It was a colourful and a memorable ceremony when Olabisi Onabanjo graduated no fewer than five thousand, and forty (5,040) students from various Colleges and Faculties of the University. Four thousand, three hundred and eighty-six (4,386) of this number were first degree graduates, while six hundred and fifty four (654) were graduands from the University’s various Postgraduate programmes.
The breakdown showed that there were eighteen (18) graduands that earned First Class, six hundred and five (605) in second class upper division, one thousand, nine hundred and thirty-eight (1,938) in second class lower division while one thousand, four hundred and two (1,402) had third class degree. Only seventy-nine (79) had a pass degree and two hundred and eight (208) Diplomas
From the Postgraduate School, seventy-five (75) had Ph.D degrees, three hundred and seventy-four (374) with Masters while one hundred and five (105) were awarded Postgraduate Diplomas and one (01) candidate had a Master of Philosophy.
The ceremony gave the opportunity for the Vice-Chancellor to reel out to the congregation some achievements he had made since his appointment on the 13th October, 2017.
In his speech, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Olatunde thanked sincerely the stake holders of the University and the Governor of the State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, CON, FCA for his financial support to his administration. He observed that the University had enjoyed stability for the last six years without disruptions. He said this phenomenon had encouraged many intending applicants for admission to consider the University as their first point of call.
The Vice-Chancellor revealed that the University had also scaled through the recent accreditation exercise with 96% of its programmes already accredited while seven new academic programmes were coming on board with the approval of the University Council for resource verification visits by the National University Commission.
On staff and students welfare, the Vice-Chancellor disclosed that he had ensured prompt processing of staff requests for training and conference attendance which were sponsored by TETfund and other funding agencies and organizations.
He also said that his administration had provided well equipped facilities for teaching, research, administration and student life, provided more recreational facilities and support for sport, ensured prompt promotion and reward system for deserving staff, ensured timely release of results of students and prompt processing of their transcripts and certificates, and ensured that regular consultative forum were being held with all stakeholders to prevent crisis which might affect the University negatively.
On security within the Main Campus, Professor Olatunde revealed that a substantial amount was spent to purchase security gadgets, equipment and the installation of closed circuit TV for effective monitoring of the University. These were done with the financial assistance coming from WEMA Bank Plc.
Professor Olatunde informed the congregation that quite a number of staff that merited promotion got promoted and several other academic staff earned their doctoral degrees while additional professors were appointed.
The Vice-Chancellor said that he had opened discussions with the General Manager, Ogun State Housing Corporation and the Managing Director, Ogun State Property and Investment Company on the need for them to work together with the University in the provision of residential accommodation for staff and students of the University.
He stressed that the step would boost the residential status of the University and encourage many of the staff to stay in Ago-Iwoye and other campuses of the University.
However, the Vice-Chancellor affirmed that the major challenge facing the University is the inadequacy of fund to address the outstanding arrears of the various agreements that the Federal Government had reached with the University Unions – which they expect the State Government to pay.
Delivering the Convocation Lecture entitled “State Universities in Nigeria: Problems, Prospects and Our Common Future”, Professor O. Faborode; the Secretary General, Committee of Vice-Chancellors gave a list of criteria for the success of State Universities which he said includes but not limited to research innovation, inspiration entreprenuaralship, visionary leadership and adequacy of fund.
He opined that all the criteria coupled with researches were antidote for perennial problems and challenges bedeviling the Universities. He observed that exploits in knowledge and technology must leverage with researches which would on the long run made state Universities contribute tremendously to the modern 21st century society.
The governor of the State and the Visitor to the University, His Excellency, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, CON, FCA in his speech assured the University and the congregation that he would leave no stone unturned to ensure that the University moves up in its Webometric Ranking of 23rd position to become one of the best in Nigeria. He charged the people of Ogun State to support his administration in its quest to develop education at all levels. He said he would not rest on his oars to make the University a world standard which encapsulate knowledge in all ramifications. He noted the hitch free academic session in the University and promised that very soon the Ilishan – Ago-Iwoye road that needed urgent rehabilitation would be asphalted to open up the University to the outside world. He called on graduands to keep themselves busy with necessary entrepreneurialship skills and desist from searching for white collar jobs that are no longer available.
Senator Ibikunle Amosun urged the graduands to always contribute to the growth and development of their Alma mater.
Earlier on, the Pro-Chancellor, Mrs. Mosun Belo Olusoga in her welcome address said that the vision of the current Council of the University was to reposition it with the utmost aim of attaining the status of a 21st century citadel of learning within the next five years and this would be pursued through an eight point Agenda of increase in internally generated funds, increase in infrastructural development, support for research aid development, availability of basic amenities – power, water and good roads, increase in staff and students welfare, robust ICT development, increase in carrying capacity (staff students ratio) and provision of social environment.
She revealed that the Governing Council had gotten the approval for the provision of counterpart fund for staff pension to enhance staff welfare. She advised the graduands to be diligent and passionate about what they do in order to be great.
The three day ceremony witnessed good will messages from the National Universities Commission and representatives of Sister Universities, valedictory speech by the best graduating students and the conferment of honorary Doctor of Letters on three eminent personalities. They were:- His Royal Majesty, Oba (Dr.) Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo, Okukenu III, the Alake of Egbaland and Chairman of Ogun State Council of Obas; Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukuede, the founder and Chairman of Coronation Capital Market and the immediate past President of Nigerian Stock Exchange, Mrs. Ibukun Awosika, Chairman Board of Directors, First Bank Plc and Founder/Chief Executive Officer of the Chair Centre Group and Professor Toyin Falola, the Jacob and Frances Sanyer Mossiker Chair in the humanities and University Distinguished Professor at the University of Texas, Austin, USA.
The ceremony was rounded off with the turning of sod and the laying of foundation of the proposed University Senate complex by the Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, CON, FCA.
By: Niyi Oduwole
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