The Honourable Minister of Education (HME), Mallam Adamu Adamu, has commended the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Alumni Association (UNAA), for establishing strong links with their Alma Mater, noting that all over the world Alumni attracted significant proportion of funds that were used to develop their universities into world-class institutions.
He stated this at the 23rd Biennial National Convention Abuja 2015 and Public Lecture of the Association, with the theme, “Poverty in the Midst of Plenty: How Tertiary Institutions and their Alumni Can Help Bridge the Gap”, held on Thursday, 26 November, 2015, at the Idris Abdulkadir Auditorium, National Universities Commission (NUC), Abuja.
The Minister, who was represented by the Deputy Director, Tertiary Education, Federal Ministry of Education (FME), Dr. (Mrs.) P. O. Efue-Ejikeme, noted that the theme of the Convention was apt and timely in the face of the prevailing poverty in the world, which had continued to attract the attention of the United Nations.
He noted that the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) documents, popularly regarded as Agenda one and two of the United Nations, both recognised the need to eradicate poverty with a special focus on the poorest of the poor in the rural communities.
He said that the theme was quite thought-provoking and was a good intervention by the Alumni and called on them to translate the ideas that they would generate into helping Government to proffer solutions to the poverty situation in the country.
In his speech, the Honourable Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, said that the absence of education was the bane of any society and that no nation could attain sustainable development without investing in the individual, bearing in mind its enormous effect.
He stated that for education to be effective, investment in Research and Development (R&D), especially in the area of Science and Technology, was paramount, adding that Nigeria needed men of character and
capability in order to harness the nation’s abundant natural resources.
The Honourable Minister, who was represented by the Chairman of the occasion and former Deputy Governor of Abia State, Dr. Chris A. Akomas, emphasised that China was able to migrate to the position of an economic super power and take over 100 million persons out of the poverty-line due to huge investment in R&D activities and the education of the citizens.
He said that research was an important aspect that Nigeria should not afford to play with, as no meaningful growth could be achieved without investment in Science, Technology, Engineering and Innovations, among others. By so doing, he said, the nation would
produce the critical manpower that would engineer the utilisation of the resources to bring about its growth and development.
Delivering the Keynote Address on the Convention theme, the Director, Institute of Development Studies, Professor Osita Ogbu, emphasised the need for a rapid shift from dependence on exploration of natural resources to development of the nation’s manufacturing industry, noting that manufacturing paved the way for employment of both skilled and unskilled labour.
In his goodwill message, the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Professor Chukwuma Ozumba,
represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academics), Professor Paulinus Chigbu, lauded the platform provided by the Alumni Association to interact, deliberate and pinpoint ways to contribute towards the sustainable development of their Alma Mater.
He thanked the Alumni for the visible impact they had been making to the growth of the Institution and for linking up with those in the Diaspora, which had ensured the effective running of the Association.
The highlight of the Convention was the recognition of some individuals with the highest awards of the Association’s Lion/Lioness of High Esteem Award (ALOHA) for their excellence in leadership and patriotic service. Those honoured were Lady Doris Okoro, Mrs. Linda Ugochi, Mr. Agu Onyekwelu and Mr. Augustine Onukwu.