BY PETER OKUTU
ABAKALIKI – GOVERNOR Martin Elechi of Ebonyi State, weekend, offered scholarships to 10 best graduating students, five automatic employments into the public service and donated three brand new buses for students and staff of Ebonyi State University, EBSU, Abakaliki.
The governor, who made the offers at the third convocation of the university, reiterated that the state government had concluded arrangement on a one-campus system rather than the current multi-campus structure of the university.
According to him, “government has chosen to develop the present Ezzamgbo campus of the university, after a careful evaluation of contending issues.”
He ordered the Ministry of Lands, Survey and Housing to work closely with the Department of Works of the university to determine, without delay, the boundary of the campus and proceed to work out a comprehensive development master plan.
According to the governor, this is to enable government commence its infrastructural development. He noted that his administration was committed towards improving well-being of both students and the entire university community.
He also charged the awardees who received honorary doctorate degrees from EBSU, Prof Chinua Achebe, Dr. Bolanle Babalakin SAN, and Prof Mahmood Yakubu of Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETF, and the graduating students to be worthy ambassadors wherever they found themselves.
Earlier, Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof Francis Idike, noted that the convocation ceremony consisted award of Bachelors, Masters and Ph.D degrees to 2009, 2010 and 2011 gradaunds totalling 10, 212.
He thanked the Proprietor, State government and the Federal Government through the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETF, for their enormous contributions towards the infrastructural development of the institution pointing out that the institution has over the years enjoyed a robust academic and staff development programmes because of the presence and accessibility to TETF projects.
“To our graduands, I say, hearty congratulations. I have no doubt whatsoever, that you will always keep the flag flying in consonance with our motto and vision; and indeed, the training we have laboured painstakingly to inculcate in you.”
One of the awardees, Executive Secretary, Tertiary Education Trust Fund, Prof Mahmood Yakubu who thanked the institution for the honour done him, stated that former Education Trust Fund, ETF, was renamed and restructured to become TETF in order to increase the financial impetus to tertiary institutions, saying “in TETF no university receives more than the other in normal intervention.
“What we give to the University of Ibadan which is the oldest, what we are going to give to Bauchi State University which is the youngest. So we fund the universities on equality, Ebonyi state will continue to receive the intervention on that basis”.
Another recipient, Dr. Bolanle Babalakin SAN, called on both federal and state government to increase its financial commitments to tertiary institutions across the country even as he lamented the exodus of Nigerian students studying abroad.
“About 75,000 Nigerian students are studying in various schools in Ghana paying roughly a total of 15, 000 dollars annually, which he said was tip of the iceberg compared to the number and cost of sponsoring Nigerian students in USA, Canada, Britain and other European countries.
“That’s about 1.1billion dollars or 1.2 billion dollars (annually) and that is roughly about N180 billion, that’s our contribution to Ghanaian education alone. As I’m saying this, that is even more than what we are spending in the federal budget. So we have to do something more resourceful in improving our resources, that’s what I’m saying, we need more money to change the education environment,” he said.