Convocation: Governor Ugwuanyi criticizes ESUT for changing its original mission

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Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT) needs to reinvent itself and recommit to its founding mission of fostering development and transforming the financial standing of the institution as a citadel of knowledge founded to support international science and technology projects, according to Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State.

Governor Ugwuanyi made the observation that the original goal of ESUT, which seemed attainable in the early years of the University’s existence when it won praise for producing motor pistons, mace, computer panels, and solar panels, appeared to have been relegated in the end.

Speaking at the University’s 18th convocation ceremony on Saturday, Governor Ugwuanyi said that public universities that strategically explore and take advantage of alternative funding opportunities through research grants and earmarks will survive and remain competitive due to the alarming cost of higher education gap between public and private institutions.

In light of this, the governor suggested that “ESUT, being a science and technology university, should deploy her intellectual resources to fuel research and creativity and ultimately drive innovation of products and services,” noting that “this would attract huge income through patents and royalties to the University and complement government funding.”

Governor Ugwuanyi emphasized that ESUT must have a functional curriculum that is tailored to the true needs of society in order to accomplish its founding goal. He also assured the institution of the state government’s support for the institution in this paradigm shift through supportive policy and legal frameworks.

He said, “This gathering is also an opportunity to remind the leadership of ESUT that Nigeria is experiencing one of the most challenging economic times. This has put the funding of universities in peril together with the rising expense of education.

The government’s ability to keep increasing grants and subsidies to public universities has also become inelastic, as has parents’ and guardians’ ability to respond to the rising cost of tuition at public universities.

The governor praised the new ESUT administration, led by Prof. Aloysius-Michaels Okolie, for restoring hope and breaking the institution’s five-year convocation curse. “By today’s event, the last ESUT convocation being in the year 2016,” the governor said.

He expressed the expectation that going forward, the University would hold timely and yearly convocation ceremonies.

Governor Ugwuanyi congratulated all of the ESUT graduates on their well-earned degrees and expressed his gratitude to the parents and guardians who worked hard and made sacrifices to provide their children and wards with the priceless gift of an education and the best tools possible for the journey through life.

The governor also thanked and congratulated those who received honorary degrees for their “outstanding recognition” and their “impact on the world on a scale and scope that earned you this.”

In addition to stating that “today’s award of an honorary degree is not an end but a tonic to do more and an impetus to be part of making the world a better place,” he added that each of their individual track records speak to their outstanding performance in their various fields of endeavor.

Hon. Justice Chima Centus Nweze of the Nigerian Supreme Court received a Doctor of Law (Honoris Causa), Chief Obinna Iyiegbu (Obi Cubana), the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the Cubana Group, received a Doctor of Business Administration (Honoris Causa), and Mr. Michael Ikebudu of the Brunei Shell Petroleum Human Resources Directorate received a Doctor of Business Administration as well.

The Isagba of Ogwashi-Uku Kingdom, Chief Dr. Jude Ndudi Ozah, a doctor of science with honors, Sir Ike Nwokolo, a doctor of public finance with honors, and Mrs. Agatha Obiekwugo, a doctor of business administration, were the others.

In his address, the Pro-Chancellor of ESUT and Bishop of Catholic Diocese of Nsukka, Most Rev. Prof. Godfrey Igwebuike Onah expressed gratitude to Governor Ugwuanyi who is the Visitor to the University, for “his commitment to funding and improving the condition of service of the staff of ESUT”, revealing that “through the Governing Council the governor has been faithful to his promises and the promises of the government.”

The vice chancellor of ESUT, Prof. Okolie, welcomed and thanked the governor for attending the event while expressing how his guidance and fatherly role have continued to guide and have a significant impact on the growth and development of “the first University of Science and Technology in the country.”

The ESUT VC expressed his gratitude to Governor Ugwuanyi for “all his support and encouragement to keep ESUT in the global race for academic excellence,” noting that “his (Ugwuanyi’s) non-interference in the administration of the university is a sufficient proof that he wants to enthrone objectivity, and a level playing field devoid of bias and nepotism in the University.”

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