October 9, 2011

Sambo pledges FG’s support for private varsity initiatives

Abeokuta – Vice President Namadi Sambo has said that the Federal Government will continue to support establishment of  private universities to  cater for the growing number of applicants seeking admissions

.Sambo spoke on Saturday through Mr Nyesom Wike, the Minister of State for Education  at the third convocation ceremony of  the Crescent  University, Abeokuta.

The vice president noted that the support had become necessary because applicants could not be absorbed in all the existing universities.

“Much as the government is willing to provide the tertiary educational needs of the citizenry,  as evidenced in the recent establishment of nine new  federal universities, we cannot possibly do it alone,’’ he stated.

Sambo noted with delight, that most of the existing private universities in the country were being promoted by religious organisations.

The vice president who  described the development as positive, said that it would boost the morals of products of the  universities.

Sambo who emphasised the importance of education to the achievement of Federal Government’s transformation agenda,  assured that government would continue to create the conducive atmosphere for the education sector to thrive.

The Minister of Education, Prof. Ruquayatu Rufai, in her address said that private universities were necessary as federal universities could absorb only 350,000 out of the 1.5 million eligible applicants every year.

The minister who spoke through Mr Julius Okojie, the Secretary of the Nigerian Universities Commission, lauded the contributions of private universities in the development of the education sector.

He noted that out of the 117 universities in the country, 45 were privately owned while federal  and State Governments controlled the rest.

Prof. Hassan Okeleye,  Vice-Chancellor of the university told  the graduands that they would face challenges, but noted that they were now equipped to face the challenges.

He charged them to be worthy ambassadors of the school  and to make  positive changes wherever they might be employed.

Seven eminent Nigerians, including Sambo and former President Shehu Shagari were awarded honorary doctorate degrees of the institution in various disciplines.

A total of 118 students graduated, seven of whom made first class, 37 bagged second class upper, 46 made lower second while 28 made third class. (NAN)