In an apparent move to secure a soft landing for the approval of a federal university in Okunland, Kogi State, Senator Dino Melaye on Monday led community leaders to the National Universities Commission (NUC) to seek the support of the Commission.
The senator, representing Kogi West senatorial district said Kabba, the headquarters of Okunland remains the only former provincial headquarter that has not been duly elevated, hence it deserves a federal university.
According to him, all other provincial headquarters except Kabba have become states capitals and have federal government presence while Okunland comprising of five local governments and 13 provinces has no federal institution.
Further justifying the need for a university, Melaye said Okunland has the second highest number of academic professors after Ekiti State in the country.
He said ” we shouldn’t be begging for a university; we do deserve a university. By our service to humanity, education development and the country, Okunland deserves a university.
“Our sons and daughters travel far from home to get education.
“We are here today in NUC as people of Kogi West Senatorial District, as people of Okunland to seek your support. We need your cooperation; we need your assistance. We come to lobby you to help us lobby the Education Minister, to help us lobby the president, to give us a university. This university is much important to us as a people”
Melaye who said the campus of the College of Agriculture, Kabba is available for the take -off of the university if approved, stressed that they are not particularly asking for a specialised university of agriculture.
This is sequel to a bill sponsored by Melaye in the Senate seeking for the establishment of a Federal University of Agriculture in Kabba, Kogi State.
The Executive Secretary of the NUC, Prof. Abubakar Abdulrasheed said the Commission is desirous of licensing more institutions to meet admission demands of several millions of Nigerian students.
He said though the nation currently has 161 universities, admission needs are not adequately taken care of, stressing that only 19.2 percent of 17.8 million students that wrote the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) in 2017 got admission.
The Executive Secretary however, emphasised that Nigerian universities should be entrepreneurial focused, to make graduates job providers rather than job seekers.
Towards this, he disclosed that the Commission in its curriculum review exercise has identified 14 areas of knowledge that are highly valued and central to economic revolution needed by the country.
On the entourage of the senator were; Prof. Olu Obafemi, President, Nigeria Academy of Letters, Barrister Femi Okikan, President, Okun Development Association and Mr. Atibioke Tayo, President, Ijumu Development Association.