Legal luminary Yusuf Olaolu-Ali has advocated for the total autonomy of universities on matters of appointment and selection of key principal officers.
Mr. Olaolu-Ali made that call during his Convocation Lecture as part of activities for the 36th convocation ceremonies of the University of Ilorin, entitled: “Tertiary education and the future of Nigeria”.
He opined that the autonomy of universities should be enhanced to help reduce the extent of political interference especially in the appointment of key administrators.
He said: “The councils should be free to choose without the influence of the visitor, who becomes the Vice-Chancellor.
“Where this is not so, as often as it is not from experience, the governance of the system will still depend on external influence.”
According to him, the place of the school head in the administration of any school cannot be overemphasized, therefore, there is a need to follow the conditions for the appointment to the latter.
“The issues of tribalism, political interference, should be disregarded in the appointment of heads.
“The idea of using visitation panels to witch hunt the Vice-Chancellor and university authorities should be discarded,” he said.
He recommended that visitation panels should be made to follow the due process and the core of their recommendations assiduously and objectively implemented.
The expert in law also advised the federal government to release more funds to the universities so that they can be more effective in their day-to-day operations.
He called on the government to abide by the 26 per cent annual budgetary allocation prescribed for the educational sector by UNESCO, noting that it will help change the face of education in the country.
“The universities should also seek alternative sources of revenue generation to augment what the government allocates to them.
“Apart from the release of funds, there is the dire need for an effective monitoring of the management of funds presently being allocated to the sector, as efforts should be intensified to improve on what is currently being allocated to the system.”
The University of Ilorin began activities for its 36th convocation ceremonies on October 15. The grand finale of the events will be held on Saturday, October 23, and has been restricted to only allow first-class, doctoral and prize-winning students.