•Some universities are glorified secondary schools, says ASUU president
•No project executed at UNIOSUN during Aregbesola’s tenure – Lecturers
•N260m monthly subvention can’t pay N500m salary – EKSU workers
By Niyi Odebode, Olaleye Aluko, Patrick Odey, Edward Nnachi, Peter Dada, Olaide Oyelude, Abiodun Nejo, Raphael Edeh, Daud Olatunji, Bola Bamigbola, Edward Nnachi, Tunde Oyekola, Ademola Babalola and Chima Azubuike
Hit by shrinking allocations from the Federation Account, state governments are abandoning the responsibility of funding their universities, The PUNCH’s investigations have revealed.
Findings showed that many state governments have reduced subventions to their universities, while others have stopped funding the institutions following the economic downturn in the country.
It was gathered that the situation was worsened by the fact that some states had established multiple tertiary institutions.
Paucity of funds, investigations showed, had affected state universities, with many of them struggling to pay salaries, while research, which is one of the core mandates of university education, had been abandoned in many of them.
Even the Akwa Ibom State University, whose owner-state is one of the richest in terms of allocation from the Federation Account, is not exempted from the problems.
TETFUND hostels converted to offices – AKSU ASUU
The Chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities in the institution, Mr Imeh Okop, in an interview with The PUNCH, lamented the poor funding of the university.
Although he admitted that the state government had been doing its best in paying salaries, he said not much had been done in areas of infrastructure and manpower development.
“Manpower training is zero,” he added.
The ASUU chairman said almost all the structures in the school were built by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, a Federal Government agency.
Okop stated, “There are no hostels for students. The ones that were built by TETFUND, the present administration of the school came and restructured them to offices; two at the Ikot Akpanden campus and another two at the Obio Akpan campus. This has had disastrous consequences on the students who have no option but to stay off campus with high rate of promiscuity.”
The university ‘s spokesperson, Mr Akaniyere Ibanga, said although the state government was trying its best, there was the need for more funds.
The spokesman, who refused to disclose the amount the institution got from the state government, said the university was spending good little money it realised from its internally generated revenue judiciously.
Ondo reduces subvention to N42m, not enough for salaries
Despite its dwindling resources, the Ondo State Government has three universities. They are the Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba-Akoko, the Ondo State University of Science and Technology, Okitipupa and the University of Medical Sciences, Ondo.
Investigations showed that the three universities were battling with poor funding.
The Chairman of the Joint Action Committee of Staff Unions of OSUSTECH, Mr Dayo Temola, confirmed the underfunding of the institution.
He said, “In OSUSTECH, before the Akeredolu administration, we were receiving N60m as monthly subvention. It was from this that salaries were paid and the university was run. The money was not even enough to pay salaries. As I speak with you, staff members are being denied training. Lecturers have no research grant because of inadequate funding. When (Rotimi) Akeredolu government came, it reduced the subvention to N42m. We kicked against it but nothing was done.”
Also, the Chairman of the OSUSTECH branch of ASUU, Dr Dipo Komolafe, corroborated Temola’s position.
He stated, “The university is now seriously groaning to meet its needs. The university is struggling to pay salaries now and we have increased the number of staff from 55 to 80.
“Our academic allowance has not been paid. We are being owed about N140m academic allowance. We have written a series of letters to the government on the matter, but nothing has been done.”
Two classes receive lecture in same hall simultaneously – OSUSTECH students
Also, the Public Relations Officer of the Students’ Union Government of the institution, Bamidele Ajongbolo, said the environment of the school was not conducive to learning, adding that the institution increased tuition every academic session.
He said, “Our tuition is between N100,000 and N200,000, depending on the programme of the students. School fees are increased at the beginning of the academic session.
“We have only one lecture hall on the campus. At times, both 100 level and 200 level students have lectures at the same time inside the same hall. The classrooms are always overcrowded.”
A top management staff member of the AAUA, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed that the monthly subvention of the university had been reduced by the current administration.
He stated, “We are moving one step forward, many steps backward. Go to our Works Department, so many vehicles are no more functioning and there is no money to repair them.”
However, the Head of Media Unit of the university, Mr Victor Akinpelumi, said the school was being funded normally, saying there was no crisis between the government and other stakeholders.
We’re doing our best to fund our universities – Ondo govt
Reacting to the inadequate funding of the state universities, the Ondo State Commissioner for Education, Mr Femi Agagu, stated the government under the leadership of Akeredolu had done well in the area of funding of the state-owned varsities.
He said, “The Ondo State universities are amongst the best funded state universities in Nigeria.
“Monthly subventions are released timeously and capital projects are ongoing on all the campuses. The governing councils of the universities are doing their best to take care of the staff and students’ welfare with available resources.”
Katsina varsity ASUU chair seeks better funding
Also, the Chairman of ASUU at the Umaru Musa Yar’Adua University, Katsina, Dr Ibrahim Kankara, called for consistent and adequate funding of state universities.
N260m monthly subvention can’t pay N500m salary – EKSU SSANU
In Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti, the Chairman of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, Kolapo Olatunde, said, “The state government is giving us N260m as subvention, whereas the wage bill is N500m. Then where do we get the remaining?”
The SSANU boss said the situation could have been worse if not for TETFUND which had been funding infrastructure, training and research in the university.
However, the Chairman of ASUU at the EKSU, Dr Kayode Arogundade, said, “State universities have become business ventures. Vice chancellors are now individuals who are just concerned about salary payment. Nobody is thinking about development. Money that is meant for research, conferences and publications in journals is now being used to pay salaries.”
Subvention is N204m, wage bill N400m – ESUT ASUU chair
Also, the Chairman of ASUU in the Enugu State University of Science and Technology, Dr Obinna Agu, explained that before the advent of the present government, ESUT’s subvention was about N104m monthly, but the wage bill was over N350m.
He stated, “When this government came, the subvention was increased from N104m to N204m. When you minus N204m from the wage bill, which is now getting close to N400m, you find out that we are still very far behind.”
He stated that 99 per cent of capital projects in the university were executed by TETFUND.
The ASUU chairman explained that because of lack of funds, workers’ promotion arrears had not been paid.
On his part, the Public Relations Officer, Mr Ossy Ugwuoti, admitted that inadequate funding was a problem.
He said, “The state government on its part is trying. It has been able to increase our subvention by at least 50 per cent.”
In Aregbesola’s eight years, no project was executed at UNIOSUN – ASUU
Although the Osun State University has its main campus in Osogbo, it has five others in Okuku, Ejigbo, Ikire, Ifetedo and Ipetu Ijesa.
The Osun State University ASUU Chairman, Dr Femi Abanikanda, said the university was poorly funded.
He said since 2011, the state government had not executed capital projects in the university, adding that nearly all the projects done were either funded by TETFUND or donors.
He said, “Throughout the eight-year tenure of former governor Rauf Aregbesola, the state did not fund any capital project in the university. The impression of the then governor was that the university was coping, but the poor students were the ones being made to pay exorbitant fees.”
Abanikanda also said underfunding had hindered research efforts of lecturers.
Kwara stopped funding KWASU five years ago – ASUU chair
It was learnt the Kwara State Government stopped funding the state-owned university at Malete in the Moro Local Government Area five years ago.
The Chairman of ASUU in the Kwara State University, Dr Issa Abdulraheem, said the last time the state government gave subvention to the university was in 2014.
Abdulraheem said, “The state government has not given subvention to KWASU for the past five years. The school is operating through the internally generated revenue and at the mercy of TETFUND which is providing infrastructure.”
Hall meant for 50 Gombe University students accommodates 200
However, the Gombe State University ASUU Chairman, Dr Oladimeji Lawal, said 85 per cent of structures in the university were built by TETFUND.
He stated, “If you do a survey of infrastructure we have in this university, not less than 85 per cent was provided by the Federal Government intervention. They are either TETFUND projects or NEEDS Assessment projects. Capital projects wise, the school has been terribly underfunded.
“The effect of this is that the university only exists in name because the capacity that should have been built for lecturers is not built.
“In a hall meant for 50 students, you will find 200. The overall effect is that we have a system where we are just promoting mediocrity. The issue of half-baked graduates cannot be divorced from this.”
The Public Relations Officer of the university, Mallam Mohammed Abubakar, who refused to disclose the amount the school received as monthlysubvention, said, “Our tuition is the lowest.”
EBSU subvention reduced by N40m
However, the Public Relations Officer of the Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki, Mr Patrick Itumo, in an interview with ThePUNCH correspondent, said the university received N200m as monthly subvention but paid N30m to the state government as tax.
He said, “Our monthly subvention from the state government during ex-governor Martin Elechi’s administration was N240m. However, it has since been reduced to N200m under the current state government and from the N200m; we pay a tax of N30m. What this means is that we are only left with N170m monthly as subvention.
“Funding for the institution is inadequate and it cannot take the institution anywhere. This is because there are so many areas begging for attention. The daily running of the university requires funds.”
The university’s ASUU Chairman, Dr Ikechukwu Igweenyi, said the students had no hostels, lecturers lacked adequate office accommodation while the lecture halls were not well-furnished.
Ownership crisis robbing LAUTECH of funding – ASUU
ASUU in the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomosho lamented low funding of the university by two-owner states of Oyo and Osun.
The ASUU Chairman, Dr Biodun Olaniran, said both states were supposed to pay N295m monthly each.
He said, “Oyo State paid N74m in January, February and March, but paid N295m in April, May and June.
Olaniran regretted that Osun, which should start payment from July, only paid N300m and had not released any money since then.
The institution’s Non-Academic Staff Union chairman, Mr Joel Oyewande, said apart from the arrears; the latest crisis in the university was caused by the failure of Osun State to pay its subvention.
The university Vice Chancellor, Michael Ologunde, said “Funding of LAUTECH has gone beyond what an individual state could cope with because of many factors. Ologunde said the IGR was insufficient.
State universities politicised, turned to constituency projects – ASUU
The ASUU National President, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, in an interview with The PUNCH, said many state universities in the country had been politicised and turned to constituency projects.
Ogunyemi stated that the number of universities in the country at the moment was “tolerable and funding should rather be the focus.”
The ASUU president said, “We have talked about this that state governments are the worst culprits when it comes to the proliferation of universities. You see state governors who have not funded one university increasing the institution to three or four. The main cause is this politicisation of the university system. Some governments have turned the universities to a constituency project.
“Everybody knows that universities are capital intensive in terms of management and maintenance. We expect universities to conduct researches and stand competition with others. But many state universities are glorified secondary schools. Some of them start from the sites of secondary schools and remain there for 10 or 20 years. That is not the idea of a university.
“When states begin to establish universities without plans to fund them, what they are creating are crisis centres. State universities cannot fund themselves. They are not private universities and there is a limit to which they can charge students.” (The Punch)