The Minister of Works and Housing, and former Governor in Lagos State, Babatunde Raji Fashola, was on Wednesday, 19 August, 2020 condemned the abuse of honorary degrees by universities in the country.
Fashola said University honorary degrees must be conferred on merit and not because the recipients occupied political offices or commanded socio-economic powers.
The minister expressed this view when the Committee of Vice-Chancellors/Association of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja.
He further revealed that he turned down 17 offers during his tenure as Lagos State governor.
Fashola, who said he stopped the award of honorary degrees at the Lagos State University during his tenure as Governor.
He said: “We said, look we are going to be different and for two or three years we did not award any honourary degree because truly the idea of an honorary degree is an important building block of society and once we throw those blocks away or make them unviable then the purpose for it is lost”
“In my eight years in office I had 17 offers and I didn’t take one. I told them to wait until when I was out of office and if they still find me worthy they should then come. And when I was out of office only one came back”
“The point I want to make is that we have to encourage our children to work hard. What have these honorees of the universities done to deserve the honour?
“What of those who have become undeserving; will you go back and tell them to return the degrees, that they don’t deserve it anymore?”