President Muhammadu Buhari, on Friday, said that efforts are being made by the Federal Government to make the hardship occasioned by the recession in the country a temporary one.
He said necessary economic measures have been put in place to tackle the recession, but sought the cooperation of Nigerians to make them work.
Buhari, who spoke at the 42nd convocation ceremony of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Osun State, said “there is no gainsaying that we live in challenging times. Nigeria is not exempted from the political, security and economic upheavals going on worldwide.
Represented by the Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Adamu Rasheed, the president maintained that “we have been making good progress, particularly on security issues, and we are relentless in our efforts to ensure that this recession is a very temporary experience in our national life”.
He said: “I am firmly convinced that with the measures being put in place and the cooperation of all Nigerians, it will soon be a thing of the past. This administration is committed to ensuring that as a nation, we are self-sufficient in food staples and no longer dependent on food importation by 2019.
“Foreign exchange saved in the process will be channelled into reviving our industries, enhancing the hydrology and ecology of the Lake Chad Basin, improving our power generation and distribution infrastructure, completing all the abandoned rural electrification projects nationwide, among other things”.
While expressing concern over the growing rate of unemployment in the country, President Buhari advised youths to develop entrepreneurial skills, stressing that “in September, 2016, our unemployment rate reached a high value of 17.9 per cent as compared to 9.9 per cent the previous year”.
According to him, “I intend to remind you that although this administration is doing its best to provide jobs for the teeming population of Nigerian youths, our efforts still need to be complemented by the private sector. We have been bringing on board several entrepreneurship initiatives that create an enabling environment for job creators to not only thrive but excel.
“Promotion of local products, encouragement of export markets, tapping of indigenous raw materials, etc, are some of the avenues for this to operate. As fresh graduates with multitude of invigorating ideas, you are encouraged to forward your proposals under the appropriate parastatals and agencies.”
He hinted that the government had directed the NUC to chart a new course for curriculum development and review in the Nigerian university system.
“This administration is concerned with the quality of university education in Nigeria. Government believed that the quality of universities is influenced by a number of factors within the output, process and output domains.
“The reality is that every facet of the university, be it academic or non-academic, contributes to its quality. It is expected that universities will embark on strategic capacity building to bring academics up-to-date with the new trends in their respective subject areas in order to achieve the desired impact”, the president said.
Earlier, the acting Vice-Chancellor of the OAU, Professor Anthony Elujoba, advised the graduating students to make a difference in Nigeria by engaging in positive history-making achievements.
He said, “Let me remind you that the nation is facing challenges that require an intellectual response, involving the application of righteousness and cutting-edge research and service to tackle public challenges. You are agents of change, and today, as you get empowered and commissioned to make a difference in different sectors of the nation in particular, and the world at large, yoy must carry along your integrity and honour