President Goodluck Jonathan, Saturday, urged the private sector to join hands with the Federal Government in forging partnerships with the universities in funding research and scholarships as part of efforts to improve education in the country.
Speaking at the 42n convocation of the University of Nigeria, Jonathan also called on the alumni of universities to provide greater support for their schools, citing examples of leading foreign universities.
He told the graduating higher degree students of the university that they "have an obligation to maintain a vigorous relationship with your alma mater. All over the world, alumni groups are strengthening their long-standing relationships with their alma mater and contributing to their growth and development. Yale and Harvard alumni contribute over 27% of the budgets of their alma mater."
Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission, Prof Julius Okojie, represented Jonathan at the convocation where Secretary to the Government of the Federation Senator, Anyim Pius Anyim, and four other personalities including the INEC Chairman, Prof Attahiru Jega, were inducted honorary alumni of the UNN through award of doctorate degrees.
Anyim received the Doctor of Laws honoris causa while INEC chairman Jega received the Doctor of Public Administration honoris causa.
Mr. Tajudeen Fola Adeola, chairman of MainOne Cable and founding managing director, Guaranty Trust Bank, as well as Dr. Alex Otti, Managing Director of Diamond Bank, received the honour of Doctor of Business Administration.
The president told the awardees they should be proud of the honour from UNN. He stated, "It is a thing of pride that one of Nigeria's oldest and largest universities has found you deserving of its most prestigious award. I believe that this honour will not only strengthen your relationship with this University, but will also enhance your contributions to national development."
The President told the over 1700 higher degree holders that the Federal Government has created opportunities for young people to tap in the economy.
"On our part as a government, we have continued to work hard to make the world you are coming into, one of opportunities. Through sound economic management, infrastructural development, power sector reform and economic diversification, we are making progress towards meeting our employment generation and development objectives through such initiatives as YouWin, SURE-P, etc", Jonathan stated.
UNN Vice Chancellor, Prof Bartho Okolo, in his convocation address, said the institution had continued to grow its postgraduate enrolment with the 1, 730 graduands of the 42nd convocation representing a 38% increase on previous session.