Buhari charges varsities to strengthen synergy with NUC, TETFund
* Igwilo, others bag UNILAG’s distinguished professor award
* 32 Agbami Co-venturers scholars’ graduates in First Class Division
President Muhammadu Buhari, has charged university administrators to strengthen their relationship with the National Universities Commission (NUC), and the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), so as to achieve the expected growth.
Speaking during the just concluded 2015/2016 convocation of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Buhari who was represented by the Executive Secretary of NUC, Prof. Adamu Abubakar Rasheed, regretted that many universities were underutilising the fund meant for their development.
Reiterating his administration’s resolve to strengthen university education and ensure that peace reigns in tertiary institutions, the president maintained that for universities to survive and develop, they must maintain a close tie with the NUC, as well as work in harmony with TETFund and other relevant agencies in the country.
He therefore, urged all vice chancellors to take full advantage of the fund and efficiently utilise it for the development of their respective institutions.
Vice Chancellor of UNILAG, Prof. Rahamon Adisa Bello, in his remarks challenged Nigerian tertiary institutions to take on more roles and responsibilities in solving the nation’s problems.
Bello, who pointed out that foremost universities in the country should be more than just training institutions stated, “universities need to be commissioned to solve the nation’s problems through research and development efforts and direct challenges by government.”
He urged the Federal Government to explore alternative means of financing the needs of universities, in order to insulate university education from the fiscal instability of government.
The three-day ceremony also featured the conferment of honourary doctorate degrees on the chancellor of the university, Dr. Abubakar Ibn Umar El-Kanemi, CFR, Shehu of Borno; renowned poet and playwright, Prof. John Pepper ; and Professor of Chemical Engineering, Ayodele Francis Ogunye.
West Africa’s first female professor of pharmacy, Mrs. Cecilia Ihuoma Igwilo, was also honoured with a distinguished professor award, one of the university’s highest honours for pedagogical excellence. The three other recipients of the award are Prof. Babajide Alo, Prof. Olukayode Amund and Prof. Jim Unah.
Igwilo, the former Dean, School of Pharmacy, UNILAG, is a professor of pharmaceutics and pharmaceutical technology and fellow of the Nigeria Academy of Pharmacy and the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria.
Meanwhile, 32 out of the 231 first class graduates recorded by the institution were beneficiaries of the Agbami Medical and Engineering Professional Scholarship Programme.
The programme, a merit-based scheme started in 2009, and is aimed at providing needed manpower in the areas of engineering and medicine for the development of the nation.
Between 2009 and 2015, a total of 15,356 students have benefitted from the programme instituted by Agbami Partners, comprising of Star Deep Water Petroleum Limited, Famfa Oil Limited, Statoil Nigeria Limited, Petroleo Brasileiro Nigeria Limited, and the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
According to the Manager, Policy, Government and Public Affairs, Lagos, Chevron, Sam Otuonye, the programme, which N7bn has been expended since inception, has recorded 320 first class, 497 second class upper and 1729 second class lower graduates in the 2015/2016 session.
Otuonye who noted that Agbami Partners’ social investment model has institutionalised the spirit of partnerships for community-driven development and human capacity building for health and educational institutions in the country, said the programme, in conjunction with Dragnet Solution only selects the best candidates through the certain measures put in place.
He said: “We have our yardsticks for determining who qualifies. First of all, there is an exam set to evaluate you and you have to scale through that exam. With Dragnet Solution professionally handling the process, we make sure there is no favouritism. And there performances has further proven that the process was thorough.”
Speaking on how the programme impacted her education, one of the beneficiaries, and the best graduating students with Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 5.0, Miss Oyindamola Ajoke Omotuyi, of the Department of Systems Engineering, attributed her feat to God, adding that her penchant for seeking knowledge, based on its own merits really helped her.
Omotuyi, who achieved the feat alongside Miss Taiwo Bankole, of the Department of Cell Biology and Genetics, revealed that she became part of the scholarship scheme in 100 Level after a successful qualifying examination.
Another beneficiary, Victor Chineke, who graduated with 4.72 CGPA in Chemical Engineering, said the scholarship, which came at a time his family experienced dire financial challenges, added that his design and research project, which gulped a lot of money benefited immensely from the scholarship.
He, however, said despite the many challenges he had to contend with, he remained positive all through as a prestigious company was out there ready to support him.