President Muhammadu Buhari has urged Nigerian universities to justify Federal Government’s investment in them by raising standards.
Buhari made the call today in Nsukka during the 47th Convocation of the University of Nigeria (UNN), for the conferment of postgraduate diplomas, higher degrees and award of honorary degrees to three distinguished Nigerians.
Receivers of the honorary doctorate degrees are Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Mohammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III; Chairman of Zenith Bank, Chief Jim Ovia and former governor of Abia, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu.
The President, who was represented by the Minister of State for Education, Prof. Anthony Onwuka, acknowledged that universities had the potential and responsibility of training the human capital to drive various government initiatives.
He said, “Indeed government is mindful of the social role of universities in uplifting the socio-economic life of our country.
“Government will continue to give support to enable our universities to achieve the objectives which they were established.
“Universities on their own are expected to reciprocate the noble gesture of the Federal Government by striving at all time to measure up to the required standard to justify the monumental investment in them.”
The President urged the organized private sector to play prominent role in providing quality education. He said that government could not do it alone.
He added, “To this end, the organised private sector should play prominent role in helping government to achieve quality education, since government cannot shoulder the financial responsibility alone.”
He congratulated the graduates and honorary doctorate awardees as they distinguished themselves that the university found them worthy for the awards.
“Use the knowledge acquired positively for the service of your fatherland. Let this recognition and honour spur you to do more to the university and humanity in general,” he said.
In his remarks, the Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Benjamin Ozumba, said the occasion was to confer academic masters, PhD degrees and postgraduate diplomas to those found worthy in character and learning by the university.
He said, “340 people will be conferred with doctorate degree, 1,027 Masters degrees and 157 postgraduate diplomas.
“I rejoice with you for having been found worthy in character and learning.
“It is the university’s wish that you will use the knowledge acquired to improve yourself and contribute positively to national development.”
He disclosed that eight retired professors of the university that met stringent criteria would be conferred with Emeritus Professor of the university.
In his remarks, Chancellor of the university, the Oni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, commended the institution’s VC and Senate for the continuous training and graduating of high class manpower.
He lauded the school for honoring superlative achievers with the conferment of honorary degrees and honoring UNN retired professors with professor emeritus.
“I urge the graduands and the honorary awardees never to relent in being good ambassadors to this university and the country.
“To professors emeritus, I congratulate you for this high academic feat you have achieved and request you to continually play elderly roles to younger academics,” the Oni said.
Governors of Sokoto State, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal and his Enugu State counterpart, Chief Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi were among dignitaries at the occasion.
The Sultan of Sokoto was conferred with honorary Doctor of Law, Kalu, Doctor of Public Administration and Ovia bagged Doctor of Business Administration.
In their separate responses, the awardees expressed appreciation to the university, and promised to continue to render selfless service to humanity.