15 December 2015, Abuja -President Muhammadu Buhari has said it will be a pipe dream for anyone to nurse the hope that Nigeria would be counted among the top 20 economies of the world by 2020 if export of crude oil and gas remains its main source of revenue.
He stated this at the weekend in his address at the seventh convocation ceremony of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike (MOUAU), noting that the nation could no longer afford to continue foot-dragging on the quest to diversify the economy
“For our nation to become one of the world’s largest twenty economies by the year 2020, emphasis must be placed on the agricultural sector of our economy,” he said.
In the address, which was presented by the Minister of State for Education, Professor Anthony Anwuka, Buhari stated that it was not an inordinate ambition for Nigeria, which is Africa’s biggest economy to aspire to be ranked among the first 20 in global economy.
However, he was quick to point out that the realisation of this dream of Nigeria becoming a major player in global economy would largely depend on “the good quality and high standard of education we are able to give to our children that will assure us of a better Nigeria in the future.”
According to him, the nation has abundant human and natural resources as well as institutions that have demonstrated that possibility of the nation’s growth potentials, citing MOUAU which “has continued to grow in leaps and bounds, especially in the past four years.”
The president, who is the visitor to MOUAU expressed delight at the level of development recorded by MOUAU, saying, “the giant strides recorded by this present administration of the university in terms of academic expansion and infrastructural developments are very commendable.
“The on-going infrastructural developments in the University are quite commendable. They could not have been achieved without prudent management of resources,” he said.
The Vice-Chancellor of MOUAU, Professor Hilary Odo Edeoga, said MOUAU had fared better under his administration, reeling out monumental achievements in infrastructural development, academic expansion, provision of facilities, staff development and student welfare programmes, among others.
He said that the university has applied to very good use the opportunities offered by the federal government’s interventions such as tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) and NEEDS Assessment, adding that management has also achieved a lot using internally generated revenue (IGR).
“Our resole and historic target therefore will not diminish from ensuring that the graduates of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike will not only bear true emblem of professional competence but also manifest self-confidence, resourcefulness and moral strengths that contribute to significantly to building a truly great Nigerian society of our dream,” Edeoga said.
However, he urged the visitor to release take-off grant for MOUAU, which has not been received 23 years after its inception whereas the other two Universities of Agriculture at Makurdi and Abeokuta such grants had long received their grants.
Earlier the pro-chancellor and chairman of council, Professor Anya Oko Anya, stated that the university “has accomplished so much in terms of infrastructural development in so short a time through prudent management of its meager internally generated revenue and allocation from government, especially from TETFUND.”
He equally appealed to Mr. President “to demonstrate his usual patriotic magnanimity by approving a take-off grant in favour of the university,” adding “we stretch most grateful hands to receive from a benevolent father.”