Election : JAMB to shift UTME date

This development comes as an effect of the postponed 2019 general election.

The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) is considering shifting the date of this year’s examination, an official has said.

The polls were to open on February 16 with the presidential and parliamentary elections until the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced a shift.

The 2019 presidential election will now hold on February 23 while the state elections will also hold a week later on March 9.

This year, the sale or registration forms to all candidates (UTME/DE) including those outside Nigeria, started January 10 and will end February 21.

The examination is expected to begin on March 16 and end on 23 at JAMB’s computer-based test centres nationwide.

Meanwhile, officials close to the board said the examination date has been shifted from March 16 to April 16 because of the general elections.

News Analysis: Protecting Withering of Public Universities via Strikes

Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, the President, Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), joined other Nigerians to condemn the use of strike to compel the government to honour agreements. He, however, said strikes were the only language government understood to meet public demands.

Ogunyemi, who spoke after the union suspended its three-month old strike, said it was never the desire of ASUU to use strike as tool for agitation.

He said it was regrettable and painful that industrial action was the only language successive government since 1980 understood to meet public demands in virtually all sectors.

“Comrades and compatriots, as we have always argued, the last thing ASUU members love doing is to cause disruption in the smooth intellectual engagements with colleagues, friends and students right on our university campuses.

“ASUU is strongly convinced that if academics fail to fight the cause of university education, the fate that befell public primary and secondary schools would soon become the lot of the public university system in Nigeria.

“ASUU’s advocacy on the need to stem the continued slide into rot and decay in public universities since the 1980s has fallen on deaf ears.

“Our experience, as a trade union, shows that successive governments in Nigeria always entered into negotiated agreements only to placate those pleading the cause.

“This proclivity of the Nigerian ruling class, irrespective of which wing of the insensitive stock they belong, must continually be tracked, engaged and resisted by all people of goodwill.’’

Dr Deji Omole, Chairman ASUU, University of Ibadan, aligned with Ogunyemi, when he addressed ASUU congress of the university.

Omole said that ASUU members would not allow the ruling elite to destroy the heritage of the poor which is qualitative public university education.

He said that the strike was borne out of genuine and patriotic commitment to ensure a better future for children of the masses and that of Nigeria.

He dismissed the allegation being bandied by the government that the strike was political.

“How can our strike be political when there are matters that you as government signed and you failed to fulfill your promises?’’

ASUU, during the three-month strike, rejected the membership of Mr Wale Babalakin, as leader of the Federal Government negotiation team.

Omole, who spoke on the issue, said that Babalakin was rejected by the union because he was an interested party, as he is pursuing a private university license and will do everything to jeopardise public education funding.

Omole noted that a situation whereby two members in the Federal Government team are pursuing their private university licenses indicates that they will never support public funding of universities.

Babalakin, however, responded to some of the allegations levelled against the Federal Government’s negotiation team.

He said that Nigerians deserved quality education, which must not be compromised as a result of inadequate funding, which has been the situation in the last 30 years.

Babalakin debunked allegations that his team suggested a fee hike in universities, explaining that the committee’s scope of work had nothing to do with fees payable in schools.

He said that his team believed that no Nigerian should be deprived of university education because of his/her financial circumstance.

He stressed that his team and ASUU were in agreement on the need for improved education funding but differed on where the funding should come from.

He explained that while ASUU wanted the government to fund education alone, his team believed funding should come from multiple sources, such as the government, private sector, education bank, students’ loan scheme and scholarships, among others.

In spite of protestation by ASUU about promoters of private universities being members of Federal Government negotiation team, Chief Afe Babalola, founder of Afe Babalola University, backed the suspended strike.

Babalola said that the Federal Government has consistently underfunded the education sector with meagre allocation of seven per cent of the national budget.

He spoke at a ceremony to mark the 9th anniversary of Afe Babalola University.

According to him, it is worrisome the Federal Government could earmark seven per cent budgetary allocation to fund education, when the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) recommended 26 per cent.

“I have been Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, University of Lagos, and I knew that the universities lack facilities and equipment to be of high standard.

“In our universities, students are not resident in schools, some stayed outside the lecture theatres to receive lectures.

“Some even use forest as toilets, lecturers are not paid as and when due, all these are intolerable.

“The Federal Government must look for funds to make our universities be of high standard,’’ Babalola said.

He said that ASUU was right to embark on the three months suspended strike.

“ASUU’s case is strong this time, and I support them in spite of the fact that I have been criticising them in the recent past, but I stand with them this time.

“ASUU alleged that over 70 per cent of the projects in our universities are uncompleted for lack of funds and corruption, this is wrong.

“In Afe Babalola University, we complete our projects in time. We built our Planetarium within six months. Some federal universities started theirs 10 years ago and they have not completed it,’’ he lamented.

Analysts and commentators say that Ogunyemi was right that if care was not taken, public universities could collapse like government secondary and primary schools.

They listed prominent public secondary schools of yesteryears: Government College Umuahia, Hope Waddel Secondary School, Calabar, Methodist College, Uzuakoli, Government College, Ibadan, Ibadan Grammar School and Barewa College, Zaria, just to mention a few.

They queried, how many of the prominent Nigerians that attended these schools would want their children to study in their alma mater.

They say that the same thing is now happening with public universities. Many prominent and wealthy Nigerians, now prefer to send their children to private universities or abroad, where date of graduation is sacrosanct.

They convinced that irrespective of the pains, Nigerians must align with ASUU to secure the future of a large chunk of Nigerian children, whose parents lack the capacity for a mercantile university education. (NANFeatures)

LASU to sanction staff who resumes after 8: 00 am

In a bid to instill efficiency, timeliness, service delivery and build confidence in the University system, Lagos State University, LASU Management has re-affirmed that the resumption time for members of staff remains 8:00 am, while the closing time is 4:00 pm.

According to Mr. Mohammed Olayinka Amuni, the institution’s Registrar  ” This information becomes imperative because the authority has noticed that some members of staff do not resume work or be at their duty post at the appropriate time.” Mr Amuni who last Monday in the company of some Deputy Registrars visited some offices, Units, Departments, Centers, Faculties discovered that as at 9:00 am, a large number of the workforce had not resumed for duty at their duty post. He said that ” In view of this unpleasant development, members of staff are strongly advised to desist from coming late to the office as well as not staying at their duty posts. ” So, members of staff who were not found at their duty post on Monday, 11th February, 2019, by 9:00a.m, are warned to desist from such act.  Henceforth, those found contravening the resumption rule would be sanctioned accordingly.” LASU Registrar added. Meanwhile, Prof. Lanre Fagbohun, SAN  Vice Chancellor, LASU, Prof. recently inaugurated “Friends of LASU Initiative” Committee. Friends OF LASU Initiative, [FOLASU] is a vision geared towards building a global community of donors and partners for sustainable development of Lagos State University. The initiative aimed to raise at least Ten Million [10M] development partners across the globe who will voluntarily donate as little as One Thousand Naira (N1,000.00 i.e. $3 – $4 dollar) or more to Lagos State University, annually. The generated fund would be solely for Infrastructural development, maintenance of facilities, staff training, students’ welfare, research, among others.  Furthermore, the initiative going by the vision is to create a robust and sustainable revenue generation system for all-round development of the Institution.

At the inauguration on Monday, held at the Vice Chancellor’s Conference Room, Faculty of Science New Building, Main Campus, Ojo, Lagos State, the VC  while commending the efforts of the duo, Mr. Olabode Akinrinmade [Principal Assistant Registrar, Exams and Records] and Mr. Stephen Fatonji [Assistant Lecturer, Broadcast Department] for being the brains behind the initiative tasked the committee members to  deliver on their responsibilities with deep passion, high level of discipline and commitment to the LASU Project. He also charged the Committee members to ensure that what they bring to the table will enhance the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of the University.  His words “… I want to commend Mr. Akinrinmade and Mr. Fatonji, and equally members of this committee for the brilliant initiative.  We have gone on a very selective head hunt to have you on board “. Prof. Fagbohun also advised the elected officials to liaise with the Centre for Information, Press and Public Relations [CIPPR] in the area of publicity.  He added that administrative and academic duties of members of staff should be carried out with passion and commitment so that LASU world class students would remember their stay with nostalgia after graduation. “it is only by this that our world class students would consider giving back to the University…it is only  posterity that will thank this team.” The VC Said. The Convener, Mr. Olabode Akinrinmade on behalf of the Committee Members appreciated the VC for embracing the initiative.

N-Power, school feeding excite monarchs

Traditional rulers from Akoko North East and Akoko South West council areas of Ondo state have hailed the N-power, school feeding and other poverty alleviation initiatives of the Federal Government.

The monarchs made the commendation on Thursday when the N-Power enrolees’ campaign team for the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari visited select towns and palaces in Akoko.

The campaign was organised by Mrs Olubunmi Ademosu, the Special Adviser to the Ondo state Governor on Public and Inter-Governmental Relations.

The Traditional Ruler of Ikare-Akoko, Oba Akadri Momoh, said that people must continue to pray for government, adding that a government must be commended when it had done well.

Momoh said he believed that Nigerians would vote for Buhari, considering the many economic opportunities and jobs created through the various intervention programmes of his administration.

He said: “We will always support the government in what it is doing. We shall also be praying for them in all their endeavours.”

Oba Samuel Adedoyin, the Owale of Ikare Land, said that the rate of unemployment in Nigeria could have been minimal, if past governments had initiated similar interventions.

Adedoyin said that as a royal father, he was apolitical, but must not see a good thing and not commend it.

He said: “It is not about how much the money is, but how to manage small resources that you have.

“At least the Npower enrollees are all working. We thank the federal and state governments.

“We implore our youths not to misuse the opportunity given to them,” he said.

Olubaka of Oka Kingdom, Oba Yusuf Adeleye, also thanked the president for all the social interventions of his administration.

Adeleye said the people of the community had seen the economic effects of the interventions, including the Npower, Trader Moni and school feeding programmes, in the community.

The monarch also thanked Gov. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu for the rehabilitation of the Oka Road which, he said, was in a terrible state of dilapidation.

He said: “I thank the governor for the construction of Oka Road. It is a Federal Government road but the governor said it is his people that use the road.

“We now know that we have a government. Before the governor came, our roads were in poor state but he tackled them within his first year in office.

“Several of our schools have been repaired through SUBEB. He is doing what the people expect and we are happy with him.

“The cordial relationship between the state and federal government is bringing progress to the state.”

Adeleye expressed joy that the state was benefitting from the governor’s wealth of experience, having served the nation in various capacities.

“All the state government’s social services are good and I am happy for that.
“We are the government because without the cooperation of traditional rulers, no meaningful progress would be made in the communities,” he said.

At the palace of Olubaka, Ademosun, who also doubles as the focal person for the Npower in the state, said that no fewer than 1, 000 beneficiaries of the programme came from Akoko South West alone.

She appealed to the monarh to mobilise his subjects toward the realisation of the president’s re-election bid to ensure that the enrollees did not return to the street.

She expressed the confidence that the beneficiaries would also work to ensure that Buhari was re-elected because of their jobs. (NAN)

ASUU suspends strike

The Academic Staff Union of Universities(ASUU) has suspended its three-month old strike, with effect from midnight today.

ASUU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi announced the suspension after a two-hour closed door meeting with the Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen Chris Ngige, on Thursday in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that ASUU had embarked on strike on November 4, 2018 over its demands for revitalisation of universities, academic earned allowances, issuance of Universities Pension Management Company and other issues.

According to him, after government proposals for addressing all outstanding issues in the 2013 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and 2017 Memorandum of Action (MoA), NEC resolved to suspend the strike.

“The strike is suspended conditionally with effect from 12.01 a.m on Friday, February 8.

“However, should Government fail to fulfil its part of the agreement as reflected in the 2019 Memorandum of Action, ASUU shall resume its suspended strike as the union deems it necessary,” he said.

In his address, the minister said eight areas of disagreements were discussed and resolved by the two parties.

According to him, we have dealt with all the eight contending issues and some of them have been implemented.

“ASUU has license for the Universities Pension Management Company on January 28, 2018.

“On the issue of salary shortfall in the universities, the Federal Government has released N16billion, out of which N15.384billion is for universities, while the rest is for other tertiary institutions.

“The Vice-Chancellors have acknowledged the receipt of the funds.

“We also have the issue of a committee to liaise with state government-owned universities, ASUU and the Federal Government through the Ministry of Education. That committee was inaugurated two weeks ago.

“The visitation panel has been constituted and will commence work on March 2, 2019.

“On the issue of earned allowances, the Federal Government has released N20billion for the payment to all categories of university staff.

“For the earned academic allowance, the Federal Government has released N25billion and for the revitalization fund, a total of N25billion will be released in the period between April and May 2019.

“The Federal Government will also resume full implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) entered into in 2019, ” he said.

Ngige commended ASUU for its patience and understanding.

NIPR appeals to FG to restore budgetary provision

The Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) has appealed to the Federal Government (FG) to restore its budgetary provision to enable it to carry out its statutory responsibility of information management.

The President of NIPR, Malam Mukhtar Sirajo, made the appeal on Wednesday in Abuja at the induction of new members and inauguration of committees for the re-positioning of the institute.

Sirajo said the inauguration of the committees became necessary going by the institute’s desire for professionalism in the practice of public relations.

He also urged the new inductees to uphold the tenets of the profession and shun unprofessional conducts.

“The NIPR has for some years now been excluded from the usual budgetary support from the Federal Government; this has placed a lot of stress on us particularly with regard to our recurrent expenditures like staff members emoluments.

“Our position is a regulatory body under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture.

“It means that we are obliged to sustain our staff members on salaries and other entitlements they used to enjoy when we were on the budget line of the Federal Government.

“While we appeal to the FG through our supervising Ministry to restore NIPR to its full entitlements in this regard, it behooves us to be more creative in expanding our alternative sources of revenues to remain afloat.

“The Council shall count on the support and initiative of the committees to improve its revenue profile,” Sirajo said.

The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Information, Deaconess Grace Gekpe, on her part, charged the committees and other members of the institute to rise up to the occasion and ensure that the desired change was brought to the institute.

Some of the newly inducted members of NIPR
Some of the newly inducted members of NIPR

Gekpe, represented by the Deputy Director, Information, and Head Child Rights Information Bureau (CRIB), said time had come for professionalism in the institute.

“It is pertinent to note that statutory committees are saddled with the responsibilities of directing the activities of the institute, ensuring it is well run in consonant with the laws that established it.

“In addition, committees are set up to provide leadership by setting strategic directions to guide and direct the activities of the institute as well as ensure effective management of the institute and its activities.

“The dream behind the inauguration of these committees is to build, develop and sustain a working secretariat/institute where members get value for membership as well as add to the human capital development of the nation.

“I want to implore all members of the committee to put in their best in the discharge of their duties in order to advance the image of the institute,” Gekpe said.

Mr Tony Iredia, who spoke on behalf of the committees, said they would ensure a new dawn in the institute especially as it concerned the eradication of quacks.

He said: “What NIPR stands for today is not good, we need to have a change.

“We must communicate things the right way. We must not see these committees like the ones in the National Assembly.”

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 20 new members were inducted into the institute.

Also nine committees including Professional Ethics and Disciplinary Committee, Education Advisory Board, Membership Services Committee and Policy and Strategy Committee were inaugurated.

Others were Establishment and Corporate Governance Committee, Fellowship Advisory Committee, Chapter Relations Committee, Compliance Committee and Corporate Relations Committee.

A minute silence was observed for members of the institute who lost their lives including Sen. Joseph Waku from Benue State.

ASUU speaks on calling off strike

The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, on Sunday dismissed claims that it has called off the ongoing strike.

ASUU stated this while urging the public to “ignore any announcement” that the industrial action has been called off.

A Twitter user @Buiketalk had stated: “After @officialEFCC that year, @ASUUNGR is becoming my favourite public service twitter handle.”

Responding to the tweet via its official Twitter handle, ASUU disclosed that its resolution after the last meeting with representatives of the Federal Government would be made public on Thursday.

“We pray it remains so after the union calls off this industrial action.

“Meanwhile, ignore any announcements as to @ASUUNGR calling off the strike today.

“Our response to the delegation of @SenChrisNgige will be made available on Thursday, 7th February 2019,” ASUU tweeted.

This is coming at a time the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu assured that the ongoing industrial action would be called off before Monday, today.

He made the disclosure while addressing newsmen in Abuja on Saturday.

ASUU strike: What I will do when I become president – Atiku

The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Atiku Abubakar, has assured the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, that he will end the lingering strike from his first day at work, if elected the next president of the country.

Atiku made this disclosure in Lagos, Sunday evening, at the Silverbird Man of the Year event.

The former Vice President, lamenting about the ASUU strike, described it as disgraceful.

He stressed that the ASUU, students and lecturers would receive his first attention as president if voted into office in the February 16 presidential election.

He said “I am aghast that as I speak, our students across the nation are not being educated due to the ASUU strike caused by an unresolved debate of about N60 billion.

“If I get the job I am seeking, my first task on day one – along with naming my cabinet – will be to end this disgraceful strike and get our students back to their studies.

“I will also triple the amount the Nigerian government spends on education from 7 per cent of its budget today, not just to the 15 per cent recommended by UNESCO, but to 20 per cent.

“I recognise the value education can bring to the individual and the nation. But even more than that, I want every child in Nigeria to have the opportunities I had.”

JAMB registers 869,709 candidates, suspends 9 centres for malpractice

The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has said that it registered 869,709 candidates for the 2019 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), which is scheduled to hold in March.

JAMB stated this in its weekly bulletin from the office of the Registrar, Prof. Is-haq Oloyede, on Monday.

The board also revealed that it has suspended nine Computer-Based Test centres, that breached the code governing the 2019 registration exercise.

JAMB noted that some of the centres demanded higher fees than the amounts stipulated by the Federal Government.

According to the publication, the nine suspended centres are the University of Benin International ICT Centre, Iyayi, Benin, Edo State; Mardakem Limited by Methodist Boys High School, Oron, Akwa-Ibom State; Bintels Global Services, Aguleri, Anambra State; Noble and Shuaib ICT limited, Alor, Anambra State; Global ICT Connect, Makurdi, Benue State; DA Civic Centre, Benin City, Edo State; Medes ICT Centre, Okitipupa, Ondo State; Divine Success All CBT Centre, Iseyin, Oyo State; Riyom ICT Centre, Riyom Secretariat, Plateau State.

“Before commencing the 2019 UTME and Direct Entry registration exercise, a meeting with all CBT operators was convened in Lagos State, where the guidelines on the exercise were deliberated upon and laid out strictly for all to adhere to. The meeting had resolved that the cost of registration should not exceed N700.

“Unfortunately, findings from the board’s monitoring exercise revealed that some centres were charging higher than the stipulated figure directed by the Federal Government and equally agreed at during the Lagos meeting,” the bulletin read.

The board added that 10 centres in Lagos and Plateau states were under investigation for the same offences.

In the breakdown of registration, Lagos State recorded the highest number of registered candidates with 111,102 candidates, Kaduna State was second with 59,261 candidates and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, had 43,390 registered candidates.

Lecturers warn Buhari govt, reveal why strike in still on

The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has challenged the federal government to stop distorting facts about funds released to the union.

National President of the union, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, said the ongoing strike was still lingering due to a few disagreement between the government and the union on the mode of releasing the agreed funds.

Speaking with The Nation over the weekend, Ogunyemi, said the comment credited to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige that N163 billion was released to the Union was a distortion of facts.

He disclosed that the N163 billion mentioned by Ngige was released to the Universities by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFUND, to meet specific needs in the universities and not the revitalization fund being demanded by the unions.

He said “The Minister of Labour referred to the release of N163bn which was not released by the Ministry of Education for revitalization. That fund he alluded to was from TETFUND.

“TETFUND was there when we carried out the NEEDS Assessment in 2012. What we called Revitalisation Fund today is a product of that exercise of 2012. We have always drawn a line of distinction between what TETFUND gives and what we should access from the NEEDS Assessment Fund. They are different terms of interventions that should not be equated to one.

“TETFUND as an intervention agency is ASUU brainchild which became a reality. The funds from the NEEDS Assessment is to fix specific items of deficiency in our system.

“Unfortunately, both federal and state governments have now relinquished their responsibilities to TETFUND. The Federal Government budget for education in term of capital project funding is worrisome.

“That is why we keep saying that the Ministry of Labour and Employment should stop saying N163bn has been released to ASUU. ASUU is not a spending agency of government. We don’t spend government money. When money is released, it goes to the universities and governing councils who are representatives of government in the schools. It is a distortion if we say N163bn was released to ASUU.”