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By NBF News

• Alhaji Idris congratulating Ibeto, with them is Prof Rufa'i

Among distinguished Nigerians who were honoured with doctorate degrees at the 40th convocation of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, UNN was Cletus Ibeto, Chairman, Ibeto Group of Companies, a man whose love for education was praised and appreciated at the august occasion. In his citation read out concerning him before he stepped forward to be conferred with the award, it was noted that it was due to his love for education that made the Nnewi-born industrialist and businessman to strive and obtain his General School Certificate (GCE) at the age of 48.

He later got admission at UNN where he obtained a degree in Accountancy in 2001. It was thus fulfilling for Ibeto, as he told reporters that the doctorate degree in Business Administration bestowed on him was the best thing that has happened in his life.

The jovial industrialist who had rejected chieftaincy titles so far said it was fulfilling to rise from a simple 'Mr.', to now answer 'Dr.' Ibeto. Also honoured with doctorate degree in Business Administration, alongside Ibeto, was the Central Bank Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.

Sanusi, who obtained his first degree in Economics from the Ahmadu Bello University, said: 'it is a great pleasure for me 30 years later to be in the position where I can now say I have the best of both worlds, an Ahmadu Bello University education and a University of Nigeria degree.

'The message that I give all the time to students and graduating students is that this is a country where we must always have hope; not hope because we want to console ourselves but hope because this is a country that does have great potentials and at every point in time that potential is there to be realized. But we must also understand and this is what the universities are here for, as the conscience of the nation, that if we do not take advantage of these opportunities and realize these potentials, what happened in Egypt, what is happening in Libya, what happened in Tunisia can happen in Nigeria. Look at this country, and see what we can do with it; we have oil and gas, we import energy; we have large land resources, we import food, we are the number one producers of cassava in the world, we import starch, we have a large cotton belt and import textiles from China.

We have hides and skin we don't have necessary industries to develop it.

'By addressing each of these areas in a structured and dedicated manner, we can lift this country out of poverty and make it the China of Africa. The message is that this is not going to be done for us by the Chinese or by the Americans or by the British; it has to be done by us. It has to be done by you, and I hope, as this new generation comes out you will be thinking about this country, not with despair and despondency, but with hope and ambition and realize that in 10 years, in 20 years all of these problems can be history.'

Also speaking Rear Admiral Alison Madueke, Rtd, former military administrator of old Anambra State, said government must do something about providing enough funds for the primary, secondary and tertiary institutions.

'I feel that our teachers and lecturers should be paid adequately; they buy from the same market, they send their children to the same school, but they are not realizing their full potentials in terms of raising their families and meeti8ng their life expectancies,' he said. 'I hereby call on all governments to review the conditions of services of our teaching citizens. Government should increase the budgetary allocation for education; I am soliciting for education because I believe that in spite of all the calls for government to resuscitate the decaying infrastructure in our country, I find education as the most enduring infrastructure that needs attention in Nigeria.'

President Goodluck Jonathan, in his speech said that the reason the government sited the six new universities in the six geopolitical zones of the country was to give opportunities to the youths to have access to higher education as a way of exploring the potentials in them and developing the nation further. Jonathan, who was represented by the Minister of Education, Prof Ruqquayatu Ahmed Rufai, said that his administration was committed to giving the youths a pride of place in the country, stressing that the new universities would commence academic activities in the shortest possible time.

Jonathan reaffirmed the commitment of his administration to credible elections by April this year as part of his administration's desire to leave a lasting legacy to the people of the country. He advised Nigerian youths and students not to allow themselves to be used as political thugs, expressing the hope that they would in future realize that they are the key drivers in the development of the nation.

Chancellor of the university and Emir of Zauzzau, Alhaji Shehu Idris, urged youths to shun vices that could make them potential political thugs as the elections draw near, urging politicians to play the game according to rules. He said that any effort that could derail the peace process of the country should be avoided, just as he commended the Independent National Electoral Commission [INEC] for the efforts so far at ensuring credible elections and urged it not to relent on its efforts.