Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers on Saturday said his administration was making effort toward making the state the education-hub in sub-Saharan Africa.
Amaechi, represented by the Commissioner for Education, Lawrence Nemi, made the remark at the maiden convocation of the Rivers State College of Arts and Science (RIVCAS) in Port Harcourt, stressing that education remained the focal point of his administration’s development agenda.
The governor noted that his administration was prepared to turn out manpower needed for economic development of the state and country at large.
Amaechi said that his administration had recorded success in its strategy to empower youths by providing them with quality education thereby exposing them to endless opportunities and possibilities.
“Earlier in my administration; I declared a state of emergency in the education sector with a view to making the state the hub of education in Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa.
“I’ll continue to pursue this vision vigorously because we believe that education has the power to free Nigerians from the shackle of ignorance, disease and poverty.
“We have redirected the interest and energy of our youths toward education; both for their self actualisation and for the economic growth and betterment of our society.
“We have made tremendous efforts to replace the guns that were illegally in the hands of misguided and un-uniform youths with books; thus creating employment and wealth,” he said.
Amaechi said that his administration’s vision was being realised and recognised with Port Harcourt chosen as the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) World Book Capital for 2014.
Earlier, the Rector of RIVCAS, Dr Hillary Wordu, said its maiden convocation covered students who graduated from the college between 1992 and 2013 involving 3, 080 students awarded with Higher National Diploma, National Diploma, College Diploma and Certificates in various courses of study.
Wordu said that 86 students graduated with distinctions, 225 with upper credits, 1, 146 lower credits, while 1, 623 graduated with pass.
He said that the college had been cleared by the National Board of Technical Education (NBTE) and Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) to operate as a Polytechnic.