Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo is expected to formally inaugurate the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) Tuesday (in a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Lagos). President Obasanjo recently was himself admitted to undertake a master’s degree course at the university. University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Olugbemiro Jegede, says NOUN will create opportunities for millions of Nigerian students who cannot be accommodated by the country’s traditional universities. He said the university has come to stay.
“The National Open University of Nigeria was established by an approval of the federal executive council in May 2002… we feel that we are now ready to have the university formally opened through a special convocation ceremony to enable Mr. President who is in fact an architect of the university and a student... and that is what we are having today,” he said.
Professor Jegede explained the important role the university will play.
“It is most significant because Nigeria is a signatory to several education treaties in the world… once you do that then you begin to use education not only as an instrument for national development, but to help alleviate poverty… President Obasanjo is telling the world… the university has come to stay and to demystify education,” he pointed out.
Professor Jegede said the government is fulfilling its promise to Nigerians.
“It is government fulfilling its mandate, its promise to the people that Education will no more be the preserve of the rich in society,” Professor Jegede noted.
He reiterated the impact the National Open University will have.
“Number one, it is going to democratize education; two, it will make sure that anybody who is qualified cannot be turned back…three it is also saying that we are inching away into making sure that we reach the 2015 agreement with the UN and by that time we would have wiped out illiteracy. It also means the university will help to reduce the number of people who are yearning for education,” he said.