Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has cautioned state varsities to stop indiscriminate conferment of doctoral degrees on all manner of questionable candidates and people of material influence.
He stated this during the 33rd Convocation of the Rivers State University, Port Harcourt, on Saturday.
This is as he honoured a student living with disability, James E. Daniel, with N50m and automatic lectureship appointment in the university for bagging a Doctor of Philosophy degree.
The governor said the honour bestowed on Daniel is in recognition of his academic excellence and for being a source of inspiration to persons living with disabilities.
Wike, in his remark, directed the Governing Council and management of state universities to sanitize their internal academic systems by stopping every inappropriate policy, practice or procedure that compromises the high-quality academic standards required of tertiary institutions.
The governor said from inception, the Rivers State University had been at the forefront of providing tertiary education and training to people of the state.
He observed that like the mustard seed, the university has grown from the little beginnings to become one of the largest and leading state government-owned institutions in the country.
The governor emphasised that serious universities jealously guard their reputation and award doctoral degrees only to students who have gone through years of rigorous intellectual research and interrogation and whose dissertation is independently adjudged to be sound and contributory to new learning.
He, however, described as unfortunate, the current trend and practice in universities, including the Rivers State University, to award doctoral degrees indiscriminately, like chieftaincy titles, to all manner of questionable candidates.
“This practice must stop in all Rivers State government-owned tertiary institutions as we demand greater character, commitment and responsibility from staff and management to the vision and fundamental objectives of university education.
“First of all, the programmes that you offer must equip the students with relevant skills, entrepreneurial or otherwise so that on graduation they can start their own businesses and professional practice and become creators of jobs from the beginning; and not jobless seekers of elusive jobs,” the governor stated.