The Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, on Saturday praised the management of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria for maintaining high academic standard.
The Igwe, who is the Chancellor of the University, said this at the 40th convocation ceremony and the 50th anniversary celebration of the institution.
Congratulating all graduating students, the royal majesty said the school had turned out heroes worthy of mention in every facet of life.
He said: “The Ahmadu Bello University is a citadel of learning that has maintained its exceptional performance and academic excellence through the years.
“I congratulate all students and their families and wish them well in their future endeavours.”
Also speaking, the Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, Dr. Maikanti Baru, promised that as its Corporate Social Responsibility, the corporation would sponsor some of the best-graduating students to Ph.D levels.
Baru said the NNPC was working hard to ensure that the country diversified and stops total dependence on oil, adding that this will open up all sectors and make Nigeria self-sufficient.
He said: “Improving agricultural productivity and commercialisation, and linking producers to markets are among some of the important measures required in this regard.
“Examples of countries such as Chile and Malaysia confirmed the proposition that a healthy rural economy is necessary for industrialisation because the linkages between the two are obvious.”
Reeling out the university’s achievements over the years, the Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Ibrahim Garba, said unlike the practice of waiting for certificates for years, the university would be issuing certificates immediately.
Garba said: “It is unprecedented that for the first time in the history of the university all graduating students are getting their certificates immediately.
“I charge you all to live up to the expectation of the university, your family members as you go out to the real world.
“The university will sustain the age-long tradition of developing student who will go out to impact the nation positively.”
Earlier, the university conferred an award on Baru after he was conducted round his former Department of Mechanical Engineering, some laboratories and the school’s refinery.
Other dignitaries at the event included the Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu; and the Emir of Zazzau, Alhaji Shehu Idris.
The institution awarded first degrees to 8,260 students, postgraduate degrees to 3,600, Ph.Ds to 256 and Masters degrees to 2,300 students across 13 faculties.