President Muhammadu Buhari, has berated many universities in the country for placing priority on money in the conferment of honourary awards on Nigerians.
Buhari said the ugly development is coming at this point in time when the country is battling to entrench the culture of good character would help the rebranding efforts of the federal government.
The president made this disclosure on Saturday at Federal University, Oye Ekiti(FUOYE) during the 2nd combined convocation ceremony held at the institution’s Hall.
The visitor to the university commended the institution for conferring awards on Nigerians with impeccable characters without compromising standard, saying he was particularly elated by the quality of people being conferred with honours.
Those who were honoured with honourary degrees include: The Catholic Bishop of Ekiti Diocese, Most Reverend Felix Femi Ajakaye, the cleric who saved 262 Christians from being killed by insurgents in Barkin Ladi in Plateau State, Alhaji Abubakar Abdullahi and Chief Guy Garguilo, a British National, who had mentored many Nigerians and rendered a lot of humanitarian services to the nation.
Buhari, represented by a Director at Tertiary Education Trust Find (TETFUND), Dr. John Ojo Olusola said: “As a government, we take pride in our popular appeal to integrity and excellence. That is why we are glad by the exemplary personalities and outstanding pedigrees of the distinguished Nigerians that the university had awarded.
“You can never be wrong in the choice of these worthy Nigerians , who have been absolutely selfless and altruistic in their commitments to the Nigerian projects.
“The university’s decision, in this respect , I must admit, says a lot not only about the integrity of the selection process , also the quality of university’s management, especially the Vice Chancellor, Prof Kayode Soremekun.
“That this is coming at a time when most other Nigerian universities have completely bastardised and instrumentalised such awards , offering it to the highest bidders, makes it more commendable.
“But FUOYE chose to follow the path of honour. I congratulate you for this lofty height and call on Nigerian universities to emulate this inspiring story”, he advised.
The Chairman and the Pro- Chancellor of the university, Prof Tunde Samuel, warned that it would be a great disservice to the country for rumour peddlers and militant unionists to demarket the university for primordial gains.
This, he said, may hamper the glowing future FUOYE has as an institution.
Also speaking, Governor Kayode Fayemi appreciated the contributions of the university to socio -economic growth of Ekiti, saying: “that is why we are tarring intra-campus road in the institution and the contractor will soon go to site.
“Recently, I called the attention of the visitor to this university, President Buhari to that fact that this institution has not legally bear its new name . You could all remember that the name was changed two years ago and incidentally, it was named after our own hero, Major Gen. Adeyinka Adebayo.
“And the Visitor assured us that in short time, that legal mandate will be put in place and the university will bear its new and legal name”, he said.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Kayode Soremekun said his vision is to transform FUOYE into a model across Africa, as a university which graduates are of quality and can compete anywhere across the globe.
He said all the programmes being offered by the institution are accredited while efforts have been intensified to seek accreditation for Law and Pharmacy Faculities from their respective councils, having been granted the leave to run the two courses by National Universities Commission (NUC).
An activist and Lawyer, who represented the honoured British citizen, Guy Garguilo, said the honouree was unique and believed in the uncommon philosophy of selflessness to build the destinies of the people.
“This man Garguilo is unique and he has built the destinies of many Nigerians, especially from Akoko region of Ondo State . Many of those he mentored are now distinguished scholars . Recently, he sold the property of his father, who was an Italian Air Force officer to buy tractor to help Akoko farmers. This man deliberately made himself poor for others to be great”.
Abdullahi commending the university for finding him worthy of the honour, saying this will further spur him to do more for the nation and humanity.