From Debo Durowaiye, Oyo
Legal luminary, Pro-chancellor and Chairman, Governing Council of the Ajayi Crowther University, Oyo, Chief Wole Olanipekun, has described the Federal Government’s discrimination against private universities in the country as worse than apartheid.
Olanipekun stated this while fielding questions from newsmen at the sixth convocation lecture of the institution.
He said government discrimination in terms of funding was unconstitutional, uncalled for and illegal, adding that such retroactive actions were capable of engendering national cohesion and mutual co-existence among citizens.
He said rather that embarking on the undesirable action, the Federal Government should be more grateful to proprietors of private universities for their unquantifiable contributions to national growth and development.
According to him, “it is an act of wickedness on the part of the Federal Government to refuse to provide grants in aids to private varsities putting into consideration the fact that money being disbursed to public institutions come from the tax payers and companies which should go round all institutions regardless of status of ownership. Among students of these discriminated private varsities are future leaders such as the President, Governors, Law makers, Lawyers, Judges and even Ministers. With this dangerous precedents being planted by the Federal Government, will it not amount to sowing seed of discord among the promising future leaders.’’
While cautioning the TTETFUND management against volatile utterances, the legal luminary said recent statement by the Fund’s chief executive that government’s decision not to fund private varsities was final was a misnormer.
He said: “Only God has final decision. No human being no matter how powerful and position being occupied can take a decision and make it final because human actions are subject of review and reassessment.”
The pro-chancellor, who urged the university management to put up an application for grants in aids from the Federal Government, posited that failure to honour or reject it might result in taking appropriate legal action to check the injustice and infringement on right to education of every citizen being trampled upon by the government.
Speaking in the same vein, the institution’s vice-chancellor, Prof. Timothy Jaiyeoba pointed out that providing financial support to private varsities would further reinforce a sense of belonging among citizens and further consolidate on the much-needed growth and development.