Mafiana steps in as NUC’s acting Executive Secretary

•Be courageous, Okojie advises him

PROFESSOR Chiedu Mafiana has stepped in as the acting Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC). He took over from Professor Julius Okojie on Monday.

Okojie, who has retired after 10 years as the Executive Secretary of the commission, advised his successor to be courageous and have the fear of God in exercising regulatory power of the commission.

Professor Mafiana, who until Monday was the Deputy Executive Secretary I of the commission, would direct the affairs of NUC till a substantive Executive Secretary is appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Delta State-born Mafiana, who is the most senior Director in the commission, assumed office after a brief handing over ceremony at the NUC’s head office in Abuja, on Monday.

Speaking further, the former NUC boss, who said he would return to teaching at the University of Agriculture, Abeaokuta (UNAB), called on parents to believe in the quality of Nigerian universities instead of sending their children to universities in the West Africa sub-region, especially some private universities in Ghana.

“Only poor parents send their children to Ghana universities, not poor in money, but poor in mind,” he added.

The former Executive Secretary, Professor Okojie, who went down memory lane on his first sojourn to NUC in 2002 as a visiting Professor, commended the entire staff for the achievements recorded, which had placed Nigerian universities in better position.

While saying that two principles— fear of God and the love for neighbour, saw him through in the 10 years as NUC boss, Professor Okojie said courageous and strong decisions were taken by him to improve the university system, no matter whose ox was gored.

“You don’t expect everybody to like you. We had the courage, we suspended many licences and they took us to National Assembly but the university system is better today,” he said.

Professor Mafiana, in his remark, eulogised his predecessor for the various achievements recorded in office, which had gone a long way in improving the quality of the Nigerian university system, even as he called for support in carrying out the new assignment.

“We will continue to regulate the university system with courage and I count on the management to give me adequate support as it was given to Professor Okojie,” the acting NUC boss said.