University of Abuja was established in 1988, it is perhaps the only federally-owned university that is still conducting most of its activities from a temporary site located at a suburb of Gwagwalada. That setting certainly is not where a student or teacher can aspire to be an international prize winner or a Nobel laureate! You then ask, what was the vision and mission of our past leaders with respect to educational infrastructural development in Abuja, the political and administrative capital of Nigeria?.
Take an inventory of the Abuja city landscape and skyline and you will be pleased and thrilled. From the fortified Aso Rock to the magnificent National Assembly that adores the three-arm zone. We also have the federal secretariat, the headquarters of Federal Ministry of Finance, then the International Conference Centre, the NNPC towers, the CBN head office, the National Stadium, the National Hospital, the National Mosque, the National Ecumenical Centre, the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport and many more. But where is the university on this landscape or any public tertiary educational institution of repute in the FCT?
A new federal capital city without a befitting public tertiary educational institution is a testament to the type of leaders we have had in the past years. Surely, Abuja deserves an architectural masterpiece with a designer outlay in the mould of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, equipped with modern gadgets and intellectuals to nurture a multi-potential youth in an ambient and academic-friendly environment, so as to help make Nigeria a genuine candidate for the 20 developed economies in 2020. Nothing less will be acceptable! And it is certainly not late to right the wrong. Not when the President of the country, the Vice President, the Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives and most of those in the corridors of power today at Abuja are themselves graduates of our own Ivy League of schools. To do otherwise is ungodly and unpardonable!
Beyond infrastructure, University of Abuja appears to have many other challenges. What else could be responsible for a federal institution, situated next door to the seat of power and influence, being denied accreditation for many of the academic programmes and courses? The National Universities Commission (NUC), in an advertorial published in a national daily of October 7, 2010, confirmed that the Masters of Business Administration (MBA) of the University of Abuja had been closed down. What is the fate of thousands of qualified candidates, ranging from regular students to bank executives, senior civil servants and private entrepreneurs that work in the FCT, who quest for higher intellectual development? Somebody must come to the rescue of the university!
For the records, the list of programmes denied accreditation at the University of Abuja, aside MBA, includes, Education Economics, Education History, Education Social Sciences, Basic Agricultural Economics, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and Computer Science! A federal university in the capital city cannot train undergraduate students to become professional teachers, doctors and computer scientists in the 21st century? In fact, the NUC has warned the affected universities not to advertise and admit students into such programmes. Where should our children go to? Where do the children of our leaders go for their university education, and don’t they read professional courses?