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Governing Councils, Tertiary Institutions’ Managers Counselled on Synergy

The Ogun State government has called for synergy between the Governing Councils and Managements of state-owned tertiary institutions to enable the universities, polytechnics and colleges of education across the state to achieve their core mandates. Rather than engaging in unhealthy rivalry, the government admonished each of the parties to know and understand their responsibilities, obligations and limitations.

The State Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Prof Abayomi Arigbabu, made the call on Thursday, 8th December, 2022 at the opening of a two-day workshop in Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago-Iwoye. The workshop, with the theme: “Governing Councils of Higher Educational Institutions: Concept, Roles, Relevance and Expectations,” was organised by the Oba (Dr) Sikiru Kayode Adetona Institute for Governance Studies in the University.

Prof. Arigbabu, who delivered a keynote address at the event entitled, “Governing Councils: Government Concepts, Perceptions and Expectations,” declared that Governing Councils are primarily constituted to effectively help in repositioning tertiary institutions to achieve their core mandates. He said members of the governing bodies are supposed to steer clear of actions and decisions that could undermine the solvency of the various public universities, polytechnics and colleges of education.

A cross section of participants at the workshop

The Commissioner submitted that members of Governing Councils are expected to save costs and equally attract funds to their respective institutions. He observed that though conflicts often erupt between governing bodies and managements of tertiary institutions, such clashes would be drastically reduced or totally eliminated if everyone knows his roles. He added that there would be rapid growth and development in tertiary institutions when synergy exists between Governing Councils and Managements.

Prof. Arigbabu said, “Governing Councils are supposed to be blessings for institutions, not curses. They should be trouble shooters, not trouble makers.”

“Governing bodies are entrusted with funds, both public and private, and therefore have a particular duty to observe the highest standards of corporate governance. This includes ensuring and demonstrating integrity and objectivity in the transaction of their business, and wherever possible following a policy of openness and transparency in the dissemination of their decisions,” he added. The Commissioner noted that the Visitor to the University and Governor of Ogun State, Prince Dapo Abiodun, MFR, places high premium on the attainment of qualitative education. He, therefore, urged well-meaning individuals to support and complement the efforts of government in funding tertiary institutions in the State. He explained that the essence of appointing people from different backgrounds into Governing Councils was to tap from their resources and connections for the development of educational institutions. He further said, “A workshop like this is very important. When you put Council in place, you bring all sorts of people from various backgrounds. While some are familiar with University administration, some may not be familiar with it. Therefore, you need a workshop like this to attune everybody to what their roles, responsibilities, obligations should be so that right from the start, they can actually hit the ground running.

“This type of workshop is what I would recommend to any set of administrators or members of Governing Councils of institutions. Immediately after their appointment, they need to be brought for this type of workshop for them to undergo training which would guide and help them to contribute meaningfully to the running of the institutions.”

“Government alone cannot fund tertiary education. Funding is one of the areas where Councils can actually assist. That’s why we have brought people from the private and public sectors, industries and so on. Therefore, some of them can either contribute directly if they have the resources or use their connections to get people who can actually help the Universities. Some can have connections locally and internationally that would be brought to bear on development of the Universities.”

At the workshop, Oba Adetona, who is the Awujale of Ijebuland and founder of the Institute, said effective Governing Councils are capable of improving the fortunes of tertiary education, adding that educational sector will play its expected role in the development of the country if the challenges facing it are addressed.

The Vice-Chancellor (5th from left) in a group photograph with participants at the event

While delivering his goodwill message, the revered traditional ruler described Governing Councils and Principal Officers of various institutions of higher learning as key actors in the governance of tertiary education. He charged the participants to help government in addressing the problems of tertiary education in the State and manage their respective institutions to meet the expectations of the public. The Awujale said, “An effective educational system is a veritable tool for growth and shared prosperity. But education can only serve as agent of development if it is effective and serve humanity. However, in Nigeria, it is rather unfortunate that higher education is in crises due to series of factors and reasons. Hence, addressing the challenges facing the educational sector will enable it play its expected role in the development of our country.

“Ogun State is one of the states in Nigeria with the highest number of tertiary institutions which have their own share of the challenges facing tertiary education in the country. Thus, this workshop is very timely.”

Earlier in his welcome address, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ayodeji Agboola, had said the workshop was organised to imbue participants with their roles as the apex body in the management of tertiary education in the State. According to him, management of tertiary education in a globalised and ever-changing world is not static but very dynamic. Prof. Agboola said, “No matter one’s stock of knowledge, managers of tertiary institutions have to constantly attune themselves to current realities through constant training and retraining. Oba (Dr) Sikiru Kayode Institute for Governance Studies, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye with international partnership and collaboration, has been established for such purpose.

“The vision of the Institute is to be a world-class and highly reputable one for the advancement and understanding of theory, practice and policy of governance and a reference point and vanguard in the efforts at redefining and reinventing the processes of governance in Africa and Nigeria in particular. In line with this, its mission is to conduct research as well as organise, teach and train both public and private sectors’ leadership and other personnel.”

The workshop featured presentations from former Vice-Chancellors, including Prof. Olufemi Bamiro, Prof. Ganiyu Olatunde and Prof. Sola Akinrinade, among others, who were invited as resource persons.

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