Rivers State governor, His Excellency, Barrister Nyesom Wike, has reaffirmed his confidence in the capability and commitment of the Acting Vice-Chancellor of Ignatius Ajuru University of Education, Professor Okechuku Onuchuku, to take the university to greater heights.

Gov. Wike made this declaration at the 41st convocation of the institution for the award of higher degrees and prizes on Saturday, April 22, 2023.

The governor, who was represented by his deputy, Dr Ipalibo Harry-Banigo, appreciated the transformational strides of the acting vice-chancellor within the period of his stewardship at the university and charged him to remain focused on the monumental task of advancing the mandate of the university.

Wike hailed Onuchuku’s innovative efforts, prudence and efficient utilisation of resources and investments in the face of insufficient resources.

He also congratulated the vice-chancellor, management and staff of the institution for producing graduates that would translate to more manpower to the state and the nation, while also commending the expansion of infrastructure and the maintenance of existing ones, as well as the security approaches put in place.

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The visitor to the university also commended the tertiary education trust fund (Tetfund) and other stakeholders in their pragmatic interventions in improving infrastructure and enhancing teaching, learning and the living environment in Nigerian universities.

Wike, while noting that the university has benefitted from the state government’s commitment to the advancement of education through its transformational policies, expressed happiness with the prevailing industrial harmony and the current accreditation status of the institution.

Emphasising that education remains the key to prosperity, the governor, however, noted that the success of a university is not hinged on the number of students it admits and graduates, but by the quality of education it transmits.

Although he admitted that it takes time for a university to grow and become renowned as a centre of excellence, the governor insisted on the need to adhere to acceptable minimum standards for the award of certificates.

He tasked the vice-chancellor to take all necessary measures to ensure that public confidence on the standard of education offered at the institution is not eroded.

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Wike further noted that nothing advertises the reputation of a university as much as the quality of the students and graduates it releases to the world.

While congratulating the graduates for the life transforming achievements made, he urged them to apply their skills by exploring viable opportunities to advance society and for the service of the state and humanity.

Earlier, the acting vice-chancellor, Professor Okechuku Onuchuku, reassured the audience that the university is focused on helping the students to interpret knowledge in a way that conforms to the 21st Century information technology.

He charged the lecturers to continue to conduct themselves in a manner that befits their status as custodians of the highest standards and values, warning that his administration would sanction lecturers and other staff who bring the hard-earned image and reputation of the university into ridicule and disrepute.

Onuchuku noted that the university would not be relevant to industry or society without determining its areas of strength and developing the necessary expertise in specific academic areas that would give it a competitive local edge and global relevance.

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He assured that his style of administering the affairs of the university would reflect the highest professional, ethical and moral standards at all times.

Some of the critical areas of need according to the vice-chancellor include an official lodge, staff accommodation, senate building, students’ hostels and classrooms.

Others include staff promotion, convocation arena, sports complex and construction of internal roads at the main campus.

Onuchuku commended the governor for full renovation of Ndele campus, funding accreditation exercises, construction of drainages at the St. John campus and the recruitment of teaching and non-teaching staff.

He thanked the graduands for achieving new academic status, charged them to bring honour to the university, themselves and their families, as he acknowledged their parents and sponsors.

A total of 1, 675 bagged higher degrees and diplomas. A breakdown shows that 110 obtained the Doctor of Philosophy, 1,173 for Master’s and 392 were awarded Postgraduate Diplomas in the 2021/2022 academic session.

©Tunde Uchegbuo