President Muhammadu Buhari said on Saturday that all the recorded crisis of nationhood experienced in Nigeria could be attributed to ignorance and lack of education, insisting that functional mass education is the only way it can be corrected.
Buhari, who spoke as a Visitor at the 8th Convocation ceremony of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) in Abuja, said the Federal Government has resolved to increase investment and attention in education sector, particularly in open and distance learning system for increased access to university education.
No fewer than 20,799 students were awarded various classes of degree at the ceremony. Out of the figure, 15,642 candidates were undergraduates and 5,157 were postgraduate students. 103 undergraduate students made first class.
The President, who was represented by a senior official of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Victor Onuoha, highlighted the role of NOUN in achieving the target of increased access to education.
He said: “NOUN was primarily established to provide equitable opportunity to all eligible Nigerians to access university education.The aim was also to liberalize university education and life long learning.
“But most importantly, it was designed to give opportunity to people who, by one reason or the other, could not gain admission into conventional universities to study the course of their choice.
“Howbeit, I am happy that NOUN has not deviate from its mandate of providing affordable university education to thousands of students, not minding location.
“It is a common knowledge that the root of all the recorded crisis of nationhood we experienced in Nigeria were as a result of ignorance which we hope could only be corrected through functional mass education.
“That is why the Government recommitted to making education more affordable and accessible through the open and distance learning system.”
Meanwhile, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Abdallah Uba Adamu, in his remarks, congratulated the graduands and urged them be good ambassadors of NOUN.
He was optimistic that the ongoing negotiation with Council of Legal Education and National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) will herald the end to age-long discrimination of NOUN graduates.