Jonathan at Baze University, counsels students to stay away from crime
Former President Goodluck Jonathan has counseled Nigerian students to stay away from cultism, kidnapping, robbery and other social vices that portray the academic community in bad light.The ex-President gave the advice while presenting his remarks as the Special Guest of Honour at the 4th convocation ceremony of Baze University in Abuja.He said: “It is important to note that the negative activities of some of our youths are portraying the academic environment in bad light. I urge the graduating and other Students of this university to realise that those people are out of line, and it is not cool, whenever they involve themselves in such abhorrent social vices as cultism, thuggery, armed robbery and kidnapping. They should know that they let the nation down, each time they engage in acts that debase human dignity and hurt our values as a nation of great people.
Jonathan further made a case for the kind of responsible education that will inculcate moral values in our youths. He said: “I would, however, clarify that our kind of education must be the type that will have a soul. That is why I always challenge the staff, especially the academic staff, to develop curricula that will produce respectable and patriotic citizens and graduates, in tune with our peculiar social and economic environment.
“We must aspire to restore those glory days when a graduate’s value was weighed equally in character and in learning.”
Below is the full speech:
Remarks by Dr. Goodluck E. Jonathan, President, Federal Republic of Nigeria (2010-2015) at the 4th Convocation ceremony of Baze University, Abuja, 28 October, 2017
It is my pleasure and a profound honour for me to be invited to make brief remarks as the Special Guest of Honour at this graduation ceremony of Baze University, here in Abuja. I have to thank the Visitor, Pro-Chancellor, Vice Chancellor, Registrar and the entire Governing Board of Baze University for the privilege to be part of this event.
For me as a former President, this is a busy time because of several pressing end-of-year engagements, both at home and abroad. But I chose to be here today because of my interest in education. Each time I am within the ambience of the academia, there is always that welcoming déjà vu feeling, a kind of home coming, which brings back memories of my former life as a lecturer.
I am particularly pleased to be here in your midst at this 4th graduation ceremony because of the reputation Baze University has built, among Nigerian universities. From a humble start, beginning with only 17 students in 2011, Baze University has become quite competitive, as a result of the pleasant learning environment, and the quality of your programmes and facilities.
Again I must commend the management of the University, especially Senator Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed who nursed the vision to set up this great institution. I had read somewhere where he said that he had to sell off virtually all his assets, to be able to build this university. Such initiative goes beyond the normal urge for investment and the envisaged dividends. Establishing a university of this standard for an individual is a calling, which only those that have the passion, know the unquantifiable satisfaction it gives.
I wish to state that Senator Baba-Ahmed’s kind of passion meets society’s needs in a very remarkable way. It is becoming increasingly clear that the Government alone can no longer cater for the educational needs of our robust youth population. I believe that the contributions of institutions like Baze University, and other private universities, will go a long way in complementing the efforts of the Federal and State governments, towards increasing the nation’s capacity to provide tertiary education for its citizens.
There is no gainsaying the fact that for our country to truly develop in a sustainable manner, we need to strategically expand the opportunities for quality education; the one that will deliver the appropriate skill sets that are in tune with the needs of 21st century economy. The point has to be made that as Nigerians, we are not satisfied with our level of development. This is because countries that were at par with us at the time we got independence in the 60’s, are already deploying cutting edge technology to build sophisticated equipment, and we are now condemned by our own fate to buy such machinery from them.
As President I ensured that my administration gave education the highest sectoral allocation in the federal budgets between 2011 and 2015 because of my belief in the boundless opportunities for greatness, which only education can provide. It was also for this reason that we licensed many private universities, and established twelve Federal Universities in the twelve states that had none, with nine of them in Northern Nigeria.
I introduced the national special post-graduate scholarship programme known as the Presidential Special Scholarship Scheme for Innovation and Development (PRESSID).The idea was to encourage the best of our first-class graduates from the technical disciplines to proceed for further studies in the world’s best universities in order to acquire the skill sets needed for our development. This is in line with my belief that for a nation to truly develop, it must cultivate a crop of manpower that could revolutionise its technological advancement.
I would, however, clarify that our kind of education must be the type that will have a soul. That is why I always challenge the staff, especially the academic staff, to develop curricula that will produce respectable and patriotic citizens and graduates, in tune with our peculiar social and economic environment. We must aspire to restore those glory days when a graduate’s value was weighed equally in character and in learning.At this point, let me congratulate the graduating students, their parents and guardians, for the feat of today. I believe that the training at Baze University have prepared you well enough, for the next stage in your lives. So, as you leave the classrooms for the larger society, I expect you to go out there, and play significant roles in the development of our nation.
It is important to note that the negative activities of some of our youths are portraying the academic environment in bad light. I urge the graduating and other Students of this university to realise that those people are out of line, and it is not cool, whenever they involve themselves in such abhorrent social vices as cultism, thuggery, armed robbery and kidnapping. They should know that they let the nation down, each time they engage in acts that debase human dignity and hurt our values as a nation of great people.
Our universities must create people that are rational. We are in an age when the talk of artificial intelligence evokes boundless passions, to the extent that our scientists are already tinkering with the idea of modifying human genes to create super humans.
I honestly believe that as humans we can improve efficiency in the way we conduct our affairs, but I also strongly believe that the classroom must never lose its humanity. It appears our classrooms have started creating individuals who function like robots, which is not good for humanity. Training should not be about efficiency and precision alone; it should also be about character and human dignity.Our classrooms must continue to create rational human beings but with sufficient technical knowledge to build the machines we need in our factories and productive spaces. Let those factories then create the required automaton and robots, in order to preserve the sanctity of the human essence.
In closing, let me reiterate that the kind and quality of education we offer today will determine how our country will be governed, and how prosperous it will become tomorrow. This is because as young people, many of you sitting in the classrooms today, will sit in various Government offices and boardrooms tomorrow, to govern our country.
I want to believe that many of you here were as excited as I was, when I heard that the European Union has just elected its youngest ever head of Government. His name is Mr. Sebastian Kurz, the new leader of Austria, who is only 31 years old. That happened five months after 39-year-old Mr. Emmanuel Macron emerged as the President of France, a big global power, and one of the permanent members of the United Nations’ Security Council. Gen. Yakubu Gowon (Rtd) who led this country through a very turbulent period in our nation’s history was just 32, when he became Nigeria’s Head of State.Great Nigerian students, does that tell you anything?It tells me that as youths, your tomorrow, as far as leadership is concerned, has come today, and you must seize the moment, in character and in learning. That is why you must be part of the rational human beings, imbued with great knowledge and leadership qualities, that our classrooms should produce, to build the nation of our collective dreams, today!God bless Baze UniversityGod bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
I thank you all.