President Muhamadu Buhari on Saturday identified knowledge as the key determinant of growth and development of nations in the 21st century.
News Agency of Nigeria reports that Buhari said this in his address as visitor at 41st Convocation Ceremony of Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria.
Buhari, represented by the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission, Prof. Abubakar Rashid, observed that one of the cardinal purposes of university education was nation building.
Rashid said: “In the 21st century, knowledge is the key determinant of growth and development of nations, consequently, for you to be active contributors to the achievement of this noble objective, you have to be ambassadors of this university.
“This can be achieved by employing the knowledge and skills which you have acquired for national growth and development.
“Remember that your parents, the university and indeed government at all levels have invested enormously in your education with the expectation that you will graduate and become useful to yourself and the society.”
He described the celebration as an important milestone in the lives of the graduating students, saying it was a transformation of parental hopes into veritable reality.
He therefore, urged graduating students to justify the enormours investment made on them through dedicating themselves to the values of scholarship and compulsive industrious work of nation building.
He said: “On our part as government, leaders and parents, I assure you of continuous support and guidance as you brace up for your future engagements in national growth and development.
“It is our hope that the graduating students will turn out to be worthy ambassadors of this university wherever they find themselves.”
He said convocation ceremonies were not just meant for the conferment of degrees and honourary awards on students and eminent personalities but an occasion to reflect on the past, review the present and positively carve out a brighter future.
He urged the graduating students to cultivate the spirit of selfless service to humanity such that they would be qualified for similar distinction and recognition as received by Alhaji Aliko Dangote and Comrade Hassan Sunmonu, the famous African unionists.
Buhari, however, expressed concern over the incessant strike actions by the various staff unions of Nigerian universities, saying that regular strikes were inimical to the progress of any nation.
The Chancellor of the University, Chief Nnaemeka Alfred Achebe, the Obi of Onitsha, expressed delight over the quality of human resource being churned out by the university.
He said the intellectual prowess of the lecturers and the sustained effort of the management to re-position the university was responsible for the obvious quality of the graduates of the institution.
The Chancellor therefore, urged the graduating students to be good ambassadors of the university, their family and the nation.
Achebe said: “I therefore urge you to think out of the box as you strive to excel in the harsh realities of this world.
“There are many opportunities awaiting you in your new world, define your strategies to reap from the fruits of your labour.
“To succeed, you must set out achievable goals and remain faithful with strategies to make those goals come to fruition.”
Prof. Ibrahim Garba, the Vice Chancellor said the university was pleased to present 15,787 graduating students to be conferred with various degrees.
He said, of the total number, 4,984 earned higher degrees and diplomas and 10,803 bagged bachelor degrees.
Garba said out of the 4,984 higher degrees, there were 359 PhDs, 15 Master of Philosophies and 3,380 Master Degrees and Diplomas.
The V-C explained that the degrees included those obtained through the university’s distance learning centres.
He noted that the university was collaborating with Central South University, China to run a joint degree in engineering tagged three plus two.
Garba said the successful students into the progamme would spend three years in ABU and proceed to China to spend two years and earn two degrees of ABU and China simultaneously.