The National Universities Commission (NUC), has given Obong University, Obong Nkak, Akwa Ibom State, a licence to operate as a private University. The licence, signed by the NUC’s Secretary, Mallam Adamu Adamu, was d presented to the Vice Chancellor of Obong University, Prof. Udoudo Ekanem-Essang. Prof. Ekanem-Essang, who later presented the license to the BOT Chairman,of the University, Prof. Moses Akpanudo , said the institution would continue to maintain her primal status as the first private University in Akwa Ibom state.
His words: “It means that we cannot be stopped. Our university has had a lot of teaching problems. At a point the licence was suspended. Thank God to the goodness of so many members of Akwa Ibom community and outside Akwa Ibom, it was restored. Now it has been made permanent so it is a very significant milestone in the growth of our university.”
The Vice Chancellor explained that the University with a population of over 500 students currently runs 10 programmes . He said that the institution had applied for five more additional programmes, adding that by March 2017 NUC would come for our resource assessment of the programmes. Prof. Ekanem-Essang, who disagreed with the decision of the Federal Government to fund only public universities, said it is constitutional illegal for federal government to use money that comes either from the tax or from the resources from the sales of oil and other natural resources to fund public Universities alone.
He said: “Right now there are 69 private universities in Nigeria even more than the federal universities. In aggregate, most students may be attending private and federal universities. So those kids who are going to the private universities are not benefiting from the natural resources of this country so we have to revisit how we fund our tertiary education".
“Funding should not be based on any ratio. It should be based on student population. Funding should be targeted towards student rather than towards institutions. There are model we can test. British model, American mode, Australian model and so other countries in the world running tertiary institutions, we should study their model and see which one will be most appropriate for Nigeria so that every Nigerian citizen benefit from it. Right now every Nigerian citizen doesn’t benefit".
In his response, the BOT Chairman, Prof. Akpanudo, who commended NUC for granting the license said his whole life dream has been fulfilled through the NUC’s license to the institution.