By Emmanuel Edukugho
Attestation to former President Olusegun Obasanjoâ€™s love for education came from eminent persons across the world at the Maiden Convocation of Bells University of Technology (BUT), Ota, Ogun State, for the conferment of degrees and presentation of prizes, last Saturday.
The ceremony also involved installation of the first chancellor, Professor Akinlawon Ladipo Mabogunje.
List of Graduating Students Bachelor of Science Degree (BSC) 2008/2009 session, showed a total of thirteen (13) graduands from College of Natural and Applied Sciences, four of them in first class, six in second class upper and three coming out in second class lower. The Departments of BiologicalÂ Sciences (Microbiology) had three Chemical Sciences (Biochemistry) had one, and Physical Sciences (physics with electronics) producing four graduands.
Professor Isaac Adebayo Adeyemi, Vice-Chancellor, in his address, took a retrospective look saying that the idea for Bells University of Technology was conceived by the desire of the Bells Educational Foundation to establish a unique university where the good foundation given to products of its secondary school and other secondary schools could be built upon.
â€œTo ensure uniqueness, the foundation decided to establish a University that would offer courses which would support relevant and sustainable technologies that were transferable, ICT-driven, and at the cutting edge of science and technology.â€
On 9th June 2005, the Bells Educational Foundation was issued with a licence for the operation of a private university. Bells University of Technology.
â€œIn view of the desire to commence both administrative and academic activities at the University within the academic session, NUC approved that the Ota site situated along the Bells Drive, off Ota-Idiroko Road, which had physical structures and some facilities in place, would serve as the take-off site of the University.â€
Adeyemi said the University was pursuing a 3-phased development of its academic programmes which would culminate in the establishment of six colleges. The six colleges approved by the National Universities Commission are College of Natural and Applied Sciences, College of Food Sciences, College of Information and Communications Technology, College of Engineering, College of Environmental Sciences and College of Management Sciences.
Commencement of academic and studentsâ€™ enrolment began on Sunday, 23rd October and Monday, 24th October, 2005 with the arrival of the firstÂ few students for clearance and payment of school fees.
He congratulated the graduating students, describing them as our â€œfirst fruitsâ€, while also rejoicing with their parents and guardians.
â€œThese past four sessions, Bells University of Technology had been nurturing the academic pursuit of you graduating students, laying a solid educational foundation through lectures and tutorials, through theories and practicals, and through examinations and continuous assessment tests,â€ adding, â€œthe University is happy for you all as you have thoroughly satisfied its academic and moral expectations.â€
Immediate past President of Ghana, John Agyekum Kufuor was among the three eminent persons conferred with honorary degrees of Doctor of Science (D.Sc. Honoris Causa).
The other two are Ambassador Andrew Young, former United States permanent representative to the UN, and Professor Bartholomew Okechukwu Nnaji, a former Federal Minister of Science and Technology, who had published nine books in a row, all of them masterpieces that included the legendary Theory of Automated Robot Assembly and Programming and Computer Integrated Manufacturing and Engineering which won him the M. Eugene Merchant Best Book Award in 1994.
Speaking on behalf of the three honorary degree awardees, Mr. Kufuor, an outstanding scholar who studied law at Lincolnâ€™s Inn, London where he was called to the English Bar in 1961 at the age of 22, before proceeding to Oxford University for his BA degree in 1964 in Economics, Philosophy and Politics, conferred, in Oxfordâ€™s tradition with MA degree of the University, thanked Bells University of Technology for honouring them.
â€œIâ€™ve always believed that Obasanjo is one of the greatest African leaders with love for education. I believe in education as a tool for national development.â€
In his citation, it was stated that in December 2000, Kufuor won Ghanaâ€™s presidential election and sworn in as president of Ghana on January 9, 2001. In December 2004, he was re-elected for his second and final term.
His period as president of Ghana was characterized by unprecedented economic growth and political stability.
Ogun State governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, in his own remarks at the convocation ceremony, described former President Olusegun Obasanjo, believed to be the promoter of Bells Tech, as â€œone of the greatest Nigerians alive who has embraced humility, sitting down there quietly and whose name was not even in the brochures of the university.â€
Daniel prayed that the graduands will excel in life and make outstanding contributions to nation building. Minister of Education, Dr. Sam Egwu, congratulated the University for the maiden convocation.
He said that the Federal Government recognised the role of private investment in education and assured that government will provide conducive environment for establishment of private universities in the country.
Professor Akinlawon Mabogunje was installed as the first chancellor of Bells University of Technology.
Prof. Mabogunjeâ€™s field of specialisation is geography. He is said to have traversed the length and breadth of this universe preaching the gospel of Regional Geography, Urban Geography, Economic Geography and Historical Geography.
â€œThere seems to be nothing said about Geography of the world that Professor Mabogunje has not said before in theses, and dissertations at conferences, Workshops and Seminars, in lectures, (private, public and inaugural); in books and articles in learned journals, and his enduring legacy of consultancy services,â€ according to the citation of him.
To quote Mabogunje in the discipline of Geography is to quote â€œa dependable, competent, and impeccable source.â€ Scholars in Geography all over the world, tumble over one another just to cite him, to footnote him and to acknowledge him, in order to give credence and credibility to their research works.
He has published over twenty books, and has to his credit, well over one hundred articles/reviews, published in learned journals based in London, Ibadan, California, Oxford, Chicago, Rome, Paris, New York, The Hague, Lagos, etc.