President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday said that for Nigeria to achieve greatness, Nigerians must join the anti-corruption war, which he says the government alone cannot win.
He urged Nigerians to entrench a culture of discipline, hard work, honesty, and inspiring leadership.
The president described education as the bedrock of national development while stressing that its importance could not be over-emphasised.
He reiterated that no country had all the resources to provide jobs for every graduate, adding that Nigerian youths should be prepared and determined to contribute their quota, by engaging in creative and innovative ventures.
Buhari, who was represented by a top official of the Federal Ministry of Education, Hajia Rikayat Gambo-Iliyasu, spoke at the remodelled Akin-Deko Auditorium of the University of Benin (UNIBEN) in Benin City, the capital of Edo State, at the higher institution’s combined (46th and 47th) convocation.
The convocation involved the presentation of prizes, award of post-graduate diplomas, conferment of higher degrees of Masters and Doctorate, conferment of honourary Doctoral degrees on five distinguished personalities and Professor Emeritus on an outstanding former Vice-Chancellor of UNIBEN, Prof. Osayuki Oshodin.
The honourary Doctoral degree awardees were an ex-Minister of Defence, Lt.-Gen. Theophilus Danjuma, rtd. (Doctor of Letters); former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun (Doctor of Science); a reproductive health expert, Dr. Natalia Kanen (Doctor of Science); a legal luminary, Mr. Oluwakemi Pinheiro, SAN (Doctor of Law); and a software engineer, Dr. Thomas Ilube (Doctor of Science).
Buhari said: “Universities over the years have expanded the horizon of our youths through research and technological breakthroughs to attain relevant skills and be more entrepreneurial in outlook. We must commend them for putting up the onerous task of redirecting our students on the path of moral rectitude, love for the nation, and respect for constituted authorities.
“The Federal Government has not relented in finding lasting solutions to the myriad of challenges facing our universities and the nation’s education sector. The Federal Government is aware of the deficit in funding and infrastructure. Concerted efforts are being made to improve the current condition.
“It is also imperative that universities should come to terms with the present realities, including the challenge of inadequate funding. While the government will continue to ensure the full implementation of the budgetary provision to the education sub-sector, universities must also evolve other ways of augmenting what they receive as allocations and grants.
“At a time like this, when the Federal Government is grappling with socioeconomic and political challenges, it is important that I reiterate its commitment to finding home-grown solutions that will outlive even my administration. We have so far diversified the economy, with focus on agriculture, through the provision of grants and start-up loans for interested individuals, especially our teeming youths.”
The President also urged university administrators, in the discharge of their duties, to be transparent, accountable, and fair in the management of human and material resources, while stressing that expectedly, the education sub-sector should be at the vanguard in the campaign to reorder the nation’s values.
Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, in his remarks, stated that with his administration’s 30-year development plan, the state would be transformed into Nigeria’s education hub.
Obaseki, who was accompanied by his wife, Betsy, assured that his administration would continue to support public and private tertiary institutions in Edo state, in order to ensure human capital development and to move the Southsouth state and Nigeria forward.
The newly-installed tenth substantive Chancellor of UNIBEN, Prof. James Ortese Lorzua Ayatse, the Tor Tiv, in his address, stated that President Buhari was committed to the establishment of worthy and enduring legacies for Nigeria.