The National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) has been described as the largest university in the galaxy.
Vice chancellor of NOUN, Professor Abdallah Adamu said on Monday in Lagos that with student population of 450, 000, NOUN was the largest university in what he described as the galaxy.
Adamu who was speaking in Lagos at the 70th birthday colloquium of renowned journalist and co-founder of Newswatch magazine, Mr. Ray Ekpu, said that NOUN has changed the lives of thousands of Nigerian workers as it enables them to improve their academic status while working at the same time.
Speaking on the journalism career of the celebrant, Adamu said Ekpu has made tremendous contributions to the sustenance of democracy in Nigeria through his incisive and constructive criticism of government in his column.
In his delivery, the guest lecturer, Dr. Chidi Amuta listed Botswana as an example that democracy can bring development in Africa under purposeful leadership.
He said that Botswana as a poor African country became independent in 1966 as Nigeria was descending into the abyss following a senseless coup that he said amounted to “professional rascality” on the part of the plotters.
He said that within 50 years, meaningful and purposeful leadership has lifted Botswana’s gross domestic product (GDP) from a paltry $50 to $7,000 today, adding that literacy rate in Botswana stands at 90 per cent.
As way out of the leadership morass plaguing Nigeria, Amuta in a speech read on his behalf by Dan Agbese, a co-founder of Newswatch magazine, called for the removal of immunity for public office holders while also recommending adequate training for those in leadership position.
He said that the use of affidavit as a means of ascertaining the age and educational qualification of Nigerian leaders should be abolished.
The celebrant, Ekpu in his remarks indicted both the leadership and the followership for Nigeria’s backwardness.
Citing the recent buying of votes during the governorship elections in Ekiti state, the ace journalist stressed that those who sold their votes are as guilty as the buyers, stressing that if the sellers had insisted on voting according to their conscience, the right leader would be elected.
He lamented that Nigerian leaders wasted an opportunity of taking the country to higher level by leveraging on the inventions of Biafran scientists who developed bombs and crude methods of refining crude oil during the civil war.
The event which had Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, a former foreign minister as chairman, was attended by frontline journalist and former governor of Ogun state, Chief Olusegun Osoba and a former governor of Akwa Ibom state, Obong Victor Ata among other dignitaries.
The governor of Lagos state, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode was represented by the state commissioner for information, while the secretary to the Akwa Ibom state government, Mr.Emanuel Ekuwem represented Governor Udom Emmanuel.
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