Chairman, Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc, Dr. Seinde Fadeni has said that succeeding in the 21st Century and reducing dependence on government funding, public universities have to look inward and embark on projects that can generate revenues to fund their activities.
This is as he tasked Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), to make use of its wide expanse of land for agricultural production which could be sold to both local and foreign markets.
Speaking at the International Conference of the Faculty of Education, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, with theme for this year’s conference, the 6th in the series being: ‘Education and the Future,’Fadeni said it was obvious that the government alone cannot shoulder the responsibility of funding varsities and that institutions have to adopt other means of generating sustainable revenues.
Fadeni, who received a Distinguished Award for Excellence in Educational Philanthropy, pointed out that OAU could be self-sustaining if it taps more aggressively into its abundant natural and intellectual resources.
Represented on the occasion by the Group Executive Director, Business & Corporate Services, Dr. Olusola Obabori, an alumnus of the institution, Fadeni 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 cater wholly for its energy needs, the NAHCO Chairman said the dam in the university could be converted to a power generating hydropower plant instead of allowing the same to remain underutilised.
This could be in addition to building large solar fields for the same purpose. These measures 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, Prof. Emeritus, Funmi Togonu-Bickersteth, 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 Oubola 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.