EKITI STATE UNIVERSITY:

ON THE THRESHOLD OF WORLD CLASS UNIVERSITY

 

 

AN ADDRESS BY THE VICE-CHANCELLOR

PROFESSOR PATRICK OLADIPO AINA

 

 

TO THE

18TH CONVOCATION

 

OF

 

EKITI STATE UNIVERSITY

ADO EKITI, NIGERIA

 

ON

 

SATURDAY, 6TH APRIL, 2013


The Visitor to the University, the Chancellor, the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, your Excellencies, your Highnesses, My Lords Spiritual and Temporal, Chancellors, Pro-Chancellors, and Vice-Chancellors of other Universities, Honorable Ministers, Honorable Commissioners, Parents and Friends of Ekiti State University, Gentlemen of the Press, our dear Graduands, and Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen

 

Introduction

The Visitor to the University, the Chancellor, the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, your Excellencies, your Highnesses, My Lords Spiritual and Temporal, Chancellors, Pro-Chancellors, and Vice-Chancellors of other Universities, Honourable Ministers, Honorable Commissioners, Parent and Friends of Ekiti State University, Gentlemen of the Press, our dear Graduands, and Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen;It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all on behalf of the Council, Senate and the entire staff and students of Ekiti State University to this auspicious occasion, marking the18th convocation ceremony of Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti. I wish to warmly welcome in a special way our Visitor, Dr John KayodeFayemi, the Governor of Ekiti State. I would like to thank Professor BayoOlukoshi, Director of the UN African Institute for Economic Development and Planning IDEP, Dakar, Senegal for the thought-provoking lecture which he has just delivered.

 

On December 2, 2011, I accepted the challengeof leading Ekiti State University, as the 6th Vice-Chancellor, through a process of transformational change.On the occasion of the University’s 17th Convocation Ceremony (and my first as Vice-Chancellor)on March 30,2012, my Address, entitled: Ekiti State University in the 21st Centurywas essentially devoted to what would be my recluse in the next four years and the compelling vision for the University and strategies to achieve that vision.It isan appropriate time,now a year after, for stocktakingand review of the roadmap for the University accomplishing this goal. It is for this reason that this Address is entitled Ekiti State University: On the Threshold of World Class University.

 

The University

Ekiti State University is a 31-yearold comprehensive teaching and research public Institution that combines undergraduate, graduate and professional programmes. The University is structured into 11 Faculties (comprising 51 Departments and academic support units), the College of Medicine and School of Postgraduate Studies with an enrolment of 16,877 full-time,2,000 students on sandwich programmeand the last batch of part-time undergraduate students. We are also affiliated with a number of tertiary Institutions in Nigeria. There are591 academic and 1,390 non-teaching staff in the University from various linguistic and ethnic backgrounds.

Milestones

Ours is a story of optimism and achievement and constant striving that is unique. Since the last Convocation on March 30, 2012, Ekiti State University has recorded heart-warming accomplishments by the grace of God and with the full support of everyone. Nothing of such could have been achieved without the unique model of governance in Ekiti State that allows administrative autonomy and academic freedom in the University, the harmonious working relationship among such University organs as the Governing Council and Senate, whose members gave corporate and individual support to Management. At this juncture, please permit me to acknowledge the immense contributions of all stakeholders towards achieving the progress so far made by the University – our Proprietor and Visitor, Dr. John KayodeFayemi, the Governor of Ekiti State and the self-effacing visionary driver of Project EKSU, the Chancellor, Evangelist BamideleOlumilua, the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council, Emeritus Professor AkinjideOsuntokun.

 

First and foremost, we have commenced the process of developing, for the first time,Ekiti State University 5-year Strategic Plan that will articulate our aspirations and outline the direction that the university would take over the next years to achieve the goal of becoming a world class university.

During the 2012 calendar year, the University presentedforty-fiveprogrammes in the Faculties of Agricultural Sciences, Arts, Education, Management Sciences, Engineering, Science and Social Sciences – for accreditation by the National Universities Commission (NUC). To the glory of God, all the programmes were accredited and none with failed status. With successful resource assessment visit, the NUC has also granted the University permission to run Science Laboratory Technology degree programme on full time basis.

Our academic staff have been positively engaged in high qualityimpactful researchin globally relevant niche areas of renewable energy, food security, biotechnology, and peace and conflict studies, and advancingthe frontiers of research to meet world-class research benchmarks. The University has introduced a research incentive scheme for staff members in an attempt to enhance their outputs, provided well structured research ethics and a generous support scheme for conference attendance policy.

Ekiti State University is one of the 51 Universities currently recognized by the National Universities Commission to run Postgraduate Programme in Nigeria. In Nigeria we are confronted with the problem of succession in the University. With 146 universities today, using the present figures of enrolment, to have the required teacher student ratio of 1:20, we will need to increase the number of the academic staff in Nigerian universities from the current 26,000 lecturers to 50,000 with minimum required qualification of a doctorate degree. Postgraduate education is therefore to respond positively to the training of postgraduate students for the much needed high level manpower in the country. This includes the training of students to increase the inadequate number of University teaching staff.

EKSU is contributing to solving this problem of succession in Nigerian Universities. For example, we have re-introduced the graduate assistantship scheme to increase our doctoral output; For example, over 25 of our junior academic are in topnotch overseas Universities on various collaborative training programmes leading to PhD.Our entire academic programmes are in the process of review, with possible replacement with new programmes that will enhance the global competitiveness of our products. These new programmes include Distance or BlendedLearning, Centre for Gender and Development, Institute of Forensic Science in Collaborate with Gujarat Forensic Sciences University, India, Theatre and Media Arts, Architecture, and Institute of Governance.

Apart from the University now being finally connected to the National electric power grid through a dedicated powerline from Basiri, Ado-Ekiti to the University and the establishment of solar power infrastructure as alternative energy source, we aim to nurture and create a range of renewable energy sources, includingwind and constructing a small hydroelectric dam on Elemi river. Water supply in the University is presently provided by newly sunk two Industrial and several domestic boreholes. The two industrial boreholes have been connected to the 1million litre underground reservoir from where water will soon be reticulated to all the facilities on campus.

We have undertaken an ambitious infrastructure development programme to support teaching and learning.The new Twin 1,500-seater Lecture Theater (funded by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund)) has just been commissioned while the Medical Library, Biochemistry and Pharmacology (funded by the State Government), and Medical Students Hostels (funded by the University) buildings are nearing completion. Other buildings under construction include those of the Postgraduate Studies, Entrepreneurship Centre, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences and Faculty of Education. Laboratory and workshop equipment for the Faculty of Engineering and Laboratory furniture and fittings for the Faculty of Agricultural Sciencesare being supplied underTETFund Normal Project Intervention and BOT Special Intervention Funds. Public-Private-Partnership arrangement has beenconcluded with developers for the construction of students’ hostelson-campus. Rehabilitation and re-roofing of ageing buildings have been a continuous process in the University.

 

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) deployment in the University has witnessed a substantial leap in the last one year. The university has commenced a biometric data capture of staff and students to meet up with today’s realities in accurate record keeping with electronic access. We are beneficiaries of the National Communications Commission’s (NCC) wireless cloud project to provide broadband internet access to the campus, andput the campus on Wi-Fi network. We achieved,for the first time,a shift from the manual conduct of the PostUTMExaminations to electronic in 2012. The University recently moved from 79th position to 19th position in the current (February 2013) webometric ranking of universities in Nigeria and 198th in Africa, indicating the University’s presence on the Web and improvement in the quantum of electronic resources on the WEB site as well as access to such resources; A Team of International Business Machines (IBM) experts visited EKSU this year between February 11 to March 7, working on IBM’s new Initiative for Sustainable Development through effective use of ICT, functionality of software applications provided by Microsoft and the hardware by Samsung; EKSU is about concluding partnership agreement with GOOGLE Africa on a GOOGLE APPS project which will deliver state of the art e-learning facility and very cheap internet access on campus. Already two of our students have been chosen as GOOGLE ambassadors.

 

WE have been beneficiaries of a number of corporate social responsibility projects, including modern Sports Facilities (Lawn Tennis and Basket Ball Courts, Table Tennis) constructed with the donation of N22.3m by First Bank Plc.;University Portal was also recently donated by First Bank Plc;Book donations include 45 titles made up of 1,286 copies of Medical journals to the College of Medicine by MrsFunmiAjala of Ekiti State Governor’s Office;112 titles of medical books, journals and notes of Professor Benjamin O Osuntokunand endowment of Prize for the best student in the final examinations in the Basic Medical Sciences by Professor OlabopoOsuntokun, the wife of late Professor B. O. Osuntokun; and 100 Law books by a Non-Governmental Organization, Advocate of Law and Human Dignity, founded by US-based Mr. Adebamiji Dada;

 

As part of repositioning the University as a world-class Institution and part of the global creative and innovative intellectual networks, we have established and continued to maintain global partnerships with Universities that represent beacons of good practice internationally. Thanks to the proactive leadership of our Visitor and the Pro-Chancellor / Chairman of Council, Ekiti State University is perfecting a mutually-rewarding institutional partnership and linkage programmes with a number of Universities including:Texas Southern University, Houston, Texas, USA, University of Forte Aires, Alice, South Africa, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, Australia, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK, Federal University of Santa Maria, Santa Maria, Brazil, University of Kwazulu Natal, South Africa and Arizona State University, USA.

 

We have put in place,in the governance of the University, formidable measures to ensure security of lives and property and to uphold our core values of integrity, accountability, probity and ethical behavior, openness and shared governance.There has been quick dispensation of justice in a transparent manner; to flagrant and cardinal violation of University laws. All these have restored better orientation, improved security situation and discipline in the University.

 

The University is looking ahead and exploring new frontiers of increasing Internally Generated Revenue. This process includes the codifying of the school fees and other sundry charges to bring about transparency and accountability,commercialization of research products, establishment of commercial ventures and enterprises, business portfolios, consultancy unit, endowments and bequeaths.

 

The 2013 Convocation

Today’s event formalized the graduation of 4,439students. Of this number, 11 earned First Class Honours degrees, 701 emerged in the Second Class Upper Honours category, 2,695 in Second Class Lower Honours, 970 in Third Class and62 obtained a Pass degree. Our best graduating student is Niyi EzekielAbdulahi with a CGPA 4.69 in Mechanical Engineering. Seven hundred and fortyeightgraduating Postgraduate students comprise 27 PhD, 302 Masters and 419 Post Graduate Diploma.I wish to rejoice with all our graduating students and I congratulate you all on the successful completion of your studies. All of us are very proud to be associated with your success. As a father, I have to insist on another huge cheer for the parents, families and guardians    thathave raised these amazing graduates, inspired them, supported them and helped you get here today. This is your day too. From now on, all graduands will collect in this hall their certificates and transcripts during convocation. I know many of you graduandsworry about what’s next. I want to assure you that your EKSU degree is the best tool you have to live your dream – to work hard, and to have a good life. To compete in the 21st century, we need graduates like you – young people, that are truly outstanding in character and learning, fired up and ready to lead in a world of furious change. You are now joining the over 50,000-member alumni community of Ekiti State University, a global family and our most treasured asset placed in several critical areas of the nation’s and the world’s economyand contributing immensely to the making of the world.I admonish you to transfer the lessons of the EKSU spirit that is encapsulated in our motto and core values–knowledge, honour, integrity to the wider world where you will now function. I encourage you to be courageous, adventurous and be good ambassadors of your alma mater. Give us a tomorrow, more than we deserve.

 

Conclusion

Finally, I gratefully acknowledge the support of friends of EKSU, who have supported us in various ways. A telling example is one of our alumni, Hon Kingsley Kuku who is donating anultramodern Student Centre – an impressive act of sacrifice and commitment, which other alumni can emulate. But like the proverbial Oliver Twist, I hereby re-issue the call to all well wishers to endow professorial Chairs and prizes, fund research and make tangible donations of physical facilities and equipment, and lend whatever material support they can muster to making Ekiti State University the citadel of learning, teaching and research of our dreams.In today’s economy, nothing predicts individual success more than a good education. If anyone out there doubts that public education can meet today’s challenges, just come to Ekiti State University. I strongly believe thatEkiti State University is now set at the epoch of a greater tomorrow. It is worth investing in Ekiti State University.

 

Long live Ekiti State University! Long live Ekiti State!! Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!!!

 

Thank you for listening.