NAUB/NDA merger: Will the federal government stop further establishment of new universities in Nigeria? BY Femi Oyewale

Arguably, the proposed unholy alliance between the Nigerian Army University Biu (NAUB) and the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) will definitely have a negative impact on the educational system of Nigeria, especially in the North.

There are fundamental differences in the formation, mission, and objectives of NAUB and NDA, which made the merger not just impractical but laughable.

The raging question that has sparked debate and raised eyebrows among stakeholders in the country is what’s the rationale behind the proposed merger?

The facts are there that NAUB was established years after the Oronsaye’s report which according to Femi Falana is even outdated and the birth of NAUB six years ago as a pioneering educational institution in Nigeria was to serve as the foremost civil-military University for private citizens to pursue their academic aspirations and contribute to national development. With a focus on providing quality university education to disadvantaged individuals. Interestingly, 70 percent of the students are civilians as it’s primary purpose of establishment was to cater for the multitude of students in search of university education in the north east axis, thereby curbing act of terrorism and banditry, a feat NAUB has achieved.

On the other hand, the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) is a venerable institution with a distinct role in the training of cadets to become officers in the Armed Forces of Nigeria As a facility dedicated to producing future military leaders, the NDA’s curriculum and operations are tailored towards the specialized needs of military training and education. If another NDA in another region is established as a branch of the academy, it’s different. This reveals that the motive behind the proposed merger is shrouded in mystery.

The question is, are we okay with the universities in Nigeria? No! The emergence of several private universities springing up in the country is a pointer that there is growing demand for university education in Nigeria. A visit to Biu attests to the fact that NAUB has been able to bridge the gap in the demand for university education in the northeast. In fact, NAUB has emerged as a hub for innovation, research, and technology in that part of the country .

According to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. A university may be sponsored by the federal government, state government, or local government.Or by a company incorporated in Nigeria or by an individual or group of individuals. NAUB was established by the Act of Parliament and Is a full fledge federal university like other federal universities in the country, Thus, Merging NAUB with NDA means the federal government is ready to merge every Federal universities created by act of Parliament.

NAUB is an internationally recognized Nigerian university and is located in Borno State. Nigerian Army University has been officially accredited and/or recognized by the National Universities Commission (NUC), Nigeria. This clarify the question of whether they satisfy the demand for university enrolments?

Of truth, the proposed merger needed to be well thought out as we couldn’t afford to politicize the future of our youths and our national security. What will become the fate of the students who have seen NAUB as a haven to actualize their academic pursuits?

Femi Oyewale is the publisher of Sahara Weekly and President of NASRE

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