Tinubu canvasses agricultural scientists’ support for diversified economy
• MOUAU demands N10b take-off grant as 8,369 graduate
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has canvassed the support of agricultural scientists and experts as the nation grapples with the challenges of diversifying the economy.
He stressed that Nigeria needs the expertise and technical skills of agricultural scientists to achieve food security. Speaking during the 11th convocation of the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Umuahia (MOUAU), Abia State, at the weekend, Tinubu, represented by Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria’s (ARCN) Executive Secretary, Prof Garba Sharubutu, noted that the university and its staff were working hard to realise its mandate, despite the many challenges confronting the nation.
At the ceremony, 8,369 students graduated from the institution. Of the number, 6,917 got Bachelor’s degrees, 159 were awarded postgraduate diplomas, 802 received Masters degrees and 491 got Doctorate degrees.
Among the graduates, 121 got First Class degrees, 1,941 received Second Class (Upper) degrees, 3,963 got Second Class Lower, while 1,121 got Third Class d, just as six got ordinary pass.
Addressing the convocation, the university’s Vice Chancellor, Prof Maduebibisi Ofo Iwe, who advocated the reconstitution of the dissolved Federal Universities Governing Councils, noted that his school had a bright future and great potential.
He said: “Our graduates are part of the manpower that has been contributing immensely towards the socio-economic and political development of Nigeria. They have become established farmers, employers of labour and major contributors towards ensuring food security in the country.”
The vice chancellor, who urged the Federal Government to grant the university a N10 billion take-off grant, listed some of the institution’s lingering problems as inadequate funding and physical facilities, non-release of take-off grant, 30 years after its establishment; non-access to and control of land acquired for it by the Federal Government, constant disruption of academic calendar due to national industrial actions and the failure of staff sponsored abroad to return to the school, as well as high cost of generating power, which he put at about N44 million every four weeks.
Earlier, while delivering the 11th Convocation Lecture entitled, ‘Mainstreaming Apprenticeship-Modelled Learning in a Triple Helix Fashion into Nigerian Universities: Reflection, Thoughts and Experiences,” former Vice Chancellor, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State, Dr Joseph Ahaneku, a professor of Chemical Pathology and Environmental Health, stated that the system is dogged by rivalry, slow pace of innovative ideas among university workers and their inability to be self-reliant and self-serving.
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