President Muhammadu Buhari apologized to the nation for dissolving Boards of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) and the 12 Federal universities established by former president Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. The president made the statement during the National Economic retreat held at the state house.
President Buhari said he had to retract the order for the suspension or dissolving of the Universities Boards, after discovering that it was illegal to dissolve university boards and vice chancellors except the senate and boards of respective universities conducts and interviews potential candidates who want to be VCs.
According to the President, “When we came in after 16 years of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, each government had 42 ministries. We reduced them to 24, removed 21 Permanent Secretaries. We sat down and reflected seriously. We were all in the process of taking over at a time of national budget. So, imagine the volume of work and with what happened in the National Assembly, the padding, it would appear that below the Permanent Secretaries, there are still a lot of bureaucracies that are still with them. So, you have to appreciate the position we are in. Having cut 42 to 24, correspondingly, the parastatals will be cut down to some size and realigned and the boards reconstituted.
“We gave a blanket order which we had to rescind when we said all boards are suspended or dissolved. We had to go back and lick our vomit in terms of university boards because we found out that according to their laws, they cannot choose Vice Chancellors unless the Boards sit down, interview prospective candidates who wants to be VCs. So, there is nothing wrong in saying sorry and going back on your decision. So, we said sorry and allow all the universities to continue with their boards. But for the rest, eventually, we will make it. So, please, try to bear with us as we reflect on where we found ourselves.”
On February this year, the president had approved the appointments of new vice chancellors for universities set up by former president Goodluck Jonathan.