PRIVATE universities in the country have been advised to operate within the confines of their academic brief, master plan and law approved by the National Universities Commission (NUC).
The executive secretary of the commission, Professor Abubakar Rasheed, gave the advice on Saturday in his goodwill message to the maiden convocation of Gregory University, Uturu (GUU) in Abia.
Rasheed urged private universities not to hesitate to seek the advice from the commission “whenever in doubt,” in order “to avoid running foul of laid down regulations.”
He urged the board of GUU to come to the aid of the university, particularly in the area of resource mobilisation and forming of strategic partnerships on behalf of the university.
“For all private universities, financing of academic and other activities has proved to be one of the foremost challenges,” Rasheed, who was represented at the event by a director in the commission, Mrs Constance Nnadi, said.
Therefore, he added, “forging an effective and efficient governance structure that supports the smooth day-to-day management of the universities is paramount.”
He commended the courage and doggedness of the proprietor of GUU, Dr. Gregory Ibe, despite the daunting challenges of establishing private university.
“This enterprise is clearly not for the faint-hearted,” he said, while commending the GUU management team for their perseverance and resilience.
Rasheed urged the graduands to adopt an entrepreneurial outlook to life after graduation to enable them to succeed outside the university.
The vice chancellor of the university, Professor Juliet Elu, told the graduands to brace up for challenges ahead, but added that the entrepreneurial skill they acquired in the university had equipped them to compete favourably in the global market.
The proprietor, who was inaugurated as the chancellor of the university at the ceremony, said that his vision was to establish a university that would teach entrepreneurial studies.
Ibe said that he recently reduced the tuition fees by 30 per cent as a palliative against the harsh effects of the current economic recession in the country.
In his speech, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu expressed delight with the emphasis placed on entrepreneurial studies by the university in its curriculum.
Represented by his deputy, Chief Ude Oko-Chukwu, the governor thanked Ibe for citing the university in Abia, and urged other well-meaning indigenes to emulate him.
The chairman of the Board of Trustees of the university, Dr. Sam Ohuabunwa, said that Ibe had set a momentum with the university and urged the graduands to be good ambassadors of the institution.
Highlights of the ceremony included the conferment of honorary Doctor of Public Administration (honoris causa) on the vice president of Liberia, Dr. Joseph Boakai.
Boakai, who was represented by the Liberian Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr. Alhasaan Conte, thanked the university for the honour done to him.
The university also conferred an honorary Doctor of Business Administration on the chief executive officer of Startimes Nigeria, Jack Liu Jintan; and the manager, Skill-G Nigeria, Mr Moshe Moalem.
72 out of the 86 pioneer students graduated in the eight disciplines currently offered by the institution.
Four students came out with First Class, 26 made Second Class (Upper Division), while 31 and 11 students had Second Class (Lower Division) and 11 Third Class honours respectively.
Yvette Chika, a graduate of English, who emerged the overall best graduate, was offered automatic employment with a scholarship for master and doctoral degrees by the university.