President Muhammadu Buhari has advised Nigerian universities to find creative ways of exploiting the existing Public-Private Partnership (PPP) policy to meaningfully bridge the infrastructure gaps existing on their campuses.
Buhari gave the advice during the 33rd Convocation Ceremony of the University of Calabar on Saturday.
The president who was represented by the Minister of State for Education, Mr. Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, said that universities needed to be creative to reasonably expand their Internally Generated Revenue bases to complement the modest efforts of government.
He called on the institutions to take more seriously the mandate entrusted to them to be the moral compass and bastion of integrity of the nation.
Buhari commended the authorities of the University of Calabar for being the first university to introduce Anti-Corruption Studies as part of their curriculum.
“While we commend you for domesticating this administration’s War Against Corruption in your University, I urge you not to give in to distractions but remain focused on the need to build a university of our collective dream.
“The recent phenomenon where lecturers allegedly award grades in exchange for cash and sex across our universities is a blight on the society and anathema to our collective efforts at bequeathing to posterity a morally upright society.
“In this regard, I challenge University Governing Councils and management of universities in Nigeria to take up the challenge with the passion to rid our campuses of undesirable elements and restore public confidence in our institutions,” he said.
In his remark, the Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Zana Akpagu, said desirous of national and international visibility, the university management had to solve the challenge of stagnant curricular contents which he met on assumption in office.
Akpagu said apart from carefully reviewing, updating and enriching the contents of existing programmes, they identified the missing but relevant courses and quickly established them in the university.
“We have carefully sown the seed for the sustainability and ultimate expansion of these programmes, which we believe will, in the next 10 years enrich the immediate community of Cross River and the nation at large.
He added that the university would be awarding 4,074 first degrees and diplomas in which 3,644 were from the mainstream, including nine in First Class, 870 in the Second Class (Upper Division), 2,202 in Second Class (Lower Division), 530 in Third Class and 32 Pass.
According to him, the remaining 430 graduands were from the university’s affiliate institutions and comprised 7 in First Class, 224 in Second Class (Upper Division), 180 Second Class (Lower Division) and 19 Third Class in addition to 629 diplomas which would be awarded.
In her remark, the Vice President of Liberia, Jewel Taylor, who was awarded an Honorary Doctorate Degree thanked the university management for the award, adding that it would spur her to do more for women in the world as there was more to be done.
Other recipients of honorary Doctorate degrees included Prof. Anthony Nyong, Chief Ann Eyo-Ita and the Emir of Askira, Alhaji Abdullahi Muhammadu.