Benin City – The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki has said his government will continue to support tertiary institutions in the state to effectively play their roles in the development of the state and country.

Obaseki, who spoke during the 46th and 47th convocation ceremony of the University of Benin (UNIBEN), described as key, the role of universities in driving development in any society.

According to him, universities nurture a crop of thinkers and innovators who birth ideas that drive societal growth, development and prosperity.

Obaseki noted, “A university is charged with a very critical mandate of grooming human capital and refining youths to such a level that they are well equipped to enhance other factors of production to engender sustainable development.

“We are conscious, as a government, to sustain the role of the university in driving economic growth and advancement. This has been taken into consideration as we design the 30-year developmental plan for Edo State, which will be the blueprint that provides direction for intentional and targeted growth across all sectors of development in our state over the next three decades.

“In this plan, we are very particular in transforming our state to an educational hub. We currently host the largest concentration of higher educational institutions in the South-South of Nigeria. Our commitment to supporting these institutions to reach the peak of their growth and impact on society is not hindered by virtue of their ownership status.”

“It doesn’t matter to us if they are federal, state or privately-owned institutions, as long as we see them forming critical eco-system of knowledge to produce human capacity that will drive economic growth in our state,” he added.

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The governor continued: “UNIBEN plays a critical role in the education eco-system, because they have the advantage of experience and history, and host world-renowned scholars who continue to make indelible marks in the sands of time with innovation and advances in science and technology, economy, agriculture and the humanities.

“We have provided support to the university community and will continue to do so in extending infrastructural projects, not only to the university alone, but also to the host community around the university.

“As a state, we believe we should strengthen the basis of education because without a strong basic foundation for education, the product that ends up in our universities will struggle when they get in there.”

“We have emphasized and continued to invest in EdoBEST and also continue to revamp our technical schools and other tertiary institutions,” Obaseki stated.

Declaring the convocation ceremony open, the Chancellor of the institution, HRM Orcivirigh Prof. James Ortese Iorzua Ayatse lauded Governor Obaseki for his dynamic leadership and continuous support for the federal government-owned institution.

He further noted, “Nigerian universities are encouraged to engage in profitable ventures without compromising on the core objectives of setting up of the institutions, which are teaching, learning and research. UNIBEN has been at the forefront in meeting these core objectives.”