Speaking at the 38th graduation/42nd Founder’s Day anniversary of the University of Benin, Edo State, Jonathan called on vice-chancellors to key into government’s transformation agenda in tackling challenges confronting the country, including those in the area of crime prevention and environmental degradation.
Speaking through the Minister of Education, Prof. Ruquayattu Rufa’i, who was also represented by Prof. Patrick Onolememen, Jonathan commended the institution for maintaining its ranking as the best in Nigeria.
Earlier in his address, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Osayuki Oshodin, announced that the university had added value to its academic profile through more novel activities, including the setting up of an Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer office.
The occasion witnessed the presentation of degrees and certificates to 8,863 graduating students in various categories and the conferment of honorary degrees on two Nigerians, Mr. Idahosa Okunbor, a businessman and Dr. Isa Odidi, a pharmacist.
Meanwhile, an expert in Comparative Literature and founder of the Africa Diaspora Research, Prof. Kole Omotoso, has identified corruption as the major cause of Nigeria’s backwardness in technological advancement.
Omotoso made the observation on Friday at the 24th Convocation Lecture of the Federal University of Technology, Akure, entitled, ‘Technology and Human Development.’
The don decried the abandonment of the multi-billion dollar Ajaokuta Steel Complex and similar firms across the country as a result of sharp practices by corrupt leaders.
He noted that lack of a functional steel complex in the country would make it impossible for Nigeria to achieve any meaningful technological growth.
He said, “On July 13, 1979, the Federal Government, under Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, signed a global contract that was open to bidders.
“The contract was signed with TyajzPromExport of the then Union of Soviet Socialist Republics for the establishment of the Ajaokuta Steel project. The date of completion was 1986, but it was never completed till date due to policy inconsistencies and massive project corruption for which no one was ever punished.”
He added that Nigeria’s hope of becoming a technologically developed country would remain a mirage if the issue of corruption was not immediately addressed.