President Muhammadu Buhari has urged the organised sector and Nigerians to invest in research and development in universities.
Mr Buhari made the call at the fourth convocation ceremony of Federal University, Dutse (FUD) on Saturday.
The president, represented by Abubakar Rasheed, the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), also urged stakeholders to come into active participation and collaboration with the government in education matters.
He urged universities to connect more creatively with the private sector, especially by exploring the strategy of Public-Private Partnership (PPP) as a veritable option in the desire to provide more facilities in Nigerian universities.
“With my government’s expressed determination to achieve the best in educating our citizens, I want to urge all stakeholders to come into active participation and collaboration with the government.
“Thus, it is pertinent to urge organised private sector and other patriotic citizens with the wherewithal to invest in research and development to do so.
“Universities are also urged to connect more creatively with the private sector, especially by exploring the strategy of PPP as veritable option in the desire to provide more facilities in the universities,” he said.
The president said the government was receiving input on the need to support PPP initiative in turning around Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
“At the Federal Executive Council level, we are receiving input on the need to support PPP initiative in turning around MDAs.
“I’m highly optimistic that this would also become manifestly visible in our universities,” the president said.
Mr Buhari urged the governing councils of universities to reposition the institutions by embarking on projects and programmes that would make them more globally competitive.
He reiterated the commitment of the federal government to upgrading facilities in Nigerian universities to promote a culture of innovative thinking toward solving national development problems.
According to him, Nigerian universities must promote culture of tolerance, accommodation and respect for differences.
“Our universities must serve as the vanguard for promoting genuine national peace, unity and stability and a sense of national common purpose.
“In other words, our universities must be prepared to serve as veritable centres for promotion of democracy and good governance in our country,” Mr Buhari said.
He urged university teachers to live above board by ensuring that students were well nurtured and mentored in the best tradition of democratic citizenship.
He congratulated the graduating students for successfully completing their studies.
“It is with utmost pleasure, therefore, that I congratulate you for successfully completing your studies.
“I am quite positive that over the last four years you have acquired sufficient training in terms of learning and character.
“I therefore strongly urge you to deploy the knowledge ha, skills and character which you have acquired in this university for your own good and for utmost good in the country.
“Your parents also deserve to be congratulated for their investment in your education, and for their love, perseverance and sacrifices they have made to see you through university,” the president said.
Earlier, the Vice-Chancellor, Fatima Batul-Muktar, said the university was heading towards becoming a university of the future by its effort towards digitisation and provision of sufficient ICT infrastructure for both staff and students.
She sad, “FUD is heading towards becoming university of the future as most critical issues that make it contextually a university of the future are eloquently visible and further exemplified by our efforts towards digitisation and provision of sufficient ICT infrastructure for both staff and students.
“I’m optimistic you will see the essence of our ICT transformation as an emerging university aspiring to be truly universal and globally competitive,” Ms Muktar said.
A total of 558 students were awarded degrees in different disciplines.
Fourteen students graduated in first class, 222 obtained second class upper division, another 222 obtained second class lower division and seventy had third class degrees.
The university also graduated 281 pioneer postgraduate students.
Among the dignitaries that graced the occasion were Abdullahi Ganduje, governor of Kano State and Badaru Abubakar, governor of Jigawa, who were represented by their deputies.
Others were Emir of Dutse, Nuhu Muhammadu Sanusi, Emir of Kano, Mohammadu Sanusi, Emir of Kazaure, Najib Hussaini Adamu, among others.