The president gave the charge through Prof. Ignatius Onimawo, who represented him at the 36th convocation of the university held in Ilorin.
“The nation expects your university to play a leading role in research efforts to develop COVID-19 vaccine in Nigeria.
“The nation expects nothing less from the Nigerian university system,’’ the president charged.
Prof. Onimawo is former Vice-Chancellor of Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Edo.
President Buhari equally challenged all universities to give their best in the fight against infections and diseases.
He also appealed to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to embrace peace, adding that dialogue was always better than conflict.
“No one gains from crisis. While government alone cannot solve all challenges facing a society, this administration is willing to listen to complaints and alternative points of view to managing a situation.
“The university system cannot withstand any crisis now considering the time it had lost to Coronavirus pandemic,’’ he submitted.
He reiterated government’s resolve to prioritise and promote teacher education to raise the quality of teaching in the country.
Prof. Onimawo who also represented the Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, at the occasion noted that the University of Ilorin had excelled in several disciplines.
He noted also that the university is one of those that had enjoyed very stable academic calendars over the years.
“In the last couple of years, the University of Ilorin has had the highest students’ subscription in JAMB enrolment.
“As at today, the University of Ilorin has become the university of choice in Nigeria,’’ he said.
Earlier in his address of welcome, Prof. Sulyman Abdulkareem, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin, said the university sustained the reputation of running seamless academic sessions in spite of the COVID-19 lockdown.
The university awarded degrees to 10,922 graduates at the ceremony.
At the graduate level, 180 bagged First Class degrees, 2,836 got Second Class Upper Division, 4,879 got Second Class Lower Division, and 1,110 had Third Class degrees while there were 14 passes.
There were 142 graduates who bagged Postgraduate diplomas, 1,142 had Masters Degrees while 113 had Masters in Business Administration.