Dada Houdegbe, president of the Houdegbe North American University in the Republic of Benin, says 90 per cent of students in the university are Nigerians.
Houdegbe made this known when the university awarded degrees and conferred honorary awards to its graduating students as well as local and international personalities.
He said there was currently a growing interest of “many young Nigerians” in the courses being offered by the university due to its “affordability and good learning environment”.
He also said the university was meant to build bridges across political, economic, linguistic and cultural divides particularly in West Africa and Africa, in general.
“Three years ago, we graduated about 3,000 students from different areas of studies. Today, the Houdegbe North American University is graduating about 2,000 students, as well as the conferment of honorary doctorate degrees on deserving personalities,” he said.
“Let me say that about 90 per cent of students in our university are Nigerians, who are happy being our students.”
Houdegbe also commended former President Olusegun Obasanjo for his “belief in the institution’s ideals” as well as the “encouragement he had continued to give to the university”.
Samia Nkrumah, founder of the Kwame Nkrumah Pan-African Centre, said the time had come for West Africa and other African countries to embrace the policy of “education for all”.
Nkrumah, who is the daughter of former Ghanaian President, Kwame, further said the overall development and transformation of the region and the continent would “largely” depend on education.
“We must be more committed in encouraging and promoting educational exchanges between West African countries and other African countries,” she added.
“We must realise as Africans that we currently have a very fast-growing young population that should be given qualitative education.
“We need to ensure that we actually prepare our young population to be more productive.
“We, therefore, need to encourage our young men and women to freely acquire education in any university of their choice across West Africa and Africa in general.”
NAN further reports that Peng-Khuan Chong, an emeritus professor of political science, Plymouth State University, US, enjoined the students to learn to be “competent, confident and have compassion.”
According to him, “young men and women in the Republic of Benin, Nigeria and other African countries must be courageously strong, innocently hopeful, and most importantly, be forever hopeful.”
A Nigerian undergraduate at the university, who gave his name as Linus Richard, said he and many other Nigerian students were happy to have had the opportunity to study at the institution.
He also said the institution’s admission process was “devoid of the problems associated with writing a qualifying examination.”
“It is academic calendar hitch-free with affordable fees as well as a conducive study environment,” he added.
The university was established in 1992 in Cotonou, Republic of Benin, as a private tertiary institution, which offers both undergraduate and postgraduate courses.