Segun Awofadeji in Bauchi
The federal government has lamented the incessant strike action by teachers and other university workers, saying that the repercussions of such actions usually retard the smooth running of academic activities in institutions, with heavy negative consequences.
President Muhammadu Buhari stated this saturday during the combined 23rd, 24th and 25th convocation ceremony, held at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Yelwa Campus in Bauchi.
The President who was represented by the Executive Secretary of National University Commission, Dr Gidado Bello, assured that his administration would soon come up with modalities of addressing grievances of teachers and university workers without a faceoff in order to stabilise and balance the system.
He assured the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) that the federal government was working on modalities to address their grievances without a face-off thereby ending incessant strikes in the countryâ€™s universities.
â€œOur resolve to address the decay in the system is in no doubt, just as our collective resolve as a government and people is unwavering. We invite you to come to us with meaningful suggestions that will add value to the system.
â€œIt is my belief that the exchange of views and ideas will assist in arriving at mutually acceptable solutions to most of our todayâ€™s problems in the educational sector. I therefore advise for continued dialogue and consultations among all the stakeholders in the systemâ€, he added.
The President called on staff members of the university to re-invent the culture of leadership, followership and stewardship, pointing out that they must be leaders in their assigned responsibilities of tutoring the youths; imbibe followership to the constituted authorities, and be stewards to the overall system for the progress of the country.
He advised students to imbibe the culture of discipline and respect for their teachers and the university authorities, stressing that their purpose was not only to learn their books and conduct researches, but to learn how to be responsible citizens away from the watch of their parents.
Buhari congratulated the graduands and charged them to be loyal to their superiors wherever they find themselves and stand on the truth at all times.
â€œYou must realise that you have climbed the middle ladder in your journey as responsible citizens. You will now be released into the productive society where you will struggle to demonstrate what you can offer for survival of mankindâ€, he said.
While calling on the state government to render support and encouragement to university management situated in their midst, the president said last year the federal government reconstituted the governing councils of many federal universities who are saddled with the responsibility of promoting policies of change in the system.
In his welcome address, the Vice Chancellor ATBU, Prof. Saminu Ibrahim, expressed gratitude to the President, who is also the Visitor to the University, for honouring their invitation.
Ibrahim said: â€œWe appreciate the commitment of your administration towards salvaging University education sector as demonstrated in many ways including the setting up of a Committee to recognise the sector headed by Prof. Peter Okebukola. We assure you of our total alignment to your administrationâ€™s drive to move the education sector forwardâ€
The VC appealed to the President to facilitate the speedy release of the final tranche of the NEEDS Assessment funds to facilitate the completion of on-going projects in the university.
Ibrahim also expressed gratitude to the federal government for the establishment of Presidential NEEDS assessment Intervention Funds. He said ATBU has experienced enormous challenges as a result of paucity of funds, adding that in spite of that the management was able to witness modest achievements in conjunction with stakeholders.
He commended the Senate of the University and other members of collective staff for â€œconstructive deliberationsâ€ on academic matters and especially for maintaining the high ethical standards which ensured efficient processing and releasing of results.
â€œWe appreciate our staff and student unions, including ASUU, SSANU, NAAT, NASU and SUG for engaging in useful and constructive dialogue that has kept the university relatively peaceful despite the external threats by national strikesâ€
Earlier in their separate remarks, the Chancellor of the University, Oba Rufus Adeyemo Aladesanmi III, the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti, and the Pro-Chancellor, Ambassador Dr. Nimota Akambi, commended the Governing Council, Senate and Management of the University for maintaining the standard of the university.
Our correspondent reports that no fewer than 8,495 students graduated with 480 for National Diplomas, 5,637 for first degrees, 1,580 for PGD, 770 for Masters and 90 for PhDs respectively, out of which 118 bagged first class.