From Felix Ikem, Nsukka

President Muhammadu Buhari has tasked academics at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), and other tertiary institutions in the country to embark on innovative research that would help boost production and diversify the country’s economy.

Buhari, who is the Visitor to the UNN made the charge in Nsukka on Saturday during the 50th Convocation ceremony of the university to conferment of Postgraduate Diploma, Higher Degrees, and award of Honorary Degrees of the university to 2,482 post-graduates.

He said that since research and innovation can grow a country’s economy faster than mineral deposits, that it is imperative to challenge all academics in UNN and other tertiary institutions in the country on innovative research.

“It is common knowledge that research and innovation can grow the economy of a country faster than mineral deposits. May I, therefore challenge all academics of this and other universities in the country to embark on the kind of innovative research that can help boost production and diversify our economy.

“As a first-generation university, the University of Nigeria is expected to lead the way in this all-important paradigm shift.

“I also challenge our universities to continue to emphasize training in entrepreneurship so that our graduates can be able to become Jo creators, instead of perennial job seekers,” he said.

The President who was represented by the Honourable Minister of State for Education, Goodluck Nanah Opiah, congratulated the graduates and the honorary doctorate degree awardees
noted that “the issue of funding universities requires thinking outside the box and the cooperative effort of all, Public and private sectors, alumni association, philanthropists, and well-meaning people.

“The strike of Academic Staff Union of Universities which lasted for almost a year should not be allowed to repeat itself. Also, I want to appeal to the managers of our universities to continue to be judicious in the utilization of the fund allocated to their institution,” he said.

Prof Charles Igwe, the Vice-chancellor of UNN in a remark said that the graduands have joined the elite club of our alumni who hold postgraduates degrees of UNN, and they should achievements to be proud of.

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Igwe reminded the postgraduates that their new achievement comes with higher responsibility and expectations in terms of conduct and contributions to national development.

“As people who have been found worthy in character and learning be a good ambassador to the university and the country.

“Our country needs truly educated men and women that will help solve the perennial problem of bad economy, corruption, and inability to manage the country’s diversity,” he said.

The VC disclosed that four retired professors would be conferred with Emeritus Professor because of their outstanding academic achievements as well as contributions to society.

Igwe said his administration had a series of achievements in teaching and learning as well as in infrastructure development.
“A good number of roads in three campuses of Nsukka, Enugu, and Ituku-Ozalla

Also in a remark, Amb. Bako Sani, the Acting Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Council, UNN urged the graduands to “make very frantic efforts to put your seals of achievement to good use. Embody the boldness to dare to make changes, yet have the kindness to enkindle humanity.

“I congratulate the awardees of the Honorary Degrees and Professor Emeritus. Your avalanche of contributions to humanity’s development is well-recognized and highly regarded. You are the beacons of excellence and human advancement in our time,” he said.

The Honorary Doctorate Degree of UNN was conferred on Mr. Obioha Okoroafor, the chairman and Group Managing Director of Hobark International Limited, Mr. Ebenezar Onyeagwu, the Managing Director of Zenith Bank, Plc, and Dr. Emmanuel Udeagha, former governor of Delta State.