Kabiru Adeyemo, the Vice-Chancellor of the Lead City University, Ibadan, is a Professor of Management and Accounting, lawyer and Certified Fraud Examiner. In this interview with BIYI ADEGOROYE, he gives an insight into the growth of the first private university in Ibadan, and development in the university system
Representatives of the National Universities Commission (NUC) have just visited the university. Can you give us an insight into the purpose of the visit?
The National Universities Commission teams were here on resource assessment visit for new academic programmes in the university. The courses are Social Works in the Faculty of Social Sciences, Medical Laboratory Science, Radiography, Forensic Science, Cyber Security, Information Technology, and under the Faculty of Basic Medical and Applied Sciences; Civil Engineering, Electrical Electronics Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Software Engineering, Information System and Wood Products Engineering under the Faculty of Engineering. These are the new courses for which various NUC accreditation teams came for resource assessment and verification. They were very impressed with the level of facilities and infrastructure put in place by this university, as well as the quality of human resources on ground. We are optimistic that, we are going to get positive results from the assessment of the programmes. Indeed, approval of those courses will definitely make the university more robust, effective and efficient.
Not too long ago the products of the Faculty of Law were admitted into the Law School, how do you feel about this given the controversy on your Law programme with the NUC?
To the glory of God our students are now in the Nigerian Law School. This would not have been possible if not assistance we got from the NUC, Council of Legal Education, and management of the university. The university worked hard to ensure that our students were mobilised for admission into the Law School. And, now that they are there, we are confident that they are going to perform very well. As we speak, our students are front liners in most of the committees at the Nigerian Law School. Our Law programme is a very formidable one. It has attracted many people from far and near.
We have several stakeholders, who are currently in the programme as students, including commissioners, politicians, directors of companies, technocrats, businessmen and women. Definitely, this is because of the confidence they have in the university and its programmes. If you have been to our Faculty of Law, you will agree with me that we have adequate and modern facilities.
The library is well equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and virtual books, such as periodicals, current textbooks and recent court cases and law reports. All these are available in our Law Faculty Library and we also have qualified teaching and nonteaching staff to train the students. That is one of the reasons the faculty is fast becoming vibrant and attracting more students.
The success story, so far, for the university is that this is a university where we believe that nothing is impossible and we are taking good care of our students. Our students come first in our priority and we treat them as Kings. Our only source of fund is the student’s enrollment.
When it comes to the issue of academic programmes, we make sure we put everything we have into it because we don’t compromise standard in whatever form. Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, the Executive Secretary of NUC, has visited the university on two occasions and he was impressed with what he met on ground.
The university has witnessed tremendous growth dur-ing his tenure, because all the programmes the university presented for verification and accreditation scaled through. Our other success story is the cohesion and understanding within the management. I enjoy the support of the management, teaching and non-teaching staff. Above all, the Pro-Chancellor/Chairman of Council has been there for us, and highly supportive. Where we are today, is as a result of teamwork and collective performance. Recently, I travelled to the U.S.A, where I met some of our former students who are doing exceedingly well.
The joy of it is that we have very conducive environment and all the actors in the system are doing well. Another thing is that here, everyone know what to do at the right time and that is why we are getting the results. This is not an institution where any lecturer will frustrate a student. We do not frustrate anyone here, and the students know who to go to for anything. They have Head of Departments, who coordinates the departments, and we also have the faculties, where we have the Deans. We have a robust system which makes the university to be a unique institution.
What is the university’s level of compliance with NUC standards?
We are 95 per cent compliant with the system. I mentioned earlier that NUC came here for resources assessment. In verification and accreditation exercise, there are benchmarks, and there is what we call the minimum benchmark. It is called NUC BMAS and these are what NUC will look for whenever they come for accreditation. For instance, they will look at the staffing, infrastructure, equipment, lecture halls/theatres, library, laboratories, quality of staff and the students’ entry requirements. We have 61 academic programmes. We don’t have denied accreditation for any of our programmes.
In fact, if you visit some institutions, including public universities, there are many of them with denied accreditation status for some of their programmes. In some universities, they cannot admit students into 100-Level in some courses, but to the glory of God, we do not have such problems, because we try as much as possible to ensure we comply with the NUC BMAS. The minimum requirement by NUC standards is six lecturers to a department, but here we make sure we have minimum of eight lecturers. We know that for us to get this, we have to do extra work.
So there is no short cut to accreditation. If you don’t have all that is required, you can never get it and we have them, and we make sure we don’t compromise standard. We have a Quality Control Unit that makes sure lecturers are in classes regularly. And, if a lecturer is not in class, he or she already knew the penalty.
The Heads of Department are also there to make sure that the lecturers do what they are supposed to do.We have different organs, and level of administration in the university, including the HODs, Faculty Heads, and Faculty Board. Interestingly, there is a symbiotic relationship among the departments, faculties and the Vice-Chancellor’s Office. To a large extent, Lead City University aligns and believes in quality assurance because there is probably nothing a university can do without accreditation. It is key and germane; and as no parent will want to send his or her child to an institution where the courses are not accredited by the regulatory and accreditation bodies.
For instance, very soon we are going to get results for the recently conducted NUC resource assessment and we hope to as well present other new courses. Our students are being trained in entrepreneurship to be self-reliant, so that at the end of their programme, they will be job creators, and not job seekers.
In this regards, we have stronger collaboration with some professional bodies, including the Chartered Institute of Taxation, Chartered Institute of Bankers, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria and the Nigerian Society of Engineers. Indeed, with our partnership with the Chartered Institute of Taxation, it means students that come for Masters Degree in Finance, Accounting or MBA will get dual certificates. They will have professional certificate and their Masters’ Degree. Also, we have a Fashion and Lifestyle Academy, where we train our students and interested members of public in the art of fashion designing and digital photography, so that they can be professionals, for them to have their studios and create jobs after their graduation. We have many of our students who are already making waves as employers of labour.
Lead City University is a university of first choice for any student as they know that by coming here you have the opportunity to gain a lot, such as networking, exposure and how to adapt to situations. We have a course that we call Introduction to Entrepreneurship. This course is compulsory for all students at the undergraduate level, and postgraduate class in which the students are taught how to become entrepreneurs. We motivate and encourage them. We strongly believe that this will serve as an impetus to motivate them towards self-development and selfactualization.
The manner in which private universities are churning out First Class graduates has continued to dominate discussions. What is your reaction to this?
I don’t believe that is an issue. Private universities are using the same course contents as public universities and the same course description. I can also tell you that if not for the emergence of private universities, the Nigerian educational system would have been in chaos. Look at what private universities have done as a whole in terms of employment generation.
They have created employment for a large number of people; a large number of students have been able to secure admission through private universities and they have been able to fulfill their dreams as there are limited placements, positions in our public universities. In this university, before a student can obtain First Class, such a student must have performed excellently well. At our last convocation, our best graduating student, had a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 5 points, and this student went to study in the United Kingdom and there she was given an award.
Let me say without sounding immodest that anywhere our students go, they are usually first among equals, our lectures are superb and we have our own unique way of doing things to achieve our goals. We guide our students; we give them assignments, rigorous and effective lectures. Here at Lead City University, we make our students to work hard. The system we run is student-friendly; our target is to make sure our students are well trained and exposed not only to their immediate community, but to the international community, so that at the end of the day they are adequately equipped for the challenges of the 21st century. They can confidently protect the good name of the university, as well as project good image for themselves.
Given the fact that the university doesn’t get allocations from governments, do you receive assistance from other organisations?
That is another area we are seriously exploring. We have many universities that wanted to collaborate with us. Last year, I was in Boston in the United States with two other members of our academic staff to receive an award from Seedling Labs. We won that grant, from which we are to benefit some scientific equipment, which are being expected to arrive anytime soon. We won the grant alongside the University of Ibadan. We are in the process of consolidation and we are ready to partner with wellmeaning individuals and corporate bodies. All hands are on deck, to make sure that Lead City University is one of the best universities in Nigeria, since we have the best high quality facilities and we expose our students to global perceptive, independence and self reliance.
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