Full Text: President Muhammadu Buhari’s address at the 32nd Convocation Ceremony of The University of Ilorin

It is my pleasure to address this congregation on this memorable occasion of the 32nd Convocation Ceremony of your University.  I warmly congratulate the new graduands, their parents, guardians, relations and friends who have gathered this day to rejoice with them on the successful completion of their studies in this University.  Everyone, and indeed the nation, is proud of you because your labour and the sacrifices of your sponsors and benefactors over the years have not been in vain.  When you are successful in one area of your life, it often leads to success in other areas. It is on this note that I urge you to put into practice all the knowledge, expertise and skills you have acquired from the University to guide you through your life endeavours.

As you very well know, the country does not have the means to provide jobs for every graduate.  While Government is committed to employment generation for the majority of our youths, you too must be determined to contribute your own quota by striving to engage in one form of productive activity or the other. You should be creative,
innovative and strive to be self-reliant. You must be determined to succeed in any task you set your hands upon.  I therefore pray that as you go into the world to begin another phase in your life, may good luck attend your ways.

I would also like to congratulate the remaining students for maintaining peace on the campus and for the cordial relationship existing between them and the University authorities.  It is my ardent hope that you will continue to work together to maintain the excellent tradition for which this University is well known.

In an occasion of this nature where academic achievement is being
celebrated, it is fitting to pay tribute to those who have contributed in no small measure towards the moulding of these young men and women into successful persons.  It is in this regard that I wish to acknowledge the efforts of all those who have played significant roles culminating in today’s celebration. I thank the Chancellor, Pro-Chancellor and members of the Governing Council, Management and Senate of this University as well as the generality of staff for providing the enabling environment and intellectual leadership for these young Nigerians to blossom.  The University of Ilorin remains a source of pride and joy to the nation for
maintaining a robust academic tradition and unbroken academic calendar for upwards of 16 years. This landmark achievement has proved that our Universities can carry out their legitimate activities withoutunnecessary and unacceptable interruptions.Let me quickly say that our dream to have world class Universities and centres of excellence among the community of nations cannot be realized if our Universities open and close their gates to students at every whim.  Our Universities must remain focussed and committed to their tripartite functions of teaching, research and community service in order to justify the huge government investment on them.

Universities are the leading lights of every society and ours cannot be different.  The nation looks up to you to provide pragmatic solutions to the many problems of our society.

It is no longer news that our country is passing through a difficult period
of economic crises. The economic recession is not peculiar to Nigeria as
many countries in the world are facing similar challenges. This
socio-economic situation has been brought about by our collective failure
as a people, dependency on oil exports to the exclusion of other products,
insatiable appetite for foreign goods and services including importation of
food, corruption and lack of proper planning for tomorrow.  My
administration is doing everything possible to restructure the economy and
change our ways of doings things.  These measures include fiscal
discipline, formulation and implementation of well-thought out economic
policies, diversification of the economy and elimination of all practices
inimical to the wellbeing of the country. Government is poised to remould
the country into a self-reliant nation where the future of all shall be
held secure.

The government is aware of the hardship the citizens are going through at
the moment but I want to assure all Nigerians that we shall overcome the
present economic doldrums.  Our country is blessed with great
potentialities and resources that have yet to be harnessed. The task to
restore our country to economic prosperity does not depend on government
alone.  All of us, men and women of our great country must be involved in
the struggle to build a viable and virile country for the general wellbeing
of our people and even generations unborn.

The Universities have a role to play in the effort at revitalizing
the economy and building a solid foundation for the nation. As catalyst for
change, the Universities should not only be producers and disseminators of
knowledge, but also creators of wealth.  They should be in the vanguard in
re-orientating our people to espouse the ideals of good citizenship.  In
tune with the laws establishing them, our Universities should relate their
activities to the social, cultural and economic needs of the people of
Nigeria.  They are expected through research, to identify the problems and
needs of society and find practical solutions within the context of
national development.  As purveyors of knowledge, Universities should be
committed to the pursuit of excellence. A technologically productive
economy is dependent in great measure on research inputs from the
Universities. I therefore challenge the Universities to give of their best as the nation expects much from you.  Government on its part will continue to fund our Universities to the limit of its available resources.  But let me advise managers of our Universities that the era of wasteful spending is over.  Every available fund should be ploughed into teaching, research and productive activities.  Government lives in the hope that in the near future our Universities should be self-reliant or be in a position to provide a substantial portion of their needed funds.

We are all aware of government’s avowed intention to change the attitudes and values of our citizens, particularly our youths towards positive direction.  The responsibilities and obligations of University teachers in achieving this goal cannot be overstated.  As leaders of our institutions they must provide the moral compass for our youths.  They owe our students the same responsibilities their parents have for them and are expected to advise and help them to become good citizens of this country.  Government is uncomfortable that our citadels of learning which should be training grounds for probity, social justice and decorum have become havens for gross indiscipline, cultism, sexual harassment, immorality, indecency, violence, unnecessary demonstrations and all forms of anti-social
behaviours. Some of these actions are orchestrated or encouraged by their
teachers.                                   No society can thrive in an
atmosphere of confusion, divisive tendencies, rumours and misrepresentation
of government policies.  Channels of communication between Universities and
the students should always be open to enable both parties interact,
dialogue and consult freely to engender peace, tolerance, orderliness,
self-discipline, sobriety  and attitudinal  change in our institutions of
higher learning.  Leaders of our Universities will be held responsible for
every positive and negative actions in their respective institutions.

I cannot end this address without recognising the Royal fathers present,
dignitaries from within and outside the country and everyone who has come
to share the joy of this occasion with us. In particular, I thank the
Convocation Lecturer Professor John Wood, Secretary General of the
Association of Commonwealth Universities and our own Otunba (Dr)
MikeAdenugaJr, Chairman of Globacom, who gave the Convocation address this
morning. I also thank the Government of Kwara State and the host community
for their support to this University.

The Chancellor and Chairman of this occasion, distinguished guests, ladies
and gentlemen, I thank you for your patience and attention.  I wish you a
happy celebration and journey mercies to your respective destinations.



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