- Category: Politics
- Published on Monday, 20 June 2011 00:14
- Written by Admin
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President Goodluck Jonathan has assured that Nigeria will soon become one of the developed countries of the world, with emphasis placed on qualitative education and steady power supply, while assuring that the nation will be transformed.
He also stated that he directed that there must be entrepreneurial studies in Nigerian universities, in order to have better and well-equipped graduates, who would contribute meaningfully to the nation’s development.
President Jonathan, who was represented by his deputy, Namadi Sambo, stated these yesterday at the 27th Convocation of the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT), Rivers State.
The best graduating student, Miss Dieteke Oke, with Cumulative Grade Point Average (CPGA) of 4.68, from the Department of Guidance and Counselling, was offered automatic employment at Diamond Bank, by its Managing Director, Dr. Alex Otti, who was in attendance.
Oke, in her speech, on behalf of the graduands, urged President Jonathan to give jobs to graduates and employment opportunities and further studies for the youths, as leaders of tomorrow.
Also in attendance at the colourful event were a former Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme; the Governor of Rivers State State, Rotimi Amaechi, and his counterpart from Bayelsa State, Chief Timipre Sylva, both alumni of UNIPORT.
Others were Acting National Chairman of People Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Mohammed Bello; former Chairman of Board of Trustees of PDP, Chief Tony Anenih; former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Odein Ajumogobia and the 19th President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. O.C.J. Okocha, SAN, among other dignitaries.
Jonathan, in his address, said: "This (yesterday) morning, I asked the Vice-Chancellor of UNIPORT (Prof. Joseph Ajienka) to tell me what the needs of the university are and he said it is power (electricity), I told him that power has been taken care of by this administration and we will soon have steady power supply throughout Nigeria.
"Rapid progress will be made in the Nigerian education sector. There is need for good education in the country. The policy of this administration is education, education and education.
"Nine more federal universities were established by this administration, to bridge the education gap. I have also approved, through the ETF, the sum of N3 billion to be expended in UNIPORT."
Jonathan further charged the National Universities Commission (NUC) and the Federal Ministry of Education, to pursue the education road-map.
He noted that there was the need to reward honesty and hardwork, stressing that the quality of higher education must be increased.
The President expressed displeasure over the attitude of the graduands, who almost all left the convocation arena, before he presented his address.
He then lauded UNIPORT’s vice-chancellor for his remarkable achievements in the university in just one year, especially his dynamism and introduction of policies and programmes.
The crowd at UNIPORT was unprecedented, as there were many centres of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board’s (JAMB’s) Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UMTE) there, coupled with Very Important Personalities (VIPs) and others who attended the convocation.
Honourary doctoral degrees were awarded five eminent Nigerians, comprising the President’s wife, Dame Patience Jonathan; a renowned educationist and novelist, Chief Elechi Amadi; the President of African Business Round-Table, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur; a former Executive Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr. Stanley Lawson and a legal luminary, Chief Jacob Nwokolo.
They were honoured in recognition of their quality contributions to national development and service to humanity.
Their recognitions were approved by UNIPORT’s Senate, solely on the basis of merit, with each of the recipients recording verifiable achievements that could easily pass all measures of merit, anywhere in the world.
Responding on behalf of five eminent Nigerians, the President’s wife urged UNIPORT’s authorities to put in place gender friendly policies, while lauding the initiative of making the institution an entrepreneurial university.
For the 2009/2010 session, a total of 7,509 students graduated, with 16 having first class honours.
The 7th Vice-Chancellor of UNIPORT, Prof. Joseph Ajienka, who is the first alumnus and first engineer to become VC, earlier in his address, entitled: "The New UNIPORT: The Making of an Entrepreneurial University," said plans had been initiated to establish a Technology Park and an Arts Village, where research would meet business and enterprise.
To lay the foundation for an entrepreneurial university, he said the institution was establishing academic structures and infrastructure for research and development, as well as partnerships between industries, faculties and institutes.
Ajienka reiterated that the national strategic Vision 20: 2020 could only be achieved through education, stressing that by 2020, Nigerian universities should be ranked among the best 20 universities in Africa and 200 universities in the world.
He said: "In line with the Nigerian Content Bill of 2010, universities offering Petroleum Engineering should be adopted by oil and gas companies in their areas of operatio
"The Nigerian Content Policy should not be limited to the oil and gas industry alone. It should be extended to all industries if we are to effectively grow our economy.
"It should be mandatory for all industries to contribute tax-deductible research funds and partner with universities in their areas of operation.
"Universities should become centres of excellence in strategic areas of competitive advantage and move to the next level of becoming entrepreneurial universities. We should also deliberately encourage a policy of brain gain."
Ajienka, who is the first petroleum engineer to be appointed vice-chancellor in any Nigerian university, further described President Jonathan as a worthy ambassador, as the first alumnus of UNIPORT to become its visitor.
President Jonathan did his Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral Degrees at UNIPORT, with his wife, Patience, hailing from Okrika, headquarters of Okrika Local Government Area of Rivers State.