*Buhari begs ASUU to call off strike, says FG ready to revamp education sector
Africa’s richest entrepreneur, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Thursday, gave the University of Ibadan (UI) N250 million, as Sultan of Sokoto and Sarkin Mu’mineen of Nigeria, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III performed his second duty conducting the second convocation as Chancellor of the nation’s number university.
Alhaji Dangote, President of the Dangote Group, made the donation after receiving a honorary doctoral degree at the convocation and 68th Founder’s Day ceremony of the university.
Businessman and native of Ibadan Bode Amoo and Prof. Niyi Osundare were also honoured with doctoral degrees.
In his speech, the business mogul said the Federal Government should give UI a special status to attract higher funding.
He said: “We do acknowledge that the Federal Government alone cannot shoulder the burden of funding tertiary education due to competing needs of other sectors also demanding attention.
“This is where Public Private Partnership (PPP) comes in. I strongly believe the private sector must go beyond the payment of the two per cent Education Levy to join hands with the governments in funding tertiary education in Nigeria.”
President Muhammadu Buhari, in his address as the visitor on the 68th Founders’ Day and convocation ceremony held in the International Conference Centre of the university, urged tertiary institutions to produce graduates with entrepreneurial skills.
He lamented that the standard of education had succeeded in creating three classes of Nigerians – a minority that is well educated, a majority that is poorly educated and those without education.
Describing this as bad for the nation, Buhari said efforts must be put in place to reverse the trend.
The President reiterated his administration’s commitment to qualitative education, with the participation and support of stakeholders.
In the meantime, President Muhammadu Buhari had appealed to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to give government more time to sort out the shortfalls in salary payment and other related issues affecting the education sector.
Represented by the Director, Tertiary Education at the Federal Ministry of Education, Mrs. Fatimah Ahmad, President Buhari decried the standard of education which has left a vast majority of the people poorly educated.
Describing the trend as unhealthy and saddening, the President reiterated his administration’s commitment to revamping the sector.
Mrs Ahmad added that government was in dialogue with the affected unions and would continue to explore means of amicable resolutions.
The Chancellor and Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar, urged universities to build requisite skills in their products to enable them create jobs.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Idowu Olayinka, said the university was being repositioned to compete with “globally acclaimed best universities.”
He announced a new faculty; Agriculture and Renewable Natural Resources, and the splitting of Department of Economics into Economics, Accounting, Business Administration and Banking and Finance.
Four hundred and forty-two candidates, spread over 11 faculties and two institutes and two centres, were awarded first degrees, Doctor of Philosophy degrees, in addition to one Doctor of Medicine (MD) from Faculty of Clinical Sciences.
The Faculty of Education led the group with 116 graduates, followed by the Faculty of Science, with 68 and Faculty of Arts with 67.
In attendance were the Sultan of Sokoto and Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi, Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji, Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi II, Pro-Chancellor of University of Ibadan, Alhaji Umar Musa Mustapha as well as Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi, represented by Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Olalekan Alli, among others.