By Daniel Aderinto, Abdulghaniy Akinremi, Ololade Alade and Oluwaseun Abubakare
Nigeria needs adequate funding for her universities to enhance quality education and research that can spur her technological breakthrough.
Professor Adelaja Odukoya, Dean, Faculty of Social Science (FSS), who stated this in an interview with UNILAG SUN reporters, also urged students to team up with lecturers to push for adequate funding of the universities.
Addressing concerns about departmental priorities, Prof Odukoya highlighted his approach as a “situational leader,” emphasizing the need to address issues that impact students positively.
“I am a situational leader, and what do I mean by that? It’s not about prioritizing; it’s about solving problems as they arise. The priority at every point in time should be the one that would impact most students positively,” he said.
Odukoya also spoke on the promotion of inclusivity across departments, including those that are not within the faculty premises. Describing himself as “department blind,” Odukoya emphasized his dedication to unity and his frequent department visits to guarantee an atmosphere of balance and cooperative spirit amongst faculties and its students.
He commended the department heads for their cooperation and emphasized the value of teamwork in improving the overall educational experience.
He deplored oppression in the society, stressing that “the kind of education that is being given to our people, even in the churches, the socialization agencies, even at home, are such that immobilizes the people and doesn’t enable them to ask questions, doesn’t allow them to see the bigger picture.” Complaining about the focus on parochial opinions, he urged for a shift in consciousness towards a more critical understanding of societal dynamics.
On the controversial fee increment, Prof. Odukoya blamed the difficulty on both monetary difficulties and poor governance. He emphasized that the government, not university administrators, should be held responsible for the standard of education and demanded adequate funding for universities from the government.
When asked about the disruptions to classes caused by strikes, the Dean expressed dissatisfaction with the low level of student participation in advocacy efforts. To achieve the shared objective of better conditions within the university system, he emphasized the need for group action and urged students to band together with lecturers.
Odukoya refuted any increase in tuition fees and emphasized that only mandatory fees had been changed. He emphasized the university’s efforts to support students while acknowledging the financial burden this placed on them.
Prof. Odukoya revealed that ASUU has decided to provide financial aid to students in need, even though its main concern is the welfare of lecturers. He added that this action demonstrated the union’s dedication to social responsibility and unity with the student body.
He criticized how the government handled education and emphasized the need for adequate funding and a shared commitment to resolving the issues that both students and lecturers face.