Nigerian Concord Newspaper
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has been advised not to jettison the Needs Assessment Projects, a program of the Federal Government introduced in 2009 aimed at providing 220 Billion Naira annually for the revitalization of public universities across Nigeria.
Dr. Tunde Olagunjembi, a research fellow at the Institute of Project Management Jos and a University Lecturer who spoke with newsmen over the weekend in Abuja, said the needs assessment was designed to provide funds for the reinvigoration of public universities across Nigeria, especially the rehabilitation of decaying infrastructure as well as the provision of state-of-the-art teaching and learning equipment.
Olagunjembi said the President should sustain the Needs Assessment Scheme in the interest and development of the Nigerian University system.
He appealed to the President to approve the immediate release of funds for the continuation of critical projects in the institutions being executed under the scheme.
He insisted that the University community and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) are eagerly waiting for the commencement of the projects under the present Administration.
The university don stated that the stable academic calendar being witnessed today is a result of the sacrifice by members of ASUU, whom he revealed resolved to allow the President time to settle down, warning, however, that time is fast running out and the President must take immediate steps towards funding the needs assessment projects.
According to him, the introduction of intervention funds for the needs assessment project, was a result of an agreement entered into between the federal government and ASUU, based on a fact-finding Committee of the government to change the state of infrastructure at the various citadel of learning in Nigeria.
He lamented that the immediate past Administration could not sufficiently release funds for the project hence, the incessant prolonged industrial action by the various unions in the universities.
He, therefore, advised the President whom he acknowledged has made significant statements towards the revamping of the Education sector to release funds for the projects to ensure a stable and quality academic environment at the institutions.
Olagunjembi, who has spent over two decades teaching in various institutions across Nigeria, expressed deep concern that five months into the life of the Tinubu-led government, nothing has been heard about plans for the implementation of the needs assessment program of the federal government.
He hinted that the academic calendar of the universities could be once again disrupted if the government refuses to make funds available for the implementation of signature projects across the tertiary institutions of learning.
The associate professor of project management noted that the relative peace being enjoyed at the campus of the universities is a demonstration of the union’s desire to fully cooperate with the present administration for the ultimate benefits of the education sector and indeed, the society at large.
He, however, warned that the various unions would have no choice but to act appropriately in the interest of the public universities if the government continued to show a look-warm attitude towards the implementation of the agreement reached with ASUU on the intervention funds for needs assessment, earn academic allowance, staff salary pension as well as Treasury Single Account. (TSA)
The renowned university lecturer called on the Minister of Education, Professor Tahir Mamman to urgently present the challenge of non-releasing of funds for needs assessment projects and also, take steps to reverse the brain drain syndrome in the educational sector.
It will be recalled that the federal government had in 2009 reached an agreement with ASUU for the provision of 220 billion annually as intervention funds for the revitalization of universities across the country under the needs assessment program.
The implementation of the scheme has, however, been at a snail speed leading to several industrial actions.
A renewal of the agreement was done in 2014, a development Olagunjembi described as disappointing, advising the Tinubu’s Administration to strive to write its name in gold by adequately funding needs assessment projects.