In recognition of his contributions to the growth and survival of democracy, the Rivers State-owned Ignatius Ajuru University of Education has conferred on Former President Goodluck Jonathan the award: “Icon of Democracy “.
Performing the investiture of Former President Goodluck Jonathan as Nigeria’s icon of democracy at the 35th and 36th combined convocation ceremony on Saturday, Pro-Chancellor of Governing Council of the University, King A.M Ikuru said the epochal award is the first of its kind in the history of the institution.
Listing the reasons for the award, Ignatius Ajuru University of Education Orator, Prof Boma Obi said Jonathan’s advocacy for true democracy knows no bounds.
She noted that the institution was particularly inspired by the Former President Goodluck Jonathan’s commitment to peaceful electioneering process, especially his declaration that his political ambition is not worth the life of any Nigerian.
The University Orator declared that unlike other political gladiators, Jonathan set a new benchmark by peacefully handing over power to an opposition political party.
Vice Chancellor of the University, Professor Ozo-Mekuri Ndimele commended the Rivers State Governor for his investments in developing the institution.
“In February 2018, Governor Wike graciously approved and released a grant of N200million to us. The greater part of what you commissioned this morning is the result of that grant”, the Vice Chancellor said.
Responding, Former President Jonathan expressed gratitude to the institution for the honour done to him.
He said: I want to specially thank the Senate of the University for considering my family worthy of double honours, to wit: the conferment of the honour of Icon of Democracy on me and the naming of the new Automated University Library after my wife, Dame Patience Jonathan.
” I always attach so much importance to any recognition coming from home because I strongly believe that no Prize commands higher value than the one given by the beneficiary’s direct constituency.”.
He said the visit is like a home-coming for him, as a former lecturer in the Rivers State College of Education, which was upgraded to a full-fledged university.
” Let me also say that I had good job satisfaction here, compared to all the other places I have worked. I know that the only major challenge academic staff face is with the reward system, considering the fact that as a nation, we are yet to get to the point where we pay our teachers the wages they deserve.
“However, for all the hindrances teachers face, they derive a fulfilling experience and satisfaction from the special relationship they cultivate with their students. This is because bringing up the young ones is very rewarding in a very distinct manner. The bond, friendship and sense of loyalty is eternal. Even today, the way my former students regard and relate with me is different from the way my fellow politicians relate with me, even those I mentored”, Jonathan said.
Visitor to the University and Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike announced the release of N500million to the management of the institution for expansion of key facilities.
He said: “For us therefore providing quality education for our people is an absolute necessity as nothing can be more important.
“That was why we have and will continue to prioritize the provision of quality education for our children and adults alike to acquire the knowledge and skills that they need to succeed and contribute to our collective progress.”
The governor said that at the tertiary level his administration will continue to expand both access and quality with the progressive injection of more resources for the provision of relevant learning resources and infrastructure.
Governor Wike said: “Here in this University, we recently released the sum of N200, 000,000.00 (two hundred million naira), as capital grant for fiscal year 2017 and we are happy with what qualitative deployment of this money by the Vice Chancellor to meet the infrastructure needs of this university.
“We are also pleased with the progressive increase in enrolment being experienced by the University in recent times, which shows a growing confidence in the quality and relevance of the progammes of the University.
“These unparalleled achievements clearly testify to the fact that the University is fulfilling its mandate of producing quality teaching and administrative manpower to drive the educational needs of the State and our Nation”
Highpoint of the convocation ceremony was the unveiling of the University Main Library named after Dame Patience Jonathan by Former President Goodluck Jonathan, the commissioning of the Nyesom Ezenwo Wike Centre of Excellence, the commission of 6 Undergraduate Lecture Halls , the commissioning of 2 Storey 10 Postgraduate Classrooms and the commissioning of 170,000 capacity demonstration catfish farm funded by the Rivers State Government.
Also, the Pastor David Ibiyeomie of Salvation Ministries was conferred with the award of Education Crusader by the Ignatius Ajuru University of Education.
The University graduated 4182 students for the 35th and 36th combined convocation ceremony.