Governor Adams Oshiomhole says education must top the list of priority of government at all levels in the country, adding that government must always strive to ensure that schools are shut down, no matter what.
Speaking at the 20th Convocation ceremony of the Ambrose Alli University, Oshiomhole said when Nigerian schools are shut, those in other countries remain open and students from shut Nigerian schools are expected to compete on the same level with their peers from other climes where schools remain open.
He said: “there are many universities that are on strike, and ASUU has cleverly reversed the conventional adage or even law which says, ‘no work, no pay’. Now, ASUU finds themselves having to now say, ‘no pay, no work’.
“As we speak, I am sure there are a number of universities that are not working because the states have not paid them, and also I am aware of reported cases of some state governments saying straight away to the universities that they are not going to be able to pay more than a fraction of the subvention that they have been paying on account of the current economic challenges. For me, I am clear that if the Nigerian state defaults in every aspect of its obligation to the people, the Nigerian state, federal and state governments, must never default in its obligation to ensuring that teaching and learning never stop.
“The truth is, Nigeria must reorder its priorities. We must never allow our educational institutions to close down. Closing down by one minute will cost us more than one year of our GDP because every time we stop learning, as Obama would say, ‘when we go so low, they continue to go so high’. And yet, we are expected to compete on the level playing field.”
He assured that the incoming administration in the state would consolidate on his current achievements, “If I haven’t kept the last pledge, there is nothing wrong with it because the government has not come to an end. Conscious of these unending commitments, that was why in our last campaign, we spoke to continuity and consolidation. So, the next government must consolidate on what I am already doing and continue to do even more, including keeping promises that I made in good faith but which I may not have been able to deliver timely, but those promises must be delivered, and these will be in my hand-over note.”
Governor Oshiomhole urged the university authorities do things differently and manage its resources prudently without giving room for wastage and leakages, “The future that I see, the growth and development of universities will not be based on the generosity of a state governor because nobody knows when we are going to get out of where we are in. The challenges are mounting. The government needs to provide a variety of public services at a time of declining revenue. In the short run, there will be no quick fix. So, the university must be creative.
“This university will grow not courtesy of miracles. It will grow on the basis of determined efforts by management, staff and students to do things differently, to cut wastes, not employing those you don’t need. Don’t take employment from traditional rulers, from governors, commissioners when you don’t need them. Employ more of academic staff and less of non-academic because this is a place for teaching and learning. Invest more in research which is only possible if you invest in equipment and laboratory. We must get it right. In keeping an institution alive, the emphasis is not on more money coming in, it is also about blocking leakages and managing more wisely.”
Earlier, Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof Ignatius Onimawo paid glowing tribute to Governor Adams Oshiomhole for his invaluable contributions to the development of the university. He said, “I cannot end this address without glowing tributes for the tremendous support the university received from the Comrade Governor and the Government of Edo State. The massive interventions of the State Government under the leadership of the Comrade Governor are eloquently manifested in the number of projects that were built from government intervention funds/grants. Undeniably, the Comrade Governor has boldly etched his name in gold letters in the sands of times of Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma.”
Prof Onimawo continued, “We appeal to the Governor-Elect, Mr. Godwin Obaseki to keep alive the spirit of avowed commitment of the Comrade Governor with a view to lifting Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma to a higher level of accomplishments and global ranking.”
According to the Vice Chancellor, 8,692 diploma, and first-degree students graduated for the 2013/2014 and 2014/2015 academic sessions, while 492 postgraduates will be conferred with their awards for the two academic sessions.
Also speaking, the Chancellor, Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, HRH Alhaji (Dr) Yahaya Abubakar, Etsu Nupe commended Governor Oshiomhole for his development of the institution. He said, “Under your dynamic leadership of Edo State, the strides attained by the university in terms of physical infrastructural transformation and development are highly commendable. You remain the great and compelling force behind the success of this university. Words are inadequate to express our gratitude to you, sir. As your tenure as Comrade Governor of Edo State comes to an end shortly, it is my prayer that the almighty Allah continues to guide, protect and bless you in all your future endeavours.”
The university awarded doctorate, masters, postgraduate diplomas and first degrees to deserving graduates while an honorary doctorate degree in business administration was awarded to the chairman, Channels Media Group, Mr. John Momoh.
CPS to Edo State Governor
CPS to Edo State Governor