Background: In most institutions of government, officials usually make errors which are often blamed on ignorance of the processes of governance. Some say that Nigeria’s democracy is ‘nascent’ and therefore a learning process wherein a lot of man hour and resources are expended and therefore there is waste. When most roads for instance are constructed, they are done without an environmental impact assessment which would otherwise have established the need for drainage and sewage.
But is this the truth? An investigation carried out by ANEEJ revealed that as a matter of fact there may be political science, Economics and Agricultural Science departments. But there are no departments and faculty or a curriculum solely on governance or on teaching how the instruments of governance, transparency and accountability work in most of the public and private universities in Nigeria.
To this end, ANEEJ has initiated discussions with a foremost private university in Nigeria, the Benson Idahosa University located in Benin City, Nigeria. In a bid to firm up these discussions, ANEEJ executive director, the Rev David Ugolor, together with her development partners, Bread for the World, Germany, paid a working visit to the university recently. The Bread for the World team was made up of Reinhard Palm, head of Africa, Jan Papiendieck and Mr. Rainer Lang was led on this significant visit to the BIU by the Rev David Ugolor, executive director, Leo Atakpu and Bob MajiriOghene Etemiku, deputy executive director and communications manager respectively.
The team was received by Deputy Vice Chancellor, Sam Guobadia. The Rev Ugolor explained to the deputy vice chancellor that the purpose of the visit was to discuss modalities for the establishment of a hub to hack new models of innovation starting with the universities. The Rev Ugolor said that ANEEJ was keen to partner with the BIU to establish an interdisciplinary centre for governance Studies with an objective to carry out research and training that will support sustainable development and good governance.
Bread for the World expressed a desire to partner with ANEEJ to set up a department on good governance but deferred to Professor Sam Guobadia and ANEEJ to begin to work out the modalities for the establishment of a transparency and good governance department in the university, the first of its kind in Nigeria.
Benson Idahosa University was first known as Christian Faith University. In 1992, Archbishop Benson Idahosa applied to the Honourable Minister of Education for a licence to establish and operate a private University. Following this development, an expert team of Academics and Professionals was set up to prepare a feasibility report, an Academic Brief and develop a Master Plan for the proposed University. Operating as the institute of continuous learning (ICL), the proposed University organised academic and professional programs for young students. In 1998 Christian Faith University became Benson Idahosa University, BIU.
In February 2002, ten years after the application to start a private University, the Federal Government, acting through the national Universities Commission (NUC), graciously granted Benson Idahosa University license to operate. The University started operating as a fully licensed institution in March 2002 with an initial student enrolment of 400, registered into two faculties (Faculty of Arts, Social Sciences, Education and Faculty of Basic and Applied Sciences).