By Dorcas Elusogbon, Ile-Ife (Osun).
President Muhammadu Buhari says he intends to hand over a Nigeria that is free of insecurity to the next administration.
Buhari made the promise at the 46th Convocation Ceremony of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) on Saturday in Ile-Ife.
Represented by Dr Biodun Saliu, the Director, Academic Planning at the National Universities Commission (NUC), the president reaffirmed his commitment to safeguarding the security of lives and property of the citizens.
“We remain firmly committed to the security of lives, property and investment across the country.
“This administration will continue to confront all forms of banditry, criminality, terrorism and insurgency in the land.
“I promise to hand over a Nigeria that is free of insecurity to the next administration,” he said.
Buhari also reiterated his commitment to promoting education, saying that his administration had pumped more funds into the nation’s tertiary education more than any previous government.
According to him, the flagstaff of this regime remains the enhancement of higher educational institutions, as it is supportive of efforts to promote training, research and community services in the universities.
The president said that he expected that the nation’s universities should be problem-solvers, while impacting heavily on the socio-economic life of the nation.
He said: “More premium has been placed on education and security, and I have no intention of lowering the guard.
“In our determined effort to resolve the incessant strikes in our higher institutions of learning, we have provided a total sum of N470 billion in the 2023 budget from our constrained resources, for revitalisation and salary enhancement.
“I want all of us to know and note that government alone cannot provide the resources required for funding tertiary education.
“In fact, in most countries, the cost of education is jointly shared between the government and the people, especially at the tertiary level.
“It is imperative, therefore, that we introduce a highly sustainable model of funding tertiary education.
“This government remains committed to the implementation of agreement reached with staff unions, within the available resources, and we are resolute that we will not sign any agreement that we cannot truthfully implement.
“Government is equally committed to improving the quality of education at other levels.”
Earlier, the Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, who is the Chancellor of OAU, commended the efforts of the graduands to succeed, through their persistence, resilience and determination, which singled them out for excellence, honour and recognition.
Abubakar advised them to hold their head high as worthy ambassadors and explore the world around them and beyond, with natural resources of great wealth, waiting to be tapped.
Also, the university Pro-Chancellor of the university, Owelle Udoji, congratulated the graduands and their relatives on their academic success.
Udoji acknowledged the fatherly roles played by the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, to maintain peace and tranquility between the community and the university.
He urged the graduands to utilise the knowledge the acquired at the university to make their lives better.
Earlier, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Simeon Bamire, commended the university staff for their unflinching support for stability and return of normalcy to the institution, in spite of the unresolved issues between them and the government.
He pledged to strengthen students-alumni relations, increase opportunities for internally generated revenue, while removing leakages and wastages.
The vice-chancellor promised to improve the institution’s agricultural production initiatives, prioritise staff welfare through regular promotion, with training and retraining programmes to ensure their sustainable achievement.
Bamire said: “The university has continued to play a leading role in technology promotion, while the African Centre of Excellence in Software Engineering Project of the school has tremendously advanced the frontiers of technological development in Nigeria and Africa.
“The university is reconstituting the ‘Town and Gown Committee’ to further strengthen the cordial relationship between the two entities to meet up with the social and communal challenges that may arise.”
He gave an assurance that the graduands had been academically equipped, while urging them to utilise their knowledge to provide solutions to the nation’s economic challenges.
He stressed that they should also be good ambassadors of the university.
A total number of 130 graduands bagged First Class degrees, out of the 6,542 that graduated.