The Chairman, Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc (NAHCO), Dr. Seinde Fadeni, has challenged the public universities to look inward and embark on projects that can generate revenues to fund their activities rather than continuing to depend on the government funding.
Only through this means, he said the universities can succeed in the 21st century.
The NAHCO Chairman who declared this while speaking at the International Conference of the Faculty of Education, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), premised his position on the obvious fact that government alone cannot shoulder the responsibilities of funding the universities.
As an alternative option for generating funds, Fadeni advised the institutions to adopt other means of generating sustainable revenues.
Referring to the specific case of OAU, the NAHCO Chairman noted that the University will do well by making use of its wide expanse of land for agricultural production which could be sold to both local and foreign markets.
Fadeni, who received a Distinguished Award for Excellence in Educational Philanthropy on the occasion, emphasized that OAU could be self-sustaining if it taps more aggressively into its abundant natural and intellectual resources.
Fadeni who was represented on the occasion by the Group Executive Director, Business & Corporate Services, NAHCO, Dr. Olusola Obabori, an alumnus of the institution, was of the view that the University should put into better advantage its land and human resources to the benefit of the institution.
“In addition to private sector donations, grants for research activities, private philanthropy and various alumni interventions, there are quite a few things you could do that would bring more revenue to this institution. These revenues would empower and help you to commercialize various research breakthroughs in the fields of technology, medical and pharmaceutical sciences for which this university is known, thereby creating larger streams of income.”
He advised the university to consider establishing an industrial and technology park where all the ideas can be harnessed as a way of supporting industrialization of Nigeria and creating employment opportunities to members of the university community including fresh graduates, students, interns and the larger society.
While suggesting that the university could actually take care of its energy needs, the NAHCO Chairman said the dam in the university could be converted to a power generating hydropower plant instead of allowing same to remain underutilized. This he said could be in addition to building large solar fields for the same purpose.
These measures he added would make the University substantially self – reliant in electricity now and in the future and can help in driving the success of its other ventures.
The Lead Paper Presenter at the event, Professor Emeritus, Funmi Togonu-Bickersteh, the Pro-Chancellor & Chair, Governing Council, Federal University, Birnin Kebbi, also urged universities to internationalise their activities because the global world is moving at an incredible speed.
She encouraged varsities to make good use of technology.
The Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Adebayo Bamire, represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academics, Professor Olubola Babalola, had while welcoming participants to the event acknowledged the assistance of NAHCO Chairman to the successful hosting of the conference while urging for more funding for universities.
The Dean, Faculty of Education, Professor Bonke Adepeju Omoteso, pointed out that the International Conference of the Faculty is an annual event where well – researched presentations are made by scholars and academics in the Faculty.
The theme for this year’s conference, the 6th in the series is ‘Education and the Future.’