I read with trepidation the news of the recent attempt to hike tuition fees by over 100% by the administration of Prof Banku Obi, Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar, Unical.
I find this sudden hike obnoxious, unthinking and unfeeling. I find it immoral, disturbing and a conscienceless action by this particular Unical Administration.
Let me put it on record that when I attended Unical about 30 years ago, for a post graduate programme, the fees then were far less than N1000 AND the tuition quality was far better.
I also have it on record that Prof Obi was also an indigent student at that time. Indeed most of the high handed administrators of Unical today were also students at or around that time.
Let me add that “sorting” was not permitted then, settlement of lecturers was unheard of, and the system where class representatives and others mark examination scripts was something that could not be conceived of, unlike now! I was a Class Rep, so I should know.
It is in the light of what Unical has become that one must situate this brazen school fee hike. I therefore stand with the students of Unical in refusing this extra burden being wickedly placed on them and their long suffering parents.
I would have thought that the first duty of any University System is to ensure purity in academics. Unical is not a business, it is a public service first to the host community of Cross River and to the nation at large!
The mindset of the Obi administration at Unical should be geared to solving the menace of sexual harrasment, exam malpractice, sorting and the new evil of examinations without timetable.
I also recommend that Prof Obi address the issues of rampant nepotism and favoritism that has become a slur on her administration. Indeed, as the first female VC of Unical, one expects her to also be a mother and a problem solver.
Let me put it on record that I have served on the Governing Councils of three Federal Universities in the recent past and in none of those universities has fee hike been the first course of action. I served on Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, ATBU, Governing Council, I served on the Petroleum University Government Council as well as Usman Dan Fodio, Sokoto Governing Council. In all these institutions, fees are still affordable. Why is it only in Unical is fee hike seen as the easy option?
In the light of the nation’s current economic woes, in consideration of the particularly parlous situation of most parents in the Unical Catchment Area, Prof Obi should rescind the fee hike and not introduce it again in any guise or form without proper consideration of the very purpose of University Education in Nigeria.
After all, virtually all financial needs of universities are borne by the federal government! What then is her reason for this attempted fee hike? She should cut bloated administrative costs, not the throats of students and their parents. Thank you.
Ray U. Morphy, a traditional leader – Mgba Ntol Ogoja, a parent and Guardian to many students of Unical, wrote this piece.
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