Hammed Shittu in Ilorin
Ahead of 2019 general elections, a former United Nations Under-Secretary, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari saturday charged the federal government to ensure that, the election umpire, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is properly empowered in order to conduct free and fair elections.
He also cautioned against use of thuggery and impunity that may affect smooth conduct of the polls, stressing that the next general elections must be a complete game-changer and not by elections manipulation.
Gambari, who is also the chancellor of the Kwara state University (KWASU) disclosed this at Malete in Moro local government council of the state during the 6th convocation programme of the university. He also advised the youths not allow themselves to be used as political thugs.
According to him, â€œAs 2019 elections draw near, never allow yourselves to be used by anybody either as thugs or manipulation during elections. Rather get interested in who governs you and how the leaders are selected.
â€œThe government on their part must empower INEC to conduct a free and fair elections in 2019 and beyond.â€
Gambari said, â€œWe must give our support while insisting on a permanent end to impunity and zero-tolerance of elections. Elections in 2019 in Nigeria must be the game-changer.â€
Earlier, the state governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed reaffirmed the commitment of his administration to continue to invest in education sector as it is the bedrock of national development and economic empowerment.
He said the establishment of the University in Malete in 2009 had transformed the rural community to semi-urban community, thus reducing rural-urban drift.
Ahmed said the Ekiti Campus of the University had reached ninety five per cent completion stage, while that of Ilesa Baruba was at an advanced stage, and work on the Postgraduate school in Ilorin was also in progress.
The Governor commended the management, staff and students of the institution for ensuring stable academic stability in the institution. He however charged the youths to shun social vices such as hooliganism, cultism, thuggery, examination malpractices, and intimidation among others.
Vice Chancellor of the University Prof. Abdulrasheed Naâ€™Allah in his remark announced that the 1,126 graduated this year. Out of these were 30 first class products.
Naâ€™Allah added that the school produced five doctoral degree holders. He added that 522 graduated with second class honours in the upper division, 588 second class in the lower division and 60 persons with third class degrees.
He therefore said the management of the institution would continue to work harder in order to ensure development of academic programmes of the students.
Highlight of the convocation was the conferment of doctorate honorary degrees on three distinguished Africans for their contributions to humanity and services to the continent.
The honorees, according to him, are former President of South Africa, Mr. Thambo Mbeki; the founder of Guaranty Trust Bank, Mr. Tajudeen Fola Adeola, and a popular Ilorin poet and Dadakuada singer, Alhaji Jaiyigbade Alao.
While speaking on the choice of the three honourees, Naâ€™Allah said Mbeki who took over from Nelson Mandela as South African President contributed immensely to the growth of African nation, especially in transforming of Organisation of African Union (OAU) to African Union (AU), saying that he would be conferred with honorary doctorate degree in Political Science.
He added that Adeola was chosen as an entrepreneur and for his investment in the banking sector especially in the establishment of GTB in 1999 and for helping the country fine-tune the Nigeria Pension Scheme, adding that he would be conferred with honorary doctorate degree in Entrepreneurship.
Naâ€™Allah explained that Alao would be conferred with honorary doctorate degree in Literature for his contributions to poetry development, describing him as one of the best African poet.