Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta on Thursday graduated 3,548 students amid fresh calls on the Visitor to the University, President Muhammadu Buhari to restore Management Sciences that were delisted in Universities of Agriculture three years ago.
The Chancellor of the University and Obong of Calabar, His Eminence, Edidem Ekpo Okon, Abasi Otu V and the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Governing Council, Dr. Barr. Aboki Zhawa made the call even as the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Kolawole Salako explained why the University is conferring Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters on Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka and distinguished Historian, Professor Toyin Falola tommorrow, Friday at the Convocation Ceremony of Award of Postgraduate Degrees and Honorary Degrees.
Graduands, parents, guardians, dignitaries and well wishers from all works of life converged at the sprawling Ceremonial Building of the University where academic degrees were awarded to the graduands.
Giving a breakdown of the graduands, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Kolawole Salako disclosed that a total of 113 graduated with First Class Honours Degrees, 1,327 in the Second Class Upper Division and 1,533 in the Second Class Lower Division.
The Vice-Chancellor who hosted the First Convocation Ceremony since he assumed office in November 1, 2017 described the graduands as the best and their degrees well deserved.
While congratulating graduands, he charged them to uphold the University’s Core Value of academic and moral excellence in their endeavours, pointing out that “these will distinguish you among your peers and make you very good ambassadors of the University”.
Explaining the rationale behind the Honorary Degree of Doctors of Letters that will be conferred on Professor Soyinka and Professor Falola today (Friday), Professor Salako stated that “There is a nexus between Science and Humanities”.
He stressed that “we are emphasizing this as we confer the Honorary Degree on the men who made their marks in Humanities. Even at this convocation ceremony, Professor Toyin Falola, who doubled as our Convocation Lecture demonstrated this in the lecture titled, “Food and Us: Poverty, Policies and Politics”.
On Professor Soyinka, the Vice-Chancellor pointed out that “we feel honoured to project “Ake, the Years of Childhood” to “Ake the year of Honorary Degree Award”.
He explained that “The former, a book was published in 1981 and 1988 by Wole Soyinka. Here we are with the latter, an event, in 2018”.
Earlier in his Address, the Chancellor of the University, His Eminence Edidem Ekpo Okon, Abasi – Otu V, Obong of Calabar called on the Visitor to the University “to magnanimously restore our courses in the College of Management Sciences that were delisted since three years ago”.
He recalled that “The establishment of the College was borne out of the call for diversification of academic programmes in specialized Universities with the assurance to retain Agriculture as the flagship in Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta”.
The Chancellor pointed out that “The purpose of this pronouncement on diversification was to allow greater access to higher education by an ever-increasing pool of eligible candidates who are unable to access higher education due to insufficiency in numbers to care for their admission capacities”.
He pleaded with Buhari that “it is therefore important that the College, which has enjoyed full accreditation status, should be allowed to continue its contributions in the academic towards a meaningful national development”.
Corroborating the Chancellor, the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Governing Council, Dr. Barr. Aboki Zhawa said “Your Excellency, Mr. President Sir, I wish to passionately appeal for the restoration of the University’s College of Management Sciences (COLMAS) which has, for two consecutive academic sessions, been delisted from JAMB Brochure and thereby dashing the hopes and yearnings of thousands of Nigerians youths”.
He pointed out that “The Governing Council believes that whoever opens the gate of a school closes the door of prison while a nation that toys with education of its citizens is only preparing its posterity for penury”.
“I beseech Mr. President to prevail on the agencies and individuals that may be thwarting the efforts of restoring this all-important College to put the future of the teeming youths above all other considerations, he added”.
Recalling her journey to the top of her set, the Overall Best Graduating Student, Akinyele, Oluwatobiloba Oyindamola said “I knew from the start that it wasn’t going to be easy, considering the fact that I crossed from Agricultural Technology to Nutrition and Dietetics through Direct Entry”.
She charged fellow youths to constantly set goals for themselves, reset them if need be, work and pray towards it in order to achieve it”.