FOR its unwavering devotion to functional education through emphasis on technology, entrepreneurship and technical skills, Nigeria’s premier technical university, First Technical University (Tech-U), Ibadan has been commended.
This accolade came its way during the University’s first Annual Distinguished University Lecture held last Thursday.
Speaking at the event, the Executive Governor of Oyo State and Visitor to the University, Engr. Seyi Makinde, represented by his deputy, Engr. Rauf Olaniyan, lauded Tech-U for its unique brand of education and for blazing the trail in bridging the skills gap of young people in the country.
The Visitor, who also inspected exhibitions of products made by Tech-U students during the ceremony, said he was impressed with the various innovative products on display and charged the University to continually think out of the box.
While commending the Lecture, he said that there is a need for the recalibration of the university system to meet up with the demands of a fast-paced knowledge economy.
Assuring of Government’s support, he noted that the Oyo State government under Engineer Makinde’s administration holds education in high esteem.
On his part, the Guest Lecturer, Professor Toyin Falola, who is the Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities at the University of Texas at Austin, also extolled the strides made by Tech-U since debuted two years ago.
He said, “When oil finishes, Nigeria will fall back to products of the Tech-U. It is certain that this University will play a critical role in the transformation of both the city of Ibadan and Nigeria as a whole”.
Speaking on the theme, Technology, Culture and Society, Falola noted, “Apparently, a tertiary institution like the First Technical University in Nigeria is long overdue in a country as big as Nigeria. Saddled with the responsibility to develop our youths in preparing them to meet up with the prevailing challenges of the society, the University holds enough promises in grooming brilliant youths as a way to anchor our journey to technological revolution that will fill the spaces that were plagued with abandonment and catapult us to position of envy where we would enjoy the privilege of global competitions in solving problems.”
“I must concede, ladies and gentlemen, that the offered courses in the First Technical University spell clearly their social and educational mandates and the roads to achieving these goals have been cleverly mapped out. Courses such as Mechatronics Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Food Sciences and Technology, Cyber Security, Computer Science, Software Engineering, Physics with Electronics, Petroleum Engineering, Industrial Chemistry and Statistics show exclusively that the University’s planners are in tune with the educational currency of the global community and are committed to making groundbreaking accomplishments in this respect. Coupled with the fact that they are combining intelligence with skill acquisitions, they are, as a result, paving ways for a generation of problem solvers and financially stable individuals who would compete well in globally dynamic markets”.
He counselled that for Nigeria to be competitive in the global economy, the country needs to incentivize productivity. In doing this, he said, “the nation needs a level of national discipline to cultivate the habit of productivity through the appropriate use of technology that has become rampant to encourage local productions which will answer to our needs in every aspect”.
“We should therefore begin to consider how we can maximize the knowledge of technology to drive more economic growth to us collectively, by marketing our cultural resources to the global buyers. The fact that our sociocultural system harbours a wealth of cultural resources should be a convincing reason for us to take a giant step in our search for technological knowledge”.
Falola further challenged Nigeria not to abandon its cultural identity in pursuit technological revolution. “As thinkers, we must not leave any stone unturned as the world is gravitating towards identity revolution, and the people who can refine theirs and not abandon it would stand the hurricane of cultural erosion that is set to sail by globalization. As such, this Institution would serve as the anchor of the societal values that have suffered strict abandonment under the colonial and postcolonial hypnosis”, Falola said.
Falola urged the new government in Oyo and other stakeholders to see the university as theirs, saying, and “It deserves our full support. Its products – students, research, patents, etc – will transform the city of Ibadan and by extension, put Nigeria on the global map of technological advancing nation.”
Earlier in his welcome address, Professor Ayobami Salami, Vice Chancellor, Tech-U, assured that Tech-U is committed to projecting Oyo State into national and international reckoning as a strategic player in meeting human capital requirements in newly emerging and projected new work areas, notably in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
“Both in our conception and modes of operation, the First Technical University is unique. It was conceived as a financially self-sustaining publicly-owned institution with a strong leaning towards the private sector practices for efficiency and sustainability. The University seeks to create a niche for itself in the Nigerian higher education emporium by training students to combine intellectual advancement with the development of innate and acquired technical and vocational competences in diverse work areas”, Ayobami said.
As part of activities for the Lecture, Engineer Olaniyan and Tech-U Chancellor, Chief Tunde Afolabi performed a foundation-laying ceremony for the IGR-funded Workshop and Laboratory Complex of the University while also commissioning two newly-completed 250-seater lecture theatres.
Dignitaries at the event include the representative of former Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State and former Special Adviser on Economic Planning and Budget, Dr Isiaka Kolawole; Chancellor of the school, Dr. Tunde Afolabi; Pro Chancellor, Ladoke Akintola University, Professor Dapo Afolabi; Rector of The Polytechnic, Ibadan, Prof. Kazeem Adebiyi; Executive Vice Chairman, Ibadan School of Government and Public Policy, Professor Tunji Olaopa; veteran filmmaker, Chief Tunde Kilani; President General, Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes, Chief Yemi Solade, among others.