BY JIMITOTA ONOYUME
PORT HARCOURT: PRESIDENT Good luck Jonathan has assured that his administration would harness the potentials in the nationâ€™s youths.Â Noting their contributions to national development, the President who recalled the roles of the likes of Late Chima Ubani said the nation would not fail to honour those that make meaningful sacrifice for its development.
Speaking at the 26th convocation of the University of Port Harcourt, Jonathan who is an alumnus of the institution said he considered it a unique privilege that several years after he graduated from the Universityâ€™s first degree, masterâ€™ s and doctoral program he was attending the schoolâ€™s convocation as a visitor.
While reaffirming the commitment of his administration to electoral reform in the country he urged Nigerians to ensure they play their roles by first participating in the voters registration exercise and then casting their votes on election days. He said all major challenges in the country could be overcome with the power of the vote. The President also urged students round the country to shun acts capable of casting academic institutions in bad light.
Jonathan who recalled the impact of some of his lecturers and staff of the University of Port Harcourt while he was a student of the institution also lauded the effort of parents and guardians in the country towards making their children and wards university graduates.
Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi who is also an alumnus of the university assured that his government would continue to render support to the university.Â Since the university is at the verge of appointing a new Vice Chancellor he advised those to handle it to ensure merits becomes the deciding factor of who succeeds the outgoing Vice Chancellor.
On his part, the outgoing Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof Don Baridam urged the federal government to take practical steps towards resolving the challenges epileptic power poses to university administration in the country.
According to him, it is only a steady power that would place the country on the fast lane of development. He said the situation had become so bad that universities were now finding it very difficult to cope with the epileptic power situation. â€œOur mandate to provide quality education through research and teaching has become seriously compromised by poor electricity supply especially in recent times.â€
He also pleaded with government to take up the issue of security of lives and property very seriously as it is its responsibility just as he recalled the sad situations that resulted in the murderÂ of some staff of the university , including the Chief Security Officer of the school, late Amadi Wali. He commended the amnesty programme of the federal government and noted the peace it had brought to the region.
To rescue the educational sector from total collapse the outgoing Vice Chancellor called for what he termed fine tuning of the sector. For instance he said situation where students of secondary schools go to write their terminal examination in schools where they received their tutelage should be discouraged.Â â€œAt the tertiary level, there is total loss of enthusiasm, commitment and intrinsic motivation. We need moral reorientation as an integral component of our rebranding effortsâ€
The outgoing VC who thanked God almighty for the opportunity given him to serve the school said his tenure as Vice Chancellor raised the bar in terms of infrastructural development. They include a new senate building complex, rehabilitation of roads within the school, completion of administration/library building complex etc.
His royal Majesty Dr De Wheno Aholu Menu Toy 1, OFR , Oba Akran of Badagry was installed at the convocation as the new Chancellor of the university. Those conferred with Honorary Doctorate degrees were Prof Sylvanus Cookey, Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, Mr Donald Duke, former governor of Cross River state, Prof Aniezionwu Okoro and Hon Justice Mohammed lawal Uwais (rtd).
Governors of Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Delta, Bayelsa etc were among dignitaries at the event. Ministers included Odein Ajumogobia, Minister of Foreign Affais, Prof Dora Akunyile, Communications etc.