Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, has urged Nigerian universities to stop dishing out honorary doctorate degrees to persons of questionable character, notwithstanding their huge donations to worthy causes.
Gov Oshiomhole also accused some universities in the country of giving these awards to people of questionable character just because they can afford same, adding that the practice must stop as it denigrates the sanctity of the ivory tower.
Speaking at the 19th convocation of Ambrose Alli University, AAU, Ekpoma weekend, he said, “One of the problems that confronts us today as a nation is that even the ivory tower seems to have given up and many are now in a hurry to award honourary degrees even to people of clearly questionable character”.
“That a man is rich doesn’t mean he is successful; what defines a successful man is the totality of his lifestyle and so when we see universities giving honours to those who can dole out, it becomes award for the highest bidder and of course it disturbs the values of our younger ones.”
Oshiomhole said, universities must not give honour to people just because they are rich… when the source is so clear that it is not a result of industry and hard work, then I think it is very sad for Nigeria.”
The governor who is the Visitor of the University said there was need for a new national policy on education that would provide equal opportunity to both the rich and poor as far as they are intellectually capable.
He said, “We must revisit the question of appropriate national education policy so that it must be possible for the child of the poor to have quality education, no child should be denied access to the best schools.”
He added, “Even Oxford has had to reverse its policies notorious for providing spaces for only the children of the elite; they now have quota to ensure that a worker with requisite knowledge can go to Oxford University and the state provides subsidy to make that possible.”
Oshiomhole called on Nigerians not to give up on the nation, arguing that he believes that with focused leadership, the country would get it right.
“Every nation has its challenges; Nigeria has its own fair share – whether these are security challenges, challenges of unemployment, of poverty and all of that, but I ask that we must never give upon our country.”
The convocation featured the award of honourary doctorate degrees to a Benin Chief, Chief David Edebiri, the traditional head of witches in Benin Kingdom; businessman, Mr., Lee Ikpea and founder of Believers Love World Ministry, operators of Christ Embassy Churches, Pastor Chris Oyakhilomhe.

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