President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday declared the current low ranking of Nigerian universities as unacceptable.
Reviewing the situation at the 19th- 22nd convocations of Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, Buhari said: “It is worrisome that no Nigerian university is quoted among the top 100 universities in the world.”
Represented by Prof. Julius Okojie, Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), the president said: “We rank below a thousand. If we do not aspire to be among the world class universities, we cannot boast of robust system capable of making the country among the top economies of the world.
“We have abundance of talents who excel elsewhere but appear incapacitated at home. This is unacceptable.
”Whatever makes our abundant talents fail at home and excel abroad must be identified and neutralized for our benefits and that of our future generation.”
He described incessant strikes by teachers as “major bottlenecks to progress of the country’s university system,” and pointed out that the repercussions of strike usually retard the smooth running of academic activities with heavy negative consequences.
Buhari asked state governments to support and encourage universities located in their states as they are responsible for harnessing local talents and promotion of local innovations
Buhari said: “The seemingly challenges especially in tertiary institutions should be seen as a teething problem that will gradually vanish as the policy takes roots.
”MDAs should, therefore, exhibit patience and understanding, bearing in mind that Nigerians shall surely reap from the fruits of the policy,’’ he said.
The Ewi of Ado Ekiti and Chancellor of the institution, Oba Rufus Aladesanmi, urged the graduating students to explore ways of self employment and contribute to the technological and economic development of the country.
He said only a negligible number of those applying for admission into the universities are usually admitted and called on stakeholders to urgently find both short and long term solutions to the problem.
8,127 students graduated yesterday.
Among them, according to Prof. Saminu Ibrahim, the Vice-Chancellor, were 845 diploma holders and 5,577 first degree holders.
The rest were 1,620 Post-Graduate Diploma and Masters Holders and 85 PhDs.
Of the 5,577 first degree graduates, 32 obtained first class, 1,203 Second Class (Upper Division) 2,702 Second Class (Lower Division), 1,481 Third Class and 136 Pass.