Written by Godfrey AKON

Okojie retires from public service

Former Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission, NUC, Prof Julius Okojie, has retired from public service after attaining the age of 70 years.

NUC, in a statement on its website, said Okojie recently marked his departure from public service with a valedictory lecture at Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta, FUNAAB, where he had served as Vice Chancellor before his two term stint at the commission.

While delivering his valedictory titled “A servant is not greater than his master: who wants to be a Vice-Chancellor,” Okojie equated his retirement to that of a servant who was bowing out but still active, adding that “In academics, a Professor remains a Professor forever. So, this is a temporary goodbye.”

The Professor of Forestry Management also spoke on how his contact with the university system had shaped his life as an academic and civil servant.

“My undergraduate and graduate student years compliment my career experience, but the Vice-Chancellor’s position is a vantage point at the top rung of the ladder, for a critical assessment of the university system.

“I was Vice-Chancellor twice; FUNAAB (1996-2001) and Bells University of Technology, Ota (2005/2006); these appointments fetched me a rich harvest of the experiences the position offers and influenced my choice of title for this Valedictory Lecture,” he said.

He called on government to reintroduce federal scholarship for all students of Agriculture, Education and Medicine based on merit, while bursary and student-loan scheme should be given to other deserving students.

He also suggested the internationalisation of Nigerian universities by act of the National Assembly, citing that Fulbright, Rhodes and Humboldt fellowships had achieved these for many years and would encourage staff and students to Nigeria from foreign Countries.

Highpoints of the event was a dinner party organised by FUNAAB in honour the retiring distinguished Professor and astute administrator. A thanksgiving was also held for him at Our Lady, Queen of Nigeria Pro-Cathedral, Garki Abuja.

Recall that Okojie, bowed out as NUC Executive Secretary in 2016 haven assumed office on August, 3, 2006, and superintending over the licensing of over 17 states, 52 private and 12 federal universities during his two tenures.

He spent a total of ten years as NUC executive secretary and another two years as a visiting professor to the commission.

His achievements at the commission cut across a wide range of areas, including the expansion of NUC’s regulatory capacity and institution of best practices as well as quality assurance in Nigerian universities, among others.

Okojie was also credited for initiating a total shutdown of over 50 illegal universities, degree mills and countless university campuses multiplying across the country.

Under his supervision, 10 Nigerian universities were selected for the World Bank-funded African Centres of Excellence after a kin contest with other institutions from West and Central Africa for the 17 slots available.

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