The federal government has launched an electrification project targeted at producing 89.6 megawatts of grid power for 37 federal universities and 7 teaching hospitals across Nigeria to ensure universities provide high-level manpower to drive socio-economic development.
President Mohammadu Buhari stated this during the maiden convocation ceremony of the Federal University of Otuoke, Otuoke Community in Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State at the weekend.
Represented by the Deputy Executive Secretary of the National University Commission (NUC), Dr Ramon Yusuf Suleiman, President Buhari said the Energizing Education Program which is under the Federal Government Rural Electrification Program, would benefit 129,000 students, 32,000 staff and power 2850 street lights when completed.
He said Federal Government has commissioned two of these electrification projects, one at the Alex Ekueme Federal University and another 7.1 solar hybrid project at Bayero Federal University.
Explaining further, he said the projects would provide stable power supply to universities, improve sufficiency, productivity and ensure 24 hours functionality of research in technological laboratories in tertiary institutions.
He said “I must not fail at this point to mention one of our initiatives in the tertiary education subsector which is aimed at solving the problem of inadequate power supply in our institutions of higher learning.
“That is the energizing education program which is an initiative of my administration under the rural electrification program which is aimed at producing 89.6 megawatts of grid power that is reliable and sustainable for 37 federal universities and 7 teaching hospitals across the country.
“We are currently executing the first phase of the project which is designed to cut across 37 federal universities and one teaching hospital, benefiting 129,000 students, 32,000 staff and power 2850 street lights.”
Also speaking the Vice-Chancellor of the institution, Professor Seth Accra-Jaja, disclosed that a total of 1121 students graduated with various divisions and that from this number, 72 graduands bagged first class division degree, while 462 others graduated with the second class upper division.
While congratulating the graduands, Prof. Jaja admonished them to learn how to be innovative and live an independent life while pursuing various entrepreneurial opportunities and commended the federal government for its efforts in delivering quality tertiary education to the teaming youths of the country.
He announced that the National Universities Commission (NUC) have approved an additional 16 programmes to the institution, thereby bring the total programmes offered by the school to 28 at the moment.
He said: “It is worthy to recall that between 2011/2012 and 2015/2016 academic sessions, the university ran 12 academic programmes, this situation limited the number of prospective students offered admission into the university. On assumption of duty as Vice-Chancellor in 2016, the first major challenge I faced was how to bridge this need gap.
“This challenge was overcome when the National Universities Commission, after due resources verification exercise, graciously approved 16 additional programmes, bringing the total number of programmes in the university to 28.
“This singular achievement helped to minimize our challenge of meeting the university’s social responsibility of granting admission to deserving Nigerian youths, especially those programmes that were not having full accreditation status before my assumption of duty, now have full accreditation.
“Apart from enthroning academic discipline, our university has excelled in several research breakthroughs as also contained in our university compendium.” He said.
While delivering her address, the Pro-Chancellor of the institution, Senator Gbemisola Saraki, urged the graduands to always contribute their little to community service, saying that is the only way the society can be developed.
“You should see yourselves as new human beings that are ready to begin a new chapter of their lives. You should find a way to distribute wealth and be good keepers of their brothers and sisters.
“Education is a gift and as you go into the world, do what shows your appreciation of this gift. Our world can change with your little contributions to the growth of society. People make mistakes in their pursuit of achievement but always remain true to yourself, you would succeed in life.”