Vice Chancellor of Cross River University of Technology (CRUTECH), Prof. Anthony Owan Enoh has called on the National Universities Commission (NUC) to be concerned with foundational issues of unity to restore the nation's vanishing cohesion rather than concentrate on quality and curriculum alone in the universities.
In a post-public lecture interview with journalists in Calabar, Enoh said the lecture was organised to mark the 80th birthday of the pioneer vice chancellor of the institution, Prof. Ogon Etta whom he described as a source of inspiration to many Nigerians in the ivory towers.
According to him, “beginning with the appointment of vice chancellors, necessary measures should be put in place to prevent the appointment from states where each is located, with the added condition that no state should as well at any given time produce more than one.
“Once this is achieved a deliberate policy of redistributing academic staff to universities away from their states of origin should be given some consideration as well.”
The vice chancellor further stated that “if these measures are supported with similar responsibilities on the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) to insist on compulsory distribution of qualified candidates to states other than theirs, much will be achieved.
“The heterogeneous nature of our country cannot be wished away, a fact which makes the need for common understanding an ever pressing one.”
He charged Nigerians to shun hate speeches capable of causing disunity but instead say things that will bring the people together notwithstanding the ethno-religious divide.
“Disunity only divides us and dissipates our energy and resources instead of converting these into ingredients of development,” he said.
Enoh called on university administrators to see university campuses as meeting point where individuals from all backgrounds do come together and emerge at the end with an increased sensitivity to their differences and appreciation of one another.
“If they fail to achieve this, all their other developmental achievements can in a single moment be undermined by forces of disunity which pitch each and every one against the other, thereby undermining collective effort that is necessary for development,” he said.
Speaking on the theme, 'Universities and Development: A positive change', he enumerated the quality that enhances development to include excellence, efficiency, learning, liberation, democracy and order, lamenting that while universities of old excellently did so well, nowadays universities had nothing to offer other than negative things such as mediocrity, ritualization, waste, dependency, despotism and commotion.
The varsity don said the failure of modern day universities to thrive was as a result of the lack of unity when compared with universities of old.