President Goodluck Jonathan has urged universities to bring their potentials to bear on solving contemporary problems facing the country such as the recurring insecurity in some parts.
He threw the challenge in a message to the 26th Convocation Ceremony of the University of Jos which also witnessed the conferment of honorary degrees on Chief Afe Babalola, SAN, Alhaji Ahmed Joda and Da Bitrus Pam Kim.
Represented by the Minister of Education, Professor Ruqquayat Ahmed Rufai, the president said: “our universities must align with our national goals and aspirations and brace up to the challenges of knowledge based competition. You must strive to be creative in your approach to contemporary problem solving, including the recurring insecurity problems in some parts of the country.”
He said this had become imperative considering that “for most other nations, higher education is today defining the pace of economic advancement, scientific progress, social development and national integration.”
President Jonathan said the administration has demonstrated commitment to improving the education sector through “significant vote” in this year’s budget. “We believe that education is the first step towards securing the nation’s future; therefore, the Federal Government will continue to build on this in the coming years towards producing the desired results for the benefit of our people”, he said.
Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Hayward Mafuyai highlighted the achievements of the institution in the area of research to include the development of Grewa Gum for the formulation of tablets and the demonstrating the value of mushroom for the management of sleeping sickness disease, both by the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, among others.
He reiterated the appeal for the release of the take off grant of the university to enable her move her four foundation faculties to the permanent site as well as for a special grant to pay compensation on the Phase II land to check further encroachment.
The Chancellor, the Ewi of Ado Ekiti, Oba Rufus Adeyemo Adejugbe, Aladesanmi III urged the Federal Government to increase the grant to the university in view of the enormous security challenges it is facing. He said although relative peace had returned to the state, staff and students still operate amidst uncertainty and fear.
Over 8,000 graduates received various degrees and certificates on the occasion.