Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has urged universities and other tertiary institutions in the country to key in to the anti-corruption crusade of the Muhammadu Buhari administration.
He said the tertiary institutions are well placed as moulders of the future generations to spearhead a national orientation against corruption which he described as a cankerworm as too endemic to be overlooked.
Osinbajo who stated this on Friday at the 4th Convocation of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD) stressed that no sector of the Nigerian society will be spared in the fight against corruption.
The Vice President called on the Executive, Judiciary and Legislature to join hands together to fight graft to a standstill adding that the leadership of the law profession to which he (Osinbajo) and ABUAD Founder/Chancellor, Chief Afe Babalola belong should support the Federal Government in the anti-corruption war.
A total of 912 ABUAD students graduated with 61 bagging First Class Honours. Ariyibi Olawale Emmanuel, from the Geology Department who scored 5.00 CGPA to emerge as the best graduating student won a cash prize of N1 million from the Founder.
President, Central State University, Wilberforce Island, Ohio, United States, Prof. Cynthia Jackson-Hammond; President, Coscharis Group, Mr. Cosmas Maduka and Ibadan-based industrialist, Chief Raymond Zard were conferred with honorary doctorate degrees at the convocation.
Osinbajo showered encomiums on ABUAD Founder for his stand against corruption which saw to the establishment of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the emergence of Hon. Justice Emmanuel Ayoola as its first Chairman.
The Vice President said: “My learned senior, Chief Afe Babalola, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, appeared in a famous case in 2001 appeared for the Federal Government in which he said that corruption is the greatest hindrance to our development.
“I have great respect for Chief Afe Babalola because of his stand against corruption. Sometimes in 2001, Chief Babalola argued the case for the establishment of Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) where he let the court realized that corruption is the greatest problem of our nation.
“What we need is serious reorientation. That is why ABUAD is a great university because it teaches learning, character and morality. So, value reorientation is a key weapon to fight corruption.
“That was why the present federal government is intervening, because if we refuse every facet of the country will fail. We must act fast and deal with the situation as quickly as possible.”
He noted that what is happening in the country, especially the high level of poverty in the system and many other menaces bedeviling the country, was a direct consequences of corruption that has permeated every sector of the economy.
Responding to Governor Ayo Fayose’s request for an airport in Ekiti State, Osinbajo said the Fountain of Knowledge deserves such a project noting considering its importance to an institution like ABUAD.
Osinbajo added: “Ekiti State deserves an airport but I have discussed what we need in return with His Excellency (Fayose).
“The Federal government we continue to give support to every project that will fast-track development in each of the states of the federation. We know how important is this airport to Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti(ABUAD).”
Offering some advice to the graduating students, Osinbajo urged them to learn skills that will enhance their value and also develop and maintain integrity.
He said: “You must appreciate that this is the age of multi-tasking and multi-skilling is crucial today. One must today learn to be a master of himself and you must be technology savvy in whatever you choose to do.
“Talent is nothing if you are not diligent; integrity is important because lack of integrity may come back to haunt you because you may need the recommendation of somebody.”
Osinbajo stated he never had misgiving for Babalola’s competence to run an all-inclusive university, on the strength of his achievements as the Pro Chancellor and Chairman of Council of the University of Lagos between 2001 and 2008.
Fayose advocated the inclusion of the Ekiti Airport in the 2017 Appropriation Bill saying the project will be in the overall interest of the people of the state.
The governor urged the federal government to replicate all the good virtues ABUAD represents in the federal universities, describing the only private university in the state as a reference point to other universities not only in the country, but in Africa at large.