President Buhari who was represented by the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission, Professor Julius Okojie made the call at the 27th Convocation Ceremony of the University held on Saturday, 21st November, 2015 at the University Auditorium.
Buhari who described Universities as potential powerful agents of change said they should play major roles in the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs] which is an expansion of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
To achieve this, he urged citadel of higher learnings which are research Centers to take the lead in championing and mainstreaming the SDGs in order to address the educational related issues for national development.
Similarly, the president enjoined Universities to be at the vanguard of the fight against corruption and eroded ethics which constitute a major component of the social ills. He called on Universities to enthrone the culture of hard work, honesty and inspirational leadership which are the hallmark of any citadel of learning. Reiterating the government stand on “zero tolerance to corruption” he urged leadership of higher 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 our tertiary Institutions. We cannot speak of effective and efficient funding of the education sector if our Universities are mired in crises, confusion, fraud and lack of Institutional vision” he said.
Addressing graduands, the president urged them to take advantage of the various aspects of the 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 National Universities Commission and its partners in the University System, higher Institutions should henceforth strive to graduate students who are entrepreneurs and employers of labour.
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 campus and stable calendar. He said government is 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 President also commended the leadership qualities of the immediate Chancellor of the Institution, HRH, Alhaji (Dr.) Isa Mustafa, Agwai I, the Emir of Lafia and enjoined his successor, HRH Alhaji (Dr.) Rilwanu Suleiman Adamu, the Emir of Bauchi to build on his achievement for the upliftment of the University.
Commending the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Adebiyi Daramola, Management and staff of the Institution, 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.”
In separate addresses, the trio of the Chancellor, Alhaji (Dr.) Rilwanu Adamu, Pro-Chancellor and Chairman, Governing Council, Dr. Mohammed Shata and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Adebiyi Daramola, urged the graduands to follow the path of honour, integrity and faithfulness as they continue in their journey of life. They urged them to be law abiding and use their newly acquired satus and skill to bring about reformation of the nation’s technological, political, social, economic and educational systems. They also charged them to be good ambassadors and responsible alumni of FUTA. The ceremony also witnessed the investiture of the new Chancellor, Alhaji (Dr.) Rilwanu Adamu, the Emir of Bauchi as the fourth Chancellor of the University and the conferment of Honorary Doctorate of Management of the Institution on him.
At the ceremony, 4435 graduands were conferred with Diplomas, First and Postgraduate Degrees. 73 bagged Doctor of Philosophy [Ph.D.], 743 Master Degrees, 829 Postgraduate Diplomas, 2,675 First Degrees and 115 Diplomas, with 28 graduating with First Class Honours.
Osakpolor Eki Obakpolor who studied Physics Electronic emerged the Best Graduating Student with a cumulative GPA of 4.84. In his address, Osakpolor thanked God for enabling him to achieve the feat. He thanked the University Management and staff for imparting knowledge in them to build them for the future. “Thank you all for your unrelenting effort in imparting knowledge. Your sacrifices were beyond the call of duty” he added.
Osakpolor ended his speech saying to his colleagues and Nigerian youth “let’s go out there and serve as hope to others. Let’s allow the spark in our hearts to give birth to flames of excellence.”
The event brought together government functionaries, the academic and stakeholders in the education sector.