President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, and Visitor, Bayero University, Kano has said that it was imperative for universities like BUK to take a lead in opening our minds to emerging scenarios and equipping us to face the challenges posed by these changes.
He said that Nigerians could not afford to be strangers in the new world being shaped by education and technological advancement. “Our universities must be in the fore front of generating and dissemination of knowledge and information to ensure our country’s participation in the global Knowledge Society.”
The President said that, we are living in the age of knowledge where education holds the key to our success as a people and as a nation and emphasised that education that is particularly produced in a good university could instigate scientific, socio- economic and technological changes needed to take us to the future.
He maintained that education remained one of the strongest weapons in injecting hope in our youth and it could afford us the ability to negotiate a better quality life for the people.
He also mentioned that government on its part would continue to encourage the universities and other tertiary institutions of higher learning to produce the necessary skilled manpower with a view to building a strong economy capable of sustaining the change agenda.
President Buhari said that in order to develop the nation’s human capital and to show commitment to educational development, the Hon. Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu directed the National Universities Commission (NUC) to develop a blue print for effective revitalization of university education in Nigeria.
He assured that the blue print would be carefully developed by some of Nigeria’s finest academics and university administrators, with inputs from relevant stakeholders to facilitate Nigeria’s transition from a resource based to knowledge based economy.
On the part of government part, the President pledged that his administration would continue to ensure that universities are run more efficiently and more prudently and challenged the university councils and management to respect the principles of good governance and rule of law in the administration of human, financial and reputational capitals of their institutions.
President Buhari also said that government was concerned about the incidences of financial recklessness in institutions of higher learning and universities and that government would act decisively in due course.
He congratulated the graduands and reminded them that society would assess their certificates by their actions and deeds.
He urged Nigerians to change the way they do things. “Nigerians must change their attitude towards education if they desire a new change and progress in the Country. Nigerians must change before it is too late”.
According to the President, Nigeria’s challenges were multiplying by the day and to tackle these challenges, would require a different and fresh perspective anchored towards education delivery.
He noted that, BUK was gradually becoming one of the prestigious universities in Nigeria and was emerging in its key discipline areas of Agriculture, basic and life Sciences, Social and Management Sciences, Computer Science and Information Technology as well as Engineering, adding that getting to this stage in the life of the university was by no means a mere feat.
He congratulated the university Senate, Council, congregation and Management who work tirelessly to ensure the success achieved so far in the university.
He thanked the people and Government of Kano State for their support to the university which enabled it to create a conducive atmosphere suitable for teaching and research.
The President also used the occasion to thank all Nigerians for their tremendous support, prayers and Goodwill for his government through which we shall overcome all challenges facing us as a nation, saying that he was encouraged by these prayers to change the nation to an economically prosperous nation.
He added that his administration was firmly aware of the promise it made to Nigerians to fight corruption, improve security and stimulate economic growth that would create more employment opportunities, “we shall continue to sacrifice our time and energy until we restore respect of all Nigerians.”
He explained that his administration will continue to work with honesty and dedication to change the fortunes of the nation and he said that he was confident that they would emerge victorious in their efforts to effect positive change in the lives of Nigerians.
The Vice Chancellor, Professor Muhammad Yahuza Bello said in his address that the university awarded bachelor’s degrees to 5,098 qualified candidates from 15 faculties and one school, with 76 of these graduating with First Class Honours and 2, 559 were conferred with higher degrees and post graduate diplomas. Of this number, 70 PhD degrees received.
The Vice Chancellor said that the university had witnessed appreciable progress in the last one year with many projects completed and put to use, a number of new ones commenced. “One of the projects that was completed, commissioned and put to use is the Dangote Business School Building, constructed and furnished by the Dangote Foundation.”
The Vice Chancellor noted that BUK had continued to maintain its record of academic excellence as the entire programme presented by the University for Accreditation by the NUC, during the year under review scored full accreditation. Senate approval for the introduction of a mechanism for continuous internal quality assurance is another achievement, he said.
He said that the university had also continued to be globally competitive in other areas, such as wining research grants. “Grants secured during the year included; $500,000 from MacArthur Foundation, for Aminu Kano centre for Democratic Research and Development (Mambayya House), $1,000,000 from the USAID for the establishment of the Nigerian Centre for Reading, Research and Development; and two grants totalling about £1,000,000 from the United Kingdom (UK) won by a research group in the College of Health Sciences for research into snakebite and venom development.”
Professor Yahuza said implementations of earlier grants were progressing well and the Centre for Dryland Agriculture continued to make good progress in implementation of ACE grant from the World Bank.
“Similarly, implementation of $400,000 DFID contributory grant to the Centre for Renewable Energy Research is about to be completed; with a one megawatt solar power station about to be put to use on the Old Campus.”
He said that when completed, it would be the largest solar power plant in the country and that as one of the nine universities benefitting from the Rural Electrification Agency, contract had been awarded for a three megawatt power plant for the New Campus.
The Chancellor of the university, HRM King Alfred P. Diete-Spiff, OFR, JP, DF, Sariyan II, and the Amanyanabo of Twon-Brass in his speech traced the development of universities vis-a-vis population growth in the country, saying that both had grown astronomically.
He said that universities had grown in number from 4 universities in the 1960’s to the coming up of BUK in the 70’s and “today we are talking of about 184 universities.”
The nation’s population, he said, had also grown from about 100 million in the 60’s to about 180 million today, with the bulk of the majority making the youth, adding that the challenge facing the nation now was how to educate these youth who would take over the mantle of leadership.
“With numerous challenges facing the youth, it is incumbent for university like BUK to enlighten them on how to overcome it as well as face the future.”
According to the chancellor, his vision for BUK was to be able to produce world class graduates that would contribute positively to the society while in competition with others for the benefits of humanity and to glory of God.
In his address, the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Governing Council, Professor Ibrahim O. Gambari, encouraged the graduates to step out into the world with a firm conviction that each had a responsibility and duty to become a part of the building block for a peaceful, progressive and prosperous country where everyone could give his place in dignity and hope.
Professor Gambari said he believed that BUK would be one of the best run universities under his Chairmanship and advised the graduands to see their certificates as the beginning of the beginnings and not as beginning of the end.