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- Babalakin: There is no crisis, but…
University of Lagos (UNILAG) is presently at war with itself. There is a lingering crisis among the management, Governing Council and the university chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), which, if not resolved, may drag the image of the 57-year-old university in the mud
There is palpable disquiet at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), following a lingering crisis rocking the management of the university. The Governing Council, led by the Pro-Chancellor/Chairman of Council, Dr. Wale Babalakin, was said to have directed the Registrar/Secretary to the Council, Mr. Oladejo Azeez, to issue letters of query to some senior management officials of the university, including the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe; two of his deputies – Professors Folasade Ogunsola and Oluwole Familoni.
This is as the management of the institution-led by the Vice-Chancellor, the governing council and the lecturers, under the umbrella of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) have publicly engaged in a dirty fight.
Given the crisis, if not urgently addressed, the university may be heading for big crisis. But, the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, Dr. Wale Babalakin had told New Telegraph that “There is no crisis.”
The crisis, however, blew open on Tuesday, April 30, with the issuance of letters of query to a good number of senior management officials of the university including the Vice-Chancellor and two of his deputies, as well as the immediate past Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Rahamon Bello; former Registrar, Taiwo Ipaye; immediate past Bursar and his successor, Dr. Lateef Odekunle and Mr. Lekan Lawal respectively, who were also queried. Also queried were the former Deputy Vice-Chancellor in charge of Management Services, Prof. Duro Oni; incumbent Dean of Students’ Affairs, Prof. Ademola Adeleke; for-mer Directors of Works, Niyi Ayeye and Adelere Adeniran; Director of Academic Planning, Prof. Lucian Chukwu; Head of the University Procurement Unit, James Akanmu, and the Director of Foundation Programme, Prof. Timothy Nubi.
The letters of query, which bordered on allegations of corrupt practices such as contract splitting, signing of voucher above approval limit, travelling without permission, among others, were signed by the University Registrar, Mr. Oladejo Azeez. Azeez, who doubled as the Secretary to the Governing Council, had reportedly issued the queries on the instruction of the Pro-Chancellor/Council Chair, Dr. Wale Babalakin.
Irked by the development, the university’s chapter of ASUU, which expressed dissatisfaction with the action of the Registrar and Council chair, in its response advised its members that were affected in the action to reach out to ASUU leadership for appropriate action.
This was as ASUU, in its letter of Thursday, May 2, and which was signed by its Chairman, Dr. Dele Ashiru, accused Dr. Babalakin of arrogating too much power to himself. The letter, which was titled: “Creeping Tyranny and Looming Anarchy in the University of Lagos,” however, condemned the action of the Registrar.
The letter reads: “Our fears that a vicious, vindictive and meddlesome leviathan at the head of the University of Lagos Council has sadly been confirmed.Our union has received an avalanche of complaints from members, who are in receipt of “queries” most recklessly and illegally authorised by the Pro-Chancellor, Dr. Wale Babalakin through the Registrar.
“This dictatorial, unprocedurial, illegal and deliberate bye-pass of the university administration, whose duty is that of day-to-day running of the university, is strange and dangerous.
It is sad and shameful that the purported report(s) which the pro-chancellor is acting upon has not been received by the university’s council. This arbitrariness and ‘one-man show’ is repulsive and unacceptable to our union as it smacks of vindictiveness.” However, on Friday, May 3, the Registrar had in a statement made available to New Telegraph, entitled:
“The Need to Tell the Truth,” accused ASUU of inconsistency and insincerity, and sought for specific laws of the institution that was violated by the action of the council chairman.
The Registrar in the statement also accused the union of being purveyor of lies in the past, and that their argument could not stand. The statement reads in part; “The attention of the Registry has been drawn to the circular issued by Dr. Dele Ashiru, the Chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Lagos branch, on 2nd May 2019.
In the said release, the union accused the Council of the university of tyranny because Council sought explanation of certain activities and expenditure in the university. “The notice did not identify any specific laws or regulation of the university that was violated by the Council. The Office of the Registrar would be glad to receive the specific law or rule of the university that was breached to enable us pass it to Council.
“It is noteworthy that on previous occasions within the tenure of this Council, ASUU has issued notices criticising the Council for taking certain steps, and all these occasions ASUU was not right. For example, when ASUU issued a statement that the meeting between Council and the Senate was unprecedented in the history of our university, it turned out to be wrong because the previous Councils under Chief Afe Babalola (SAN) and Deacon Gamaliel Onosode also had similar meetings with the Senate.” Specifically, the Registrar also listed other instances where ASUU had eaten its words in the past and surrendered to the supremacy of the council leadership, especially in the award of a Distinguished Professor to Prof. Dele Olowokudejo.
“Similarly, ASUU issued a statement condemning the non-confirmation of Prof. Dele Olowokudejo as a Distinguished Professor as an unprecedented violation of the academic autonomy of the University. Again, the statement turned out to be very wrong as it is clearly provided in the University of Lagos Act 1967 that the Council is the approving authority for all honours to be conferred by the University.
“It is unbelievable that the same ASUU that approached/and appealed to the Pro-Chancellor to confirm Olowokudejo’s appointment as a Distinguished Professor outside plenary after Council had taken a decision to step down his appointment in plenary is now making a case that the Chairman of Council cannot act for Council outside plenary. A paramount cornerstone for proper learning is intellectual honesty and consistency.
“We urge ASUU to remember that the University of Lagos is a centre of learning, where the pursuit of knowledge is very paramount. There is nothing worse than the tyranny of ignorance.”
But, miffed by the Registrar’s statement in response to ASUU’s position in the matter, the university’s Vice-Chancellor issued the Registrar a query, demanding explanation within 24 hours. According to the Vice-Chancellor, it was wrong of the Registrar to have issued such a statement without his approval, even as he cited relevant sections of the institution’s law that place the Registrar under the control of the Vice-Chancellor.
The Vice-Chancellor’s statement reads: “In light of the foregoing, you are expected to explain the reason for the publication, bearing in mind Section 3 (1), 6 (1) of the University of Lagos Act (1961), as amended, which states inter alia – “There shall be a Registrar, who shall be the administrative officer of the university and shall be responsible to the vice-chancellor for the day-to-day administrative work of the university.”
However, ASUU on the part, quickly fired back at the Registrar, describing him as a puppet to the Council chairman. The union said it had never attacked or condemned the council, but that it would stand against the Chairman arrogating council’s power to himself. The union further said: “The attention of our union has been drawn to a most disparaging circular, titled: “The Need to Tell the Truth,” singed by Oladejo Azeez, Esq. the University Registrar. Ordinarily, our union would not have dignified the voice of the Pro-Chancellor in the hand writing of Oladejo Azeez but for the barefaced lies and falsehood characteristic of the Pro-Chancellor, Dr. Wale Babalakin. For the avoidance of doubt, the said circular indicated that our union did not identify any specific laws or regulations of the university that was violated by Council. The correct position is that our union has no problem with the university council and has never accused it of any wrong doing. Our grouse is the crude usurpation of Council’s powers by the Pro-Chancellor, Dr. Wale Babalakin.
The Registrar also claimed that “at previous occasions ASUU claimed that the meeting between Council and the Senate was unprecedented in the history of our university.” The Registrar should be reminded that Council is not the same as the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council. Our contention has always been that the Pro-Chancellor, Dr. Wale Babalakin cannot approximate the Council of the University of Lagos. Furthermore, the mere fact that an illegality had occurred in the past does not mean that it cannot be corrected when such is pointed out.
All the fears expressed by this same Dr. Ashiru as the said Senate meeting which the Pro-Chancellor shamelessly denied, are now manifesting.” While insisting that it would continue to stand against what it described as Dr. Babalakin’s tyranny, arrogance and power usurpation, ASUU added: “For the incompetent and willing inconsequential tool called Oladejo Azeez, who was smuggled into the office as lame duck Registrar and Secretary to the Pro-Chancellor, he should be reminded that there is a limit to sycophancy and flunkey bootlicking. Oladejo Azeez should get familiar with the function(s) of a seasoned University Registrar and stop deploying the paraphernalia of his esteemed office in the service of a brutish leviathan.”
But, when New Telegraph sought the reaction of the Chairman of the Council on the matter, the Senior Advocate of Nigeria denied any crisis in the university. In a terse response to our inquiry, Dr. Babalakin wrote: “There is no crisis.
The truth will stand and lies will collapse.” Meanwhile, New Telegraph is aware of efforts of the university’s stakeholders to resolve the degenerating situation as soon as possible, especially as the NUGA, which to be hosted by UNILAG is around the corner. According to credible sources, the university’s alumni association under the leadership of the popular broadcaster and owner of Channels Television, Dr. John Momoh, is rallying support to appeal to the warring faction to sheath their swords.
The source, who craved anonymity, said the association is concerned with the university’s image and would want everything resolved as soon as possible to avoid further embarrassment.
The source said: “You know one thing; the university is bigger than everyone. All these parties who are at war will leave the university system one day, but the image of the university is very important. We cannot say because of personal interest we want to damage the legacies bequeathed to us by the founding fathers. Things must be done in the right way.”
The source also said that as soon as Dr. Momoh arrives from his trip abroad where he was recently honoured with an award, he will join the other stakeholders including his predecessor, Chief Sunny Kuku and retired Prof. Olaide Abass, among others, who are currently working round the clock to ensure the matter is solved as quickly as possible.
Power crisis: NREA to the rescue at OAU
With the ongoing electrification project at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), the institution is to save between N35 million and N60 million monthly, but stakeholders have condemned Nigerian universities for failure to think out of the box and be innovative enough to address power challenges confronting the system
The apparent failure or inability of the Nigerian university system, the supposed opium of development and repository of knowledge, to galvanise intellectual resources to generate electricity for its use, rather than relying on public source that has continued to hamper research and other academic development in the institutions, has for long remained a source of worry to stakeholders.
To their dissatisfaction, the failure of the system to attain such necessity, which is aimed at accelerating the overall development of the country, however, is a signal that all is not well with the nation’s university system, and other tertiary institutions.
But, last week, the authorities of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, to the surprise of some stakeholders unfolded plans to exit the National Grid in October, as the university has almost completed work on its power generation that will restore the ivory tower on the path of academic development and high research profile.
This is courtesy of the National Rural Electrification Agency (NREA) programme, a Federal Government project in partnership with the World Bank and African Development Bank for no fewer than eight universities across the country and one university teaching hospital.
On completion, the project would definitely save the university the cost of energy, accelerate and facilitate meaningful research that will impact on the lives of the people.
Under the first phase of project in the eight universities, the policy of this administration is to have a mix of sources of generating electricity through solar, wind, thermal, hydro and renewable energy, and for which the pilot universities will use either thermal or solar.
According to plans, the eight universities and one university teaching hospital that would benefit from the first phase of the electrification project had already signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with REA.
The institutions are Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi; Bayero University, Kano; Usmanu Danfodio University, Sokoto; Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi; Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Akwa, Anambra; University of Lagos, Akoka; Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Warri, Delta State; Obafemi Awolowo University and Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital, Ile-Ife, Osun State.
The project includes provision of independent power plant, upgrading existing distribution infrastructure, street lighting to improve security within the universities’ campuses, as well as the development of a world class training centre on renewable energy for each university.
The project, which is being implemented by the REA and to be developed in phases, under the first phase would deliver 28.5MW to the benefiting universities and university teaching hospital, using solar hybrid and/or gas-fired captive power plants.
Given the spate at which the project is moving, New Telegraph learnt that the National Rural Electrification Agency would test run the project in the university for one year without any financial commitment on the part of the institution before handing over the electricity project finally to the OAU management.
According to the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Eyitope Ogunbodede, who broke this cheering news at the biennial conference of the African Institute for Science Policy and Innovation, held at the university, the institution is set to complete its power plant in October to generate its own 24-hour electricity.
The project, which he said had started since 2017, would be ready by the end of October, adding that the institution was working with a rural electrification agency that would provide a gas-powered turbine which would generate 8.0 megawatts of electricity for the institution.
The electrification project after completion will save the university between N35 and N60 million on in energy cost monthly being electricity bills to Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) and money spent on diesel to power its generators to supplement electricity supply to the campus, which is irregular.
“Because of the fast pace of the work, the project will be delivered by October end. We are now very sure that by October end, the university will be generating its own electricity and what that means is that we will be off the national grid,” Ogunbodede said.
According to the Vice-Chancellor, the university’s daily energy need was below six megawatts, and that the plant would also power the institution’s teaching hospital, while its neighbouring communities would also benefit from the excess energy that the plant would generate.
He said: “We will be generating our own electricity on campus and will no longer be depending on the national grid. OAU will enjoy 24-hour power supply and that is exciting. It will enhance our research output among other developments.”
Meanwhile, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), through its National President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, said is heart-warming that some of our universities would be able to save as much as N60 million they spend monthly on diesel for the supply of electricity on their campuses.
According to him, this will also free some good funds for addressing other critical areas of need, such as teaching and research facilities.
However, he said they needed to probe further whether the new development was a product of internal research efforts or through the “special intervention” on campus power supply the immediate past Minister of Works, Housing and Power, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, was talking about.
Ogunyemi added: “My strong suspicion is that the report from OAU is not unconnected with the latter. And, if it is so, we need to look into the contents and conception of the project which also ongoing in some other campuses very closely. This is with a view to knowing cost and its sustainability potentials.
“Our experience in respect of many externally-driven projects suggests that such interventions come via loans from the IMF and World Bank at exorbitant costs to Nigeria in the long run. Such loans add to our debt profile, with potentials for further enslaving the country. They would have been unnecessary for universities if government had provided the enabling environment for relevant departments (electrical engineer, physics etc) and units of the university system to conduct cutting-edge research to launch their university communities and our nation to the expected breakthrough in power supply.”
He, however, attributed the principal reason for the inability of universities to generate their power need to the absence of the enabling environment, lamenting that the 2012 report of the Federal Government’s Committee on Needs Assessment of Nigerian Public Universities clearly showed that no meaningful research could be carried out in many faculties of Science, Engineering and Technology.
This is because in the first generation universities which the younger ones look up to, most their facilities in science and technology-related fields were obsolete.
“The cost of addressing the scandalous level of rot and decay as documented in the 2012 report was put at N1.3 trillion, but government has to date only released a total of N220 billion. That is why ASUU has consistently called for full implementation of the Needs Assessment report in order to restore the competitive research capacity of our universities,” ASUU said.
According to ASUU President, the lasting efforts of universities to generate their own electricity will only come with internal capacity for project conception, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.
But, a don at the University of Ibadan (UI) and Dean of Faculty of Arts, Prof. Ademola Dasylva, however, condemned Nigerian university system for its inability especially in the 21st Century to come up with innovations to generate electricity to power the campuses.
He, therefore, expressed regret that like all the states of the federation, the universities hardly look inward to innovate or create wealth internally for the purpose of driving their researches, and impact on their immediate environment and communities.
“Just like in all the states of the federation, the potential to create and generate wealth is always there, latent within us, waiting to be activated or tapped, but it requires the right consciousness or vision and quality leadership to motivate,” he said.
According to Dasylva, like most state governors, rather than look inward, the universities find it more convenient to always go cap-in-hand to Aso Rock for their share of the crumbs from the national cake, while the political class take the real chunk as salaries and emoluments.
However, the don applauded the authorities of the Obafemi Awolowo University for chosen to take the bull by the horns by spearheading this initiative, even as he expressed optimism that other universities and higher institutions in the country, including the University of Ibadan would take a bold step to follow suit.
While underscoring the importance of electricity to human activities, he said power was central to driving daily economic activities of the nation’s social life and germane to the basic university functions of teaching, research and learning.
He, therefore, gave kudos to the Vice-Chancellor and his management team, wondering that almost all the high institutions in the country still have to combine the use of power generating sets with the high cost of diesel for survival.
“The Obafemi Awolowo University initiative, apart from guaranteeing regular supply of electricity, it will save so much cost that would have been diverted to other academic and social services on campus,” Dasylva further explained.
Specifically, the former Executive Secretary of the Lagos State Technical and Vocational Education Board (LASTVEB), Mr. Olawumi Gasper, described the OAU’s move as “indeed gratifying,” saying that the university is to generate its own power to enhance the quality of academic activities and services.
Though, the project, according to him, is under the National Rural Electrification Agency (NREA) programmes for some universities in the country, “it would definitely save cost of energy, accelerate and facilitate meaningful research and academic programmes that would impact on the people in all spheres.
OAU, being one of the beneficiaries of the programme, Gasper, an engineer and former Rector of the Lagos State Polytechnic (LASPOTECH), said that the products and efforts of research from the university would further be commercialised in the mini-industrial clusters that would be established in the ivory tower.
He added: “This initiative will further spur mini-enterprises and with good mentorship and support from the appropriate development and financial institutions, SMEs will evolve, while employment will be generated for the youths in the immediate university community.
“With several SMEs that will grow in the university neighborhood and communities, it will be needless for any young man and women to migrate to Lagos, or other urban cities for ever-elusive jobs.”
The policy of this administration, according to him, is to have a mix of sources of generating electricity through solar, wind, thermal, hydro and renewable energy.
Gasper added: “The pilot is for the universities using either thermal or solar. For Obafemi Awolowo University, the institution’s daily energy needs is six megawatt and eight megawatts will be generated daily from the installed gas turbine, with the excess of two megawatts to benefit the neighbouring communities.”
Kalu raises the alarm over poor state of UNIABUJA
A former governor of Abia State and the current Senate Chief Whip, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, has raised concerns over the poor state of facilities, infrastructure and academic environment of the University of Abuja (UNIABUJA), describing the horrible sight as shameful.
Kalu, who was at the university for the first time to deliver the 2019 Nelson Mandela Day Lecture, lamented that the institution did not represent a university and has failed to pride itself as the pride of Nigeria, being the only Federal University in the nation’s Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
He, however, noted that unlike other universities in the country, such as the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria in Kaduna State, and the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) in Enugu State, UNIABUJA has fallen short of expectations of what a university should look like right from the main gate to other areas of the university community.
He said: “Any visitor to this university will not have good impression because there is nothing that inspires someone here. What impression will foreigners, who come here, go with? UNIABUJA ought to be an example for other institutions to emulate, but otherwise seems to be the case.
“This university ought to be likened to University of Pretoria, Cape Town in Johannesburg or other Ivy League institutions in Africa. However, the hope is not totally lost.”
Kalu, who said the hope had not totally lost, therefore, stressed the urgent need for Federal Government’s intervention in terms of an increased investment to the institution, challenging the National Universities Commission (NUC) and the management of the university to ensure the infrastructural needs of the institution was captured in the 2020 budget proposal to the Senate.
The legislator promised to mobilise legislative support for the university ahead of 2020 budget, saying: “I will brief the President of the Senate that we should look out for budget coming from the University of Abuja.”
Meanwhile, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Abdul Rasheed Na’Allah, who agreed with Dr. Kalu that university was below standard in terms of infrastructural development, assured the people that his administration, which assumed office few months ago, was already working towards repositioning the institution in all ramifications, especially in the areas of provision of infrastructure, research and innovations.
“Any Head of State or President coming to Abuja should want to visit this university, that is, the way it should be. I assure you that next time you visit the university, you will be proud to identify with us.
“This is a pledge that the University of Abuja will become the number one university in the country. That is, the way it should be in the spirit of Mandela,” he said.
LASU admits 315 sandwich degree students, warns against bad conduct
Some 315 fresh students admitted into the Lagos State University (LASU) Sandwich Degree programme at its Federal College of Education, Abeokuta, Osiele campus for 2019 academic session have been admonished to be good ambassadors of the institution by adhering to its rules and regulations.
The advice was given during the matriculation ceremony of the students, where they undertook the matriculation oath of the university to shun all forms of anti-social behaviour such as cultism, examination malpractice and other misconduct on campus, but to abide by the rules and regulations guiding the studentship.
The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Olanrewaju Fagbohun (SAN), who was represented at the ceremony by the Dean Faculty of Education, Prof. Ambrose Akinkuotu, congratulated the matriculating students and warned them to take their studies serious, as well as obey rules and regulations and eschew all kind of vices that could hinder their graduation at the appointed time.
Fagbohun also assured the students that the university management would do everything humanly possible to ensure they graduate at the right time and to collect their certificates on the day of their graduation, which has now the norm in the university.
The matriculation oath was administered on the matriculating students on behalf the Registrar, Mr. Olayinka Amuni by the Deputy Registrar, Senate Division, Mr. Emmanuel Fanu, who represented the Registrar at the event.
Meanwhile, the Director Sandwich Degree Programme of the university, Prof. Olusola Oladipupo, who coordinated the ceremony, expressed delight over what he described as the huge success of the ceremony.
Nasarawa school wins international science fair in Turkey
Pupils of PTA Nursery/Primary School, Lafia in Nasarawa State and their teachers, who represented the country in the International Science Fair in Turkey, are still savouring the excellent performance of the school in the contest.
The school emerged the overall winner of the competition, which was concluded a forthnight ago.
With the performance, the state has once again written its name in gold on the global map of education.
The feat was achieved when two primary six pupils of the school, Angel Titus Kyuni and Faruza Al-Kasim, who competed in the Junior Category of the international fair with pupils from 60 other countries across the world, came first after beating other competitors in the competition.
To win the world fair, the pupils presented an exhibition, entitled: “Watering Cycling for Agricultural Purpose,” to the admiration of the panel judges and scientists, as well as the spectators.
As a mark of honour for the pupils, school, state and the country, the authority of the school has declared a lesson free day to celebrate the giant strides achieve by the school.
The Head-Teacher of the school, Mr. Kefas Engla Allu, told New Telegraph in his office in Lafia, that the journey began at the local level of the competition on the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), where the pupils participated and qualified for the national level
According to him, at the national level, the pupils also defeated other competitors from 32 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to qualify for international level of the contest.
He said the brilliant performance of the pupils attracted the interest of a group, “Promoter of Science and Technology,” which encouraged the pupils to enroll for the competition at the International level, for which they were sponsored by the Nasarawa State Government, under Governor Abdullahi Sule.
The head-teacher further explained that on arrival from Turkey, the pupils and the team were received by the governor at a ceremony, held at the Government House in Lafia, where Governor Abdullahi doled out N1.5 million to the two pupils, the head-teacher and the Coordinator of the fair for making the school, state and the country proud.
Allu, therefore, called on government at all levels to and other institutions of learning to promote science education, especially at the elementary level in order to encourage the study of science in schools so as to produce more scientists for the country.
TVET, key driver of national economy, industrial growth – Provost
The curtains have been lowered on a three-day International Conference and Homecoming, organised by the Faculty of Vocational and Technical Education of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) in collaboration with Lucubrate Norway, an international partner.
The conference, which was declared open by the Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Charles Arinze Igwe, was attended by TVET educators, heads of Nigerian tertiary institutions, scholars from the State University of New York, officials from Norwegian Directorate of Education and Training, representatives of the European Union, captains of industries, policy makers, industrialists and students, among others.
The high point of the conference was the conferment of the Distinguished Alumni Award on the Provost of Federal College of Education (Technical), Umunze in Anambra State, Dr. Tessy Okoli by the university in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the development of Technical, Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in the country.
Also honoured by the university with Distinguished Alumni Awards at the conference are the Provost of Federal College of Education (Technical), Asaba, Dr. Anene Okeakwu and the Acting Vice-Chancellor of Adamawa State University, Prof. Kaletapwa Farauta.
The UNN Dean, Faculty of Vocational and Technical Education, Prof. Emmanuel Osinem, said the award was in recognition of Dr. Okoli’s giant strides and accomplishments in the management of vocational and technical education and overall development of the TVET sector in the country.
Osinem further explained that the Faculty of Vocational and Technical Education was the first in sub-Saharan African, which was founded in 1963, with the core mandate of preparing teachers to equip the youths with technical, vocational and entrepreneurship skills in schools.
“Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) is central to the achievements of sustainable growth in industries because they need people with the right set of knowledge, skills and attitude to grow. However, the skills deficit in various industries as well as the economic situation in many African countries, including poverty and unemployment, suggest that the TVET institutions may not be delivering their mandate successfully,” the Dean said.
While receiving the award, Dr. Okoli, who obtained her first and second degrees at UNN, commended the university for pioneering the establishment of the Faculty of Vocational and Technical Education in sub-Saharan Africa.
The Provost described vocational education as a key driver of Nigerian economy, stressing that the international conference would go a long way in strengthening the commitment of stakeholders towards TVET activities in the country.
“At FCET, Umunze, we are driving vocational education to equip our students with entrepreneurship skills. Our students are trained to acquire the latent skills to become job creators, and not job seekers. I am grateful to Prof. Olaitan and other Professors from this Faculty, who groomed many of us and made us what we are today. I am particularly excited with the growing interest in vocational and technical education across tertiary institutions in the country,” she said.
We’ve rid Ambrose Alli Varsity of cultism, other vices – VC
For almost two hours, last week, the Vice-Chancellor of the Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma, Prof. Ignatius Onimawo, before the principal officers and other members of the university community gave the score card of his over three-year administration.
According to him, the major areas of concern of the administration on assumption of office was how to give the university a new brand and change its outlook from a mere glorifying secondary school to a university of international standard through massive infrastructural development, curtail cultism and other anti-social misdemeanor among students on campus, and to make sure that cult activities became a thing of the past on campus.
“Cultism and other social vices are now a thing of the past in the university. For over 36 years of its existence, the institution has made a lot of progress, but that to me, has not been enough. The institution before now had issues with cultism and all kinds of evil practices, but our joy is that over the last few years, successive administrations have fought these evils to a standstill. As we speak now cultism and other sharp practices are at the lowest ebb at Ambrose Alli University,” he said.
Onimawo, who assumed office on May 11, 2016, said before his assumption of duties he had already crafted for his administration a vision and mission of resilience and commitment, as well as put in place strategic plans to be actualised during his tenure.
The vision, according to him, is that at the end of his five-year tenure, he would have left the university better than he met it, in terms of repositioning it as the best ivory tower in the country among the best 10 universities.
The Vice-Chancellor, who noted that university system was not all about students and academics, said provision of adequate and relevant infrastructure and facilities, as well as enabling environment for teaching, learning and research to thrive also take the centre stage in the development of a university.
He, however, told journalists how displeasing was the state of infrastructure and the dearth of facilities confronting the university over the years, where the available few structures on ground could be described as poultry houses.
To address this, he said the management approached the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) and Federal Ministry of Education on how to access some of the university’s funds trapped in the agency, as the funds had not been accessed for three years.
Towards accessing TETFund intervention, the last Governing Council raised money to complete the Faculty of Social Sciences complex which had been abandoned by the contractor.
Now, with this on ground the Vice-Chancellor said that TETFund allowed the university access its entire three years intervention funds, which was spent to build the new Faculty of Laboratory Sciences and Faculty of Physical Sciences.
After the completion of the projects, the university was able have access to the Special High Impact Intervention also from TETFund.
“Last year only, six universities were selected to benefit from this special fund, and Ambrose Alli University was selected to enjoy N3 billion Special High Impact Intervention to build three faculties, above the two specified by the agency under the grant,” he added.
Onimawo, however, listed the projects being executed with the funds to include Department of Mass Communication, Faculty of Education and Faculty of Management Sciences, which construction is ongoing, because the university had no Department of Mass Communication.
Basking the euphoria of his administration’s developmental stride, the Vice-Chancellor hinted that by November, this year, the university would admit its first set of students into the Mass Communication Department.
So far, he noted that more than 33 projects had been completed through TETFund and the Needs Assessments under the Federal Government’s interventions in which about N740 million had been accessed by the university.
Other areas of assistance, the Vice-Chancellor added, came from the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), which tarred some of the university access roads; Shell Company, which donated an ICT centre and the Tony Elumelu Foundation that donated examination centre to the institution.
With the vision: “To have a first class university that would be rated as the best state university and among the best ten in Nigeria in knowledge and skill for efficient service delivery,” Onimawo attributed the state-of-the-art facilities and equipment on ground to the management’s commitment to offer the best in the business of human development through education.
This was as he added that with the deployment of Information Communication Technology (ICT) for its operations, the institution had eliminated bad conduct, especially among lecturers in the areas of missing examination scripts, sex for marks and other sharp practices that had in the past given the university bad image.
“Areas where ICT has been of immense help to our operations include the Senate meetings, presentation of examination results and compilation of student results, student registration, payment of school fees, among others,” the Vice-Chancellor said, insisting that efforts had been intensified to sanitise the university of all forms of excesses and to encourage excellence among students.
The vice-chancellor added: “We no longer have such cases on this campus and the minor instances you still hear about is definitely not inside the campus. We have the vision to become the best state university in Nigeria and one of the first 10 universities in the country.”
He further explained that his past three-year administration has witnessed monumental innovation, especially in the area of elimination of money for marks for 100-Level and 200-Level students, and this innovation has also given the university 99 per cent compliance to payment of school fees.
“One of the things we introduced was computer-based examination especially for 100-Level and 200-Level undergraduates, whereby the students’ results are shown immediately he or she is through with the examination. The issue of missing scripts is no longer part of our system and this has also helped us to achieve at least 99 per cent payment of school fees because once a student does not register he cannot log in to write our examinations,” the Vice-Chancellor noted.
As part of moves to address infrastructural development needs of the institution, Onimawo recalled that the university through the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) is setting aside N3 billion for the construction several projects, including Faculty of Education and Management Science, Mass Communication Department, Faculty of Physical Science, among others.
Meanwhile, the Vice-Chancellor hinted that the state government-led by the Governor and Visitor to the university, Godwin Obaseki, had promised to complete the multi-million naira administrative building complex.
He lauded the state government for being regular in the release of monthly subventions to the institution, which he said had gone a long way in ensuring the payment of staff salary and other allowances.
On the crisis between the management of the university and the Chairman of the university’s Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Prof. Monday Igbafen, Onimawo said though there was an on-going intervention by the local chapter of the union, the case is still being investigated by the police.
Crisis looms at AAUA, UNIMED, others over retirement age, staff pension
The Chairman of the Ekiti State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Prof. Francisca Aladejana has warned head-teachers against collection of illegal fees from pupils in public primary schools in the state.
This was as he declared that any teacher caught sending pupils away from school on account of non-payment of fees or any form of levies, would be severely sanctioned.
Aladejana gave the warning in a meeting with the SUBEB management with head-teachers of public primary schools across the 16 Local Government Areas of the state.
According to her, by the provisions of Governor Kayode Fayemi’s Executive Order 1 of 2018, and the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) Act, basic education is free and compulsory for all children of school age in the state, and the country in general.
While adding that the governor had mandated SUBEB to ensure that no child is being sent out of school on account of non-payment of fees, the Chairman said: “It is a gross violation of the Universal Basic Education Commission Act for pupils to be charged fees no matter under what guise.”
Aladejana further explained that the Governor Fayemi’s administration was working persistently towards ensuring and providing a conducive teaching and learning environment in the state schools.
“Existing school buildings and other critical infrastructure are currently undergoing renovation while efforts are in top gear to provide pupils and teachers’ furniture, toilet facilities, construction of perimeter fencing, and building of new structures, among others, are being put in place in order to give basic education a boost in the state.
The SUBEB Chairman urged teachers to redouble their efforts in the task of providing qualitative basic education to pupils, saying that apart from giving the welfare of teachers topmost priority, the governor recently approved the payment of running grants for the entire three terms of the 2018/2019 academic session to all public schools in the state.
Aladejana, who enjoined teachers to key into the various reforms in the basic education sector in the state, especially the training and retraining of teachers, introduction of child-friendly initiatives and provision of modern teaching techniques, however, reiterated that education remains one of the pillars of the Governor Fayemi-led administration.
The chairman noted that the support and cooperation of all critical stakeholders in the sector were required by government in its quest to return the state to its pride of place in the field of education, warning members of staff of the Local Government Education Authorities, head teachers and other stakeholders against demanding for gratification from the contractors handling school projects.
She also declared that the present administration had zero tolerance for corruption and sharp practices, especially in the school system.
Responding, a head-teacher, Mr. Femi Ojo, thanked the Board for the meeting and promised to acquaint the teachers with government policies and plans for the development of the basic education subsector.
“No reasonable individual would want to circumvent and be a clog on the wheels of progress of what the state government is doing in basic education,” the teacher noted.
Also addressing head-teachers in Ilejemeje, Moba, Oye,Ido/Osi Ijero and Efon Local Government Areas, the Commissioner II of the Board, Mr. Kayode Adeoye, urged teachers to shun absenteeism, lateness to duties, partisan politics and other vices that could affect their productivity.
FG to review ownership, governance of AUST
Following the myriad of challenges confronting the African University of Science and Technology (AUST), Abuja, arising from disagreement among management staff of the institution, the Federal Government has set up an Administrative Audit Panel to review its proprietorship, academic affairs, governance, financial and physical development.
Inaugurating the panel in Abuja, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Mr. Sonny Echono, noted that based on findings of a committee set by the National Universities Commission (NUC) to investigate a report tendered before the Commission, it was discovered that the current governance structure of the university was irregular and not in line with the university law.
According to him, the National Universities Commission in 2017 received a report from concerned stakeholders expressing worry over the management crisis impeding the day-to-day administration and operational activities of the university.
Some of the challenges raised in the report among others, include ownership, governance structure, academic activities, funding and assets of the university, as well as allegation of sale of the university land.
Echono noted: “After careful consideration of the findings and recommendations of the team in August 2017, it was noted that the African University of Science and Technology is jointly owned by the Federal Government and Nelson Mandela Institute (NMI).
“The AUST is incorporated as Limited Company, under the Companies and Allied Matters Act of 1990 and is limited by guarantee. The Directors as listed in the incorporation documents are, therefore, representatives of the owners and not in their personal capacity.
“The continuous retention of the name Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as one of the Directors, representing the Federal Government of Nigeria is contrary to the incorporation agreement as well as the legal instruments of the AUST, and consequently, flawed.”
He also added: The university has no governing council in line with known best practices. The board, therefore, takes decisions on matters that should have normally been the responsibility of the council. There is currently no representative of the Nigerian Government on the Board of Trustees.
Association to invigorate integrity campaign in schools, communities
The Ondo State chapter of Aquinas College Old Students Association (ACAOSA) has reiterated commitment to take and invigorate integrity campaign in communities across the state especially in the students and the entire citizenry, as a way of inculcating good moral and conduct.
Its newly elected President, Dr. Ademola Akinsorotan, who disclosed this during his inauguration as the fourth President of ACAOSA 83-88/89 Set, said integrity signposts would be erected within communities across the state.
Other executive members inaugurated at the ceremony are Stephen Adedipe (vice president); Dr. Sanmi Aina (General Secretary); Adewole Adeleke (Public Relations Officer); Olumide Akinwande (Financial Secretary); Tunde Adejuyigbe (Treasurer) and Musa Samuel Ademuyiwa as Auditor.
The other elected officers are Robinson Ariyo (chief whip); Yinka Ijabiyi (Lagos axis); Pastor Emmanuel Arowosafe (UK axis); Rowland Onigari (Akure axis); Debiyi Adigun (Abuja axis) and Gbenga Jemilugba (U.S.A axis).
In his inaugural speech, Akinsorotan said his leadership would work to further inculcate virtue of integrity and hard work in school children, particularly students of Aquinas College.
He noted: “We are going to ensure that every student of Aquinas imbibes integrity. One of the stanzas of our school anthem says: Ancient glory retain, aim for life special goal. All of us must embrace this slogan: Fulfillment without Stain, that’s integrity, in body, mind and soul.
“We are going to start from secondary schools and we would make sure people uphold integrity in whatever they do to further boost the image of the state.”
Akinsorotan also stressed among other things that his administration, tagged: “Unity Government” would ensure peace and unity among the rank and files of members of the association, empowerment of members and re-visit the scholarship programme instituted by the association, as well as introduce career enlightenment support to the college.
He, however, solicited the support of members including the past leaders towards ensuring the success of the new administration.
Earlier, the immediate past President, Temitope Famuti, thanked members for their support, which he said had gone a long way in making the outgone executive members to achieved success during their two-year tenure, adding the outgone leadership had been able to justify the confidence reposed in it despite the ups and downs facing during their tenure.
He listed some of his achievements in the last two years to include unity of members, better welfare of members, assistance to some of their colleagues, and donation of N500,000 for the renovation of the school laboratory, among others.
The Transitional Committee (TC) Chairman, Yinka Banso, lauded the leadership of the association for piloting the affairs of the association in the past, just as he called for unity and love among members to ensure the progress of the association.
In his goodwill message, a senior member of the association, Mr. Lanre Abiodun recalled that the school had produced icons in all spheres of endeavour, including the current Governor of the state, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN).
He urged newly inaugurated executive to give back to the school to further uplift and sustain its good name.
MAUSTECH: Abiodun’s not pursuing ethnic agenda – Ogun govt
Ogun State government has said its action on the Moshood Abiola University of Science and Technology (MAUSTECH), Abeokuta was devoid of any ethnic agenda.
The government also warned a socio-economic group, Abeokuta Club, against giving tribal coloration to Governor Dapo Abiodun’s decision on MAUSTECH, which was established by his predecessor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun.
The Abeokuta Club, through its president, Engr Tokunbo Odebunmi, had at the weekend kicked against the governor’s request to the House of Assembly to amend the law establishing the institution, saying it was filled with “hidden agenda” and against the interest of the Egba people.
But reacting in a statement issued on Monday by the governor’s Special Adviser on Information, Mrs Modele Sarafa-Yusuf, the government said the allegation that it was executing a hidden agenda in favour of any group or people in the state was grossly unfair.
Sarafa-Yusuf said MAUSTECH only exists in name as there were no structures on the ground to administer the institution.
She frowned at the attempt by the Abeokuta Club to impugn government’s decision to resolve the impasse at the Moshood Abiola Polytechnic (MAPOLY), Abeokuta and bring temporary respite to thousands of students there.
While noting that the current government inherited a protracted crisis at MAPOLY over its status that had been changed to MAUSTECH, the special adviser asked interested members of the public to await the report of the committee set up by the state government to review the operational modalities of MAUSTECH and Ogun State Polytechnic, Ipokia.
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