President Mohammadu Buhari has said universities must maintain a certain level of stability with uninterrupted academic activities, if the overall objectives of attaining national development goals are to be achieved.
Buhari who stated this at the 24th convocation ceremony of the University of Abuja yesterday, said the task of overcoming the problems of the education sector was not a function and responsibility of government alone.
"It should emerge through concerted efforts of government, parents, stakeholders and the entire society. No nation has achieved appreciable socio-economic development without tangible transformation of its education system. In view of this national perception, education will continue to be a high priority item in my government's drive to transform the economy," he said.
The president who was represented by the Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Rasheed Abubakar, said government would continue to provide Nigerians equal and massive access to education at all levels such that they can fulfil their dream of participating in the nation's socio-economic development and empowerment of our youths.
"I believe, fervently, that advancement in education at all levels, will guarantee our collective drive to grow the economy for the betterment of all Nigerians," he said.
The Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Abdul - Rasheed Na'Allah, noted that the institution in in the recent past had been afflicted with some unsavoury challenges that made smooth and seamless operations difficult in the system.
"Two particular major challenges were the hitherto prevailing poor work ethics and the general indiscipline bordering on academic and other social malfeasances such as late reporting and early closure from work by staff, admission racketeering, poor attendance at lectures and students' falsification of academic records , examination misconduct, cultism and sexual harassment among staff and students," he said.
He said the state of affairs had not only stifled the rapid growth and development of the institution, but also ensured that the university was always in the public domain for the wrong reasons.
He however said on assumption of office, the new path embarked on though short, had shown improvement in students-lecturers relationship, renewed commitment of staff and early release of results.
While congratulating the gradauting students and their parents, he said the university was working to sustain the hosting of its graduation ceremony promptly every year.
The convocation featured the award of honorary degrees to the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed Ali; a former Chief of Army Staff, Major General Alwali Kazir (rtd) and a singer, Ibrahim Narambada, for their contributions to peace and progress of the nation.
The vice chancellor also disclosed that 10, 331 graduates were awarded certificates, out of which 26 were first class degrees, 866 second class upper, 3,317 second class lower, 339 third class and 52 pass. He said the low number in pass degrees showed effort towards the phasing out of the degree.
Speaking on behalf of the honourary awardees, Gen. Kazir expressed joy over what he called a pride of the day because people of different backgrounds were considered for honour.
The former Chief of Army Staff who spoke on national security said all nations that have had security challenges by putting all hands on deck always emerged strong, but advised that Nigeria looks at alternative areas to address its security challenges.