Veritas University, Abuja aims to be an intellectual power house in Nigeria, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Mike Kwanashie, has declared. Addressing a crowded press conference in Abuja Thursday to give details of the conference on Peace and National Development marking the 10th anniversary of the university, Prof Kwanashie said the university has a mission of shifting back to universities the intellectual base for policy formulation in Nigeria.
The two day conference on Peace and National Development opens Monday in Abuja. The highlight of the activities the 10th anniversary of Veritas University, otherwise known as The Catholic University of Nigeria, the conference provides a platform for critical examination of the two concepts of peace and national development in 21st century Africa.
The essence of the university’s Centre for Peace and Development, he said, is to interrogate issues that have to do with peace at both individual and group levels, saying resolutions of the conference would be converted to appropriate policies.
Professor Kwanashie informed journalists asking him questions that the license underpinning the university is a public license but that what makes Veritas different is its commitment to not being a university content with merely issuing certificates but also to manifesting the ecclesiastical identity of its owners in the struggle for social justice, build the social and spiritual character of its graduates while also being a centre of academic excellence. This, according to him, is why the impending conference is a high priority academic engagement. He is happy that the Veritas attract and admit students from every faith in the Nigerian society, be they Christians, Muslims and others.
Giving details about the conference, Reverend Father Dr Innocent Jooji, the Coordinator of the Organising Committee confirmed the attendance of critical players in Nigeria’s peace, security and development domain. Among these are Honourable Yakubu Dogara, the Speaker of the House of Representatives who would serve as the Special Guest of Honour for the occasion; former President Olusegun Obasanjo who would serve as the Father of the Day, Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama, the Catholic Bishop of Jos, the Visitor to the university and His Eminence, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja who is also the Chancellor of the university and Professor Mike Kwanashie, the Vice-Chancellor and the chief host of the conference.
Others are His Royal Highness Muhammadu Sanusi 11, the Emir of Kano who is expected to give a key note address, Professor Olawale Albert of the Institute of Peace Studies at the University of Ibadan and Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah, the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto who would be the two lead speakers on the theme.
Reverend Father Jooji also explained that numerous academics from across the university system in the country would be thrashing out diverse sub-themes of the conference while a communiqué would be issued at the end of it all. Situating the conference in the importance the university’s Centre for Peace and Development which is organising it attaches to the culture of elevated debate in Nigeria, Rev. Fr Jooji appealed to the media to give the proceedings highest attention in the interest of peace, stability and development in Nigeria.
Veritas University, Abuja came into being in the year 2007 at an initial location in Abia State before its relocation to its permanent site in Bwari Area Council, Abuja. The conference signposts the stepping into the arena of responsible and responsive academia as well as activism on the key issue of peace and development by one of Nigeria’s youngest universities.