The impact of oil revenue on Nigerian universities from 1960 to 1996 : a national development perspective

Weli, Simeon Emenike. (2001). The impact of oil revenue on Nigerian universities from 1960 to 1996 : a national development perspective PhD Thesis, School of Education, The University of Queensland.

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Author Weli, Simeon Emenike.
Thesis Title The impact of oil revenue on Nigerian universities from 1960 to 1996 : a national development perspective
School, Centre or Institute School of Education
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2001
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor John Knight
Robert Lingard
Total pages 387
Collection year 2002
Language eng
Subjects L
330102 History and Philosophy of Education
740301 Higher education
Formatted abstract
This study used post-colonial and human capital theories as the framework to investigate the impact of Nigerian post-independence oil revenue on post-independence university finances, and the effect on national development. This investigation was based on three emerging levels (pre-boom, boom, and the post-boom era) of oil revenue as the mainstay of the economy under many regimes, spanning the period 1960 to 1996 and beyond. Since 1960, oil income has formed part of Federal Government revenue that is allocated to the Universities through the National Universities Commission for capital and recurrent expenditures. Oil revenue has impacted heavily on university operations since then, and has enabled the universities to continue the role of training intermediate and high level manpower that will contribute towards Nigeria's economic and social development.

Achieving independence from Britain in October 1960, the Nigerian Federal Government assumed complete control of planning Nigeria's development strategies. Under colonialism, Britain was mostly involved in planning development strategies for Nigeria. Britain's development strategies were mainly designed and implemented to legitimise and accomplish the British-style dreams of Nigeria. Such dreams perpetuated continued dependence on Britain, and promoted Britain's development rather than Nigeria's. Consequently, Nigerians regarded such a stance as exploitative, and as a result commenced peaceful agitation and struggles for independence which was finally granted in 1960.

Prior to independence, the agricultural sector rather than the oil sector provided Nigeria with the major revenue needed for growth and development. Oil was first drilled in commercial quantity in Nigeria in 1958, and by 1960 accounted for 1% of Federal Government revenue, but rose rapidly in importance from the seventies, and ever since has been contributing up to about 82% of the Federal Government revenue and budget resources, and about 95% of Nigeria's foreign earnings.

The increased revenue from the oil sector, resulting from the high cost of oil in the seventies to the beginning of the eighties, and the Nigerian Government being anxious to meet the popular demand for increased access to higher education with little regard for the long-term costs, led to a sudden surge in the number of universities established during the seventies and the eighties. The number of universities grew from two Universities with a total student enrolment of 1,395 in 1960, to thirteen Universities with total student enrolment of 57,738 in the 1979/80 academic session, and to thirty-seven Universities in 1996 with student enrolment of over 235,000 in the 1995/1996 academic session. Of the thirty-seven universities, twelve are state founded, funded and owned, while the remaining twenty-five are federally funded. This study focused on the federally funded universities, only making occasional references to state universities.

A number of interrelated factors have had substantial negative impact upon Nigeria's economy and its dependence on oil revenue. These factors include: the end of the oil boom, the political crises witnessed in Nigeria over the years, military dictatorships, corruption and the increasing strain in Nigeria's economy as a result of added responsibilities from other sectors of the economy. The result has been the inability of the government to continue to fund universities in an adequate way. These developments during the period of falling oil revenue, differ from the developments in Universities during the pre oil boom era, and during the rising oil revenue era.

This study therefore examines the impact of oil revenue on universities at the different stages of its influences on university funding. It suggests some recommendations as a way forward for the universities to accomplish their goal of Nigerian development. These recommendations include the following:
• The Federal Government should pause in establishing new universities for the next decade, with an exception of establishing a specialised petroleum university, and ensure proper funding and adequate maintenance of the existing ones,

• Universities should source their revenue to complement Federal Government funding,

• Specialised Petroleum University should be built,

• Governments, companies, groups and individuals should invest enough fimds in research and development,

• Universities should strive to help Nigeria realise its tertiary education and National objectives. Although the scope of this investigation covers the period from 1960 up to 1996, the ushering in of a new democratic dispensation in Nigeria in 1999, after a prolonged period of military dictatorship, and its links to issues investigated in the study, calls for a brief extended analysis of the socio/political issues emanating from the new administration.
Keyword Universities and colleges -- Nigeria -- Finance

Document type: Thesis
Collection: UQ Theses (RHD) - UQ staff and students only
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Created: Fri, 24 Aug 2007, 17:56:12 EST