Mr. Valentine Chineto Ozigbo Founder, VCO Foundation
Lecture delivered at the 4th Convocation Ceremony of Paul University, Awka Anambra State on Friday, October 6, 2023

Your Excellency, Mr. Peter Obi, the former Governor of Anambra State and Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party
Your Excellency, Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo, the Governor of Anambra State
His Grace, Most Rev Henry Ndukuba, the Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate of All Nigeria (Anglican Communion) who also doubles as The Chancellor of the University,
His Grace, Most Rev Prof Emmanuel Chukwuma, the Proprietor of the University,
His Grace, Most Rev Alexanda Ibezim, Archbishop, Province on the Niger and Bishop of Awka Diocese,
His Graces and My Lord Bishops,
Engr Sir Chris Okoye, the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council, Other Council Members Present,
The Ag. Vice-Chancellor and Chairman of the Senate, Ven Prof Obiora Nwosu Deputy Vice-Chancellors, Prof Chinyere Stella Okunna and Prof Godwin Onu Other Principal Officers of the University,
Professors and Members of the University Senate, Staff and Students,
His Royal Highnesses
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, Members of the Press.


The sanctity and aura of Paul University, Awka, emanate not just from its academic prowess but also its deep-rooted connection to the spiritual ethos of the Anglican Church. As I stand on this esteemed platform, my heart

swells with gratitude. I sincerely thank the Acting Vice-Chancellor, Ven Prof Obiora Nwosu, for granting me the distinct honour of sharing my thoughts at such an eminent gathering.

Paul University stands as a beacon of hope, a testament to the monumental strides we, as a nation, are taking in the realm of higher education, and especially within the private sector. The journey of private universities like Paul University is an extraordinary narrative of vision, resilience, and relentless pursuit of excellence. The very fabric of these institutions is interwoven with aspirations, challenges, and remarkable achievements.

Education has been central to the growth and development of civilisations across history. In Nigeria, the dialogue around education is paramount, especially when we discuss the emergence, management, and prospects of private universities. As we navigate the promises and challenges of our times, it becomes essential to recognise the imperative role that institutions, especially those founded on faith and values, play in sculpting our nation’s future.

Today, I will delve deep into a subject that resonates with the very ethos of Paul University and mirrors the broader context of Nigeria’s educational landscape – “Managing Private Universities in Nigeria: Challenges and Prospects.” This subject is not just timely but holds the key to unlocking the vast potential of our great nation.

Our conversation will transcend the boundaries of mere academic discourse. It will emphasise the essence of education, recognise its transformative power, and envisage the future we can create together.

To truly understand the trajectory of our higher education and its potential, we must first take a closer look at its current state.


The landscape of higher education in Nigeria has undergone profound transformations. While the country boasts a rich legacy of public universities, the advent of private universities heralded a new chapter in the annals of Nigerian education.

Despite the longstanding monopoly of public institutions, it became increasingly apparent that they couldn’t cater to Nigeria’s burgeoning student population and evolving academic needs. In 1999, a watershed moment arrived when the Federal Government, recognising the imperative for diversity in the educational ecosystem, liberalised the establishment of universities.

This pivotal decision marked the inception of private universities in Nigeria, with pioneers like Igbinedion University, founded by Chief Gabriel Igbinedion; Babcock University, founded by Seventh Day Adventist Church; and Madonna University, founded by a Catholic priest, Rev Fr Emmanuel Edeh, receiving licenses in 1999 and setting the stage for others to follow.

Over the decades, this sector witnessed exponential growth. Propelled by a combination of entrepreneurial spirit, religious zeal, and a quest for academic excellence, numerous private institutions emerged. From humble beginnings, private universities have carved a niche for themselves, becoming hubs of innovation, research, and quality education.


Private universities have revolutionised the higher education scenario in Nigeria. Their significance, while multifaceted, can be distilled into a few key areas:

Diversification and Expansion: Private universities have expanded the horizons of Nigerian higher education, offering courses and curricula that are sometimes distinct from traditional public universities. This diversity has enriched the academic environment, providing students with a broader array of choices.

Quality and Innovation: With autonomy comes the flexibility to innovate. Many private universities have become pioneers in introducing modern teaching methods, state-of-the-art facilities, and curricula aligned with global standards, ensuring that students are not just job-ready but world- ready.

Addressing Enrolment Pressure: The surge in Nigeria’s youth population has naturally escalated the demand for quality higher education. Private universities have played a pivotal role in absorbing this increasing demand, easing the pressure on public institutions.

Community and Development: Many private universities, especially those with religious affiliations like Paul University Awka, serve not just an academic purpose but a societal one. They become centres for community development, spiritual growth, and moral grounding, producing holistic graduates.

Economic Contributions: These institutions also play a vital economic role. Private universities have bolstered Nigeria’s economy, from creating jobs to attracting foreign investments through collaborations and partnerships.

Bridging the Gap: In areas where public universities might have limitations, be it in terms of geography, course offerings, or research facilities, private institutions have stepped in, bridging the gap and ensuring that every student has access to quality education.

In essence, private universities in Nigeria have not just complemented the efforts of public institutions but have elevated the country’s educational stature on the global stage. Their contributions are not mere footnotes in the annals of Nigerian education; they are defining chapters, shaping the future of countless youths and, by extension, the nation itself.


Nigeria, the giant of Africa, boasts an extensive higher educational system. Presently, our great nation houses about 238 universities. This number is distributed between 43 federal universities, 48 state universities, and an impressive count of 147 private universities. This is a significant climb from 170 universities in 2019.

Thirty-seven new universities were approved by the National Universities Commission (NUC) in 2023, 12 in 2022, 20 in 2021, none in 2020, 4 in 2019, and 1 in 2018. It’s worth noting that this rapid proliferation of universities, especially private ones, reflects a growing emphasis on education and the increasing demand to cater to our nation’s burgeoning youth and meet the human resource needs of our country.

The student enrolment figures mirror this growth. Millions of young Nigerians are pursuing tertiary education, entrusting universities with the responsibility of shaping their futures. NUC published its last data for Nigerian Universities in 2019. It shows 1,854,262 full-time undergraduate students enrolment – 1,206,825 Federal, 544,936 State, and 102,500 Private. Full-time post-graduate enrolment was 197,105 – 165,792 Federal, 27,036 State, and 4,277 Private. At the same time, part-time post- graduate enrolment was 22,612 – 18,360 Federal, 3,707 State, and 545 Private. These numbers are not just a testament to our nation’s commitment to education but also point to the immense responsibility of our institutions.

Furthermore, the diverse courses span various disciplines – from the arts and humanities to the pure and applied sciences. This diversity attests to our nation’s expansive academic interests and its readiness to foster specialists across multiple sectors.


Now, while numbers give us an overview, the intrinsic qualities of these institutions genuinely matter. Many of the newer universities, mostly private institutions, are carving a niche by introducing innovative teaching

methods, specialised courses, and state-of-the-art infrastructure. They’re not just academic institutions but hubs of creativity and innovation, melding tradition with modernity.

One distinguishing factor of these newer institutions is their agility. They are often quicker to adapt to global educational trends, technology, and pedagogies. Their curricula are frequently updated to meet contemporary demands, ensuring their students are not just graduates but industry-ready professionals.

Furthermore, these universities emphasise holistic development. Beyond the classroom, they invest in extracurricular activities, leadership programmes, and community service, ensuring that their students graduate as well-rounded individuals, ready to make impactful contributions to society.

While the legacy of our older institutions provides a strong foundation, the dynamism of the newer universities promises an exciting future. It’s a blend of the old and the new, the traditional and the modern, and together, they form the vibrant landscape of Nigeria’s higher education.


In the educational landscape of Nigeria, private universities have emerged not merely as centres of learning but as potent symbols of change and progress. Their establishment is a response to a societal call, a clarion need for educational institutions that can evolve rapidly, unfettered by some bureaucratic trappings that often slow down public counterparts.

Nigeria’s developmental challenges are monumental, ranging from infrastructural deficits to human capital development needs. The importance of private universities in addressing these challenges cannot be understated. With their flexibility, these institutions can tailor curricula to address specific national requirements, innovate teaching methodologies to suit the modern Nigerian student, and pivot rapidly in response to global trends.


Every university is a reflection of the motivations that birthed it. And while it’s commendable to establish institutions of higher learning, it’s the heart behind these establishments that determine their trajectory. The best universities are borne out of a genuine desire to contribute to societal growth, to provide world-class education, and to mould future leaders.

However, motivations that are purely profit-driven or borne out of fleeting trends or personal vanity can lead to institutions that contribute little to society in the long run. They might offer grand infrastructures, but without a soul, without a genuine commitment to excellence in education.

In essence, while the physical structures of a university are essential, it’s these intangibles – the heart behind its establishment, the foundations laid in its early years, and the vision of its pioneers – that truly define its impact on society.


As we delve deeper into the educational landscape, it’s imperative to understand what truly sets private universities apart from their public counterparts. Private universities have carved a niche, bringing a set of characteristics that make them stand out.

1. Autonomy and Flexibility
Private universities enjoy a level of autonomy that’s often unparalleled. This autonomy allows for rapid decision-making processes, quick curriculum changes, and the flexibility to adapt to the evolving needs of the educational sector without being bogged down by bureaucratic red tape.

2. Innovative Curriculum Design
Private institutions often have the liberty to design curricula that are

innovative, futuristic, and aligned with global standards. This adaptability ensures that students are equipped with relevant skills not just today but also for the future.

3. Personalised Attention
Private universities can offer a more personalised learning experience given their often smaller student populations. Faculty can provide individualised attention, ensuring that each student’s needs are addressed, enhancing the overall quality of education.

4. Infrastructure and Facilities
Many private universities boast state-of-the-art facilities, from cutting-edge labs to modern libraries, offering students an environment conducive to learning and research.

5. Global Collaborations and Partnerships
Private universities often foster collaborations with institutions from around the world. These partnerships provide students with opportunities for exchange programmes, global internships, and exposure to a diverse educational ecosystem.

6. Financial Independence
Not being entirely dependent on government funding, private universities have the flexibility to channel their resources efficiently. This financial independence can lead to more focused investments in research, infrastructure, and other critical areas.

7. Entrepreneurial Spirit
The very nature of private universities often embodies an entrepreneurial spirit. This ethos is passed down to the students, nurturing a generation of thinkers, innovators, and changemakers ready to take on the challenges of the modern world.

8. Immunity from Industrial Actions

A significant advantage of private universities is their near-immunity from incessant breaks caused by industrial actions. Unlike many public universities that frequently grapple with disputes with unions, leading to prolonged strikes, private universities ensure a seamless academic calendar, which is critical for timely graduation and consistent learning.

9. Community Engagement
Private universities, being deeply rooted in their communities, often have robust outreach programmes. Their symbiotic relationship with the community ensures mutual growth, with the institution contributing to local development and, in turn, gaining invaluable real-world insights for its students.

In essence, while both public and private universities have their strengths, the latter brings flexibility, innovation, and a global outlook. These unique characteristics enrich the student experience and ensure that graduates are ready to excel in a globalised world.


Having highlighted the unique advantages private universities bring to the educational ecosystem, we only need to shed light on the myriad challenges they grapple with. Let us unpack some of these challenges:

1. Funding and Sustainability
While private universities have the autonomy to make financial decisions, high operational costs often challenge them. Without significant government funding, these institutions primarily rely on tuition fees. Endowments, which could offer a financial cushion, often remain underdeveloped or non-existent. This makes economic sustainability a pressing concern.

2. Regulations and Accreditation
Navigating the intricate and often rigorous accreditation process laid out by the National Universities Commission (NUC) is daunting. Constantly

evolving regulations can also pose challenges, requiring universities to be ever-adaptive.

3. Quality Assurance
Ensuring and maintaining high academic standards is paramount. Yet, juxtaposed with the need for financial sustainability, private universities often face the difficult task of providing quality while managing costs. Meeting international benchmarks adds another layer of complexity.

4. Reputation and Public Perception
The longstanding reputation and brand names associated with many public universities can overshadow the value proposition of private institutions. Parents and students, influenced by these brand names, may opt for public schools, undermining the enrollment in private ones. Despite their strengths, private institutions often have to work doubly hard to overcome societal stereotypes and prejudices.

5. Infrastructure
Providing state-of-the-art facilities and accommodations is a considerable feat, especially when faced with funding challenges. Yet, continuous investment in infrastructure is crucial to remain competitive and offer the best to students.

6. Academic Faculty Recruitment and Retention
In a competitive academic landscape, attracting top-tier faculty talent becomes challenging. Talent retention becomes equally challenging when coupled with remuneration concerns and the allure of opportunities abroad or in other sectors. This affects not just teaching quality but research output, too.

7. Research

Establishing a robust research programme is essential for academic growth. Yet, obtaining research grants, ensuring the research’s relevance, and making meaningful contributions to academia and society is a formidable challenge.

8. Governance Structure and Committee System
Despite the NUC’s approved governance structures, poor implementation often occurs. Additionally, the effective operation of the university committee system may be hampered, affecting decision-making and administrative processes.

Acknowledging these challenges and collaboratively finding solutions is the first step toward ensuring these institutions reach their full potential.


As we have seen, the road ahead for private universities is not without its share of challenges. However, the horizon is also illuminated with immense prospects and opportunities that can reshape the educational landscape of Nigeria. Let’s dive into these potential avenues:

1. Collaboration and Partnerships
One of the most potent tools in the arsenal of private universities is their ability to forge dynamic collaborations. By aligning with international universities, industries, and other types of organisations, these institutions can exchange knowledge, improve teaching methodologies, and ensure their students are equipped with globally relevant skills.

2. Diversified Funding
While traditional tuition-based funding will remain a staple, there’s a world of alternative financing to explore. This includes establishing solid endowments, galvanising alums for contributions, procuring research grants, and collaborating with the private sector for mutual benefit.

3. Technological Advancements
The digital revolution is here; education is not exempt from its touch. Private universities have the agility to adopt e-learning platforms swiftly, digitise tedious administrative tasks, and introduce innovative teaching methods. This not only improves efficiency but also enhances the learning experience for students.

4. Curriculum Development
A dynamic world demands a dynamic curriculum. Recognising the shifts in Nigeria’s economy and societal structure, private universities can tailor their courses to be more relevant, ensuring students are academically proficient and industry-ready.

5. Strengthening research
Research is the bedrock of progress. By focusing on areas that directly impact Nigeria, be it in agriculture, technology, health, or social sciences, universities can create tangible change. This will boost the institution’s reputation and contribute meaningfully to national development.

6. Community Engagement
Institutions do not operate in a vacuum. They are part of a larger community, and by engaging with this community, universities can establish a symbiotic relationship. From offering vocational training to collaborating on local projects, there are myriad ways to ensure mutual growth and benefit.

Challenges are inevitable, and so are opportunities. With a forward-looking vision, unwavering commitment, and strategic planning, private universities can become beacons of excellence and pivotal players in Nigeria’s educational and developmental journey.


Distinguished guests, to truly understand the potential and prospects of private universities in Nigeria, let’s turn our attention to the trailblazers who have not only faced challenges head-on but also emerged as exemplars of academic excellence and innovation.

1. Covenant University
Located in Ota, Ogun State, Covenant University, established by the Living Faith Church, is a testament to vision-driven leadership and relentless commitment. Within a short span of its establishment, it has consistently ranked as one of the top universities in Nigeria.

The university’s unique approach to student discipline, innovative curriculum, and robust research culture have set it apart. Their push towards a world-class infrastructure and Vision 10:2022, aiming to be among the top 10 universities globally, is commendable.

• A member of the Association of Commonwealth Universities.
• Regularly ranked among the top 5 universities in Nigeria.
• Over 70 patents in various fields of research by 2017, highlighting their focus on impactful and tangible research contributions.

2. Babcock University
Babcock University in Ilishan-Remo, owned by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, is another shining example. The university, with its emphasis on holistic education, ensures students are not just academically prepared but also morally upright.

• One of the first private universities to get a medical license for its medical school, underscoring its commitment to quality.
• Pioneered the Send-Forth programme, ensuring graduates are prepared for the professional world with ethics and excellence.

• Introduced entrepreneurial courses for all students to ensure that they are not just job seekers but potential job creators.

Lessons from these Success Stories

These universities exemplify the heights private institutions can achieve when there’s a harmonious blend of vision, commitment, innovation, and community engagement. They underscore the importance of a well-defined mission, investment in research and development, and fostering a culture that prioritises academic excellence.

In their journeys, there are lessons for all: the necessity for continuous improvement, the importance of community engagement, the imperatives of research, and the crucial role of visionary leadership.

Reflecting on their stories, it’s clear that while the road to excellence is riddled with challenges, with the right strategies and perseverance, success is not just a possibility but a guarantee.


In the quest to elevate the standards of private universities in Nigeria and to ensure they remain critical vehicles for the nation’s development, there are pivotal roles that each stakeholder must play. Let me outline a clear roadmap for each:

For the Government

Policy Framework: Implement policies that encourage the growth and sustainability of private universities, acknowledging their unique challenges and contributions.

Financial Incentives: Provide tax breaks or subsidies, especially for

universities focusing on research and innovation critical to national development. Presently, only public universities receive grants from the Nigerian government, and this policy should be reviewed immediately. The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) should end its discriminatory policies and also provide support to private universities. Government grants should be merit-based and equitably spread.

Regulatory Reforms: While maintaining standards, it is vital to ensure that accreditation and regulatory processes are streamlined and devoid of unnecessary bureaucracies.

Public-Private Partnerships: Encourage collaborations between public and private institutions for knowledge sharing and resource optimisation.

For Private Universities

Best Practices: Continuously benchmark against not just national but global standards. Adopting international best practices can significantly elevate the quality of education.

Research Focus: Invest heavily in research centres and ensure they are aligned with national development goals.

Collaborations: Build networks with other universities, globally and locally. This promotes exchange programmes, shared research, and even faculty exchanges.

Community Engagement: Ensure that the university’s activities, especially research, directly impact the surrounding communities.

For Studentsand Parents

Changing Perceptions: Understand that the education landscape is evolving, and private universities are increasingly leading in quality, innovation, and


Value Proposition: Recognise the unique offerings of private universities, from state-of-the-art facilities to more focused academic programmes and a stable academic calendar.

Active Participation: Engage with university management, participate in alum networks, and contribute to endowments. This active involvement goes a long way in shaping the future trajectory of the institution.

Lifelong Learning: Embrace the culture of continuous learning and upskilling, which many private institutions champion.


I am compelled at this point to address an oft-repeated critique of our universities, particularly those in the private sector. Many times, these institutions have faced scrutiny and criticism – for perceived inadequacies, a supposed lack of focus, an alleged dearth of innovation, and, most critically, for not fully aligning with Nigeria’s broader aspirations in human resources development and pioneering research.

Yet, in voicing these criticisms, we often commit a profound oversight. We fail to contextualise. We overlook the broader canvas on which these universities paint their narratives. It’s imperative to question: How can an institution, even with the noblest of intentions, transcend the limiting circumstances of its environment?

Let us take a moment to reflect on our beloved Nigeria. We are a nation of incredible potential, boundless energy, and an indomitable spirit. However, we cannot ignore the hard truths that confront us daily. In many sectors, systems that once stood tall now show signs of weariness. From infrastructure to healthcare, from governance to public services, the challenges are omnipresent. In such a milieu, is it fair, or even logical, to

expect our universities to be the sole islands of excellence, untouched and unaffected by the storms that rage around them?

Private universities, by their very nature, operate within a circumscribed sphere. While they enjoy a degree of autonomy, as I had earlier noted, they remain intertwined with the nation’s socio-political and economic fabric. If the threads of this fabric are fraying, can these universities honestly be expected to weave tapestries of unparalleled excellence?

Imagine, for a moment, a sapling trying to grow on parched land. Despite the most nurturing care, there is only so much it can achieve without the essential nourishment from its soil. Similarly, our private universities are those saplings. They yearn to grow tall and robust, but they are bound by the land they are sown in – our great nation with its current set of challenges.

We live in a nation where basic amenities can be a luxury. Where consistent power supply, accessible quality healthcare, and even safety are not guaranteed, these aren’t mere inconveniences but significant impediments. In such an environment, the onus on universities becomes twofold. They are not only tasked with imparting education but also with countering and overcoming a plethora of external challenges, many of which are beyond their immediate control.

While it’s easy to point fingers and critique, it’s essential to remember that universities, like all entities, are products of their environment. For them to truly flourish and reach the zenith of their potential, it’s not just the internal factors that need to align but the external ones too.

This, however, is not an appeal for leniency in our evaluations or a plea to lower our expectations. Instead, it calls for empathy, understanding, and a broader perspective. It’s a reminder that while we dream of world-class institutions in our homeland, we must also work towards creating a world- class environment for them to thrive in.

For our private universities to rise and shine, to be the beacons of hope and

knowledge we so desperately need, our nation must rise with them. Our collective circumstances require elevation. And this, dear friends, is a shared responsibility – one that transcends beyond the gates of any single institution and rests upon the shoulders of us all.


As we dissect the intricate fabric of our nation’s education system and our universities’ role, we must recognise a fundamental truth – we are intricately and inescapably woven into this fabric. We are not mere spectators in the grand play of Nigeria’s progress; we are its actors, its architects.

It’s easy to detail the plethora of challenges we face, just as it’s comforting to daydream about the endless prospects on the horizon. But let us pause and reflect for a moment. The overarching narrative of our nation, the tale of missed opportunities and unrealised potential, can be attributed almost overwhelmingly to a singular cause: governance.

Research and observations have shown that nearly 80% of our challenges emanate from the quagmire of poor governance. In the same breath, over 80% of our latent opportunities could be actualised under the aegis of visionary leadership. So, what does this dichotomy underscore? It emphasises that before we can ascend, we must first address the foundational cracks. It underscores that the renaissance we seek, the transformation we envision, hinges predominantly on governance.

Ladies and gentlemen, the heart of the matter is this: We cannot merely treat the symptoms; we must address the root cause. The onus lies on us to reclaim our nation’s reins to steer Nigeria toward its deserved destiny. And this requires more than just passive hope. It demands active participation, especially from those equipped with knowledge, insights, and influence. This audience, brimming with thought leaders, intellectuals, and trailblazers, holds the potential to ignite a revolution of reform.

Political power is not just a vehicle of authority; it is the most potent tool

for change. And this tool must be wielded by those with the vision, commitment, and passion to rejuvenate Nigeria. By sidestepping politics, we cede our nation’s future to those who might not prioritise its well-being. We need thought leaders like you to join this arena, to be the voices of reason, innovation, and progress.

To the graduating class: As you step forth, armed with knowledge, ideals, and dreams, remember that your true calling goes beyond personal success. You are the torchbearers of Nigeria’s future, the vanguard of the change we earnestly seek. Commit to employing your education, skills, and values to make a palpable difference. Engage with the political landscape through casting informed votes, participating in civic discussions, or even considering political roles. You are not just graduates; you are guardians of Nigeria’s destiny.

In conclusion, if we are to see our universities and our nation flourish, it isn’t enough to merely identify the problems and dream of solutions. We must rise to the challenge, step into the fray, and be the architects of the change we wish to see. Because ultimately, the business of rebuilding Nigeria is not a task for the few; it is a mandate for us all.


In the grand narrative of our nation, there was a defining moment that neither history books nor our collective conscience will ever forget: the movement for a New Nigeria. It wasn’t merely a political campaign or a social cause. It was a clarion call, a passionate plea, a youth-led revolution that captured our nation’s spirit and resonated across the globe. It symbolised our deep yearning for change, for justice, for a Nigeria that we could all be truly proud of.

This movement showcased the immense power of unity, of young voices refusing to be silenced, of an indomitable spirit that believed in the prospect of reclaiming our nation and redirecting her destiny. The spark ignited by the New Nigeria movement is testimony to the fact that the dream of restoring our country to her rightful glory is not only attainable but is also deeply etched in the hearts of millions.

And now, as we await the Supreme Court’s judgment in the coming weeks, it’s paramount that we remember this: regardless of the outcome, the vision of a New Nigeria must remain undimmed. Our journey does not end with a single verdict, nor does our commitment waver based on a solitary event.

We must hold on to hope, for hope is the bedrock of change. But hope alone is not enough. It must be paired with action, with commitment, with eternal vigilance. We must recognise that creating the Nigeria we desire is not a sprint but a marathon. It demands perseverance, dedication, and the continual heavy lifting and grinding work of nation-building.

While movements capture imaginations and court verdicts capture headlines, it is our daily actions, our unwavering commitment, and our collective resolve that will truly shape our nation’s future. Each of us, from the lecturer in this institution to the student preparing for exams, from the farmer in our fields to the entrepreneur in our cities, has a role to play in this grand tapestry of nation-building.

In closing, let the movement for a New Nigeria not just be a chapter in our history but a continuous call to action. Let’s keep the flame burning, keep the dream alive, and together, step by step, create the Nigeria we all envision and deserve.


Esteemed members of the academic community, dear students, and distinguished guests,

In our journey towards building a stronger Nigeria and a more robust academic ecosystem, we must embrace a fundamental paradigm shift: the culture of continuous improvement. Central to this ethos is a philosophy originating from Japan but universally applicable in its essence – Kaizen.

“Kai” meaning “change”, and “zen”, meaning “better”, together forming “Kaizen”, represents the concept of continuous, incremental improvement. It’s not just a methodology but a mindset, an attitude, and a cultural cornerstone that believes in improving processes, products, and even our very selves, day by day, step by step.

So, why is Kaizen crucial for us? Why should an ancient Japanese philosophy matter to the educational institutions of Nigeria?

Because Kaizen transcends borders and industries, it’s a universal call to action that drives organisations and individuals to constantly challenge the status quo and look for ways to do things better, more efficiently, and more effectively. It’s about harnessing the collective intelligence of all stakeholders making incremental changes that, over time, lead to significant transformations.

Allow me to share a personal testament to the power of Kaizen. In my tenure at Transcorp, we didn’t achieve our monumental growth through radical overhauls or dramatic shifts. Instead, we embraced the Kaizen philosophy. We dedicated ourselves to making small, continuous improvements, ensuring that we were just a bit better each day than the day before. This consistent, incremental progress transformed Transcorp from a 4-star enterprise to a shining 7-star conglomerate.

But for Kaizen to work, it must be more than just an executive strategy or a managerial tool. It needs to be a pervasive culture. Everyone, from the top echelons of leadership to the newest member of an organisation, must believe in and practice Kaizen. It requires consistent effort, an open-minded approach to feedback, and a genuine commitment to seeking excellence in everything we do.

Adopting the Kaizen philosophy can be revolutionary for our universities, especially in this age of rapid technological and socio-economic changes. It can lead to dramatic improvements in curriculum design, teaching methodologies, research output, and administrative processes. It can make our universities more responsive to the needs of students, the demands of industries, and the expectations of society at large.

But beyond the institutional benefits, Kaizen also equips our students with a mindset that will serve them well in their personal and professional lives. A mindset that believes there’s always room to grow, learn, and improve.

I urge all of you to consider the transformative power of the Kaizen philosophy. Let’s collectively instil a new culture of continuous improvement in our institutions, our communities, and our nation. Because with Kaizen, the journey of progress never stops, and the possibilities are limitless.


In conclusion, the journey of elevating our private universities to world- class standards is collective. It requires the concerted efforts of all stakeholders, each playing their part diligently. With these recommended steps, we are charting a brighter course for the future of tertiary education in Nigeria.

Thank you, and God bless all of us.

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