The Vice Chancellor, Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago-Iwoye, Professor Ganiyu Olatunji Olatunde, has stressed the need for alumni associations and old students to always give back to their alma mater towards enhancing educational development.
Professor Olatunde made this call when an alumnus of the University, Dr Segun Oyebolu, paid him a courtesy visit in his office and announced his intention to donate an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Hub for the University.
The Vice-Chancellor lauded the donor for deeming it fit to spare a thought for his alma mater, describing the gesture as instructive and a giant leap, capable of inspiring other alumni to support the development of the University.
The proposed technology hub, whose foundation laying according to the donor would take place in October, this year, is slated for completion in 2022.
While receiving the donor, who was accompanied by his wife and some members of his Foundation, the Vice-Chancellor expressed satisfaction with the efforts of Dr. Oyebolu to bequeath the University with the multi-million ICT facility.
Professor Olatunde noted that most of the advanced Universities all over the world depend on endowment and contributions from former students and alumni associations.
He said, “This donation is a very good development within the Nigerian University system and we will continue to use it as a reference point of what the alumni can do for the University. Most of the advanced Universities in Europe and US, depend on endowment and donations.”
The Vice-Chancellor also revealed that the ICT Hub, the largest donation by an alumnus of the University, when completed, would be fitted with computers, internet services, among other facilities and would readily accommodate about 200 students.
“We are telling other alumni of this institution that they must of necessity come back to the University, appreciate the fact that they got their education from here and therefore, give back to the system. I can say that some alumni associations have also been helpful by sending donations, equipment and books to us. But there are a number of successful alumni of this University that have not joined the association and are not coming forward.”
Olatunde, who explained that OOU had witnessed tremendous developments over the years, informed his guests that the issue of cultism had been effectively curbed in the institution.
He said, “One of the critical things we did when we came in was to declare zero tolerance for cultism and we fashioned out a strategic security system that arrested all that. I want to tell you that the peace we have on campus is due to the disposition of Almighty God but it is also part of the strategies we came up with for the University. In fact, our students have been one of the best well dressed in the country. I must tell you, except for this current pandemic, for the last six years, the session has run continuously without break because of the understanding of the unions and the orientation of students which has changed.”
“So, we are having very positive developments and we are not letting down our guards because security is key to learning, teaching and development of any organization.”
Speaking on his gesture to the University, Dr. Segun Oyebolu, who studied Computer Science and graduated about 28 years ago, said there was need for well-meaning individuals and corporate bodies to support the growth of tertiary education in the country.
“If we cannot give back, survival of our cherished institutions will be at risk, our humanity will be devalued, we will starve our society of the much-desired growth and deny our future generations the enablement to quickly surpass our own accomplishments,” he submitted.
The donor stated that over the years, Nigerian Universities have had dwindling budgets when compared to students’ enrolment, while budgetary allocations have fallen short of reference standard of 26 percent as stipulated by the UNESCO.
He disclosed that he had earlier budgetted ₦100M for this ICT Hub to be named Segun Oyebolu Technology Incubator Centre but that the reverberating effect of the COVID-19 pandemic forced him to review it upward to ₦164M.
He, however, expressed optimism that the technology hub, when completed, would serve as training ground for tech giants.
Oyebolu said, “As a proud alumnus of the Olabisi Onabanjo University, I have the good fortune of making a gift at a time when the University is embarking on a major expansion and trying so much to take its place among elite institutions in Africa.”
“I am extremely proud of the University Management efforts and will continue to look for opportunities to do more for the benefit of future leaders that will be trained here.
I am well aware of the various challenges our Universities are facing in terms of sustaining physical infrastructures and more than that, ability to update and upgrade learning tools as newer advances in technology rest old tools that came with earlier supplies.”
“In the last few years, I have seen tremendous efforts on the part of the Management to keep our University infrastructure in great shape in the face of very challenging revenue base; the future of education funding in Nigeria do not give great hope to people like myself, that is why I have decided to make the new addition to the University infrastructure, a cost-free and worry-free addition.”
He also commended the current University Management for tackling the scourge of cultism on campus, adding that he would always partner with the school to completely stamp out the problem.