Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State last weekend raised the alarm that most universities in the country have deviated from their primary aim of promoting research and development.
The Governor stated this at the 21st Convocation Ceremony of Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma, which held during the weekend at the University’s Auditorium in Edo State, where he was also installed as the visitor of the institution.
While noting that many universities now concentrate on employing too many non-academic staff, Obaseki pointed out that universities were not established to create jobs, but to advance learning, promote research, and develop cultured students.
“The University needs all levels of supportive staff, but the current practice where the number of non-academic staff outweighs the numbers of academic staff and researchers is not acceptable, not tenable and unsustainable.
“Universities should, through investment, efficient management of fund, partnership with private and government sectors, grants from internal bodies, and alumni associations, thrive to be self-sustaining,” Obaseki admonished.
He therefore tasked tertiary institutions on publication of journals, innovations, and technology advancement of students to make them relevant in the digital age.
He added that universities should check waste and corruption and stop relying on the government for subvention, because the government is almost broke.
Meanwhile, Vice Chancellor of the Institution, Prof. Ignatius Onimawo, said the University had achieved numerous successes in the areas of Fibre Optic Technology, infrastructural development, internally generated revenue, as well as accreditation of the 64 programmes of the institution.
He however highlighted challenges which were impeding progress, to include lack of perimeter fencing, construction and tarring of roads within the campus, building of a VC lodge, completion of the administrative building, and provision of more students’ accommodation.
While commending the Governor for prompt release of monthly subvention, which, he noted, allowed payment of staff’s salaries as at when due, Onimawo however encouraged partnership in investments to boost Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) for the school.
On his part, the Chancellor of the University, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, attributed the giant strides of the institution to the enabling environment provided by the State Government.
The Chancellor commended the Governor for mobilising contractors working on the Administrative building back to site, noting that the completion of the project would solve the problems of offices for its staff.
He also commended the Governing Council, members of staff and students for the enhancement of peace and unity in the university.
While 40 graduands bagged Post Graduate Diplomas; 76 were awarded Masters Degrees; 14 graduated with Doctorate Degrees; and 2,265 graduands were awarded First Degrees, making a total of 2,395 graduands at the event.
Awards of Honourary degrees were also presented to three distinguished Nigerians, namely, Chief Tony Elumelu (Business Administration), Dr. Mathew Okpebholo (Engineering) and Dr. Robson Momoh (Literature).