The Peoples Democratic Party, Coalition of United Political Parties, and The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership have expressed opposition to a proposal by the wife of President Muhammadu Buhari, Aisha, to establish a private university to be known as Muhammadu Buhari University.
The groups described the proposed university as misplaced.
Aisha had, during a town hall meeting in Yola, Adamawa State organised by her in collaboration with Concerned Indigenes of Adamawa, disclosed her plan for the private university.
But the PDP Deputy National Publicity, Mr Diran Odeyemi, in an interview with our correspondent on Tuesday alleged that Buhari’s family was building a private university for themselves with public funds under the guise of donations from individuals who, he claimed, had been empowered by the Buhari family purposely for donations to their private university.
He urged Nigerians to resist any attempt by Aisha to use public funds to finance her private university under whatever guise.
Odeyemi said, “The proposed university by Mrs Aisha Buhari to be named after her husband is a manifestation of the warnings that the PDP has been giving Nigerians that the APC is a rotten political platform that was established to dupe Nigerians under the coinage of change mantra.
“Nigerians will remember that we raised the alarm about the deceitful tactics of Buhari and his immediate family who made us to feel they could not afford the money for a nomination form for his second term.
“Rather than engage in building a capital-intensive new university, why doesn’t the Federal Government improve on the dilapidated, failing and obsolete facilities of the existing great citadels of our ivory towers that are begging for upgrading and improvement?”
CUPP’s first spokesperson, Mr Imo Ugochinyere, in an interview said the planned university indicated that Buhari had no idea on how to improve the education system in the country, security and fight corruption.
He said, “It is a misplaced priority. It shows that the same people are promoting the use of state institutions to acquire personal wealth. It also shows that the President and his wife are clueless on how to solve the problems affecting the education sector in the country. The problem with our education system is not how to build a university in the name of Muhammadu Buhari.
“Look at the UNESCO requirement of minimum of 25 per cent of the budget going into education; we even do not have 22 per cent to education. They do not have plan for education. It is a wild goose chase and an opportunity for the President’s wife to dip her hands into the looting jamboree that is going on in the country. She wants to be part of it.
“It is contradictory. Where are they getting the land from? Where are they getting the money from to build the institution? And this is a government that has not fulfilled up to 30 per cent of his budget/promises to the education sector.”
Ugochinyere further alleged that Buhari’s administration did not have respect for the education sector. He lamented the infrastructure decay in many universities.
According to him, Buhari and Aisha have no idea for education development in Nigeria.
“She (Aisha) wants to call some friends of her husband so that they can donate for her to build a university which is going to be another illegal asset she is going to bequeath to herself. The only priority that the Constitution allows people in public position to do is more of farming. But now she wants to build an institution. She is going to use her influence to get land, she is going to use the friends of her husband to donate.
“These are the same people who were condemning Obasanjo Library. They are doing the same thing over and over again.”
CACOL’s Executive Chairman, Mr Debo Adeniran, in an interview said, “I do not think it is a right idea for a President who lives an austere life by example to allow his wife to embark on such a project although she said she was going to raise the money eternally. But wherever it comes from, if she has the capacity to raise adequate funding for a university, then she should use it for social welfare. She should use her influence to advance things that will solve maternal mortality, infant mortality and others that are confronting the people.
When contacted, the APC National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Lanre Onilu, said his mandate was to speak for the APC and not for Aisha.