The management of Prince Abubakar Audu University, formerly Kogi State University, Ayingba, Kogi State, has said the institution never at any time presented N2000 and N5000 cash gifts to best graduating students and those who made first-class during the recently concluded 6th combined convocation ceremonies.
The university blamed the reports of such a presentation in circulation to mischief-makers, saying such had never been the practice of the university.
The university was reacting to the report in some sections of the media that suggested such prizes were announced for the best graduating students, with an accompanying ridiculing comments that suggested Nigeria’s poor rewarding culture for academic excellence but social life.
But the management of the institution, which has just been renamed Prince Abubakar Audu University, has described the report as misinformation, in a statement signed by its vice-chancellor, Marietu Tenuche, a professor.
The university said it would soon announce its rewards to deserving graduates at the appropriate time.
Mr Tenuche said the tradition of the university since inception was to offer automatic employment with an option of rejection to all first-class graduates in the institution, a policy he said has not been changed.
The vice-chancellor’s statement reads in part; “For the records, it has been the tradition of the PAAU to offer automatic employment to her best graduating and overall best students with the option of refusal.
“The best and overall graduating students who made first class at the 6th convocation ceremony held at the weekend of 29th January, 2022, could therefore not have been treated any less.
“The PAAU had at no time, and did not after the 6th convocation, offer such reward to her best graduating and overall students who made first-class after painstaking and rigorous efforts to distinguish themselves.”
The university said the monies given to the students ”were personal donations by individual lecturers and departments to appreciate academic excellence”.
It explained that while the institution is yet to make a pronouncement of rewards for the students, the tradition was for donation by individuals to best graduating students to be paid into the university’s prizes account, while the university thereafter issues cheques to the deserving recipients.
The VC added; “The reward to the students that is being misunderstood is only symbolic and a recognition by the individual lecturers as a way of appreciating their best students. This is a development considered a very rare privilege by lecturers and some individuals which ought to be commended. Sadly, it has been misread as the reward coming from the university.
“It may interest those behind the misleading information to note that while the university is yet to make a pronouncement on the reward for the best graduating and first-class students, we are not unmindful of the fact that some individual lecturers in some faculties and departments of the students who excelled, with particular reference to the faculty of agriculture, made personal efforts to appreciate their best graduating students.
“This should not be misconstrued to be the reward from the university administration, as a corporate entity.”
As of the time of its establishment in 1999, the institution was known as Kogi State University, but was changed to Prince Abubakar Audu University in 2002 and then back to Kogi State University in 2003.
In the last week of January 2022, Nuhu Ahmed, registrar and secretary to the governing council of the university, announced that Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello has changed the name of the institution back to Prince Abubakar Audu, “in honour of the founding father and the first democratically elected governor of the state.”
This new step reportedly followed the passage of a bill “to repeal and re-enact the law to establish Prince Abubakar Audu University, Anyigba” by the Kogi State House of Assembly and assented to by the governor.
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