It was a moment of joy and celebration for graduates of the University of Calabar on Saturday, when they ended their studies and were awarded higher degrees after years of studies. Some of them relived their experiences in an exclusive interview with TNN.
An elated Masters Degree graduate from in French translation, Pius Ekong told TNN that his joy knew no bounds, having spent five years just for a masters degree in the university.” Today is a very memorable day occasion and I thank God for everything. In fact, the practice of languages to be spoken before you can talk about writing it”'.
A lecturer in the Department of Mass Communication, Cross River University of Technology, Calabar, John Ukam, said he needed to add to his knowledge base, hence his decision to go for the PhD.
“It did not change my area of specialty because I decided to add flesh to my knowledge so that I can be deep in my relationship with students, Ukam said, adding that his students should expect more from him.
Also speaking, Dr Inah Bassey Inah, a lecturer in the department of pure and applied chemistry, University of Calabar said it took him over nine years to attain the height. He said funding and lack of equipment contributed the slow pace of his research work.
“Some of the challenges I encountered were during my research work. Some of the facilities are not here, you need to send you samples most times abroad which take about six months for response”. He appealed to government to make funds available particularly in the sciences to expand the frontiers of knowledge.
Dr Vera Archibong who bagged a PhD in library science said her successes could be ascribed to her supervisor who propelled her to complete her PhD in a record time of 18 months.
At the convocation ceremony, a former head of state, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, a former governor of Cross River State, Chief Clement Ebri and Eze Cletus Ilomuanya were conferred with honorary doctorate degrees (honoris causa) in Public Administration and Political Science respectively.
In an address, the visitor to the University, President Muhammadu Buhari, said his government was “deeply aware of the unique role qualitative education could play in promoting awareness about destructive nature of corruption, terrorism, violent crimes and other social vices that had held the nation hostage.
He commended the university management for the judicious use of scarce resources through Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) and other intervention funds to execute projects as a testimony of prudence.
On his part, the vice chancellor, Prof Zana Akpagu said funding had been a major challenge as he appealed for increased funding from corporate partners, alumni, well meaning Nigerians and the federal government to come to the university's aid for its new programmes.
“It has hampered our drive and almost crippled our good intentions. We are desirous of fulfilling our dreams of building an ultra-modern medical centre, academic building for the faculty of environmental science and equipping of our departments of music, Fine and Applied Arts and Mass Communication and Digital Media as well as a host of other projects”.