By Jonathan Ugbal and Obeten Geoffrey
The national caretaker committee chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ahmed Makarfi and Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson have been awarded with honorary doctorate degrees at the 6th to 10th combined convocation ceremony of the Cross River University of Technology.
Mr. Makarfi was awarded with a doctorate degree on Business Administration (Honoris Causa) while Mr. Dickson was awarded a doctorate degree on Environmental Management (Honoris Causa).
Contrary to an earlier report by CrossRiverWatch that Minister for Transport, Rotimi Amaechi was around, there was no mention of him during the convocation.
Both men were decorated by the Pro Chancellor and Vice Chancellor of the University with the Chancellor, Dr. J.D Agba who was earlier awarded a doctorate degree on Arts History (Honoris Causa) presenting the certificate and award plaque to Mr. Makarfi while the Pro Chancellor, Dr. Emil Inyang presented same to Mr. Dickson.
The Vice Chancellor, Professor Anthony Owan-Enoh in his remarks had said that a total of over 6,900 will be awarded bachelor’s as well as postgraduate degrees, averred that the Chancellor designate who “attracted the crème of royalty into this lovely city of ours,” during a book launch in his honor as well as the other three honorary doctorate degree awardees are receiving endorsements of “their individual greatness.”
“This combined assembly is witnessing the formal graduation of 6,632 first degrees,” Owan-Enoh said and added that: “Out of this number, 19 bagged first class, 1,609 passed with second class upper division, 4,994 made second class lower division, 1,104 earned third class and 10 students earned a pass.
He said 293 students are also graduating with postgraduate diplomas and master degrees while ” The two doctoral students who could have been added could not due to the chequered school year we have had to contend with. They have completed all conditions but the University could not accelerate the process just for this purpose in its firm believe in maintaining the high standards required at this level.”
The VC who said the institution had less than a week to prepare for the convocation posited that CRUTECH was wearing a new look with corresponding quality assurance and content and explained why Makarfi, Amaechi and Dickson were selected to be awarded.
“CRUTECH is in no hurry to start without the kind of foundation we desire; it does not aspire to be a copy of other Universities, but must as well grow out of the peculiarities of our existential conditions: social, political and economic.
“The selection and offer of the highest level of award, the doctorate, at an honorary level, for such men with outstanding credentials and distinguished service was intended to coincide and inspire the first fruits of our most noble achievement, the doctorate, to the ideals of excellence for which the degree truly signifies.
“Senator Ahmed Makarfi, Honorable Seriake Dickson and Honorable Rotimi Azubuike Amaechi truly deserve our honor, just as we too do look up to them for inspiration,” he said.
The Pro Chancellor in his address commended the Visitor for increasing the monthly subvention of the institution, purchase of vehicles among other things said the combined convocation ceremony means the Varsity was back on track.
“This convocation ceremony is once again bringing back the University on track of graduating our students as at when due. This is a landmark achievement worthy of commendation.
“A University is a complex system with varied interests and networking. It requires sensibility and good working relationship among members of the system to work towards a common goal and attaining the desired objectives as a whole,” Mr. Inyang said and said the Varsity has put modalities in place to ensure the institution grows.
“Modalities are in place to internally generate revenue; we hope tomorrow will be better. The governing council wishes to heartily congratulate our granduands and awardees on their successes and charge them to remain worthy ambassadors of this great institution. Do not forget to join the University Alumni Association, a very viable platform for you to contribute your own quota in the development of CRUTECH.”
And, Governor Dickson in his remarks said that having being the first group to be awarded honorary doctorate degrees by the Varsity, they were honored and applauded the state and management for founding and running the institution.”
“We understand what it is to found a University especially in this trying times, we understand what it means to nurture a university already founded,” Dickson said and sues for understanding from all stakeholders.
“We call for more understanding and support from students, parents and guardians, all Cross Riverians, all Nigerians to the growth and development of this University,” he said.
Dickson who also spoke on behalf of Markarfi declined mentioning what they will do and said they are now part of the institution.
“We have become part and parcel of this University, we will become part and parcel of the assets and liabilities of this University,” he said and added that “This is what it means to build a nation, to build bridges.”