According to the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Julius A. Okojie, OON, “It is a tradition for every university to graduate her students and convocate such graduands in an official ceremony, where degrees are awarded to students and honorary graduates”.
It has therefore become imperative, for one to question why the Cross River University of Technology (CRUTECH) has failed to organise such an important event for her graduands for the past five years.
Hence, one can argue authoritatively that, “for the past five years CRUTECH graduates have only completed the requirements for, but have not yet been awarded a particular degree”.
The University witnessed her last convocation ceremony on Saturday 17th December 2011. The ceremony which took place at the University Sport Complex was heralded by a public lecture a day earlier, with a keynote lecture by Noble Prize Winner, Professor Wole Soyinka.
The lecture which took place at the popular Five-Two-Zero Kolanut Conference and Event Centre had the theme “FAITH, SCIENCE AND MORALITY OF KNOWLEDGE” and had in attendance the crème de la crème of the University community and beyond, including the then Governor of Cross River State, His Excellency Senator Liyel Imoke, the Chancellor, Ambassador Mathew T. Mbu of blessed memory, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, the Executive Secretary of Tertiary Trust Fund who also doubled as the Chairman of the occasion, and not forgetting the Chief Host, Professor Ene-Obong Effiom Ene-Obong, the then Vice Chancellor amongst other dignitaries whose names memory will fail me to mention.
The lectures where both electrifying and entertaining. We were taken through many mental journeys by the noble prize winner. I could still remember vividly when he said and I quote “there is only one sanctuary that is open to all, that is the temple of knowledge”.
As a student den, I was challenged by the totality of that event, especially when I bet myself I was going to beat the 4.1 CGPA record set by one Mr. Udoh Effiong who emerged as the best graduating student from my faculty, Faculty of Science. Don’t ask me if I surpassed his records, YES I DID. But it’s a story for another day.
The convocation ceremony gave CRUTECH sound publicity, placement and glory especially by the presence of the keynote lecturer, who I was seeing for the very first time in my entire life. Pitiably enough, thousands of CRUTECH graduates are yet to have this experience for themselves and some have even forgotten they were supposed to convocate.
This situation is becoming worrisome and calls for questioning. To me, the essence of convocation is not only to organise an event, give the school publicity or officially graduating her students. It goes beyond that. Convocation can be used to get the state government attention we so deserved, raise funds, encourage young scholars the way I was encouraged as well as give a principle about civil obligation through honorary award presentations.
As an alumnus, my worry for my alma mater’s inability to organise convocations for her graduands, has increase and has invariably left me with so many questions regarding what could have been the reason(s) for this delay. Could it be as a result of the state government insensitivity towards CRUTECH? The past government led by Senator Liyel Imoke did not do much for CRUTECH.
Could the present government led by digital Governor Ben Ayade be toeing the same path of his predecessor? Or is our Professor-governor too focused with his signature projects without giving little attention to the needs of the only University owned by the state? Just asking.
Or could this delay be attributed to the fact that CRUTECH management led by Professor Anthony Owan Eno does not know what or how to organise a university convocation? Or has the VC focused so much on beautifying the school and reducing corruption that he has forgotten he has an obligation to organise convocation?
Better still, could it be that the poor and fragile record system the new VC inherited from his predecessor is the cause of this delay? Because this is almost becoming evident, where graduates of CRUTECH who want their transcripts will be referred back to their departments or DAP to go and search for a particular missing result(s). A situation that almost broke me down.
Could the exams and records be inefficient, thus, cannot produce records of CRUTECH graduates for the past five years? Could that be the cause of the delay? Because I used to think that vital documents like results should be handled with secrecy, but the reverse is becoming the case.
Or should the alumni of which I am a member, get its share of the questions? Is our able alumni led by President Eyam Abeng, who has achieved so much by bringing investors to CRUTECH as evident in the CRUTECH alumni scholarship scheme, forgotten to remind the University authorities to organise convocation? Could his inability to remind them be the cause of the delay?
Because I used to think that an alumni of a University functions as a representative body of the institution.
Having asked all these rhetorical questions that were almost unending, I wish to use this medium to speak to the conscience of the state government, CRUTECH management as well as all stakeholders to please uphold the tradition of NUC.
Neglecting or abandoning such a unique tradition as convocation may be detrimental. It is a passionate appeal.
Remember what is fashionably designed today, may be considered unworkable tomorrow. Therefore, the real essence of convocation should be in its timing.
Peter Bassey Writes From Calabar
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