The Gregory University, Uturu (GUU) in Abia, on Saturday conferred honorary doctorates (Honoris Causa) on three Nigerians, including the Senate Minority Leader, Sen. Enyinnaya Abaribe.
Alhaji Abdulmunaf Sarina, chairman and president of Azman Group was honoured with doctorate in Business administration, while Chukwuemeka Ohanemere Odumeje, a self-proclaimed prophet, based in Onitsha, bagged Doctors of Humanities.
The university also made elder statesman and newspaper publisher, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, Grand Patron.
At the event to mark the fourth convocation of the university, the acting Vice Chancellor (VC), Prof. Augustine Uwakwe, said that the institution is proud to be associated with the honorees.
“We are very proud to be associated with you and it is our expectation that you will remain worthy ambassadors of this institution, especially now that you have joined the league of GUU alumni.”
Abaribe, who bagged the Doctor of Political Science, thanked the university for the honour.
He announced a N2 million endowment fund for the best graduating students of the university yearly for the period he shall remain in the Senate.
Iwuanyanwu expressed appreciation to the institution for honouring him and promised to leverage his local and international connections to take GUU to greater height.
He urged Nigerians to work toward a more united and prosperous nation, adding that Nigerians should strive to live in peace with one another.
Professor Uwakwe said that 63 of the 149 initial entrants into the university successfully graduated in various disciplines, among them were four who graduated with First Class.
The Vice-chancellor said GUU graduates had been properly equipped and “are now ready to become transformation agents of society.”
“They were also trained to acquire additional skills coupled with the matching spirit of enterprise that will subsequently empower them to become job creators and innovators,” he said.
Uwakwe said that the university commenced the training of clinical students last year and that its multi billion naira teaching hospital at Ezinnachi in Imo had reached 60 per cent completion.
He said that the hospital complex required about N200 million “to get to appreciable state.”
He said that all the necessary facilities for the hospital had been procured, awaiting the completion of the building.
He announced that the National Universities Commission had given approval to the university to run 16 additional programmes, including Pharmacy, Nursing, Optometry, Public Health, Medical Laboratory Science, Physiotherapy, Radiography, Architecture and all courses of the College of Education.
The VC listed the lack of public power supply to the institution, poor access road and difficulty in getting water due to the geography of Uturu, as some of the university’s major challenges.
He said that the institution currently relies on diesel-powered generator and had spent over N72 million to get hooked to the national grid.
He said that additional N50 million would be required to complete the power project.
He also said that the institution needed about N420 million to fix its access road, now in a “pitiable condition”.
Uwakwe further said that the university was suffering under the burden of huge taxes from the federal and state governments as well as Isuikwuato Local Government.
He lamented that the university is not getting any financial support from the government but “grappling with unbearable tax burden”, in spite of its contributions to the socio-economic development of Abia and Nigeria.
The best graduating student, Chinonso Ufele, aside from the automatic employment, also got a scholarship to do his Doctor of Philosophy in the university.