Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi has inaugurated a 17-man committee for the establishment of a state-owned university in the western senatorial district of the state.
The committee was given a timeframe of six weeks from the date of inauguration to submit its reports, underscoring the state government’s commitment to a swift and efficient process in establishing the state-owned university.
The proposed state university, which will be the third state-owned university, according to Bello, is a move informed by fairness, equity and egalitarianism to the people of Okunland.
The governor charged the committee to ensure speedy action in order for the university to commence academic activities immediately.
Dismissing the allegation that establishing University in Okun land is political, the governor lamented that despite having over 600 professors, the Okun land was yet to get a university.
Bello, while inaugurating the 17-man implementation committee comprised of Professors from Kogi State, on Wednesday, at the Kogi State Governor’s Lodge, in Abuja, also said that the university will provide an opportunity for thousands of Kogi state children who have been unable to secure admission in already existing universities.
“It is equitable. It is fair. It is just that our brothers in Okun land enjoy what others are enjoying, hence the conceivement of establishing another university situated in Okun land. I am aware that we have thousands of our children at home who cannot be absorbed by these universities that are already existing and there’s no space for them in other universities across the country.
“Here are people that are endowed with knowledge. I want to believe over 600 professors are existing in Okun land yet you can boast of one university. This administration has brought the university you so much longed for. Some people thought it was a political statement. Let me say the naysayers. By the special grace of God when God promised we fulfill it. Whether it is political or not, nobody will be able to erase it from my record that under my leadership, I established a university in Okun land,” he said.
He, however, said that it is his dream that before he leaves office in January 2024, he would matriculate the first set of students in the university.
The committee is chaired by a Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Letters, Professor Olu Obafemi Nnom.
Notable members include Professor Abayomi Oloruntoba, Professor Kehinde Imisi Eniola, Professor Sunmola Afolabi, Professor Godwin Tunde Arosayin, Professor Gabriel Kolade Olorunleke, Professor Joseph Olorunju Omolehin, Professor Kingsley Ologe, Professor Sumaila Abdulganiyu, Professor Abiodun Adeniyi, Professor Rotimi Ajayi, Professor Yomi Monday Ayesimi, Professor Suleiman Omeiza Eku Sadiku, Professor Adams Oyuoze Umoru Onuka, Professor Igonoh Joshua A., Professor Mohammed Bello Yunusa, and Professor Hadiza Aguye, who will serve as the committee’s Secretary.
To ensure a comprehensive and coordinated approach, the committee includes several key government officials.
The officials are: the Kogi State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mohammed Sani Ibrahim, SAN; Secretary to the Government of Kogi State, Folashade Arike Ayoade, PhD; Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Hon. Wemi Jones; Commissioner for Finance, Budget and Economic Planning, Hon. Asiwaju Idris Asiru; Commissioner for Works and Urban Development, Hon. Bako Samson; and Auditor-General, Hon. Yusuf Okala.
Members of the committee have been assigned a clear set of terms of reference, which includes determining the nature of the university to be established, be it specialised or conventional, and proposing an appropriate name for the institution.
Furthermore, they are responsible for preparing the necessary academic brief, university law, and university master plan to be presented to the National Universities Commission (NUC) for recognition and approval.
The committee will also identify an ideal location and a suitable site to ensure the immediate commencement of academic activities. In terms of sustainability, the committee will explore realistic and sustainable funding sources.
Additionally, any other activities required for the university’s prompt establishment fall within the committee’s purview.
Governor Bello stressed the importance of involving individuals who can contribute value to the committee’s work and activities.
He indicated that the committee might have the authority to co-opt other individuals, both Kogites and non-Kogites, to provide their expertise in establishing the university.