- Says ‘I leave Commission fulfilled’
PROFESSOR Julius Okojie has bowed out as the executive secretary of the National Universities Commission having completed a two-term tenure of ten years.
He is to formally handover to the deputy executive secretary of the Commission, Prof Chiedu Mafiana, on Monday.
NUC staff and friends have also poured encomium on him for his landmark achievements in transformation of Nigeria’s university system and “impressive” staff welfare policy. Okojie was also eulogised for his open-door policy.
Many staff of the Commission, who shared their experience working with Okojie, recounted how he personally touched their lives and needed encouragement he gave them to perform their assigned duties.
The public eulogies were made during the weekend at a valedictory meeting with the staff of the Commission in Abuja.
Okojie, who was appointed as the Executive Secretary of NUC in 2002, during the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, has been fondly referred to as the “father of private universities in Nigeria.”
He increased the number of private universities from four to 61, an indication that he facilitated the establishment of at least 57 private universities.
Okojie, during his 10 years at the Commission midwife the creation of 97 universities having inherited only 46 universities both public and private. The number of universities now in Nigeria is 143, even though access to university education remained a major challenge in view of the nation’s population explosion.
Prof Okojie, who said he was leaving the Commission fulfilled as a result of hard work and cooperation received from the workers noted, “I will not miss my office but I will miss all of you.”
He noted that NUC had been benevolent regulator and called for strengthening of the laws of the Commission to make it a stronger regulator.
The immediate past Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Dr MacJohn Nwaobiala, spoke at the Okojie’s valedictory meeting NUC, described him as a distinguished Nigerian who worked hard to ensure quality and access to university education in Nigeria.