President Muhammadu Buhari has called on Nigerian Universities to lead the country’s drive for Development and the achievement of sustainable development goals through the production of critical manpower with demonstrable ICT skills.
Buhari gave the charge on the final day of the 29th and 30th combined convocation ceremonies of the Federal University of Technology Akure, FUTA on Friday November 30, 2018.
Represented by the Director of Accreditation, National Universities Commission, Abuja, Dr. Noel Biodun Saliu, President Buhari said “in this age of ICT, we believe that our Universities of technology are pivotal to the actualization of our national development agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nation in training and producing highly qualified manpower to solve the problems of unemployment, security and youth restiveness thereby enabling them become self-reliant, entrepreneurs and job creators”.
He called on Universities and other higher institutions to align with the Education 2030 Agenda which advocates for “education for self-reliance, basic skills and competencies needed in the 21st Century” so that “graduates can be employers of labour rather than searching endlessly for white collar jobs which are not readily available”.
On funding, President Buhari assured Nigerian Universities of government readiness to improve on the current situation. “Efforts will continue to be geared towards improve infrastructure development and increased funding of Universities” the President promised.
He appealed to all stakeholders in the education sector not to rely on government alone for funding but rejig the educational system for sustainable funding. “Funding of Government-owned Universities, all over the world, is a collective responsibility of all stakeholders,” he said.
President Buhari also challenged the Nigerian academia on the increased need for impactful research towards solving societal problems. He confirmed FUTA’s ability in this regard, saying “I strongly believe that FUTA is endowed with high quality and innovative researchers who can take up this task. I encouraged the leadership of FUTA to be forthright and focused with a view to faithfully upholding the confidence reposed in you by government and all other stakeholders.”
Admonishing the graduands, President Buhari urged them to sufficiently apply the knowledge and skills acquired in contributing to the socio-economic and political development of Nigeria.
The governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu who also spoke at the occasion appreciated the contributions and value FUTA has added to Ondo State and Nigeria assuring of sustenance of the synergy between the two.
According to him, FUTA and Ondo State as partners in progress still have a lot to do together because government will always tap from the intellectual resources domiciled in the University.
The Chancellor, (Dr) Rilwanu Adamu, in his address called on both the Federal and State Governments to increase funding of Nigerian Universities to further improve the quality of teaching, learning and research.
Appreciating the support of the Federal Government to Higher Education, Dr. Rilwanu said “I commend the commitment and consistent support of the Federal Government in ensuring the national and global academic relevance of our citadels of learning, particularly in the areas of need-driven research, teaching and community service”.
The Pro-Chancellor and Chairman, Governing Council, Senator Joseph Waku applauded government’s effort in funding education, but appealed for more. “As the needs of Universities have been on the increase in order to meet the challenges of global competitiveness, I wish to crave the indulgence of the Federal Government for more financial support especially on the release of the shortfalls in Personnel Grant to our University”, Senator Waku who particularly solicited attention for the specialized Universities as it would help them to actualize their peculiar mandates.
In his address, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Joseph Fuwape called on the graduating students to hold firm the ideals and standards that they have acquired during their period of studentship. On FUTA’s achievements over the years, particularly since he took over the leadership,
Fuwape said “our academies have been positively engaged in high quality and impactful need driven research in globally relevant areas of technology, particularly renewable energy, food security and biotechnology. The University has also embarked on various research activities and developed strategies to rebrand FUTA as a Centre of Excellence in research, innovation and product development. The efforts of the research activities have yielded positive results, particularly in the area of renewable energy with the launch of solar powered generator”.
For 2016/2017 session, a total 2,767 graduated with 86 making first class, while 2,033 graduated in 2017/2018 Session with 120 First Class in the undergraduate category. In the Postgraduate category a total of 1,401 obtained the Postgraduate Diplomas, Master and Doctorate Degrees for the two sessions.
Tope Adebodun of the Department of Applied Geophysics graduated as the best student with the highest Cumulative Grade Point Average of (CGPA) of 4.91. in the 20116/17 academic session and Funke Olanrewaju of the department of Food Science and Technology with the same CGPA emerged the best graduating student for the 2017/18 academic session.
Engr Akinwumi Odumakinde, President, Impact Leadership Academy, Dr Lawrence Olusegun Aina, a former President of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) and Oba Dr Olufemi Olutoye, JP, OFR, Alani of Ido- Ani, the traditional ruler of Ido Ani Kingdom and a retired Major General of the Nigerian honorary bagged honorary doctorate awards.