As the University of Calabar holds its 29th convocation ceremony, more than 7,200 young Nigerians were awarded various degrees and diplomas.
The convocation ceremony, which was held at the Abraham Odia Stadium within the institution, featured the award of first degrees to 4,868 people, 952 bagged higher degrees, 1,402 were awarded diplomas.
Amongst those with first degrees, 12 made First Class, 1,026 got second Class upper, 2,980 people were award Second Class Lower Division, while 760 people received Third Class degrees and 90 made pass.
The special guest of honour, Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari felicitated with the graduates for painstakingly completing their academic curriculum and skills acquisition.
President Buhari, in a speech read by his representative, Professor Akaneren Essien of the National Universities Commission-NCC, urged tertiary institutions in Nigeria to access funds for research into areas that would enhance development in energy, tourism and agriculture.
The President noted “it was in the aim of resuscitating research activities in the nation’s tertiary institutions that government through the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFUND established to lines of funding for research namely – the Institution based research and the National research fund.”
According to President Buhari, “so much of this fund is yet to be accessed by the nation’s public universities. I urge the nation’s public universities and other tertiary institutions to put in place fundable proposals, taking into consideration the nation’s contemporary challenges in the area of energy, economic diversification strategies, value chain for our agricultural products and further exploitation of local raw materials for our industries.”
To further strengthen research capacities in Nigerian universities, President Buhari advised tertiary institutions to collaborate with Nigeria Research and Aviation Network domiciled at the National Universities Commission
He also urged the University of Calabar to work closely with the commission to strengthen its tourism and environmental studies curriculum as well as partner with international research organizations in ways that would benefit the institution and country.
President Buhari reiterated the resolve of his administration to continue in the fight against corruption and urged the university community to “oppose corruption to save the future of the vibrant youth population,” noting “Government has adopted a radical approach to stamp out corruption by strengthening the agencies to effectively fight.”
In a brief remark, the Pro-Chancellor of the University of Calabar, Dr. Emmanuel Iwuayanwu commended the Nigerian President for the fight against corruption, insecurity and unemployment.
He pledged the university’s commitment to join in the fight against corruption and announced the decision of the institution to establish large farms in parts of Cross River State as well as continue with the buildings for the Faculty of Engineering soon to come on stream.
The Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar, Professor Zana Akpagu said “it is important to note that all our graduates have been thoroughly groomed in both character and learning and you will remain our worthy ambassador in all fields of endeavours.”
Akpagu further stated that, “we have taken care to prepare them for the 21st century workplace by infusing them with the skills and knowledge that gives them the comparative edge to participate in, add value and to excel across all strata of an expanding economy of Nigeria.”
High-point of the convocation ceremony was the award of Honourary Doctors of Laws Degree and Political Science degree to Former Governor of Cross River State, Mr. Donald Duke and Senator Florence Ita-Giwa.