The Gregory University, Uturu, GUU, in Abia, on Saturday conferred honorary doctoral degree (Honoris Causa) on the Senate Minority Leader, Sen. Enyinnaya Abaribe.
The university also conferred elder statesman and newspaper mogul, Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, with the Grand Patron of the institution.
Speaking at the event to mark the fourth convocation of the university, the acting Vice Chancellor (VC), Prof. Augustine Uwakwe, said that the institution was proud to be associated with the awardees.
Uwakwe said, “we are very proud to be associated with you and it is our expectation that you will remain worthy ambassadors of this institution, especially now that you have joined the league of GUU alumni.”
He said that 63 of the 149 initial entrants into the university successfully graduated in various disciplines.
He said that the graduands, including four First Class honours, had been properly equipped and “are now ready to become transformation agents of society.”
“They were also trained to acquire additional skills coupled with the matching spirit of enterprise that will subsequently empower them to become job creators and innovators,” he said.
Uwakwe said that the university commenced the training of clinical students last year and that its multi billion naira teaching hospital at Ezinnachi in Imo had reached 60 per cent completion.
He said that the hospital complex required about N200 million “to get to appreciable state.”
According to the acting VC, all the necessary facilities for the hospital had been procured, awaiting the completion of the building.
He announced that the National Universities Commission had given approval to the university to run 16 additional programmes, including Pharmacy, Nursing, Optometry, Public Health, Medical Laboratory Science, Physiotherapy, Radiography, Architecture and all courses of the College of Education.
The VC listed the lack of public power supply to the institution, poor access road and difficulty in getting water due to the geography of Uturu, as some of the university’s major challenges.
He said that the institution currently relied on diesel-powered generator and had spent over N72 million to get hooked to the national grid.
He said that additional N50 million would be required to complete the power project.
He also said that the institution needed about N420 million to fix its access road, now in a “pitiable condition”.
Uwakwe further said that the university was suffering under the burden of huge taxes from the federal and state governments as well as Isuikwuato Local Government.
He regretted that the university was not getting any financial support from the government but “grappling with unbearable tax burden”, in spite of its contributions to the socio-economic development of Abia and Nigeria.
The Chancellor and Founder of the institution, Dr. Greg Ibe, said that he would continue to provide “an irresistible academic environment that will aid the production of highly skilled manpower for the global world of work.”
Ibe thanked the Federal Government and World Bank for partnering the university to train at least 2000 students in different skills.
He charged the graduands “to confidently go into the world and shine forth the light of GUU, that people may see your good works and glorify our God in heaven.”
Ibe announced automatic employment to the four First Class graduates as graduate assistants and scholarship for their post-graduate studies in the university.
The best graduating student, Chinonso Ufele, aside from the automatic employment, also got a scholarship to do his Doctor of Philosophy in the university.
Other awardees included a business mogul, Alhaji Abdulmunaf Sarina and Chukwuemeka Ohanemere, a prophet, who bagged Doctors of Humanities and Business Administration, respectively.
In his acceptance speech, Abaribe, who bagged the Doctor of Political Science, thanked the university for the honour.
He announced a N2 million endowment fund for the best graduating students of the university yearly for the period he shall remain in the Senate.