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Why Nigerian tertiary institutions must embrace PPP in rebuilding infrastructure: Minister

Photo: NAN

*Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, while unveiling refurbished and equipped Lecture Theatres at Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, advocates Public-Private Partnership model in upgrading key infrastructure in tertiary institutions across the country

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Despite the best efforts of the government, there is still a discernible infrastructure gap across the tertiary institutions, including universities in Nigeria.

ConsumerConnect learnt Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Honourable Minister of Information and Culture, has called for Public-Private Partnership (PPP) in rebuilding and reinvigorating infrastructure in tertiary institutions across the country.

The Minister made the call Tuesday, January 11, 2022, at the unveiling of the refurbished and equipped Lecture Theatres in the Faculty of Science, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife.

The Senate Building, OAU, Ile-Ife

The refurbishing, and equipping of the lecture theatres were the initiative of Platform Capital, a private firm, agency report said.

Represented on the occasion by Mr. Buki Ponle, Managing Director of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Mohammed said in spite of the best efforts of government, there is yet a discernible infrastructure gap across the tertiary institutions, including universities, across the country.

The minister also noted that several structures and facilities on campuses in Nigeria today are in decay due to neglect over the years.

He said: “This much, President Muhammadu Buhari, stressed at the 33rd Convocation Ceremony of the University of Calabar.

“The president advised Nigerian universities to find creative ways of exploiting the existing Public-Private Partnership policy to meaningfully bridge the infrastructure gaps existing on their campuses.

“Platform Capital has singled itself out for commendation by this initiative of refurbishing, renovating, refitting and equipping Ajose, BOOA and BOOB Lecture Theatres as well as White House, Faculty of Science.”

The Minister for Information and Culture further described the refurbishing of the lecture theatres  by the private organisation at a time of grave economic challenge as a heartening development between a University community and a good corporate citizen.

Mohammed commended the Management and Staff of Platform Capital for embarking on the project and seeing it through to completion for the overall benefit of the members of the University community, fondly called ‘Great Ife’.

He also noted: “It is especially heartwarming that the project was funded, redesigned, project-managed and delivered by Platform Capital.

“This is  a pointer to the limitless opportunities offered by close collaboration between government and the private sector to drive growth and development across sectors and institutions in the country.

“Platform Capital is indeed truly true to its core values—–” To be our brother’s keeper, to be loyal, authentic, build capacity and knowledge.”

He, therefore, urged other players in the private sector of the Nigerian economy to drive Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives, which he noted would impact host communities positively.

Mohammed commended the University’s Governing Council and Management for working in unison with Platform Capital in bringing the project to fruition.

He, however, urged the Management of the university and the students to ensure adequate and proper maintenance of the research, teaching and learning facilities.

Mohammed added: The story of initiating and sustaining public infrastructure in the country over the years has been an unedifying one with projects built with humongous sums left to rot away due to lack of maintenance.

“We must change this unhappy narrative and one way to do this is for beneficiaries to take ownership of such projects.

“My charge, therefore, to members of Obafemi Awolowo University community, particularly the students, is to take ownership of these structures and ensure they do not return to the decrepit state they were before the intervention by Platform Capital.”

In his remarks at the event, Prof. Eyitope Ogunbodede, Vice-Chancellor of OAU, applauded Dr. Akintoye Akindele, Chairman of  Platform Capital, for the initiative.

Prof. Ogunbodede said: “I do not know how to thank Dr. Akindele for all he has done, or what he is going to do for his alma mater; but it is certain that his love and labour shall not be in vain.”

The Vice-Chancellor urged stakeholders in the education sector to emulate Akindele by supporting the University in any way they deem fit.

He stated: “I humbly appeal to the government at all tiers to invest more funds in the education sector so that other aspects of our socioeconomic life would be rejuvenated,” he said.

Dr. Akindele on the occasion also said that the initiative of refurbishing the lecture theatres was borne out of his desire to give back to the society.

Akindele, who is an alumnus of Obafemi Awolowo University, said that majority of those in his set in the University benefited from free education and must now give back to the society.

The Chairman of Platform Capital said: “To  him who much is given, much is expected. Majority of us benefited from free education and now is the time for us to give back.

“I am glad to have the privilege of giving back to the society.”

In the same vein, the Orangun of Oke-Ila, Oba Adedokun Abolarin, commended the Management of Platform Capital for renovating the lecture theatres.

Oba Abolarin also called on other private organisations to support the Nigerian Government in rebuilding infrastructure in tertiary institutions across the country.

Mr. Wale Olaleye, President of Great Ife Alumni, who also commended Akindele for being passionate about the development of the tertiary institution, urged other stakeholders in the education sector to emulate the good gesture.

Olaleye said that the efforts of the University Management and the government could not  be over-emphasised in uplifting the state of universities across the country.

According to him, Alumni Association will continue to pay its “debt” in uplifting infrastructure in the University, report said.

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