By Uzo Ugwunze
Awka, NIGERIA — President Bola Tinubu, the Rector, Federal Polytechnic Oko, Engr. Dr. Mrs Francisca Unoma Nwafulugo and others have tasked graduates of the polytechnic to be beacons of positive change by contributing their knowledge and skills to development of the nation’s economy.
In his speech during the 19th Convocation Ceremony of Federal Polytechnic, Oko, Anambra State, President Tinubu who was represented by the Director of Polytechnic Education and Allied Institutions in the Federal Ministry of Education, Dr Ejeh Usman described technical education as critical to driving national development, particularly for a country striving for economic growth and global competitiveness.
He urged the Polytechnic and other technical institutions not to backtrack in producing skilled and entrepreneurial graduates capable of carving out a niche for themselves and be relevant to the growth of national economy.
“As a nation we must ensure our relevance in the global landscape and set the stage for long term progress and prosperity. We cannot afford to lag behind in the global technological development.
“As a government, we are aware of the role and impact of quality education with respect to science and technological development. It can never be overstated that education is the key to this. This informed government’s unwavering commitment to the educational growth of our nation.
The President further enumerated several projects the Polytechnic had benefitted through TETFUND interventions, including sponsorship of staff of the institution in both local and foreign Institutions for their post-graduate programmes and attendance of workshops and conferences.
“Government, in line with the Renewed Hope Agenda has, through the present Management provided the following infrastructural developments projects; Multipurpose Hall, ICT, School of Renewable Energy, Agricultural Technology Engineering, Chemical Engineering laboratory and Deans Complex.
“Other projects include Food Technology Laboratory, the Male and Female hostels, the School of Environmental Design and Technology, School of General Studies , Public Administration and the School of Arts, Design and Printing Technology Buildings.
Acknowledging numerous challenges still facing education sector including funding, access and equity, capacity building for teachers, strengthening of institutional management, technical and vocational education, among others, Tinubu hinted his government plans to develop a 4-Year Strategic Plan as a Road map for the Sector.
“It is our believe that the final Roadmap will translate to the education we all dream of. However, let me make it clear that it takes more than the Government of any nation to provide solutions to all the challenges, especially in the area of funding.
“I therefore enjoin all Stakeholders especially captains of industry to complement the efforts of Government in the area of research, structural development, award of scholarships especially to indigent students, capacity building and employment of our graduates,” he said.
According to the, Rector, Engr Dr Francisca Nwafulugo who said that the convocation covered the period from 2010/2011- 2020/2021 graduating session, May these graduates be beacons of positive change, leaders in their respective fields and ambassadors of excellence that defines our beloved institution.
“The future awaits you and I have no doubts that each of you will contribute significantly to the development of our country Nigeria.
She appreciated the staff for their commitment and diligence in imparting knowledge, guidance and mentorship in molding and shaping the minds of the graduates, just as he commended the graduates for adhering to rules and regulations during their stay in school.
“In the hallowed halls of Federal Polytechnic Oko, our graduates have not merely acquired knowledge, they have imbibed the spirit of innovation, resilience and a thirst for continuous learning.
“The institution has been a nurturing ground for fostering not only academic excellence but also the development of well rounded individuals equipped to face the challenges of the dynamic world beyond these polytechnic walls.
“The education imparted at Federal Polytechnic Oko extends far beyond textbooks and classrooms. It is an education that instills values, encourages critical thinking and nurtures the spirit of community service,” she said.
.”We have worked tirelessly to make FPO distinguished among committee of polytechnics nationally and internationally.
“We started with the accreditation of 62 programmes which were at the verge of closure and now all the programmes we run in this polytechnic are accredited. We also mounted new programmes namely Chemical Engineering and Horticultural technology. In infrastructure, we have completed 17 buildings sponsored via tetfund, capital fund and IGR. A 1.2 km road was also constructed and commissioned by Federal Ministry of Work and Mary other projects to mention these few,” Nwafulugo said.
Moreover, the Chairman Convocation ceremony planning committee /Director Medical services, Dr. Mrs Ifeoma Monago who was elated because of the successful execution of the convocation ceremony urged the students to be courageous as they are already in the labour market showing the world the stuff they were made of, inculcated in them during their years as students of the ivory tower saying that only the skies will be their limit.
“We thank God for the huge success of this combined convocation after about 13 years delay due to paucity of funds, covid 19 pandemic and flood disaster which affected our Atani campus but finally today this has become part of the numerous achievements recorded by our loving , capable, digital Amazon, our Rector, Engr Mrs Unoma Nwafulugo.
Highlights of the event include the presentation of the prestigious Fellowship awards to Sen Dr Patrick Ifeamyi Ubah, Dr Chidozie Nwankwo of Witchtech Group, the cutting of the convocation cake and presentation of awards to the overall best graduating students.
Senator Ifeanyi Ubah who gifted #2.5 million naira to the best graduating students noted that since his membership in the Senate Committee on Education, he has attracted many infrastructural projects and interventions in various higher institutions in Anambra State saying that he would attract more.
However, the overall best graduating student Ikechukwu Chinenye M. was unavoidably absent which resulted to the 3rd overall best graduating student, Okafor Benadine Ebele stood in for her. Delivering the valedictory speech she attributed her success to prayers, hardwork, focus and discipline as virtues that made it possible for her to be among the best graduating students in her days to the glory of God.