Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
After a backlog of about five years, the Bayelsa State-owned tertiary institution, Niger Delta University (NDU), Amasomma, Southern Ijaw, yesterday finally conducted a combined convocation ceremony for 15,853 graduates of the institution.
At the convocation, the state governor, Mr Seriake Dickson, offered automatic employment to 104 first class graduates of the school, ranging from between 2015 to 2019 academic sessions.
The governor said the beneficiaries of the automatic employment were 13 best graduating students of the different faculties of institution with 91 making first class grade.
Dickson said the directive was in conformity with his administration’s policy of absorbing first class students into the civil service, stressing that in future such investments would serve as a catalyst to reposition the economy of the state beyond oil and gas.
He said: “Our vision is to envision a future for our people beyond oil and gas. As you all know this environment more than those outside, oil and gas are wasting assets. Technology is even overtaking its usefulness.
“Our future, a sustainable future, for Bayelsa, Ijaw Nation, Niger Delta, and even Nigeria should be envisioned to be a society and economy beyond oil and gas. In my view, it should be based on investments in education, expanding the frontiers of education, building more schools and more schools and not get tired of it,” Dickson said.
“We should attract the world to Bayelsa, to attend our schools and we need more schools. Let us make ourselves a hub for educational tourism. Let us be key participants in the future economy that is non-oil in nature.
“Let us envision a role for economy of knowledge that is coming ahead of us. It may get to us in the next 15/20 years but surely it will come,” the governor explained.
Dickson also called on public spirited individuals, corporate bodies as well as government officials to give support to the development of education in the state.
He said the university had endured over the years to become a beacon of hope not only in Bayelsa, but also in the Niger Delta while appreciating contributions made by successive governments and managements to the development of the NDU.
He expressed gratitude to the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman, Governing Council and his team for the honour bestowed on him by naming the new Senate building and the dualised road linking the university’s old site to the permanent one in his name.
In his welcome address, the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman, Governing Council, NDU, Mr. Mathew Seiyefa, who acted as Director General of the Department of State Service (DSS) before he retired, said the convocation ceremony was significant as it was taking place at a historical point in the state.
Seiyefa commended Dickson for his efforts in changing the landscape of the institution through infrastructural development, urging the graduates to sustain their reading habits.
He encouraged the graduates not to be discouraged by the lack of jobs in the country, urging them to utilise the technological tools with which the NDU had equipped them to solve challenges.
Also in his address, the Vice Chancellor of NDU, Prof. Samuel Edoumiekumo, said a total of 15,853 received various degrees and diploma certificates out of which a total of 91 made first class.
He said the university had its convocation delayed for five years due to some exigencies, which made it to combine graduands from 2014/15 to 2018/19 for the conferment of various degree and diplomas.