education commissioner in the old East Central State many years ago. That is quite unfortunate,” the source said.

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Meanwhile, Mr Onanuga’s statement is reproduced below:

STATE HOUSE PRESS STATEMENT
PRESIDENT TINUBU DIRECTS COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW OF GOVERNING BOARDS OF TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS

President Bola Tinubu has directed a total and comprehensive review of the recently announced governing boards of tertiary institutions in Nigeria before the inauguration and retreat being planned for the nominees.

The Federal Ministry of Education recently released names of nominees for chairpersons, Pro-Chancellors, and members of the boards and councils of universities, Polytechnics, and colleges of education. It also announced that the inauguration and retreat for the nominees will take place on 31 May.

However, public reactions showed that the nominations did not reflect the federal character of the country as some states got just one nomination, while some others got many.

In directing a complete review of the list of members, President Tinubu acknowledges the feedback across the country.

President Tinubu is committed to ensuring strict compliance with the principle of federal character as entrenched in the constitution.

The review will also take into consideration national spread and ensure every part of the country is adequately represented.

Bayo Onanuga

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Special Adviser to the President on Information and Strategy

23 May, 2024

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