The Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, and the a first class graduand of the Rivers State University (RSU), Niivar B. Osumkpe, have both called on the university that was dedicated to Science and Technology to return to the quest for inventions and deeper research.
Wike, who was represented by his deputy, Ipalibo Harry-Banigo, admonished the RSU during its 2019 graduation (convocation) ceremony to return to quest for inventions so as to lead Nigeria in seeking technological solution to problems facing the nation.
The institution was Nigeria’s premier Science and Technology University (UST), before Governor Wike renamed it in 2018 with approval from the House of Assembly because the university is now to teach all courses beyond science and tech.
The immediate past vice chancellor, BB Fakae, who is credited with rescuing the UST had harped on research and tried to launch the university on that path. Now, the Rivers State government seems to see it as the only path of success available for the university.
The governor stressed the importance of the institution to the state, but charged it to come up with major breakthrough in research, especially in the area of science and technology.
The governor, who directed the immediate take-off of the Emohua campus of the university charged the graduands to remember their parents who toiled day and night to ensure the success of their university education.
The vice chancellor of the university, the professor of medicine, Blessing Didia, said the RSU has attained some giant strides in academic leadership, staff welfare, collaborations, and infrastructure development.
Didia announced that the Rivers State University Chemistry Department Laboratory is adjudged the best in the country by the Federal Ministry of Water Resources in conjunction with United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF) assessment team that assessed chemistry laboratories of universities in 20 UNICEF supported States in Nigeria.
He furthered that the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has also rated the University as the most improved institution in intakes of female students, and rewarded the institution with a cash price of N25 million in May, 2019.
High point of the 31st convocation ceremony was the crowning of Mildred Alali-Amakiri, with “Emeritus Professorship”. She is the first female emeritus professor of the University. A total of 3,924 students graduated during the convocation.
Physics wizard gives counsel
Osumkpe hails from Jankrama in Engenni, Ahoada West Local Council Area of Rivers State and smashed the records in his department to graduate with First Class (4.5) CGP to become the only one in Physics, and only the 3rd in the history of his department in the RSU.
In an interview, he revealed why most students have issues in the university and attributed it all to distraction, the most being addiction to handsets.
“Students these days are too excited that they forget why they are there. Many only focus on impressing the opposite sex, dresses, etc. Older people seem to pay attention to lectures and studies than younger ones.
“Remain focused. Some do not even know name of their heads of department or the time table. Expulsion (WAFFing) helped to force them to work hard during the Fakae days but now, they recalled those who were expelled. There was no counseling and so most of them simply continued in their old ways,” he said.
“I applied high level of attention, hard work, and dedication. I am always in school before any other person. I did not allow distraction of whatever nature,” he further said.
According to him, “Students are always distracted, especially with phones. Phones are ruining students. Lecturers are struggling to keep their attention. Reading culture has died. Students believe they can google every question. Google has replaced the brains of our young ones. They hardly need to keep anything in their brains. Their brains are now in their palms.
“There is a difference in reading to know or reading to pass. I browse to broaden my knowledge base, not to answer questions. What is in your brains is better, you can always recall. Prepare well before proceeding to the university, else, they will not cope. Schools of Basic Studies used to do that. There is a big gap between secondary school and the university and many drown in between.”
I want to go back for my masters almost immediately, full time, but job first.
I intend to diversify into the petroleum sector, Petroleum Geology, because there are very many Geo-Physicists in Nigeria at the moment.
Advice to RSU:
Lecturers are trying especially in the sciences but they need more research and training. Many are still relying on scripts from google. If they do more research, they would use their own materials. Let them improve on the standard.