The management of the University of Benin has conferred on one of its former Vice-Chancellors, Professor Emmanuel Nwanze with the title of Professor Emeritus.
The conferment was made at the 45th convocation ceremony of the institution held at the Ugbowo campus. Other recipients were Professor Esosa Bob Osaze and Professor John Oamen Igene.
Nwanze became the first recipient of the title from the Faculty of Life Sciences.
In his remarks, President Muhammadu Buhari, who was represented by the Deputy Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Suleiman Yusuf, said the preference for catchment areas in admitting new students have been abolished, while directing all federal universities to ensure that every local government, all states and all geopolitical zones are represented in their admission of new students.
He warned that any institution found going against his directive would be sanctioned, adding that he has directed the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) and the NUC to ensure compliance commencing from the 2020 admission season.
Buhari said the NUC and JAMB have been directed to thereafter carry out a comprehensive student audit to ascertain compliance.
“The demographics of various Nigerian universities reveal a preponderance of over localisation and over indigenisation with only a few universities including those owned by the federal government having a semblance of national institutions in terms of the national spread of their staff and student population. Universities should be more broadminded, less parochial and eschew over indigenisation.
“Government expects university managers to do a lot more with less, given the economic reality confronting us as a nation today. This calls for innovative and transparent management practices. Funding is not just about the quantum of fund disbursed to universities, it also includes the judicious management of available funds to ensure that we get more mileage on whatever funds are expended.”
A total of 100 graduands were awarded first class degrees, while 273 were awarded doctorate degree (PhD) out of 10,198 graduands that were awarded various diplomas and degrees.
Also speaking, the outgoing Vice-Chancellor of UNIBEN, Professor Faraday Orumwense said academic activities in the institution have taken a giant leap for the years he was VC.
He said the NUC granted full accreditation to the school’s educational programmes, adding that a significant part of intellectual footprints of his administration was the attraction of the Centre of Excellence in Reproductive Health Initiative (CERHI), a World Bank assisted project.
On his part, Nwanze said the consequences of dysfunctional education are huge and grave for the society, adding that there would not be democracy without education.
“Free education at all tiers and levels is feasible and realisable.”
He called for strict adherence to education tax laws, as well as the reform and restructuring of Nigeria’s education for 21st century global standards.