AN ADDRESS PRESENTED BY THE VICE-CHANCELLOR OF THE UNIVERSITY OF NIGERIA, PROFESSOR BENJAMIN CHUKWUMA OZUMBA AT THE FLAG-OFF CEREMONY OF THE 47TH CONVOCATION OF THE UNIVERSITY OF NIGERIA, HELD AT THE MAIN HALL, UNEC ON THIS DAY 27TH NOVEMBER, 2017
I heartily welcome all of you to the flag-off ceremony of activities lined up for the 47th Convocation of the University of Nigeria. It is remarkable that the university is holding its 47th convocation barely 10 months after the 46th convocation which was held in February this year. This is one of the results of our resolve to do the right thing and set a record of excellence in university administration.
Highlight of major events of the convocation include;
- Convocation lecture by Dr Godwin Emefiele, Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria on Thursday, November 30, 2017 at the Princess Alexandra Auditorium, Nsukka Campus by 11.00am.
- Conferment of First degrees, Diplomas and Certificates on Friday, December 1, 2017, at Margaret Ekpo Convocation Arena, Nsukka Campus by 9.00am.
- Conferment of Postgraduate Diplomas, Higher Degrees, Title of Professor Emeritus and Award of Honorary Degrees on Saturday, December 2, 2017 at Margaret Ekpo Convocation Arena, Nsukka Campus by 10.00am.
I invite you to attend the events as scheduled.
It gives me pleasure to announce to you that the University of Nigeria will release a total of about 9,298 in the 47th convocation. The graduands are in the following categories;
- First Degree, Diploma and Certificate 7,830 including a total of 132 first Class graduands.
- Postgraduate Degrees and Diploma 1,468 including 331 Doctor of Philosophy Degrees, 982 Masters Degree and 155 Postgraduate Diplomas.
- Three eminent Nigerians who have distinguished themselves in public service will be awarded honorary Doctorate Degrees of our University. They include, His Eminence Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, the Sultan of Sokoto; Chairman of Slok Group, His Excellency, Dr Orji Uzor Kalu and the Chairman, Zenith Bank, Mr Jim Ovia.
- We will also confer the title of Professor Emeritus on eight of our renowned Professors who had served the university meritoriously and are still making invaluable contributions to our academics.
Distinguished gentlemen men of the Press, I do not intend to bore you with recount of all the achievements of my administration which many of you had reported in your various media. However, it is appropriate that I use this occasion to bring you update on some activities of my administration in the past one year.
Recall that I briefed you of our plans to produce made-in-UNN laptops early this year, I am glad to announce to you that during our 57th Founders’ Day celebration in October; we commissioned a Laptop Assembly Plant in our Nsukka campus. The commissioned a Laptop Assembly plant in our Nsukka campus. The commissioning exercise was performed by the Sultan of Sokoto and witnessed by the Governors of Enugu and Delta states. The first set of Lion brand Laptops were rolled out.
Barely one year after we launched Roar Nigeria Hub, a pilot version of our dream Science Park, are five innovation groups already under its mentorship. We are determined to take it further by mapping out about 45.9 hectares of land for the full fledged Science Park Project which is expected to attract over 400 companies scouting for research and innovations from the university. The park will be Nigeria’s version of Silicon Valley, where innovations will be hatched nurtured and commercialized. The University of Nigeria has once again demonstrated its capacity to provide solution to national questions by setting the pace for the much coveted knowledge-based economy in Nigeria.
At the international front, we have been able to strengthen our strategic collaborations and linkages with renowned universities in different continents. One of the milestones in the collaboration is the arrangement to train our medical students four years in UNN and two years in Israel under a International Management Institute. It is also notable that in less than eight months we signed a memorandum of understanding with Guangxi Academy of Sciences, China, the academy has accepted to take over 30 doctoral students from our university. It is also remarkable that Michigan State University, which left our Institution at the wake of the civil war, is back. Our faculties are currently benefiting from their collaborations in the areas of agriculture and pharmaceutical sciences.
We have continued to attract goodwill from our alumni and other well meaning Nigerians who have made significant donations to improve the state of infrastructure in our campuses. Few months ago, the minister of state for Petroleum commissioned a multi-million Naira Augustine Avuru building donated to our Department of Geology by Platform Petroleum.
Distinguished gentlemen of the press, let me also use this opportunity to acknowledge with gratitude your favourable reports on our efforts to revamp moribund agri-farms in our university. I am happy to announce to you that many of the farms are up and running leading to the production of cassava flour, poultry, fish, cash crops, including improved variety of breadfruits, in commercial quantities. I also appreciate your concern in promoting the priority my administration has given to the development of infrastructure in all our campuses.
Significantly, our consistent apex position in the Webometric ranking of Nigerian universities, based on creative output, has not been faulted. Our commitment to staff welfare has resulted to prompt promotion our staff, including unprecedented number of professors ever promoted by a single administration in the history of our university. We have equally not relented on our unwavering dedication to the propagation of sound academic doctrine which is the hallmark of the University of Nigeria.
Distinguished members of the press, there is no gainsaying that the University of Nigeria has experienced remarkable growth and development in the past three years under my watch. Through our open and inclusive administration, we were able to restore the confidence of staff and students on the university administration. We have also been able to engender trust and mutual respect between the university and its host communities. The University of Nigeria is making progress today because there is peace and love between the university administration and our various stakeholders.
We were able to record those significant achievements due to our prudent management of available resources and the efforts of dedicated men and women who have shown passion to the realisation to our vision.
Let me therefore use this opportunity to thank members of the Governing Council for their commitment to the progress of our university. I also appreciate the Principal Officers for their dedication to the dream of my administration. To the Deans and Directors, I cherish the efforts you have been making in your respective areas of authority. I commend my staff and students for their understanding especially in times of challenges.
I appreciate, in a special way, members of the press for being wonderful partners in our journey to excellence. The years ahead hold greater prospect for our university. Let’s do more!
Thank you for your attention.
Prof. Benjamin Chukwuma Ozumba