The College of Agricultural Sciences, Olabisi Onabanjo University, located in Ayetoro Campus, has been described as a trailblazer in the Southwestern Nigerian Border Region in Ogun State.
This assertion was made by the renowned Professor Emeritus of Compararative African History and Borderlands Studies, Professor Anthony Asiwaju of University of Lagos, during the 2nd Open Lecture Series of the College of Agricultural Sciences, Ayetoro held on Thursday, 16th January, 2020.
In his lecture entitled, “Positive Marginalization: The Olabisi Onabanjo University College of Agricultural Sciences, Ayetoro as Ogun State’s Trailblazer in Southwestern Nigeria Border Region,” Professor Asiwaju noted that there were three significant tertiary educational establishments with firm footholds in the Nigerian – Benin Cross-border areas in Ogun State. He identified them as Olabisi Onabanjo University, College of Agricultural Sciences, Ayetoro; the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB) with its Yewa Zonal Centre for Community Based Farm Scheme in Iwoye, North of Imeko; and, the National University of Agriculture, Ketu, Republic of Benin, situated at West of Imeko.
“Placed side by side with the other two tertiary agricultural science university establishments, the College of Agricultural Sciences of the Olabisi Onabanjo University in Ayetoro was the first to arrive in the border region and, to this extent, it ranks as a trailblazer and the earliest manifestation of Ogun State’s tertiary educational quality presence in Yewaland.”
To justify his assertion, the Professor Emeritus noted that Olabisi Onabanjo University, College of Agricultural Sciences formally took off in Ayetoro on 1st October 1983. He disclosed that this was five years before the formal inauguration of FUNAAB in Abeokuta in 1988 and more than twenty-five years before FUNAAB established its Centre of Community Based Farms Scheme Cobfas) in Iwoye, North of Imeko, in 2009. Professor Asiwaju stated further that the National University of Agriculture, Ketu, Republic of Benin came only in 2012.”
Therefore, Asiwaju contended that the College of Agricultural Sciences and its Yewa Campus in Ayetoro “have provided Olabisi Onabanjo University with an impressive physical presence in Yewaland, not any less than those of the Colleges of Engineering and Environmental Studies in Ibogun and of Health Sciences in Sagamu have provided respectively in the Egba and Remo historic zones or paramountcies of the state.”
He went further to say that the College could boast of an impressive array of teaching and research laboratories and related facilities serving academic personnel and students of the two constituent faculties. Specifically, he said that “the academic staff strength of the College is 70, inclusive of 12 full Professors, nine Associate Professors and, as normal, the bulk in mid-career cadre of Senior Lecturers and Lecturers with a sprinkling number of Assistant Lecturers and Graduate Assistants.”
Professor Asiwaju, therefore, emphasized that with the early arrival of the College and the quality of its staff, she (the College) must be prepared and be seen to play a leadership role among its peer institutions operating in the same border and cross-border areas that served the College as its immediate catchment area.
Prof. Asiwaju also urged the College to take immediate scientific advantage of the rapidly emerging PPP arrangement between La Farge Africa and the Ogun State and Federal Government on the upcoming “Ile Dotun” initiative for Land Degradation Neutrality Transformative Project which was focused on the restoration of the forest and savannah ecosystem, north and south of Imeko.
However, the Professor Emeritus called on the people of Yewaland to join hands and come to the aid of the College in its developmental efforts.
“It behooves of the people of Yewaland to rise to the responsibility of taking up, at least in part, the ownership of the College as their own rightful share of the Ogun State owned University.”
He concluded by saying that the College was an index of the development of Yewaland, and no one, except the people themselves, could develop their land by themselves.
Earlier on, in his welcome address, the Provost of the College, Professor John O. Y. Aihonsu acknowledged the support of the current administration under the leadership of the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ganiyu Olatunji Olatunde towards the infrastructural development of the College.
“Since the administration of the current Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ganiyu Olatunji Olatunde, the College has continued to enjoy the support of the University towards infrastructural development.”
According to him, three of the four dilapidated bungalows on the Main Campus of the College have been renovated while furniture and equipment were being supplied. Professor Aihonsu said that in recent times, the current administration secured the support of TETFund for the construction of a 500 – Seater Large Lecture Auditorium alongside some adjoining halls and offices. According to him, the construction of the building would soon be completed.
He, therefore, pleaded for the support of individuals, organizations, groups and well-meaning philanthropists, especially, from Yewa land to come and assist the College in its developmental agenda of becoming a “ full-fledged University of an enviable status.”
While delivering his opening address, the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Professor Ganiyu Olatunji Olatunde emphasized the importance the University Management both past and present placed on the peaceful co-existence between students and the host communities in all the campuses of the University. In particular, he stated that “since the final relocation of the College of Agricultural Sciences to Ayetoro in 2003, the University administration has been committed to ensuring a sustained peaceful relationship between the College and the Yewa Community.”
On the efforts being put in place by the University Management to reposition the College as a major opportunity provider to the Yewa host community, the Vice-Chancellor who was ably represented by the Provost, College of Engineering and Environmental Studies, Professor J.O. Akinyemi revealed that the University was presently constructing an auditorium building to augment the existing lecture and office facilities on the Campus. In addition to the above, Professor Ganiyu Olatunji Olatunde stated that his administration was also co-operating with all stakeholders both locally and offshores, including the College Alumni body to establish several developmental projects on the College Teaching and Research Farms to compliment the efforts of the teaching faculty.
Speaking on students’ matters, the Vice-Chancellor informed the gathering that the University had recently extended its arms of magnanimity to several indigent students to enable them pay their tuition fees by putting in place a dynamic and student friendly payment and course registration policy that would ensure that indigent students work and earn wages while they study.
Thereafter, the Vice-Chancellor commended the Management of the College for sustaining the Open Lecture Series despite the meagre resources at its disposal.
In his own remarks, Rt. Hon. Wasiu Eshinlokun Sanni, Deputy Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly who is also an alumnus of the College noted that since its establishment in 1982, the College has been serving as a human capital creator to the nation. He added that the College was a trailblazer in the agricultural innovation and food production in Nigeria.
“The College is a factory that produces the best brains that are setting paces from the moment they are certified to be worthy of University’s degree in character and learning.”
He, thereafter, urged members of the College Alumni Association to create the structure that would collectively give back to its alma-mater and serve as the role model to the upcoming ones.
As a mark of his contribution towards the development of the College, Hon. Wasiu Sanni promised to build a Broiler Pen House for the use of the College.
“I found elation in the idea of building a Broiler Pen House for the use of the institution. I was very happy to be intimated with the idea but even happier to meet other members of the alumni.”