Former President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday called on the Federal Government to resolve the issue of the non-acceptance of National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) law graduates into the Law School.
NOUN suspended admission into its law programme following a decision by the Council of Legal Education (CLE) to stop law graduates from NOUN from being admitted into the Law School.
But Chief Obasanjo said the decision to deny them admission into Law School was a serious matter that needed to be tackled with all seriousness.
According to a statement by the institution’s Head of Communication, Ibrahim Sheme, in Abuja yesterday, the former President spoke when the Vice-chancellor of NOUN, Prof. Abdalla Uba Adamu, visited him at his house in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
The former President, who last year graduated with a degree in Theology from NOUN, said: “When they told me about law people, I said who are the early lawyers? They sat at home and read and they ate their dinner… And then they qualified. We know we were there with most of them in the 1950s.”
“Whereas we have made the university popular, we still have a sort of what I call either ignorance or resistance. I try to explain, and I think we need to do this, people don’t know how the Open University works. And we need to make them know it.”
He called on the Federal Government to give more funding to NOUN to meet its objectives.
“I think we have to persuade government to give you more. The point is that at this point in time money is scarce, but Open University is doing much more than the world universities is doing. I am not running down the other universities, what I’m saying is that the opportunity that Open University offers is much more than the opportunity that any of the world universities could offer,” the former President said.
Commenting on Adamu’s appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari to head NOUN, Obasanjo described him as “a square peg in a square hole as far as our university is concerned,” adding: “Your reputation goes along with you.”
He thanked the NOUN management for naming the university’s newly established Good Governance and Development Research Centre after him, saying he regarded it as an honour.
The President accepted NOUN’s invitation to present a lecture: “Leadership and Challenges of Development in Nigeria: The Way Forward,” as part of activities to mark his birthday in March.
In his remarks, Adamu expressed appreciation to the former President for accepting the honour and informed him of the success he has achieved since becoming head of the largest university in the country.
Adamu described some of the steps he took in developing the university system, including the renaming of schools into faculties, and introducing the election of deans and Heads of Department, as innovative.
Director of the Olusegun Obasanjo Good Governance and Development Research Centre Prof. A.Y. Shehu, in his speech, reminded the former President that the decision to establish the centre and name it after him was communicated to him by the former vice-chancellor when he visited NOUN in Lagos in October 2014.
The decision, he said, was based on the recognition of the role Obasanjo played in creating institutions that deepened democracy and good governance within Nigeria, Africa and the world.