By Felix Khanoba
The Presidential Visitation Panel to the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) has commenced its activities, with the assurance of turning out a report that will further improve on the fortunes of the institution.
Chairman of the seven-man panel, Alhaji Isah Bello Sali, made this known on Tuesday during a visit to the national headquarters of NOUN in Abuja.
Addressing newsmen on the activities of the visitation panel, Sali, a former Head of Service of the Federation, said no stone would be left unturned in ensuring the panel fully delivers on its terms of reference.
He listed the term of reference to include; “to inquire into the level of implementation of the white paper on the last visitation report.
” To examine the quality of the leadership of the University in terms of the role of the Governing Board, the Vice Chancellor and other Principal Officers.
“To examine the financial management of the institution including statutory allocations and internally generated revenue over the recommended period and determine whether it was in compliance with the appropriate regulations;
“To investigate the application of funds, particularly the special grants and loans meant for particular projects in order to determine the status of such projects and their relevance for further funding.
“To examine the adequacy of staff and staff development programmes of the University.
“To determine the relationship between the University and the various statutory bodies it interacts with according to its Law, for the purpose of supervising, finance, discipline, guidance and any other relationship (Governing Council, NUC and the Federal Ministry of Education),” among others.
He called on all stakeholders within and outside the University’s community to avail the panel necessary information that would help it to effectively deliver on its assignment.
“In fulfilment of the mandate of the Panel, members noted that a good starting point for the assignment would be for the Panel to knock on the doors of the University by meeting with the Governing Council to seek its support and blessings without which the assignment cannot succeed.
“This is the reason why we are gathered here this morning to hear the University’s story from the appropriate authority,” he said.
Earlier, the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of NOUN’s Governing Council, Professor Peter Okebukola, said the University, which now boasts of students population of over 600,000, is the largest in Africa, and is being followed in a distant second by University of South Africa (UNISA) with about 400,000 students.
Okebukola, a former Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), said NOUN has been doing everything possible to improve the quality of its programmes to attract more students.
“We are working every day to improve on the quality of our graduates,” he said.
He assured the governing council’s readiness to provide all the needed information to the panel.
“We will take each of your terms of reference and submit a memorandum on them one by one,” Okebukola said.
The AUTHORITY reports that NOUN’s visitation panel alongside others were inaugurated by the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari a fortnight ago.
The panel, whose mandate is to examine activities in NOUN within the last 10 years, has 60 days to submit its report to the Federal Government.