Governor Danbaba Suntai of Taraba State has declined the offer of an honorary doctorate degree offered him by the Federal University of Technology, Yola.
The university, now renamed Moddibo Adamawa University of Technology (MAUTECH), Yola, scheduled this weekend for the award of certificates, diplomas, first degrees and conferment of higher and honorary degrees to its 2008/2009 and 2009/2010 graduands.
It is not clear why Mr. Suntai rejected the offer. The institution’s Vice Chancellor, Bashir Haruna, has however hinted that one of the honorees, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, has accepted the honour and will be present to receive his award.
Mr. Haruna, a professor in Soil Science, said in his pre-convocation press briefing that the former Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Usman Nafada (who is standing trial for corruption), and the Paramount Ruler of Adamawa, Mohammed Musdafa, are among those the university council and senate have selected to grant honorary doctorate degrees.
A total of 4,283 graduands, the Vice Chancellor said, have been certified worthy in character and learning by the university’s senate for the award of certificates, Diplomas, first and higher degrees of the University.
No reason was given by the institution, for the state governor’s refusal to accept the award but the vice chancellor said he was satisfied with the rigorous and dispassionate procedures adopted by the institution nomination and selection committee, and is thus emboldened to accept the governor’s decision civilly.
Making clarification on its award of honorary doctorate degrees, Mr. Haruna stressed that although it has been widely misconstrued by many Nigerians, that the process is for pecuniary gains by the awarding institutions, the awards provide a way for tertiary institutions to “connect with the society”.
“There’s no doubt that there are cases where this process has been abused,” he said.