The Federal Government is planning to establish mega universities to address admission constraints among Nigerians, President Goodluck Jonathan said on Saturday in Zaria, Kaduna State.
The President said this at a special convocation and launching of N50 billion Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Phase II Development Fund at the university’s main campus, Samaru, Zaria.
Jonathan was represented by Vice President Namadi Sambo.
He said that when established, each of the mega universities would absorb more than 200,000 students.
Jonathan, however, did not mention how many mega universities the government will establish or when and where they will be sited.
The president expressed concern at the growing number of Nigerian university admission seekers yearly in the last three years which, he said, was about 1.5 million.
He noted that the absorption capacity of the universities was about a quarter of that number.
He commended the ABU for its contributions to education and national development, saying that the university had not disappointed its founding fathers.
Jonathan said that university education development was capital intensive and required the contributions of parents, well- meaning Nigerians and all other stakeholders.
The Chairman of the project and former Military President, retired Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, attributed the nation’s security and development challenges to declining fortune in education.
“The security, peace and progress we aspire for ourselves and our families are not attainable, if the majority of the citizenry remains trapped in ignorance and poverty.
“Ignorance and poverty are two sides of the same coin, in the same way that knowledge and progress are to another coin,’’ he said.
Gov. Ramalan Yero of Kaduna State remarked that ABU graduates had distinguished themselves in all aspects of human endeavour.
Yero pledged to support the institution, saying that education was a topmost priority of his administration.
A former Chief of Army Staff, retired Lt. Gen. Theophilus Danjuma, who was conferred with an honorary doctorate degree in science at the occasion, thanked the university for the honour it gave him.
Danjuma, also a former Minister of Defence, because of whom the special convocation was held, promised to assist the university to actualise the dreams of its founding fathers. (NAN)