From Abubakar Imam, Sokoto
There was a mild drama at the 28th, 29th, 30th and 31st joint convocation ceremony of the Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto on Saturday when almost all members of the House of Representatives, made a sudden incursion, therefore disrupting the speech of the Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Riskuwa Arabu Shehu, who had to plead with his colleagues to vacate their seats for the members.
The members marched into the convocation centre when the VC’s speech was half done and went directly to where the special guests among them Representative of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and Executive Secretary of the National University Commission (NUC), Professor Julius Okogie, Speaker Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, Governor Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko and his Rivers state counterparts, Rotimi Amechi and a the host of others, were seated.
The VC, not only suspended the speech but left the podium for them to pass in an assembly-like manner shaking hands with dignitaries.
The lawmakers came to show their solidarity to the Speaker who was among the recipients of the Honourary Degree (Honoris Causa).
However, the representative of President Jonathan Professor Julius Okoje jokingly said while referring to the incursion of the members that, he was terrified and wanted to call the police to prevent them from making any pronouncement that would endure forever.
Another drama that was staged was when the national anthem was observed and the two Governors were about to come into the arena in spite of the alarm that was meant to call the attention of the police band particularly by Wamakko’s aides and some dignitaries. The Governors observed the anthem outside before coming to take their seats
In his speech, President Jonathan reiterated his government commitment to transforming the country in all human endeavors, particulaly education sector, calling on stake holders to demonstrate the sense of contributing to the development of tertiary education in the country.
According to him, government alone could not fund education, stressing the need for universities to explore oppurtunities for productive and beneficial partnership with the organized private sector to complement the revenue they were getting from the government.
“While it is necessary for the government to maintain its commitment from budgetary sources, time has come for the management of universities to cast their nets wide and generate additional resources for their various institutions”, he said.
In his remarks, the University’s Chancellor and Eze Usu II of Awka, Dr. Gibson Nwosu charged those financially endowed to pick up the gauntlet and invest in university education.
“We must make concerted efforts to pull the university up to a more stable and progressive level of operation”, he added.
In his speech, Professor Shehu, Vice Chancellor,said their main challenge was to remain the best citadel of learning that could compete with others around the world.
Other challenges he said include students’ accomodation, desert encroachment, and sustained potable water.
Meanwhile 11,500 had graduated while six prominent Nigerians including Speaker Tambuwal, Governor Wamakko, Governor Amechi, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, former Executive Secretary of Tetfund, Pro-chancellor of the University, Alhaji Bilya Sanda as well as Professor John Paden, an American Political Scientist, were conferred with honourary doctrate degrees (Honoris Causa).
From Abubakar Imam, Sokoto