By Felix Ikem, Nsukka
President Muhammadu Buhari has commissioned academics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) and other colleges in the country to conduct innovative research that would help boost manufacturing and diversify the country’s economy.
Buhari, the visitor to UNN, announced the awarding of the university’s postgraduate diploma, advanced degrees and honorary doctorates to 2,482 postgraduates on Saturday in Nsukka during the university’s 50th convocation ceremony.
He said that since research and innovation can grow a country’s economy faster than mineral deposits, it is imperative to challenge all academics in UNN and other tertiary institutions in the country to innovative research.
“It is well known that research and innovation make a country’s economy grow faster than natural resources. May I therefore urge all academics at this and other universities across the country to engage in the kind of innovative research that can help boost production and diversify our economies.
“As a first-generation university, the University of Nigeria is expected to be at the forefront of this all-important paradigm shift.
“I also urge our universities to keep emphasizing entrepreneurship education so that our graduates can become yo-creators instead of perpetual job seekers,” he said.
The President, represented by the Honorable Minister of State for Education, Goodluck Nanah Opiah, congratulated the graduates and honorary doctorates
noted that “the issue of university funding requires thinking outside the box and collaboration from everyone, the public and private sectors, alumni associations, philanthropists and well-meaning people.
“The strike by the academic staff representatives of the universities, which has lasted almost a year, must not be repeated. I would also like to appeal to those responsible for our universities to continue to be careful with the funds allocated to their institution,” he said.
Prof. Charles Igwe, UNN’s Vice Chancellor, said in a remark that the graduates have joined the elite club of our alumni holding postgraduate degrees from UNN and should be proud of their achievements.
Igwe reminded the postgraduates that their new achievement comes with increased responsibilities and expectations in terms of behavior and contributions to national development.
“As people who have been found worthy in character and learning, be a good ambassador for the university and the country.
“Our country really needs well-educated men and women to help solve the perennial problem of bad economy, corruption and inability to deal with the country’s diversity,” he said.
The VC announced that four retired professors would be appointed Professor Emeritus for their outstanding academic achievements as well as their contribution to society.
Igwe said his government has made a number of achievements in teaching and learning and infrastructure development.
“A good number of streets in three campuses of Nsukka, Enugu and Ituku-Ozalla
Also in a remark, Amb Bako Sani, the acting pro-chancellor and chair of the UNN Council, urged graduates to “make very desperate efforts to put your seals of achievement to good use. Embody the courage to dare change, yet have the kindness to ignite humanity.
“I congratulate the winners of the honorary degrees and the professor emeritus. Her avalanche of contributions to human development is recognized and highly regarded. They are the beacons of excellence and human progress of our time,” he said.
UNN Honorary Doctorates were presented to Mr. Obioha Okoroafor, Chairman and Group Managing Director of Hobark International Limited, Mr. Ebenezar Onyeagwu, Managing Director of Zenith Bank, Plc and Dr. Emmanuel Udeagha, former governor of Delta State.