Buhari, who was represented by a Director with National Universities Commission, Dr Gidado Kuma, spoke on Saturday at the 23rd, 24th and 25th combined Convocation Ceremonies of Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU), Bauchi.
“I have noted with great concern the incessant strikes by teachers and other university workers, even though, most of the demands are germane but the repercussions have negative consequences.
“Let me assure you that this administration will very soon come up with modalities of addressing your grievances without face-offs so that we attain stability and balance in the system.
“The university is unable to conduct convocations as at when due for sets of students, this is not peculiar to your university but rather an underlying difficulty the system has found itself over the years,’’ the president said.
He said that no nation would progress if its educational system was poor.
Buhari said government was looking into the operations of agencies in the education sector to find solutions to the problems militating against their desired impact, especially in the university system.
He said that the essence of creating a specialised university such as ATBU was to assist the country in training future scientists and launch it into the sphere of technological breakthroughs.
Buhari challenged such institutions to surprise Nigerians at occasions such as convocation ceremonies by presenting new discoveries or inventions that would add value to the technology drive of the country.
He said “nations across the globe are in stiff competition, we cannot lay back and take the back seat as simply consumers of other nations’ products but must come with our own products for others to buy.
“Nations are in stiff competition to outwit one another in the area of offering quality knowledge and positive research and we must provide leadership in Africa in this regard.
“Our agencies in charge of educational development must find a way of encouraging our youth to aspire learning in the country’s institutions but as well attract foreign students and researchers so that our global ranking of universities can soar,” Buhari said.
He called on staff of the institution to re-invent the culture of leadership, followership and stewardship, adding that the students should imbibe the virtue of discipline and respect for their teachers and university authorities.
He called on all state governments to support and encourage universities in their catchment areas.
The Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Saminu Ibrahim, said that the institution was graduating 8,496 students.
Ibrahim said the graduates included 480 diploma students, 5,637 for first degrees, 1,580 for postgraduate diplomas, 770 for masters’ degrees and 90 doctorates.
He said 118 out of 5,637 first degree students obtained first class grades, 1,618 got second class upper division, 2.609 received second class lower division, 1,431 got third class and 61 had pass.
The vice-chancellor said the College of Medical Science of the university opened with 41 students in 2016/2017 session while 47 students were admitted in 2017/2018 section.
According to him, the institution has commenced the construction of additional three hostels in Gubi Campus and two in Yelwa Campus to ease the problem of accommodation for students.
“We also constructed 250 capacity auditorium, 160 capacity studio and Yelwa Campus water scheme.
“About 490 academic staff of the university were supported to acquire PhDs,” he said.
The Chancellor of the institution, Dr Rufus Aladesanmi, commended both staff and students for exhibiting good behaviour.
Aladesanmi, who is also Ewi of Ado-Ekiti, said “the report I have received from the management on you are quite encouraging.
“Since my assumption of office, there has never been any cause at all for me to intervene in any matter that could have gotten out of hand,” he said.
The chancellor commended the president for responding to numerous challenges of the institution in spite of the economic challenges in the country.
Posted by Juliet Ekwebelam (Punch)