By Etse Kassim, Abuja
The National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) will on Saturday graduate a total of 14,771 students from its various academic programmes at the institution’s seventh convocation ceremony scheduled for Abuja.
The 14,771 graduating students, which include former President Olusegun Obasanjo and two inmates of Enugu Prisons, will be the largest to be produced by any university in the country.
Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Abdalla Uba Adamu, who made this known on Monday in Abuja, while addressing newsmen ahead of the convocation, said 41 of the students would be graduating with first class degree.
While commending Obasanjo for being the first student to graduate with PhD from NOUN, the VC said the convocation, which will be heralded by a lecture to be delivered on Friday by the Vice Chancellor of Igbinedion University, Okada, Edo State, Prof. Eghosa Osagie, would be the most historic in the country.
According to Prof. Adamu, the high number of graduating students, which will distinguish the convocation from others, was made possible by the proper management of students data by the in-house Information Technology (IT) team as against the hitherto external vendors.
“So far we have harvested and (about to) graduate 14,771 students. This is historic for us because this is the largest number of students graduated at a single time by any university in Nigeria.
“The second reason this convocation is very historical is that one of the graduates is the first PhD that the university is going to graduate despite the fact that the university has been in existence for all these years.
“We have not been able to produce PhDs and the reason is before you produce PhD you must graduate students at academic masters programme before you can involve them in a PhD.
“However, there is a facility where you can have a masters/PhD, and once you start the programme and your progress is very good and you take an examination you can now roll over and do your PhD, and it is only one candidate that has been able to do that, and that candidate on Saturday by God’s grace the university Senate has approved that he should be awarded a degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Christian Theology, and the candidate is His Excellency, Olusegun Obasanjo,” the VC said.