From Saxone Akhaine, Kaduna
PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has urged Nigerians to emulate the virtues of religious tolerance and accommodation which the former Premier of the Northern region in the First Republic, Sir Ahmadu Bello exhibited in governance, in order to redress the nation’s current problems.
Jonathan, who spoke at the convocation ceremony of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria said: “Ahmadu Bello was a man whose outstanding life is worthy of emulation. He lived a life characterized by selflessness, religious tolerance and accommodation as well as honesty and hard work.
“It is also noteworthy that the great leader achieved tremendous strides for himself and for the nation at a rather young age. These are virtues that our graduating students and indeed all Nigerians should imbibe and practice in order to move our beloved country to greater heights.
“You have become ambassadors of Ahmadu Bello University. I urge you all not to rest on your oars in your quest to excel in your chosen profession in order to contribute your quota to the development of our nation”.
While acknowledging the role of institutions of higher learning in nation-building, Jonathan who was represented by Minister of Education, Prof Ruquayyatu Ahmed Rufai, added: “I want to call on the tertiary institutions to partner with the federal government in providing the required manpower this country needs to realize its enormous potentials.
“On our part, we are determined to continue to offer support to the university. We realize that quality university education is the bedrock of national development and integration. A nation without a strong educational base is one without any ambition to match the stride of its peers.
“My administration has elevated education as one of its top priorities in our transformation agenda. Recently, we established nine new federal universities and are in the process of establishing the remaining three in different parts of the country in order to improve access to education for our teeming youths”.
Lamenting that the nation’s universities are not competing effectively with their counterparts in other parts of the world, he said: “We are concerned that no Nigerian university is among the first 300 universities in the world. This is unacceptable to this administration and we are determined to work with the management of our universities to turn around this situation”.
He continued: “My administration is putting in place structures to assist budding entrepreneurs to realize their ambition. The recently launched ‘You win’ programme which will provide funding support for such young business efforts, is one of them. A large portion of our youthful population is becoming disillusioned with the society because of people who deceive them with false promises of easy solution to their challenges.
“We understand too well the challenges faced by our universities, particularly ABU because of its long history and size. We will provide the resources to address these challenges in due course. But I must also warn that the federal government is incapable of meeting all your funding desire and therefore, universities should explore the possibility of partnering with the private sector to close the gap in their development needs”.
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