The Modibbo Adama Federal owned University of Technology in Yola, Adamawa State of Nigeria is experimenting with inclusivity that would see a commoner awarded an Honorary Doctorate Degree, come November 4th, 2017 at its 23rd Convocation Ceremony. The university names the impending recipient as Mallam Muhammadu Mubi. It might not be a completely new thing in Nigeria but it is certainly not an everyday occurrence in the country that people from the lower social classes are made such awards. However, come Saturday, Mallam Mubi would join peace activist and former Head of State, Abdulsalami Abubakar to be conferred with the degree of Doctor of Letters (Honoris Causa). A spectacular ring envelops the convocation at which Alhaji Hassan Summonu, former president of the Nigeria Labour Congress, (NLC), has also been selected to be awarded an Honorary Doctorate Degree.
While Abdulsalami Abubakar and to a great extent, Hassan Summonu are well known throughout the country and beyond, Mallam Mubi is the relatively unknown recipient who might, however, turn out the most interesting that day. He is not strange to the education industry. In fact, he has been foundation principal of several schools and is now a retired public servant who has paid his dues to the service of his motherland. The university said it adjudged him a very disciplined and dedicated teacher, a conscientious school administrator and a public servant of impeccable integrity. It also ascribed to him the credit for mentoring several generations of students, most of whom have reached the peak of their careers. “We are honoring him for his self-less service, unparalleled integrity, discipline and service to state and society. He is an exemplary case of positive non-political leadership”, said the university. The significance is that, in him, the university is making a practical statement on leadership recruitment and selection.
But, before the convocation spectacle, there is the Convocation Lecture to which the university is inviting the entire country. According to it, it has got the best scholar on the topic: Professor Eghosa Osaghae, the University of Ibadan scholar of Federalism and the National Question and currently, the Vice-Chancellor of Igbinedion University, Okada. Professor Osaghae will be speaking on “Restructuring Nigeria within the Context of (True) Federalism” Friday, November 3rd at the university’s Multipurpose Hall.
Situating itself in the North-East space, the university is asking the Federal Government to reconsider the decision restricting it from admitting students into programmes in the School of Management and Information Technology. Located in a zone that has seen devastation, it wants to be allowed to reign free in terms of widening the educational space as against its closure by the anti-educational ideology of Boko Haram. While pledging support for the North East Development Commission as an intervention for rehabilitation, reconstruction and development of the ravaged region, it argues for provision of education on a massive scale.
The 23rd Convocation is releasing a total of 5,156 graduands, with 39 in the First Class, 802 in the Upper Second Class, 1575 Lower Second Class, 768 Third Class and 95 Pass Degrees in the bachelors degree category; 76 postgraduate diplomas, 496 Masters and 40 PhDs in various disciplines. Prof Kyari Mohammed, the Vice-Chancellor has said that all certificates are ready for collection on day of convocation.