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Buhari wants varsities to be agents of change




VISITOR to the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA), President Mohammadu Buhari, has charged Nigerian universities and other institutions of learning to reposition themselves and encourage sustainable development through improved quality education. 

Buhari gave the charge at the 27th convocation ceremony of the institution, where he was represented by the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Julius Okojie.

He urged universities and sundry tertiary institutions, which are research centres and potential powerful agents of change to take the lead in championing and mainstreaming the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in order to address educational related issues for national development.

The SDGs, which are an expansion of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), are a new set of goals, target and indicators that United Nations member states have collectively agreed to use to frame their agenda, aspirations and political policies over the next 15 years. 

He enjoined universities to be at the vanguard of the fight against corruption and eroded ethics, which he said constitute a major component of the social ills ravaging the country.

Buhari further enjoined them to enthrone the spirit of hard work, honesty and inspirational leadership, which remain the hallmark of any citadel of learning.

Reiterating the administration’s stand on “zero tolerance for corruption,” he urged leadership of tertiary institutions to continue to be prudent, transparent and accountable in the management of both human and material resources. 

“Government is determined to fight corruption at all levels, including corruption in academic in our tertiary institutions.  We cannot speak of effective and efficient funding of the education sector if our universities are mired in curses, confusion, fraud and lack of institutional vision,” he said.

Addressing the graduands, the president urged them to take advantage of the various aspects of economic programmes of the Federal Government relevant to them, and turn themselves into employers of labour rather than job seekers.

Speaking on entrepreneurship education, he said since the increased advocacy for entrepreneurship and its inclusion in the curriculum of universities by the NUC, and its partners in the university system, higher institutions should henceforth strive to churn out graduates students that are entrepreneurs and employers of labour.

While promising government’s readiness to support universities to fulfill the roles for which they were established, he called on all stakeholders in the education sector to ensure crisis-free campuses and a stable calendar, noting that government was concerned with the development and retention of new generation of academics and professionals who would drive the sector on a sustainable basis.

He, therefore, called on FUTA to take the leadership in cutting edge research and capacity building at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

The visitor commended the leadership qualities of the immediate past chancellor of the school and the Emir of Lafia, Alhaji Isa Mustafa, and enjoined his successor and the Emir of Bauchi, Alhaji Rilwanu Suleiman Adamu, to build on his achievements for the upliftment of the university. 

In praising the institution’s vice chancellor, Professor Adebiyi Daramola, and his management team, Buhari said, “I note with satisfaction, the responsible application of funds from government towards infrastructural upgrade, and improvement of teaching and learning facilities.  FUTA’s new ranking as the 8th best university in Nigeria by the most recent Webometric ranking is a testament to this.”

Dignitaries at the event including Daramola, Adamu and Shata, urged the graduands to follow the path of honour, integrity and faithfulness as they continue in their journey of life. 

They also urged them to be law abiding and to use their newly acquired statuses and skills to bring about reformation of the nation’s technological, political, social, economic and educational systems. 

At the ceremony, where Adamu was invested as the fourth chancellor of the institution, 4,435 graduands were conferred with diplomas, first and postgraduate degrees.  A total of 73 persons bagged Doctor of Philosophy; 743 master degrees; 829 postgraduate diplomas; 2, 675 first degrees and 115 diplomas. Twenty-eight students graduated in the First Class Division.

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