The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike on Saturday honoured a student living with disability, James E. Daniel, with N50 Million and automatic lectureship appointment in Rivers State University for bagging a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree.
In a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Kelvin Ebiri, the Governor, however, cautioned all Rivers State owned universities to stop indiscriminate conferment of doctoral degrees on all manner of questionable candidates and people of material influence.
Governor Wike announced the N50 Million reward and automatic lectureship appointment of Dr. Daniel during the 33rd convocation of the Rivers State University, Port Harcourt on Saturday.
The governor said the honour bestowed on Dr. Daniel is in recognition of his academic excellence and for being a source of inspiration to persons living with disabilities.
The Rivers State governor in his remark, directed the Governing Council and managements of state universities to sanitize their internal academic systems by stopping every inappropriate policy, practice or procedure that compromises the high quality academic standards required of tertiary institutions.
Governor Wike said from inception, the Rivers State University has been in the forefront of providing tertiary education and training to people of the State.
He observed that like the mustard seed, the university has grown from the little beginnings to become one of the largest and leading State government owned institutions in the country.
The governor, emphasised that serious universities jealously guard their reputation and award doctoral degrees only to students who have gone through years of rigorous intellectual research and interrogation and whose dissertation is independently adjudged to be sound and contributory to new learning.
He, however, described as unfortunate, the current trend and practice in universities, including the Rivers State University, to award doctoral degrees indiscriminately, like chieftaincy titles, to all manner of questionable candidates.
“This practice must stop in all Rivers State Government-owned tertiary institutions as we demand greater character, commitment and responsibility from staff and management to the vision and fundamental objectives of university education.
“First of all, the programmes that you offer must equip the students with relevant skills, entrepreneurial or otherwise so that on graduation they can start their own businesses and professional practice and become creators of jobs from the beginning; and not jobless seekers of elusive jobs.”
The governor commended the present Governing Council for its leadership and unprecedented achievements in infrastructural development for the last six years.
He charged the council to stop the embarrassing erosion of the value and quality of the certificates and degrees being awarded by the university.
“This is the only way you can be recognized globally and be able to benchmark, collaborate and partner with other top universities across the world in applied research and innovation relevant to the local and international labour markets.”
Governor Wike, congratulated all the 4970 graduands for their academic achievement. He, however, reminded them that the time when graduates had an easy and almost predictably straight movements; from education, to work, and finally, to pension is over.
He assured that the infrastructural development in the university started by his administration, including the four new campuses at Ahoada, Emohua, Ebara and Sakpenwa, will be completed by the second quarter of 2022.
“We will also continue to support the university to strengthen its staffing needs and the provision of enhanced digital infrastructure to deliver quality education and training to improve competitiveness and employability of our graduates.”
The RSU Vice Chancellor, Prof. Nlerum Okogbule, expressed gratitude to Governor Wike for his enormous support to the institution.
On his part, the Pro-Chancellor and chairman of the governing council, Justice Iche Ndu, rtd, commended the graduands for the successful completion of their academic endeavour.
The Chancellor and the Emir of Lafia, His Royal Majesty, Dauda Sidi Bage, noted that university education is indispensable to national development.
“I have carefully examined the academic components of this great university, particularly courses and research thematic areas taught to students in this university, and delighted to confirm, by way of unequivocal amplifications, that they are focused on preparing our students for nation building and solving societal challenges.”
The Chancellor, who is a retired Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, lauded Governor Wike for his unparalleled support for the judiciary, and his intervention in the construction of a brand new campus of the Nigerian Law School in Port Harcourt.