Rivers Governor Nyesom Wike has been conferred with the Honorary Doctor of Law Degree (Honoris Causa) by the Rivers State University (RSU).
The Governor, who donated N1bn to the school, called for a change in the educational standard insisting that the RSU must benchmark its academic programmes to meet global demands.
Wike, who spoke in Port Harcourt at the 34th Convocation of RSU on Saturday in Port Harcourt, said his administration had invested funds generously to improve infrastructure in the school and establish faculties particularly the College of Medical Sciences.
Wike recalled that at the inception of his administration, he constituted the Governing Council of the institution and charged them to develop the blueprint that would engender sustainable transformation in the university.
He explained that his administration also resolved the lingering strike of the academic staff and recalled the staff unjustly dismissed for union activities by the previous government.
The Governor said the action he took within his first two weeks in office restored industrial harmony to the institution.
“Third, we immediately started tackling the university’s infrastructural challenges one after the other. We completed, furnished and commissioned the long-abandoned faculty of law complex within our first 100 days in office.”
Wike also stated that his administration completed the faculty of Management Sciences, Faculty of Science and Technical Education, and Faculty of Environment Sciences within the second year of his administration.
The Governor said he started and completed the Senate Building in his third year in office, and the College of Medical Sciences buildings in his fourth year in office
He said: “We also built the Basic Clinical Science and the department of Clinical Sciences buildings, which were commissioned last week as components of the Medical College. We then transformed the former Braithwaite Memorial Hospital into the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital with the state of the art equipment.”
Wike remarked that the relatively new College of Medical Sciences of the University was on its way to becoming one of the country’s best medical schools as declared by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria.
The Governor recalled the review of the enabling law of the institution so it would reflect the multi-disciplinary structure and implement an enhanced salary structure for the university staff.
Wike said his administration also restored the multi-campus structure of the university that was cancelled by the military adding that the campuses are located in Ahoada,(East) Emohua, Etche, Sapkenwa; (Tai) Local Government Areas, fully equipped with faculty and administrative buildings, staff quarters and will commence academic activities soon.
He said: “A few weeks ago, we authorised the management to engage 1355 new academic and non-academic staff to resolve the staff shortfalls occasioned by retirements, resignations, and the establishment of new academic departments and centres.”
Wike said as the Visitor to the institution, he was satisfied with what had been accomplished with his administration’s investments over the last seven and half years.
“No doubt, the billions we have invested have significantly advanced this university in infrastructure, growth and prestige and empowered it with the capacity to produce the kind of graduates that we need to serve our State and country with character, commitment and responsibility”, he said.
With all these investment, Wike insisted that the university management must move the institution away from the existing academic model of processing graduates in their numbers after every four or five years, unmindful of the quality of knowledge and skills imparted.
The Governor maintained that RSU would not be rated high and respected globally unless it could link education with cutting-edge research to create new knowledge and innovation that converts ideas into wealth creation, jobs and human progress.
He said: “Graduates lacking adequate knowledge, dexterity and self-transformation cannot be helpful to society, nor will they be useful to themselves.
“Money spent on such graduates may have also been wasted as they will remain socio-economic burdens to their families, friends and community.”
Wike said N1bn donation to RSU was to enable the management cater for the needs of the multi-campuses.
He commended the management of the university for conferring on the Doctor of Laws (LL.D) Honoris Causa on him for his services to the university, the State and the nation.
The Vice-Chancellor of RSU, Prof. Nlerum Okogbule said the week long 34th convocation of the university has a total of 3314 students awarded the Bachelor’s degree, and 4982 students awarded the post-graduate degree.
Okogbule explained that governor Wike was honoured with the Honorary Doctor of Law Degree LL.D(Honoris Causa) because of the numerous levels of support his administration gave to the university.