AKURE – GOVERNOR Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State has vowed to make the state owned Adekunle Ajasin University the university of first choice in Nigeria.
Speaking, yesterday, at the convocation of the university, Akeredolu restated his commitment to the funding of the institution, just as he appealed to the worthwhile alumni of the university to contribute to the development of the citadel of learning.
His words: “I welcome you all to the 8th Convocation Ceremony of this great university, most enthusiastically. I must reserve effusive commendations for the staff and students of this institution for making this event possible. I have the singular honour of participating in this momentous occasion.
I congratulate today’s graduands for being found worthy in character and learning. I also rejoice with their parents, guardians and family members on achieving this milestone at a most challenging period in the life of our country. The training and the eventual discharge of the celebrants of today, armed with requisite skills and competencies to compete with their peers across the globe and impart a world waiting to benefit from the acquired knowledge and entrepreneurship skills.
“An especial mention must be made of the 31 graduands who made First Class. We are proud of these achievers and it is our hope that they will continue to uphold the kernels of distinction in their chosen fields.
“As a visitor, I am proud to lead a university that has become an international toast within 19 years of its existence in a nation where older institutions are struggling to earn a name. It is therefore my privilege to pay tribute to the forebears of this university for donating a First Class University to our State and to humanity. I would also like to appreciate all the leaderships of the university from inception for bearing the torch of excellence handed over to them with courage and equanimity.
“I have been reliably informed that the university has instituted scholarship schemes for indigent and gifted students while also partnering with notable institutions across the world to deliver excellence to the institution. The university also provided financial support to the physically challenged students of the university, to the tune of half of their school fees for the year. I would like to thank members of Council for institututionalising these initiatives and students’ support schemes.
“It is gratifying that the students and graduates of this university are winning laurels and making waves globally. I would like to charge them to push these strides to a large scale so that Adekunle Ajasin University would be established as a global champion.
”This university is founded by its founding fathers on the vision of excellence. This vision, crafted and delivered on the occasion of the founding of the University on November 5, 1999, a few months before the birth of the information-communication-technology-driven 21st Century, speaks to the visionary leadership and initiative of our forebears. It also continues to give direction and impact to the University and power its dream and achievements in the last 19 years of its existence. It is our responsibility, as stakeholders, to continue to adapt this vision from time to time, to achieve the set goal and run with it for optimum results.
“On our honour as an administration, we will continue to find new, realistic and dynamic ways to build on and sustain the illustrious achievements of the university.
“I am enthused by the relative peace and regular academic calendar that this University has enjoyed in the last nine years. I thank the University Management, staff and students for their relentless efforts at making this University comparative to world-class institutions in a nation where crises and irregular calendar have unfortunately become a culture.
“More than ever, Nigerian universities are currently facing daunting resource challenges. The nation has moved from the unfortunate era of perceived government reluctance or refusal to fund education to the period of sore paucity of funds. Yet, our universities and other tiers of education do not only have to be funded, they have to be put on a competitive pedestal.
“There is a need for us to adopt a creative and realistic approach to the funding of education. We need to move from what is convenient to what is practicable, from populist approach to realistic methodology, from what is ephemerally and politically correct to what is economically and developmentally sustainable. The path to tread is for everybody, including corporate organizations to join hands with Government in funding education, as Government alone cannot fund education.
“While as a government and proprietor of this University, we will continue to do our best to sustain the achievements of this University, we would like to appeal to all stakeholders to seek age-old and time-tested creative ways that have long been adopted by world-acclaimed universities to build our common heritage. The vision of our government is to deliver functional and qualitative education to its citizenry. It is our belief that achieving this is a collective effort and that, as a government, we hold the torch in this regard.
The University must also enter into mutual and workable partnerships with corporate organisations to institute chairs and build infrastructure for their Faculty and other arms of the University.
“There can be no better time for the University to aggressively pursue its internally-generated revenue drive than this period of financial dire straits. The University must engage in aggressive capital campaign, and engage in cutting-edge researches, which must be patented to generate huge revenue.
‘”I would like to appeal to all the well-meaning and philanthropic sons and daughters of this State to join hands with government to build a university that was conceived by its founding fathers as “a foremost university that moves manpower development in the direction of self-apprenticeship; a First-Class University in research, knowledge, character and service to humanity”.
“From available records, this University has hugely engaged in collaborative efforts with other universities at home and abroad to deepen its academic programmes. It is also noted for merit-driven admission, which has delivered scores of awards since its inception. I urge the University to continue on this path so that it can be ranked among best universities on the continent in no distant future.
“The achievements of this University are proof that it has the capacity to be ranked among top 10 universities in Nigeria and top 50 in Africa. What is left is for it to cultivate its Faculty, engage in cutting-edge researches and aggressively improve on its web presence. I urge the University to urgently seek realistic strategies to achieve this feat.”