By Joy Odigie
The Edo Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has said universities in the country were not established for jobs creation, but to advance learning, promote research and build character of students.
Obaseki made the assertion on Saturday at the second day of the 21st Convocation Ceremony of the Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma.
The governor said that most universities had deviated from their primary aim of promoting research and development and concentrated on having too many non-academic staff.
“The university needs all levels of supportive staff, but the current practice where the number of non-academic staff outweighed the numbers of academic staff and researchers is not acceptable, not tenable and unsustainable.
“’Universities should through investment, efficient management of funds, partnership with the private and government sectors, grants from international bodies and Alumni association, thrive to be self-sustaining,’’ he said.
Obaseki said that with the current recession, universities should not shy away from getting rid of their redundant and unproductive staff in the various faculties.
“Universities should be able to check waste and corruption and stop relying on the government for subvention, because the government is almost broke,’’ he advised.
The governor tasked the nation’s university authorities to engage in publication of journals, innovations and technology advancement of students to make them relevant in the present world of ICT.
The university Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ignatius Onimawo, said that the institution had achieved numerous successes in the areas of fibre optic technology, infrastructural development, internally generated revenue and accreditation of 64 programmes.
Onimawo listed areas of need to include partnership in investment ventures such as in agriculture going by the vast arable land and dam to boost the institution’s revenue.
Others were perimeter fencing of the school, construction and tarring of roads within the campus, building of the vice-chancellor’s lodge, completion of the administrative building and provision of more students’ accommodation.
The Chancellor, His Highness, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, the Etsu Nupe of Bida, attributed the university’s giant strides to the enabling environment provided by the state governor, saying that available resources would be judiciously utilised.
The chancellor also commended the governor for mobilising the contractors working on the administrative building back to site, saying that completion of the project would solve the problems of office accommodation.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the governor was installed as the 15th visitor of the institution by the state Chief Judge, Justice Eseohe Ikponmwan.
There was also presentation of honourary degrees on Chief Tony Elumelu (Business Administration), Dr Mathew Okpebholo (Engineering) and Dr Robson Momoh (Literature).
The university awarded Post-graduate Degrees to 130 graduands with a breakdown of 40 Post-graduate Diploma, 76 Masters Degrees and 14 Doctorate Degrees, while 2,265 graduands were on Friday awarded First Degrees. (NAN)