By Sam Oditah
Umuahia – Prof. Uche Ikonne, Vice Chancellor, Abia State University, Uturu, on Tuesday said that the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) had approved N60 million for 38 research topics for the institution.
Ikonne said this at a pre-convocation press conference to announce the activities lined up for the university’s 25th convocation.
He said that the ceremony would start on Wednesday with an interdenominational thanksgiving service on the theme: “Celebrating God’s faithfulness”.
The vice chancellor described the number of research topics approved for the university by TETFUND as the highest in the country.
He said that the university had recorded great strides in research activities with virtually all the professors in the institution leading a research group each.
Ikonne further said that many members of staff of the university had benefitted from the Academic Staff Training and Development programme by TETFUND.
He said that TETFUND also awarded contracts for the supply of e-Library and Information and Communication Technology equipment, which had started arriving.
According to him, the university is exploring new frontiers, including partnering the private sector to augment its internally generated revenue.
Ikonne said that for the first time in the history of the institution, the graduating students would be issued their certificates during the convocation, scheduled for Saturday.
“This is the first time this is happening in the history of the university and it is a major breakthrough in the institution,” he said.
He also said that the university would install its pioneer emeritus professor, Prof. Frank Akpuaku, a professor of plastic surgery.
Ikonne expressed delight that in spite of the economic challenges in the country, the university was regular in the payment of staff salaries.
He listed other achievements of his one-year-old administration to include an increase in the university’s admission quota.
The others are full accreditation for law, medicine, nursing sciences, among other professional courses as well as the introduction of engineering, public health, surveying and geo-informatics.
He further said that the university had signed a memorandum of understanding with some foreign universities for exchange programmes in research.
The vice chancellor recalled the security challenges faced by the university in the recent past which involved the loss of lives but expressed joy that security had been restored in the institution.
He said that other highlights of the convocation would include the award of honorary doctorates on some prominent Nigerians,
The recipients include Sen. Hayatu Gwarzo, and the UN Country Representative in Uganda, Dr Uchenna Emeloye, who is an alumnus of the university, he said.
Ikonne said that the Minister of State for Education, Prof. Anthony Anwuka, would deliver the convocation lecture entitled, “Nigeria and the dynamics of Global Education”.
He said that 4,472 people would receive certificates at the ceremony, including 15 first class and 653 second class (upper division) graduates.
Ikonne said 72 graduates of the Department of Medicine and Surgery, 115 from the Department of Optometry and 89 post-graduate students, among others would receive certificates at the convocation.