Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti

Business and research innovations have been described as potent weapons that can boost the ranking of Nigerian universities to match their counterparts in advanced countries.

It was declared that the only way universities can subdue the perennial problem of underfunding causing poor rating of Nigerian universities on Webometric Ranking is by stepping up efforts that can bring appreciable increase in the revenue generation of higher institutions.

The Vice-Chancellor of the Ekiti State University, Prof. Samuel Oye Bandele, who said this in Ado Ekiti, disclosed that his administration has embarked on aggressive revenue generation through the establishment of some business ventures.

According to him, the monthly wage bill of the university stands at N500 million, while the state government released N270 million as subvention, saying that it behooves on him to look inwards to be able to meet the demands of the university for proper functioning.

Bandele, who commended Governor Ayodele Fayose for considering issues relating to EKSU to be of priority, appealed for more funding from the state in the overall interest of the university.

“The global recession makes it expedient for university managers to think outside the box. Our university is making aggressive drives in rice, water and block production. The EKSU Rice and EKSU Water are now making waves in Ekiti market, while the bakery industry is in the pipeline.

“EKSU Fish, Cow and Poultry are also doing well, while the moribund university press has been resuscitated to generate funds for the university.

“We know it will be difficult to increase the tuition fees, I won’t even dabble into that because the students may not want to hear that; but if we fail to take all these actions, the university could not have been stable in terms of academic calendar due to incessant strikes we would have been witnessing.

“I want to thank members of ASUU, NASU and SSANU for their understanding. Though they know that I am a vice-chancellor who places priority on workers’ welfare, they know I don’t joke with it, because it is their rights.

“When I came on board, I addressed the issues of outstanding promotions and allowances. Though we have not been able to meet all our obligations to them, we will try and ensure that no staff or student of this university suffers unduly for lack of funds”, Bandele promised.

He said the National Universities Commission (NUC) has given the

university the nod to run some lucrative courses like Insurance, Actuarial Science, Educational Technology, Marketing, Library Studies, Industrial Relations, Anatomy, Physiology, Tourism and Entrepreneurial Studies.

“Before we came on board, EKSU was no longer attractive to students because we only offered traditional courses. But with these new courses, our admission strength has gone up.”

Bandele added that he is planning to introduce the Faculty of Environmental Science to prepare grounds for the running of more professional courses like Architecture, Building Engineering and Estate Management.

“We are also planning to stabilise the Medicine and Surgery course and to ensure that the Faculty of Pharmacy takes off before the end of my tenure.”