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Jonathan Wants Universities To Be More Innovative

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PORT HARCOURT, April 28, (THEWILL) - President Goodluck Jonathan on Saturday urged federal universities to be more innovative and enterprising in their response to the decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to cut funding from them.

President Jonathan spoke through education minister, Prof. Ruqayyatu Rufa’i, who represented him at the 28th convocation ceremony of the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT).

“Be generators of employment rather than populating the unemployment market; seek opportunities for entrepreneurial engagements,” Jonathan said. “We are laying emphasis on public/private sector partnership in reducing unemployment. Managements of Nigerian universities must be innovative, in order to complement government’s efforts. Government expects judicious use of public funds. It should no longer be business as usual in Federal universities.”

Speaking earlier, chancellor of the university, De Wheno Aholu, Menu-Toyi 1, the Oba Akran of Badagry admonished staff and students of the institution to continue to relate well with their host communities.

In his speech titled, The New UNIPORT, vice-chancellor of the university, Prof. Joseph Ajienka described the institution as an epitome of entrepreneurship.

His words, “An entrepreneurial university is a step change in the university's mission of teaching, research and community service. In line with global best practice, an entrepreneurial university is built on the solid foundation of innovative research and creativity, thereby capitalising on knowledge, creating employment opportunities and wealth. In this way, an entrepreneurial university reaps a rich harvest of dividends to secure its future.

“The focus of our university is to become a research-intensive graduate school. Last year, we laid the foundation, created the awareness and provided some academic structures and infrastructure. Thereafter, we started the building of a research-driven entrepreneurial university.”

Among the 5,756 students who received certificates, Boma Tubotamuno of the Department of Economics emerged as the best graduating student in the undergraduate category, with a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 4.78 on a scale of 5 points,

There were 14 first class graduates; 817 had second class upper, 1,468 had second class lower, 308 had third class while 78 got a pass. Also, 1,083 obtained postgraduate diploma, 532 with Master’s degree and 98 with Doctoral degree.

Chairman of Afren Energy Services, Egbert Imomoh; the chairman of Stanbic-IBTC Bank Plc, Atedo Peterside; and the managing director of Diamond Bank Plc, Dr. Alex Otti were awarded honorary degrees.

Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi; his wife, Judith who represented Dame Patience Jonathan; and minister of state for education, Chief Nyesom Wike were among the dignitaries at the occasion.