Convocation Press Briefing


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BEING TEXT OF A BRIEFING BY VICE-CHANCELLOR OF THE UNIVERSITY OF JOS, PROFESSOR SEDDI SEBASTIAN MAIMAKO TO MEMBERS OF THE PRESS ON THE OCCASION OF THE 29TH AND 30TH COMBINED CONVOCATION CEREMONIES HELD AT THE SENATE CHAMBERS, BAUCHI ROAD CAMPUS, UNIVERSITY OF JOS ON TUESDAY 19TH JUNE, 2018. • Principal Officers of the University • Deans and Directors • Members of the 29th and 30th Combined Convocation Central Planning Committee • Chairmen and members of the various Sub-Committees • Distinguished members of the Press • Ladies and Gentlemen I am truly delighted to warmly welcome members of the Press who are attending today’s Press Briefing which signals the commencement of celebrations marking the 29th and 30th Combined Convocation Ceremonies of the University of Jos. As has been the tradition over the years, we are kick-starting this year’s Convocation activities with a Media parley due to the importance attached and critical role played by members of the fourth estate of the realm in creating awareness among the populace about events, issues and programmes that affect them. We also want to take the opportunity offered by the occasion to assess and take stock of our achievements over the past two years during which I have served as Vice-Chancellor of this great University. Since its formation forty-six years ago as a campus of the University of Ibadan and subsequent establishment as one of Nigeria’s Second Generation Universities in October, 1975, University of Jos has been in the forefront of contributing to the upliftment of the Nigerian nation and its citizens. Our University has a distinguished record of being one of Nigeria’s leading institutions of higher learning while its students are rated among the best this nation can boast of. The University has remained consistent in its quest towards becoming a world class research-intensive institution developing along the way a considerable track record for achieving high standards in teaching, research and community service. In consolidating this effort, the University continues to build partnerships with other institutions, the public sector, industry players, commercial enterprises and crucially, the media. A vital ingredient for the successes being recorded by the University is the unwavering focus it places on providing high quality teaching based on high quality research. We are driven by the passion to always achieve more and enhance our reputation nationally and internationally. For this reason, we have always ensured that the academic programmes being run in the University are relevant to the needs of people within the University’s catchment area and the country at large by providing an excellent balance between the essential principles of theorem and the practical applications of scientific, innovative or creative endeavour. These programmes are tailored to produce critical manpower with the requisite skills to make them future titans in their chosen fields of endeavour. Within the past year, the National Universities Commission (NUC) undertook an Accreditation Exercise for a qualitative assessment of twenty (20) academic programmes in the University. The Technical Report released by the NUC following that exercise indicates that seventeen (17) of the affected programmes secured Full Accreditation status while three (3) were denied Accreditation. The Programmes given full accreditation are Guidance and Counselling, English Education, French Education, History Education, Religious Studies, Social Studies, Special Education, Architecture and Building. Others include Medicine and Surgery, Pharmacy, Computer Science, Geology, Microbiology, Zoology, Geography and Planning as well as Mass Communication. I am made to understand that even the three (3) that were denied Accreditation were not so categorized because they failed the quality assurance test but because, due to some challenges, they were found only suitable for Interim Accreditation status. However, because of the NUC policy that programmes which are only deemed suitable for back to back Interim Accreditation are out rightly denied accreditation, the affected programmes, Industrial Chemistry, Chemistry and Botany, did not have their bid for Full Accreditation approved. Nonetheless, we have not relented in our determination to ensure that all programmes in the University are reckoned with and we remain resolute in our mission to establish a quintessential University dedicated to the culture of academic excellence, human capital development and social empowerment. In doing so, the University has always tried to develop its physical infrastructure and facilities to an appreciable level to make it more conducive for high quality teaching and research activities. Hundreds of millions of naira are being invested on new buildings, laboratories, classrooms and equipment. The Federal Government through the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETfund) and other funding instruments is providing interventionist measures towards addressing the University’s infrastructural challenges. Several new construction projects and rehabilitation works have either been completed or at various levels of completion. These include new buildings for the Faculties of Engineering, Management Sciences and Social Sciences, new Postgraduate Students Hostel, College of Medicine Library at the JUTH Laminga Campus, extension work at the School of Postgraduate Studies and the University Health Services Clinic and completion of the new Senate Building at the Naraguta Campus. Others are rehabilitation of the Naraguta Campus Library Complex, the Centre of Excellence in Phytomedicine Complex at the Bauchi Road Staff Quarters, completion of Faculty of Arts (Block B) as well as the provision of laboratory equipment, furniture and other facilities to aid teaching, research and community engagement. Since embracing the culture of Strategic Planning in 1998, the first by any Nigerian University, we have consistently sought to provide a coherent, inclusive and integrated guide to the development of the University. That is why in sustaining the culture of excellence in the processes and programmes of the University as ingrained in the current Strategic Plan (2015-2019), several projects are being embarked upon to strengthen the various aspects of our service delivery system. It is a measure of such increased capacity that has enabled us to deploy ICT for the different levels of our engagement with Staff, Students and members of the public, meant to considerably ease the difficulties some of them encounter when seeking access to our services. One of the latest of such initiatives is the setting up of a Convocation Link on the University’s website where Graduands and members of the public can visit to find out information about the 29th and 30th Combined Convocation Ceremonies of the University. An important feature of this Link is an Online Graduate Information System where Graduands can log on to preview the provisional 2014/2015 and 2015/2016 Graduands List and confirm whether the information contained therein is a correct reflection of their status. This read-only component on the portal allows them to check for any errors and provision is made for them to submit suggestions for any correction observed which is then verified from our records for possible action. The intent of creating such a portal was for the Students to be given the opportunity to make inputs as part of the verification process for creating an updated Graduands list. But I must emphasize that it is a provisional list and not the final or awarding list. It is also an initiative that is the first of its kind in any Nigerian University. Before now, based on the information available to us, no Nigerian University had put up information in the public domain through the web for Graduating Students to check and make their input. This shows transparency on the University’s part and should be encouraged by all our stakeholders. However, as it is with most innovations, we have observed some slight glitches which came with the deployment of such an interactive portal and we are learning from the experience towards effecting the necessary improvements and updates. This is to create better interface with our Students and other stakeholders and I must say that the feedback we are getting are mostly positive indicating that we are on the right track. As members of the Press, it would also interest you to know that some activities marking the University’s 29th and 30th Convocation will be streamed live through the University’s website particularly the Convocation Lecture and Convocation ceremony itself. This will afford the chance for those among our national and international audience who cannot be physically present at the Convocation to follow our activities online. Despite the picture of some modest achievements recorded and the attendant optimism being expressed above, it certainly has not been plain sailing all the way. The challenges affecting the accelerated pace of progress in this University are numerous. From issues of acute infrastructural deficit, inadequate funding and manpower, to the security breaches and frequent encroachment into University property among others, University of Jos has had its fire share of difficulties. It behooves on our stakeholders including our Alumni, various tiers and agencies of government, beneficiary communities and especially our proprietor, the Federal Government, to join us in a concerted effort to squarely address these challenges so that going forward, ours will be a more pleasant tale to narrate. At this juncture, I wish to acknowledge that after two years, my tenure so far as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Jos has been quite eventful. This is why we have chosen to celebrate the 29th and 30th Combined Convocation Ceremonies with some level of fanfare. Several activities have, therefore, been lined up to make it a worthwhile celebration. I am pleased to also announce that the University Senate has approved and the Governing Council has ratified the Conferment of Honorary Degrees on three eminent Nigerians whose contribution to national development deserves commendation. His Royal Highness, Engineer John G. Mallo Makwal, Chairman/CEO, Bajefta Group Nigeria Limited, will be conferred with the Doctor of Engineering Degree Honoris Causa (D.Engr.) for his outstanding contribution to the development of the manufacturing sector in Nigeria, the development of education and for his philanthropic and community development efforts. A distinguished Alumnus, author and highly revered officer of the Law, the retired Inspector General of Police and immediate-past Chairman of the Police Service Commission, Sir Mike Mbama Okiro CFR will be conferred with the Doctor of Laws Degree Honoris Causa (LL.D) for his exemplary conduct and leadership during a stellar career in the Nigerian Police Force. Also to be conferred with the Doctor of Science Degree, Honoris Causa (D.Sc.) is Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), an erudite scholar, notable engineer and administrator per excellence, for his technological acumen and the innovative and professional manner the Nigerian Telecoms industry is being transformed under his watch. The line-up of other activities is as follows: • Wednesday 20th June, 2018 – Exhibition at the Bauchi Road Campus Main Library starting from 10am • Thursday 21st June, 2018 – Football Match (Staff vs Students) at the Jeremiah Useni Mini Stadium, Naraguta Campus by 3pm • Friday 22nd June, 2018 – Convocation Lecture by His Lordship, Most Rev. (Dr) Matthew Hassan Kukah, Catholic Bishop of Sokoto on the topic “Broken Truths: Nigeria’s Elusive Quest for National Cohesion” at the Multipurpose Auditorium, Bauchi Road Campus by 2pm; Convocation Play entitled “April 1421” written by Professor Tor Iorapuu at the Open Air Theatre, Bauchi Road Campus by 5pm • Saturday 23rd June, 2018 – Convocation for conferment of Diplomas, Degrees, Masters, Ph.D, Honorary Degrees at the Jeremiah Useni Mini Stadium, Naraguta Campus by 9am Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press, I wish to specially invite you to join us as we celebrate the 29th and 30th Combined Convocation Ceremonies of the University of Jos. We count on your support to ensure that all our activities are given the widest publicity. Thank you for your kind attention. Professor Seddi Sebastian Maimako Vice-Chancellor, University of Jos