By Olubusuyi Adenipekun
The 26th convocation ceremony of Yaba College of Technology, which took place last Friday December 4, 2009, was marked by a lot of interesting developments.
The ceremony was originally slated for 10 a.m. on that day. But when the polytechnic authorities realised that the Minister of Education, Dr. Sam Ominyi Egwu, who is the visitor to the institution, would not be able to turn up for the event at that time, it was quickly shifted to 2 p.m. of the same day.
However, Egwu, who had to present and defend his ministryâ€™s budget for 2010 at the National Assembly on that day, could not make the graduation ceremony until 4 p.m. And the congregation had to wait till his arrival.
For both Sam Egwu and the institutionâ€™s outgoing rector, Mr. Olubunmi Owoso, the convocation was a unique one. It was the first polytechnic convocation to be personally attended by Egwu and it was the last convocation to be attended by Owoso as rector since his tenure expired yesterday, December 9, having served as rector for eight years. In fact, the convocation ceremony was probably the last public appearance for Owoso in his capacity as rector.
Apart from Egwuâ€™s attendance, the ceremony was also different from previous ones because of the calibre of dignitaries who graced the occasion.
The roll call included the Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, the Executive Secretary of the National Board of Technical Education, Dr. Nuru Yakubu and rectors and provosts from other institutions.
Five eminent Nigerians were given Fellowship Award at the occasion. Four of them personally turned up for the event. These include Otunba Gbenga Daniel, Ogun State governor; Professor Mahmood Yakubu, Executive Secretary, Education Trust Fund; Dr. Olu Alabi, Chairman of Governing Council, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife and Chief Emmanuel Unachukwu, Chairman of Yaba College Alumni Association. Comrade Adams Oshiomole, the Edo State governor, who is the fifth recipient of the Honourary Fellowship Award, sent a representative.
The Fellowship Award of the polytechnic, according to Owoso, is usually conferred on distinguished personalities by virtue of their outstanding achievements and contributions to the development of society, adding that the award, which is the highest honour in the institution, was instituted in 1992.
A total number of 14,364 for three sessions graduated at the levels of National Diploma, Higher National Diploma and Post-graduate Diploma.
For the 2007/2008 session, out of 1,140 HND graduands, 23 of them obtained distinction grade, 391 upper credit, 509 lower credit and 217 pass grade.
At the ND level, out of 1,090 graduands, 41 obtained distinction, 198 upper credit, 448 lower credit and 353 graduands had pass grade.
Owosoâ€™s address at the occasion was, indeed, a valedictory one and he used the occasion to present his scorecard. He said that his administration, which came on board in 2001, successfully implemented its agenda of academic and professional development, promotion of staff and student welfare, infrastructure and physical development, institution of effective and inclusive management, promotion of revenue generation and cost control, attraction of resource inflow through external and public relations and inculcation of discipline and efficient service delivery.
He revealed that his management introduced Entrepreneurship Education and ICT into the curriculum of the college and has been able to create ICT revolution, established the Applied Research and Technology innovation unit as well as the Academic Planning and Quality Assurance Unit, adding that the ETF special intervention grant of N1.5 billion will be judiciously applied to further the transformation of the college into a centre of excellence and a highly rated global institution.