President Muhammadu Buhari has called on Nigerian universities and the private sector to collaborate more to make “Made-in-Nigeria products and services’’ contribute to national development.
The president made the call at the 39th convocation ceremony of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, Kaduna State, on Saturday.
Buhari, who is the visitor to the university, was represented by the Executive Secretary of National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Abubakar Haruna-Rasheed.
He said the call was necessary considering foreign universities’ roles in solving their societal challenges.
“To this end, I will be delighted to see a more active and purposeful handshake between Nigerian universities and the private sector toward the development of homemade products and services.
“In the developed world, the private sector and the universities are in constant touch trying to solve challenges in medical procedures, drugs, energy and so on.
“I am pleased to lean that ABU is leading the way in this regard in providing a blueprint for the revitalisation of the agricultural sector and the development of drought resistant crops,” he said.
Buhari advised all Nigerian universities to desist from acts capable of disturbing and disrupting the internal peace and stability of the institutions.
“Government is monitoring with concern the escalating crisis in a number of federal universities in the last few months.
“The crisis bordered on allegations of corruption, mismanagement of resources and gross indiscipline in running the affairs of the centres of learning,” he said.
The president said government would, within the next few weeks, constitute and inaugurate visitation panels to review the performance of all federal universities and inter-university centres.
According to him, such visitation panel are normally constituted once in every five years to, among other things; look into the financial management of the institutions, including statutory allocations and internally generated funds.
“Let me make a passionate appeal to Nigerian education sector to, as a matter of urgency, look into the curricula of Nigerian universities and tertiary institutions to make them more functional and competitive.”
He urged the graduating students to remain steadfast, focused and determined and to creatively deploy their thought and skills to deal whatever challenges that might come their way.
“Our country Nigeria is moving towards the path of a new life that will be characterised by honesty, patriotism self-sacrifice, commitment to duty, diversification of the economy and a better life for all citizens irrespective of tribe, creed or gender.
“You must redouble your efforts to ensure that we collectively wake Nigeria up from its slumber to become the giant of Africa that she truly is.
“You must not rely on government jobs. You must use the training given to you in entrepreneurship to be self-reliant while government continues its efforts’’ to make ‘’the Nigerian economy to create more jobs,” he said.
Earlier, the Chancellor of the university and Oni of Onisha, His Majesty, Nnaemeka Achebe, said a prestigious award in Fine Art had been introduced for excellence in the school.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the convocation featured the award of certificates and degrees to 11,713 students.