President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday said that the Federal Government was making relentless efforts to end the economic recession ravaging the country and assured that the hardship would soon vanish.
He said this during the 42nd convocation ceremony for a total 6,827 graduates of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife.
Buhari who was represented by the Executive Secretary of the National University Commission (NUC), Professor Adamu Rasheed, explained that the Federal Government has put necessary measures in place to end recession and sought cooperation of Nigerians to succeed.
He said, “There is no gainsaying that we live in challenging times. Nigeria is not exempted from the political, security and economic upheavals going on, worldwide.
“We have been making good progress, particularly on security issues, and we are relentless in our efforts to ensure that this economic recession is a very temporary experience in our national life. I am firmly convinced that with the measures being put in place and the cooperation of all Nigerians, it will soon be a thing of the past.
“This administration is committed to ensuring that as a nation, we are self-sufficient in food staples and thereof no longer dependent on food importation by 2019. Foreign exchange saved in the process will be channelled into reviving our industries, enhancing the hydrology and ecology of the Lake Chad Basin, improving our power generation nd distribution infrastructure and completing all the abandoned rural electrification projects nationwide, among other things.”
According to OAU acting Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Anthony Elujoba, 66 students graduated with first class, 15 students graduated with distinction from the faculty of pharmacy. 1305 students graduated with second class upper; 2127 second class lower; 606 third class; and 50 students had pass.
The acting VC said 4,646 students were conferred with first degree; 518 postgraduate diplomas; 1,663 got postgraduate degrees.
But there has also been concern about the growing rate of unemployment, prompting calls for graduates to develop entrepreneurial skills.
He said, “In September, 2016, our unemployment rate reached a high value of 17.9 per cent as compared to 9.9 per cent the previous year. I intend to remind you that although this administration is doing its best to provide jobs for the teeming population of Nigerian youths, our efforts still need to be complemented by the private sector. We have been bringing on board several entrepreneurship initiative that create an enabling environment for job creators to not only thrive, but excel.
“Promotion of local products, encouragement of export markets, tapping of indigenous raw materials, etc, are some of the avenues for this to operate. As fresh graduates with multitude of invigorating ideas, you are encouraged to forward your proposals under the appropriate parastatals and agencies.”
He explained that government has directed the National Universities Commission to chart a new course for curriculum development and review in the Nigerian University System.
He said, “This administration is concerned with the quality of university education in Nigeria. Government believed that the quality of universities is influenced by a number of factors within the output, process and output domains.
“The reality is that every facet of the university, be it academic or non-academic, contributes to its quality. It is expected that universities will embark on strategic capacity building to bring academics up-to-date with the new trends in their respective subject areas in order to achieve the desired impact.”
The president urged management of the federal institutions to be accountable, saying, “Visitations to universities are statutory requirements for accountability of the institutions to government and citizenry. Visitation to federally owned universities are due and government has appropriately constituted panels to embark on the exercise.
“The details of the exercise, which will commence in the new year (2017), will be released in due course. Staff, students, parents and relevant stakeholders are enjoined to seize the opportunity that will be provided by the exercise to submit memoranda for the success of the visitation.”
The Chancellor of OAU, Dr. Yahaya Abubakar, Etsu Nupe challenged staff of the universities to ensure adequate utilisation of resources made available by the government.
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