The Network for Democracy and Development has called on President Muhammadu Buhari and state governors to save public universities from avoidable collapse.
This comes as public universities have remained shut for eight months owing to a strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities.
NDD stated that federal and state governments must take bold steps to save public universities from collapse.
The group also condemned the politicisation of the appointment into academic institutions especially into the position of Vice Chancellor.
In a statement jointly signed by Tajudeen Alabede, National Coordinator; and Dr Abdul-Wasi Moshood, Director of Public Affairs, the group urged the government to honour its commitment to ASUU in the overall interest of students, the education sector and the nation.
It also said that the government and university administrators should take steps to make learning, both offline and online, a pleasant reality for the students.
The statement reads, “As stakeholders, we find it no longer excusable that, owing to the inability of the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities to reach an amicable resolution of their differences, academic activities remain suspended in public universities. COVID-19 pandemic can no longer be an alibi as virtual learning has now become a mainstream method of learning.
“NDD, therefore, urges the leadership of ASUU to look at the bigger picture and, as a first step, agree to resume academic activities. We believe that negotiations and resumption of work are not mutually exclusive realities.
“In the same vein, NDD advises the Federal Government to make it a duty to honour its commitments arising from negotiations. The legal principle of pacta sunt servanda (“agreements must be kept”) should be held sacrosanct at all times.
“Against the foregoing, NDD further pleads with both the government and ASUU to show courage by working out mutually-benefiting compromises in the overall interest of the students, the education sector and the nation.”
The group also called for improved funding and better quality of teaching and research, adding that with the emergence of more private universities, the public university system will face grave challenges.
“The fact that many well-to-do citizens and organisations that should have played a part in strengthening public universities are behind the establishment of these private universities calls for reflection.
“NDD believes that the nation cannot achieve true greatness when citadels of learning, culture and excellence are gradually being overrun by interests that are far from being noble,” it added.