In a thought-provoking speech delivered at the 37th and 38th Convocation Ceremonies of the University of Ilorin, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, emphasized the importance of public-private financing to elevate the level of education in Nigeria.
The President called upon corporate bodies, communities, and individuals to support Nigerian universities through innovative funding methods.
President Tinubu, who was represented by the Hon. Minister for State Education, Hon. Yusuf Tanko Sununu, highlighted methods such as endowment, where assets are donated to generate investment income, and tuition fees as ways to augment government funding.
He stressed that public-private financing is a global trend and that the Federal Government has taken steps by signing into law a students’ loan to positively change the landscape of education in Nigeria.
The President reaffirmed the government’s commitment to championing impactful education and ensuring that both lecturers and students have access to the best facilities to enhance their individual capabilities.
Acknowledging the economic challenges faced by Nigeria, particularly in the wake of the removal of petroleum subsidies, which have led to increased costs for many citizens, President Tinubu urged Nigerians to look forward to the potential long-term benefits of this decision, including investments in alternative energy sources, infrastructure, and public services.
During his address, President Tinubu commended the University of Ilorin for its remarkable achievements in education and research. He specifically praised the institution for winning the first African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) youth debate in Zambia and highlighted the collaborative efforts among universities in Kwara State.
The President also acknowledged the groundbreaking research and innovation carried out by the University of Ilorin in various fields, from sustainable agriculture to healthcare technology. He mentioned the University’s recent success in securing a $1.5 million grant from AspenTech Inc. USA for the development of state-of-the-art facilities in the field of Geosciences.
He, however, expressed his appreciation for the dedication of the academic and non-teaching staff at the University of Ilorin, emphasizing their role in imparting knowledge and conducting groundbreaking research.
Earlier, the Vice Chancellor of the Institution, Prof. Wahab Olasupo Egbewole, SAN appreciated the support of critical stakeholders whose interventions have helped in the arduous task of repositioning the better by far Uaniversity for excellence.
Egbewole, who congratulated the graduands and their families on their successful completion of their various programmes at the Institution, prayed Almighty God to grant them success in their future endeavours.
“I must emphasise to you that life is a continuum and the end of every journey is the beginning of a new one. As you savour the success of graduation, you should not forget that the society even expects more from you as Higher Degree graduands of the University of Ilorin”, he added.
According to Egbewole, “On Friday, October 20, 2022, a total of 14,477 convoked for the 2020/2021 academic session. In the First Degree/Diploma category, there were 211 First Class, 4,143 Second Class (Upper Division), 6,570 Second Class (Lower Division), 1,742 Third Class and 30 Pass graduands.
“The same ceremony for the 37th Convocation Ceremonies also included the following number of graduands: MBBS, 151; Nursing, 73; Optometry, 18; Veterinary Medicine, 43; as well as 12 graduands with Distinction and 27 graduands with Pass in Pharmacy. In summary, the University graduated 13,020 for First Degrees/Diplomas.
“For the Higher Degrees, the University produced 1,457 graduands as part of the same 37th Convocation Ceremonies, which included 75 Postgraduate Diplomas, 976 Masters from various Faculties, 88 Professional Master Degrees, and 318 PhDs.
“Meanwhile, for the 2021/2022 academic session and 38th Convocation Ceremonies, the University graduated 10,757 students. Out of this figure, there are 239 First Class, 3,406 Second Class (Upper Division), 4,691 Second Class (Lower Division), 961 Third Class and 21 Pass graduands.
“The graduation list also includes 160 MBBS graduands, 87 Nursing graduands, 15 Optometry graduands, 35 Veterinary Medicine graduands, and 26 graduands with Distinction and 43 graduands with Pass in Pharmacy, making a total of 9,684 graduands in the First Degree/Diploma category.
“For the Higher Degrees category of the 38th Convocation Ceremonies as well, the University recorded 1,073 graduands including 60 Postgraduate Diplomas, 605 Masters from various Faculties, 211 Professional Master’s Degrees, and 197 PhDs.
“The undergraduate categories convoked on Friday and Saturday. Today is for the Higher Degree graduands for the 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 academic sessions”, Egbewole said.
Present at the occasion includes first class traditional rulers, led by the Oni of Ife, HRM Oba Adeteye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II.