Ilorin- President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday described as unfortunate the lack of adequate skills among Nigerian graduates.
The president spoke in Ilorin during the 29th convocation ceremony of the University of Ilorin.
Jonathan, who was represented by the Supervising Minister of Education, Mr Nyesom Wike, said universities should be agents of change.
The president declared as intolerable a situation whereby a large number of graduates produced by universities lack relevant skills due to poor training.
“University teachers must re-orient themselves and avoid distractions at work occasioned by unnecessary strikes which remain the bane of our educational system with its attendant consequences,’’ he said.
He called on the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to call off its strike and allow reason to prevail in the interest of the country and the students.
The president said that government would continue to address the challenges facing the country’s university system.
“The Federal Government is leaving no stone unturned in the quest to transform Nigerian universities to make them globally competitive.
“With 129 universities and several other higher institutions, the country has no reason to lag behind in the quest for technological development,’’ he added.
Jonathan also advised universities to mobilise funds by commercialising their expertise and research efforts to supplement government grants.
He said the problem of funding should be tackled from all fronts while all stakeholders must be involved in cost-sharing for the country to have standard universities.
The president said his government had increased the budget for education progressively from N234.8 billion in 2010 to N426.5 billion in 2013, with N55.4 billion allocated to the university subsector alone.
“Barely a month ago, the Federal Government released the sum of N130 billion to universities for infrastructure development and payment of earned allowances to staff,’’ he said.
He congratulated the institution’s vice chancellor, Prof. Abdulganiyu Ambali, the senate, management and staff as well as students of the university.
The president said the knowledge and skills the graduating students had acquired would guide them in their various endeavours and service to the nation.
Earlier, Ambali had congratulated the graduating students on the feats recorded and charged them to work hard so that they would stand out from the crowd.
“It has been observed that hard work does not kill, therefore, be focused on your dream. If you work hard, things will work well for you and Nigeria,’’ he added.
Ambali, in his address entitled, “Winners you are,” urged the graduating students to be good ambassadors of their parents and their alma mater.
“You should be reminded that University of Ilorin stands for standard, excellence, probity and integrity and that is what we expect you to preach when you get to the field.
“Let these values continue to guide you as you seek your place in the world, winners, they say don’t quit and quitters don’t win.
“Winners you are! Continue to work hard and you shall continue to win and overcome challenges of life,’’ Ambali said.
The vice chancellor said a total of 6,851 students graduated with first degrees while 969 bagged higher degrees. (NAN)