• Frowns at strikes by ASUU

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 yesterday during the 50th Convocation of the university. The ceremony saw the conferment of Postgraduate Diploma, Higher Degrees, and award of Honorary Degrees of the university to 2,482 post-graduates.

The president noted that since research and innovation can grow a country’s economy faster than mineral deposits, it was imperative to challenge all academics in the 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 will be able to become job creators, instead of perennial job seekers,” he said.

The president, who was represented by the 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.

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“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 institutions.”

Earlier, the Vice Chancellor of UNN, Prof Charles Igwe,  in his welcome address said that the graduands have joined the elite club of the alumni of the institution who hold post-graduates degrees of the UNN, urging them to be proud of the achievement.

Igwe reminded the post-graduates that their new achievement comes with higher responsibilities 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 that his administration had series of achievements in teaching and learning, as well as in infrastructure development, pointing out a good number of roads in three campuses of Nsukka, Enugu, and Ituku-Ozalla.

Also in a remark, the acting Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Council, UNN, Amb. Bako Sani, 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.”

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