Given that budgetary allocations alone cannot sustain the running of public universities, the future of the university system depends on the adoption of independent but creative sources of funding, including the establishment of an endowment fund, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
Prof. Osinbajo was speaking on Thursday when he hosted a delegation from the Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU) on a courtesy visit to the Presidential Villa. The team was led by the institution’s Vice Chancellor, Prof. Ayodeji Agboola.
“Funding in the university system (public universities) has to be diversified. The system has to find a way to sustain itself. We really have to look carefully at how universities can make money independently. Whether it is an endowment or some other way, adopting a business model.
“All of the great universities around the world have endowment funds. Raising money through independent sources for funding university education is a serious thing,” the Vice President said.
The VP urged the management of OOU to adopt other approaches to funding its activities, noting that “depending on government alone or the Tetfund for development of infrastructure is not sustainable.
“I encourage you to create an endowment fund, in addition to the other approaches that you will adopt. Olabisi Onabanjo University can become a model for others but it has to have independent sources of raising funds.
“There should be serious-minded people running the endowment office. This is the future and way forward for the university system in Nigeria. If you do it well, the university will really excel,” he added.
The Vice President recalled how he and two other academics from the University of Lagos’ Law Faculty were involved in teaching Law in the earlier years of the university.
The VP narrated how, for three years every Tuesday, he and the two other lecturers would travel with the then Dean of Law at the University of Lagos to Ago-Iwoye (where the institution is located), to take lessons and return to Lagos the next day.
Earlier in his remarks, Prof. Agboola thanked the VP for his selfless contribution to the growth of the University especially as a pioneer lecturer in the Faculty of Law, building it from the scratch.
He recollected how the VP mentored many law students at the University and his support in entrenching the culture of research at the institution.
The VC also made a presentation to the Vice President on the current state of the University, its challenges and projections for the future, seeking more support, especially in the area of infrastructure development.
Other members of the OOU management at the meeting were Dr Adekunle David from the Faculty of Engineering; Mr Joseph Osifeso, a Principal Assistant Registrar and Goodwill Ambassadors of the institution, Mr Michael Matthew and Mr Abah Adejoh.