The Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ololade Enikuomehin, has described graduates of the College of Management Sciences (COLMAS) of the University, as good resource managers, because they have been well trained to become managers of farm personnel, material resources and finances. The Acting Vice-Chancellor made this known while clarifying the fact that the College, being called COLMAS, does not have any bearing with agriculture, stating that the creativity and innovative abilities by the College students make them unique.
Professor Enikuomehin, noted that through most of the courses being offered in the College were not published by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), in its Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations (UTME) brochure, due to Federal Government’s directive, prospective students were still allowed to enroll for Entrepreneurship studies. The Acting Vice-Chancellor, however, expressed optimism that the policy would be reversed, considering genuine moves by relevant stakeholders to convince government on the importance of allowing specialised universities to run management courses, adding that such an opportunity would enable Direct Entry candidates, to apply, to study either Accounting, Banking and Finance, Business Administration and Economics in the University for the 2018/2019 Academic Session.
Meanwhile, parents, students and prominent Nigerians have continued to comment on the recent pronouncement by the Federal Government, which directed that all specialised universities to henceforth adhere to their core mandates. The Alake and Paramount Ruler of Egbaland, Oba (Dr.) Adedotun Gbadebo, expressed deep concern over the directive and appealed to government to have a rethink on the matter. Similarly, a parent of one of the affected students, Mr. Olumuyiwa Adebari, had said that the government’s action would have lasting negative psychological effects on the students, adding that the implication of the plan would demoralise some of them. According to him, “It would cause confusion. Unless the government comes out specifically to let us all know how they are going to implement this new policy. For example, what is going to be the fate of those who are already in the system like my son, Olasubomi, a 300-level student? What is going to be his fate? I remember those days especially FUNAAB, when it was initially called the Federal University of Technology, Abeokuta and later, they merged it with the University of Lagos and it became FUTAB. And, I remember too when they said it was going to be known as the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB).
Mr. Adebari stated that the course; Economics, that his son was taking was still relevant; noting that inadequate number of universities in the country had long been a bone of contention. He stressed that expanding the core mandates of the specialised universities would, in no way affect them, saying that institutions like the University of Ibadan, take courses that were similar and beyond FUNAAB’s core mandate and they still get results, saying the plan would not augur well with the nation.
While advising the students to take heart, he said there was nothing new under the sun. He solicited for the students’ interests to be properly taken care of, saying that some of them could be asked to go and complete their courses in other institutions. He admonished the University Management to find a way of liaising with relevant authorities on the implications of the new policy. For him, “Our policy makers just wake up, without adequately weighing the wider implication of what an action of such would cause a larger society. They roll out policies without proper consultation and input from the larger society. The information was not properly given. I think the government should consult widely on how they are going to implement this new policy in such a way that it would not really dampen the morale of the students”.
He further counselled parents to be patient, adding that they should follow events and look out for information as well as ask questions. “They should not entertain fear. It is not something new. It is possible that someone offering Economics might not be doing that again, but doing something related to it. I also think the University should establish a forum, to meet with the parents of the students concerned”. Mr. Adebari, however, pleaded that those students; who were already in school should be allowed to finish their courses; asking, where would they put the staffers and the resources on ground? Lately, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), recently donated a building to COLMAS while the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), also granted the Accounting course full accreditation status. ICAN had gone further to exempt FUNAAB students from taking preliminary examinations.
Corroborating Mr. Adebari, Mrs. Iyabo Oloruntola, the mother of another student in the Department of Economics; Success, said that she was unhappy on hearing the news, adding that she was wondering where the students would start from. According to her, the impact on the students was that “It would affect their emotions as they would be starting all-over again. They would change school and economically, it would affect the parents, too”. She, therefore, advised the Federal Government, to maintain the status quo, saying that it should continue with the previous academic pattern.
Responding to the claim that specialised universities were deviating from their core mandates, Mrs. Oloruntola stressed that, “It doesn’t really matter if they have deviated, but if they are benefitting the students and the masses, they should continue, even if it is wrong, provided it is beneficial”. She noted that some students had already graduated, adding that the various university communities also benefitted from having the students around, due to the economic implication. “Students would buy food and rent houses from the communities. The communities are benefitting economically”, as she revealed that FUNAAB community had expanded largely due to an increase in the population of students.
A student in the Department of Entrepreneurial Studies (COLMAS), Afolabi Lukmon, also condemned the call for the scrapping, describing it as retrogressive, considering the rate and influx of students seeking admission into management courses. Afolabi, who was the Speaker, Students’ Representative Council (SRC), of the FUNAAB Students’ Union Government (FUNAABSUG), said that such a policy would create an unhealthy environment, because it would end up affecting students, who are seeking admission into higher institutions. He added that it would only increase the backlog of students seeking admission year-in-year-out, more than what it used to be and can only create problems, as the frustrated ones may have no choice but to engage in crime, to survive because, “an idle hand is the devil’s workshop”, he added. Afolabi charged the government to classify education as a right of every Nigerian youth, not a privilege. He stressed that the government would also end up creating business avenues for some neighbouring African countries like Togo, Benin Republic and Ghana, among others, because most of the Nigerian youths being denied admission would be forced to go to those countries for their tertiary education. On the long run, he said that the plan would not be advantageous to the country. He charged the government to let the universities diversify and exploit new frontiers rather than putting them in a way, as to toy with the future of the teeming youths that are seeking university admission. He said that most of the courses being offered in Nigerian universities were interwoven and symbiotic because someone cannot practice agriculture without technology and the knowledge of business, management or entrepreneurial skills.
Also, Oluwaseun Akinyemi, who just graduated from the Department of Entrepreneurial Studies in the University, also condemned the pronouncement, saying it would affect many and most especially, those seeking admission. She also reiterated that the University did not just wake up on its own, to start running the College but was done with the directive of the government and that courses being offered in the College were duly accredited by NUC, which gave them the right to go on with their activities. With the College still in place, Oluwaseun said that many of the agriculture and science-based students had been coming to offer