*25,432 graduate from ABU
By; SANI ALIYU, Zaria
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has said universities are known as citadel of research and innovations, which invite the necessary patronage for development of the society.
He stated this at the 43rd Convocation Ceremony of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria for the 2021/2022 as the Visitor on Saturday.
Represented by the Minister of Education, Tahir Mamman, he said that ABU enjoys the status of its research and innovations to the societie, especially in the area of agriculture, medicine, engineering among others.
President Tinubu urged the universities to publicize their researches and collaborate with industries and entrepreneurs to commercialize those ideas.
According to him, higher education is witnessing growth internationalization with impact on globalization, which has facilitated the use of communication technology.
He explained that government is complementing the efforts of universities for their progressive efforts on research and innovations.
The president urged universities to engage their alumni to support them as a way of pay back to their alma mata.
“A peaceful atmosphere is key to a very good teaching and learning which is very important,” he added.
In his welcome address, the ABU Vice Chancellor, Professor Kabiru Bala said the university is expanding the scope of activities of the automated alumni database to provide opportunities for mentorship, recruitment and networking amongst the ABU alumni community.
“This is a genuine effort towards harnessing the huge potential,” he added.
He said, “Ahmadu Bello University, like many Nigerian universities, more than ever before, continues to face financial challenges to support its vision of sustaining and modernizing its activities and operations, insecurity, power, land and property tussles with state and federal government agencies, serious and costly legal battles as well as other government policies that exert tremendous pressure on the effective running of the university.”
According to the Vice Chancellor, the order of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria which had the university’s accounts with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) ganisheed in the sum of N2,585,130,678.21k (two billion, five hundred and eighty-five million, one hundred and thirty thousand, six hundred and seventy-eight naira, twenty-one Kobo) in respect of Suit No. NICN/ABI/377M/2017 involving dismissal of some 110 staff between 1996 and 1999, has had devastating effect on the operations of the university.
The affected accounts of the university contain third party funds such as local and foreign research grants, funds belonging to units of the university that are affiliated to and supported by external organisations, as well as funds meant for TETFUND projects, programmes and foreign scholars.
He said the the university is expanding the scope of activities of the automated alumni database to provide opportunities for mentorship, recruitment and networking amongst the ABU alumni community.
“This is a genuine effort towards harnessing the huge potential,” he pointed out.
According to him, “Hence , all aspects of operations requiring complementation of recurring expenditures such as sanitation, electricity, and other forms of utilities as well as overheads costs have been Severely hampered.
“These challenges call for greater collaboration between all stakeholders to fashion out more innovative ways of ensuring smooth running of the university.
“This is very pertinent considering the obvious need for more investments in ICT and other physical, infrastructure as well as capacity development of staff to meet up with the growing challenges of education amidst increasing enrolment and the need to cope with fast changing technological advancements”.
Prof. Bala therefore, called on all their stakeholders including alumni and friends to join hands with them towards ensuring financial sustainability of this great university.
The VC expressed appreciation to the Minister of Education for courageously taking the bold stand against the seemingly obnoxious policy that considers educational institutions as revenue generating agencies and requiring some financial remittances.
“Like other federal universities, ABU has been faced with acute shortage of manpower, especially in academic units due to deaths, retirements, resignations and transfers of service”.
He commended President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for strategic plea to exempt federal educational institutions from the IPPIS in order to enable the university recruit the needed staff to alleviate the current shortfall.
In his address, the University Chancellor, His Majesty, Nnaemeka Alfred Ugochukwu the Obi of Onitsha, commended the Federal Government for taking the bold step of exempting federal universities from the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) which has being a bone of contention in the university system.
He hoped that this decision will go a long way in further guaranteeing the much needed autonomy in universities.
The Chancellor advised the graduands to think creatively on how they can become self employed, rather than waiting for white collar jobs which are very limited.
He said the current age of digital/social revolution and technology has become the main access to literally all occupations, professions and vocations, which has exposed the limitless opportunities that now exist for brilliant men and women like you.
Nnaemeka Alfred urged them to utilize their endeavour to the full, with the numerous opportunities available, conquer the world and make it a better place with innovative ideas.
“And always to bear in mind that the knowledge they have acquired in the University has provided them with the pedestal for self-fulfillment” he added.
According to him, high-quality education at ABU must not be taken for granted.
“Indeed, it is a singular privilege, considering the large number of applicants that could not gain admission every year due to limited carrying capacity.
“You are a product of the highest standard for which your University is well known for”.
“I would like to congratulate the honorary graduands being honoured today for being found worthy of the award of Honourary Degrees of our great university. Your support for education and humanity is exemplary and commendable”.
The Chancellor commended the two female awardees, one of whom was brought forward from the 42nd Convocation awards.
A total number of 25,432 graduated, 6,809 Higher Degrees and 11,916 Bachelors Degrees and 182 First Class Degrees.