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Government & Politics

Utilise your gifts well, Buhari tells UNILAG

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President Muhammadu Buhari has advised the University of Lagos (UNILAG) and other universities to take advantage of their natural endowments to add to the economic development of their states and the nation.

He said this yesterday in his address as the Visitor on the final day of the three-day convocation.

The President, who was represented by the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof Julius Okojie, said Unilag is “blessed” given its proximity to the Lagos Lagoon.

He said: “UNILAG and other universities must  continue to define their unique roles in relation to the objectives that birthed them and with respect to impacting their environment.

“The University must therefore, in close consultation with the NUC, begin to develop new Benchmark Minimum Academic Standard (BMAS) at postgraduate levels for such programmes as Tourism Hospitality Industry and Management, which could leverage on the huge number of people who visit or transit through Lagos State daily and the aesthetic and commercial values of the Lagoon/Ocean shoreline.

“Your immediate natural environment lends itself to the study of such environmentally relevant subjects, such as oceanography, deep-sea and marine science and general sea-faring and marine transportation.

“In this endeavour, government advocates a new partnership- Federal Government-State government-Private Sector-host community.”

President Buhari blamed his absence on the number of universities of which he is Visitor and the absence of appropriate technology to shorten his trip.

He said he hoped to leverage on technology in respect of video conferencing to ensure his televised presence at such occasions in the future.

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The Shehu of Borno, Alhaji Abubakar Ibn Umar Garba El-Kanemi, advised the graduating students to contribute their quota to the nation’s progress and development.

He spoke after his installation as the university’s Chancellor. He said: “You are the future leaders of this great, diverse, united and indivisible country.

“Be good and patriotic citizens and indeed, pillars of the nation’s growth and development.”

The monarch said he was happy to have been installed as the seventh Chancellor in the same month marking his seventh year on the throne.

The ceremony was attended by dignitaries, including the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwanu Akiolu, Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, Emir of Kano, Alhaji Lamido Sanusi, Borno State Deputy Governor Ali Idoma, members of the House of Representatives and vice-chancellors.

The Vice-Chancellor, Prof Rahamon Bello, said the institution is training 33 graduate students under the ECOWAS Postgraduate Mobility Scheme for the training of graduate students in West Africa.

He pledged his support for the Chancellor, terming his installation as “a square peg in a square hole”.

The institution graduated 10,907 students for the 2014/2015 academic session.

At yesterday’s ceremony, 5,435 postgraduate students, comprising 71 PhDs, 4,973 masters and 391 diplomas, received their scroll.

The best PhD thesis was won by Dr Kolapo Muyiwa Oyebola, PhD Biochemistry, Parasitology and Bioinformatics.

Dr Philomena Ibezie won the best PhD thesis in the humanities.

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