BY Inyali Peter

The rumoured that Gov. Ben Ayade is set to convert the newly constructed British-Canadian School, Obudu into a University has been received with mixed reactions in the social media. While many have hailed it as a noble idea, others have insisted that if converted, it would mark an end to the only state owned University, the Cross River University of Technology, CRUTECH.

Those with this sentiments have erroneously held that a state is not supposed to have more than University. I don’t know they got such ideas from but it clearly shows their lack of understanding of the whole issue. To be mild, their reasoning is mundane and absolutely wrong because they’re some states with two Universities in Nigeria and no law has stopped them from operating

Kano state has two Universities ; Kano University of Science and Technology, Wudil and the Maitama Sule University which is regarded by many as North-West University. Rivers also has two; Ignatius Ajuru University Of Education and River State University. Edo also has two State owned Universities; ;Ambrose Ali university, Ekpoma and Edo university, Iyamoh.

All the second Universities were established when the first had funding issue and yet all are operating today. If it’s happening in other states, why do we think it can’t happen here?

Who said a new University marks an end to the existing ones? They’re some states in this country that have over 5 Universities (private Universities inclusive) yet people don’t complain of having too many Universities.

Some of the people complaining today are against it out of malice and nothing more.

Education is development. University is development. Why are we complaining? Lack of funding of public University in Nigeria has been with us for such a long time, it didn’t start today. Most of those the people complaining are the very people lampooning ASUU for going on strike for lack of funding and inadequate staff welfare.

Until University administrators take deliberate steps to work out ways to improve their internally generate revenue beyond relying on school fees and subventions, these issues would still be there. We can’t tell the federal government to stop constructing roads because the existing roads have not been probably maintained. As we agitate for maintenance of existing roads, we have also been demanding construction of new ones.

Federal Universities were having funding issues, in fact ASUU was on strike at the time former President Goodluck Jonathan established nine new Universities and none of those have folded up.

While I agree that CRUTECH needs more funding, one cannot categorically say that the administration of Governor Ben Ayade has not tried in paying attention to the needs of the institution as compared to the previous one.

It was under the Ayade’s administration that the University subvention was increased from N169 million to N200 million (although, I heard there are issues with June subvention which I know would be resolved). The government also release some buses to the University to aide movement. This is amongst other things.

I’ve been actively part of CRUTECH since 2009 and I can state vehemently that the Ayade’s administration has done more for the University. CRUTECH is one of the few Universities in Nigeria that academic staff earned academic allowances have been mainstreamed into their salaries. This is something ASUU has been fighting the federal government for more than two decades now.

Has the administration tried in funding CRUTECH? Yes! Is there need for improvement? Absolutely! We need to understand that no administration can ever do enough but the current administration has improved on the funding hence the allegation that the University has been purportedly abandoned by the government for another is to say the least, very wicked.

Some have also criticized the idea because according to them, it’s a private University. Although, nobody has shown any evidence to support this claim but even if it were, what’s wrong with Cross River having another private University?

Those criticizing the idea should think of the economic importance of it and how many of our teeming youths would be gainfully employed if the idea goes through. Also, if CRUTECH fortunes improves financially in the future, there may be no opportunity to establish the University again if the fear is just funding of the existing one.

Besides, I think it’s about time Nigerians should begin to agitate that Universities should look beyond depending on government to working out ways to improve their internally generate revenue.

The gains of having a new University whether public or privately owned is much more than the fears exercised by some of us on social media as such, the idea if true should be supported by anyone that means well for the state and not condemned.

It could also be that after all the arguments, government would still maintain it original plan of building an international standard secondary school but if it does become a University, it’s nothing short of a goal.

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