Professor Michael Iloeje of the Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO) has picked hole with the proposed one-year post-graduate training for Nigerian graduates before youth service “to make them employable.”
Delivering the Second Valedictory Lecture of FUTO, August 15, the professor of Animal Genetics said
“Rather than taking actions to stop the hemorrhage and the bleeding, the proponents of the additional layer of one year are focusing actions on how to clean the blood.”
He said the products from Nigerian universities may not be optimally best because,
“our universities are haemorrhaging and bleeding from lack of adequate funds to equip our libraries, laboratories, workshops, farms, classrooms and other teaching support facilities.
“Our staffs are haemorrhaging from a take-home pay that cannot take them home. Even the SIWES program which is the protagonist in this debate is haemorrhaging from the paltry financial support from the government’s Industrial Training Fund ITF.
“ The additional resources, both in funds and manpower which would be spent in implementing the additional one year layering, will be better spent, and with better results too, if we channel those funds directly into upgrading the presently anaemic resources available to our universities.”
Professor Iloeje said the issue of an additional one year layering is yet another example of the unreality with which governments have been tackling several issues in our body politic. He called on the Federal Government to abandon the idea and channel the funds they would otherwise have spent on this ill-fated program and invest same directly into improving the teaching and research facilities in our universities.
Professor Iloeje’s lecture was titled:
“In Character and in learning: Till Health do us Part: (38 years of the FUTO Magic).”
He praised the giant strides of FUTO since inception in 1980, illustrating the beauty, novelty and innovations of the university with specific examples.
“As a pioneer staff who started being here when there was not even a single cement block standing on the other, perhaps you will permit me if I look around our campus today and proclaim that we have indeed done very well in developing our physical infrastructure.”
He gave kudos to the leadership of the various Governing Councils of the university, starting from His Royal Majesty Chukumelam Nnam Obi II, the Ogba of Ogbaland who chaired the first Governing Council to the present Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council Prof. John O. Offem for the excellent work they have done in erecting all the various structures we see on campus today.
Prof. Iloeje, a native of Udi LGA, Enugu State, however mentioned some areas of infrastructural development
“where I think we may have to take a hard second look.”
“The encroachment and unhealthy interference of some members of our host community gives me a lot of concern, particularly the harmful and distracting effects it has in hindering the smooth and rapid development of our physical infrastructure.”
“Another area in our infrastructural development which gives me great concern is our lamentable delay or inability to make FUTO a “residential” university. After more than 38 years of our existence, most of our staff and students still commute daily from the far away city of Owerri.
“Even our Vice-Chancellor has not been left out from this nomadic life. I am embarrassed that after all these 38 years of our existence; we have still left our Vice-Chancellor to continue living in a rented apartment built more than 40 years ago.”