The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT), Prof. Ndowa Lale, has stated that despite what critics of the university system may say, the standards are still very high in UNIPORT, with lecturers, students and others striving hard to make the best better.

He noted that cultism was no longer a fashionable practice in UNIPORT, but upsurge in cult-related activities was recently witnessed in the university’s neighbourhood, especially in Choba, Alakahia and Rumuolumeni, while declaring that cultism would continue to attract automatic expulsion in the higher institution.

Lale stated these yesterday during the university’s 40th matriculation for 7,087 students, including Godwin Ajiboye and David Onuma.

He said: “Be on the alert at all times, to ensure that you are not lured into joining dare-devil groups that promise you invincibility, power and all the best things of life. Life does not work that way. Let me assure you that membership of cult groups ends up in absolute misery and self-destruction.

“Should you find any of the blood-thirsty cult groups attractive and have a compulsion to become a member, if you are not already a member, then the full weight of the law will descend on you, without mercy. You will be identified and chased down, until you are apprehended and brought to book.

“Rest assured that the Senate will summarily expel you from the university, after running you through the prescribed disciplinary measures, in line with the terms of the Matriculation Oath. No godfather can save you from the consequences of your foolish choices. You will be solely responsible for your actions.”

The vice-chancellor also described the university as a well-ordered community of scholars and students, who he said were dedicated to expanding and propagating higher knowledge, while insisting that UNIPORT is one of the best universities in Nigeria.

He noted that university education is quite a tortuous process that demands self-discipline and persistence at every turn.

Lale said: “Many negligent students have cried in the past for failing to do the needful. Do not join them. A word is enough for the wise. UNIPORT is the home of wise students. Be wise.

“The brain is the main currency required of anybody who genuinely seeks membership of a university community. Unfortunately, there is no Central Bank anywhere in the world which prints the currencies of self-discipline, focus, hard work, rigorous dedication to study and a culture of academic excellence.

“Despite all the woes that currently betide the Nigerian university system, there is no doubt that a university degree clearly separates the holder from those outside such a privileged community of teachers and learners.

Apart from exposing the students to appreciate the world around them and the limitless possibilities it offers them, a university education fortifies its beneficiaries with the right skill set to make useful contributions and embrace better citizenship.”

The vice-chancellor also informed the matriculants that the three reasons for their being in UNIPORT would be to study, study hard and to study even harder, while urging them to be dedicated to a culture of academic excellence, hard work and refined conduct.

He said: “Classes commence in UNIPORT on the first day of resumption for each semester. Students who miss classes on the first day of resumption will have themselves to blame.

“The Senate of this university has approved that only students who attain a mandatory 75 per cent class attendance will be eligible to write examinations conducted by departments and faculties.”

Lale also stressed that only the students who opted to make friends with the classroom, library and laboratory would wade through the rough waters of the academy and emerge triumphant in the end, adding that students who were determined and dedicated to their studies would cross the finish line in a blaze of glory.