INAUGURAL SPEECH DELIVERED BY PROFESSOR SAMUEL OYE BANDELE, THE SEVENTH SUBSTANTIVE VICE-CHANCELLOR OF THE EKITI STATE UNIVERSITY, ADO-EKITI ON 2ND DECEMBER 2015 AT EKSU MAIN AUDITORIUM.
I give glory to God for making today a reality in my life. Initially, it was like a dream but this inauguration programme is a manifold confirmation of its reality. It is very superfluous for me to attempt taking this audience through the story of the tortuous long journey that led to my emergence as the Vice-Chancellor of Ekiti State University (EKSU). This was after two missionary journeys to The University of Education, Ikere-Ekiti (TUNEDIK) and the University of Science and Technology, Ifaki-Ekiti (USTI) respectively. It suffice here for me to express my appreciation and that of my entire family to the Governor of Ekiti State, His Excellency, Dr Peter Ayodele Fayose, for reposing confidence in me by speedy approval of my appointment, thereby giving me the golden opportunity to steer the ship of this University for the next five years. I promise before this audience, as I have done privately, that, God helping me, I will not disappoint your Excellency. Permit me to thank Her Excellency, the wife of the Governor, Mrs Feyisetan Fayose. She is a mother in deed. I thank the Deputy Governor and his wife, the Secretary to the State Government, Mrs Modupe Alade and all political office holders in Ekiti State, many of whom I have not been privileged to meet till today, for whatever roles they played to make my appointment a reality. I thank the Chancellor of EKSU, the Royal Highness, Alara of Aromoko. I am full of thanks to the Pro- Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council of EKSU, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, the interview panellists, the screening committee members, members of the search party and the entire members of EKSU Governing Council for their contributory activities that led to my appointment.
I want to extend my appreciations to the immediate past Vice-Chancellor, my own brother, Professor Patrick Oladipo Aina. The matured roles he played before, during and after the interview spoke volumes. About eight internal Professors contested and all were keenly watching him as he took the neutrality examination, which to me he passed excellently. I give kudos to my fellow contestants, particularly, the internal candidates for jointly removing the reproach that there were no EKSU home bred professors to qualify for the race. I therefore quickly state here that this victory is for all of us internal candidates. I do not hesitate to make this declaration of No victor, No vanquished! I wish to seize this opportunity to call on all of them to join me in this onerous task of taking EKSU to the next level.
I thank my friends who supported me very closely during my family’s hours of tribulation occasioned by the termination of my appointment as the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Science and Technology Ifaki-Ekiti. They supported us morally, financially and spiritually in prayers and counsel. Prayer is an investment. I therefore thank old confidants who had prayed fervently for me in times past. I cannot excise them from this glory.
I express my appreciation to my Mrs Comfort Titilayo Bandele – a precious wife, a prayer warrior and a painstaking woman – for her support, supplication and sincere concern for my restoration as Vice-Chancellor and her care for me in every other area of my life. She organised many prayer groups with praying, fasting and vigils. Thank you a Million times.
This appointment should encourage people to depend on the efficacy of holy living and prayers when seeking for positions or when desiring good things of life, other than resorting to carnal and self- destructive ungodly methods. I thank all the prayer warriors in the Deeper Life Bible Church, particularly the Campus Ministry of the Deeper Life Bible Church, Ekiti State; prayer groups from other Christian assemblies like the CAC, Assemblies of God, Gospel Faith Mission and other prayer groups two numerous to mention.
I want to thank the staff and students of EKSU for their love and prayers. I know that their expectations are very high on me and I pray to God that I will not disappoint them. Our Muslim friends in Government, inside and outside the University community, who passionately desired my being the Vice-Chancellor of EKSU, are greatly appreciated for their good will, prayers and every support rendered by them individually and in groups.
I wish to state that my 9 by 2 vision opened with a promise to build on the good works the former Vice-Chancellor had accomplished, to the best of his abilities, particularly in the area of infrastructural development. I stand by this promise. I will pursue my vision with energy and synergy. The vision I submitted for interview is shown below:
Vision Statement: Transparent pursuit of a 21st Centuryglobally acclaimed university that will excel in academics, research culture and moral values.
The infrastructural drive of the present EKSU administration will be sustained and improved upon. On-going projects will be completed and new ones constructed through prudent management of resources: Students’ hostels, Lecture Theatres, Low Cost hostels and Public toilets will be my immediate priorities using BOT and PPP.
There will be massive upgrading of old and substandard structures currently being used for lectures and offices to meet globally acceptable standards. There will be reformation, re-engineering, restructuring, redirecting, repositioning, rebuilding and rebranding of the entire Campus: Massive beautification!
There will be an Academic Summit to review academic activities of Staff and Students. There will be Knowledge Infrastructures for intellectual competencies. EKSU will focus on producing academically sound, creative and entrepreneurial students. They will be equipped with skills needed for self-survival in the larger society. Every student thesis will focus local content and relevance. Cultism and Union crises will be minimized using intellectualism and transparent administrative strategies. Disciplinary committees will be restructured to effectively tackle staff and student matters.
Every staff will be motivated to innovate. There will be staff orientation and development initiatives in the areas of Capacity building: on-the-job training, conferences and individual research project-support system, leading to cutting-edge research outputs. International and Local Sponsorship (through TETfund), will be made competitive to ensure excellence.
There will be staff diligence, dutifulness, industry and commitment to service. All staff will be given proper orientations on ‘Hard work and Harvest’ in the discharge of their duties.
The committee system will be enriched. Every staff will be involved in the administration of the University. EKSU will become more impactful on Ekiti as a community through ‘Town-Gown’ symbiotic relationships at both Local, State and Federal Government levels. EKSU will empower community members more in the areas of petty and major contracts, services, appointments and skill acquisition. There will be welfare packages analogous to the State’s Stomach Infrastructures.
Paperless System using EKSU Customized Tablets will be deployed at meetings of Committees, Senate and Council. The Computer Based Testing (CBT) will be deployed for most examinations to curb exorbitant paper wastages, examination malpractices and supervision bottlenecks. Within one year, as an expert in ICT, EKSU will deploy a full blown portal for admissions, examinations, registration of students, bursary and registry operations, teaching-learning processes and general administration by increasing its Bandwidth from the present 20Mbps to 100Mbps in one year and systematic upgrading to 250Mbps within three years, using buried Optic Fiber Cabling to enhance Broadband communication. This will be supported with strong intensity WiFi-technology. Interactive Electronic Boards will be installed in all classrooms.
Local Area Networking (to be called EKSUnet) will be deployed for intra campus electronic mail transfers. EKSU will develop her own internally commissioned Software Packages for Portal development and management by EKSU staff.
Academic and administrative activities will conform to international standards and global best practices. EKSU will be properly connected to the international world through Common Wealth multifarious schemes, covering short-term and long-term sponsorships for staff and students, Commonwealth of Learning (COL): Open and Distant Learning initiatives, and exchange programmes. Transfer of Technology will be utilized to advantage.
There will be international collaborations, scholarships and linkages. EKSU will go into viable collaborations with Local and International Universities. All my former University’s viable collaborations and contacts with foreign universities will be restored, and many added: Winneba, Ghana; Kygunam, South Korea; Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa and Lincoln, UK. Also, foundations like Bill Gates, Engineering information, Ford, Fulbright, Rockefeller, Rotary, USAID and locals like PTDF, NCC, Shell, Chevron, Danjuma, Elumelu and Network Providers will be partnered.
The sporting activities at EKSU will be improved, particularly in the areas of administration, manpower and equipment. The staff and students will be motivated to enlist for one sport or the other.
Campus Sports’ Complex
A standard Sports’ Complex will be constructed with Rubernised or Tartan tracks and not Cynder field. There will be a standard University Gymnasium.
There will be
- Information updates and total loyalty to the Visitor to the University,
- Cordial relationships with Government functionaries.
There will be
- Total loyalty to the Chairman of Council,
- Impeccable relationships with members of Council, my management team, staff, students and visitors.
- People-friendly environments.
EKSU will sign Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Water Corporation for constant water supply, to be supported with functional Boreholes. The contiguous Elemi River tributaries on EKSU land will be upgraded to a mini-dam.
There will be EKSU-BEDC Electrification project. The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and renewable energy non-conventional alternative sources, Solar Power and Mini-dam turbine for electric generation will be pursued.
9. IGR (Internally Generated Revenue)
- Commercialization Strategies
RISK TO WEALTH INITIATIVES:
There will be IGR SUMMIT to reposition EKSU IGR. Every Faculty is to be viable IGR-base, turning resources, ideas, skills and knowledge to economic buoyancy with entrepreneurial spirit. IGR to be improved through fees by increased enrollment of students on Part Time, Distance and Open Learning, Affiliate, Sandwich, Two-year conversion progamme for HND holders, Diploma, Adult working classes and On-line academic programmes. EKSU Secondary School will be established in my first year in office. There will be commercial agriculture in Poultry, Piggery, Fishery, Plantain, Maize, Citrus, cassava and establishment of EKSU consumable shops, bookshop, sachet and bottled water, bread, brandings and souvenirs for income generation.
EKSU will operate Due Process in all its transactions for prudent management of resources: Money, Men, Machines and Materials. Registry will imbibe administrative ethics. Best practices in financial control mechanism will be enforced.
My passion and vision for a new EKSU is now open to all. It is our collective responsibility to vigorously pursue the realisation of this vision. The only way the latter can be achieved is for all of us to come together to frontally attack any monster that may want to scuttle the realisation of this vision.
The major visible achievement of many Vice-Chancellors in the Nigerian Universities of today is traceable to TETFund Federal Government intervention programme. I will vigorously pursue the sustainability of release of funds through this initiative to maintain the tempo of infrastructural development on our Campuses. I will definitely ask for the assistance of the former Vice-Chancellor, Professor Aina in this regard, coupled with my own independent efforts and connections. The buildings under construction and all on-going projects through the TETFund initiatives will be nurtured to speedy completion as every needed support will be given to accelerate release of funds.
The NEEDS assessment intervention fund
The University unions fought and won a major battle for the release of funds to the public Universities through the Needs assessment intervention programme. Our University is a beneficiary of this initiative till today. Efforts will be made to make judicious and right use of this funding. Providence made me a member of the Implementation Monitoring Committee for this Needs assessment programme as a representative of congregation. The national body monitoring the project visited our University recently. I attended some of the meetings, also in the capacity of Vice-Chancellor designate. I want to state here that I am not particularly happy at the revelations that came out of these meetings which pointed to flagrant violation of the implementation objectives of the programme. The Physical Planning Unit of the University appeared to have erred in several ways in this regard. The former Vice-Chancellor was probably not properly advised on the implementation details. The visiting team were begged and appealed to for mercy in judgment. I pray and hope that this slip will not hinder or delay the release of the next tranche of the money due to the University.
Arising from the TETFund and Needs assessment project hullabaloo are disconnect and conflict of roles among the Works and Services, Physical Planning and Procurement departments of the University. The works department appears not be involved in the planning and execution of projects on Campus while the Procurement department is in a long drawn battle with the Physical Planning department which was alleged to have taken over the functions of the procurement unit. The functionality of the Works department on major building projects is hence in question. That the conditions of University facilities, lawns, equipment and other areas cry for maintenance point to a need for help in the Works Department. It is also worrisome that there is what looks like a systemic violation of procurement laws in the University. The former Vice-Chancellor, I am rightly informed, was also confronted with some or all of these and was saddled with the task of resolving them. As a new Vice Chancellor, it will be unwise of me to stumble into these unresolved conflicts and controversies. I have therefore identified these three departments as among those where states of emergency will be declared for quick resolution of these issues so that the University can run according to rules and regulations. There is the need to urgently reposition these departments for optimum performance.
Information and Communications Technology (ICT)
The ICT department has grown to the status of a Directorate. On the face level, everything appears to be going on well in this directorate. The reality on ground however, from my investigations and from reports submitted to me, reveals that the expected output is too far from actual output. Younger universities are now ICT driven with all operations fully computerised. The University Broadband capacity in bandwidth measure actually deployed is said to be less than 40 Mbps which is probably big enough to serve a building, very effectively. No wonder, the university community is yet to enjoy effective internet usage on campus. The current website is not mobile adaptive, not unique and operates on low search engines. The social media functionalities are missing and the school home page lack important events and news. These are the essentials for Portal functioning and hence University webometric ranking. The Portal can hence be said to be hollow. Staff and students’ records are yet to be fully captured, reflecting a no-database for the university’s full computerisation. The latter has, up-to-date, led to the crisis of manual issuance of transcripts to ex-students. The ICT directorate hence need complete overhauling, reorganisation and reengineering in line with my vision to have a full blown Portal that will be comparable to, if not better, than those of sister universities around us. There will be immediate revolutions in data recovery, digital resolution, discipline re-enactment and duty restructuring. I appreciate the faithful and honest efforts of the current Director of ICT over the years but hasten to reveal that nearly all staff of the ICT department saw the need for a Professional Computer Scientist or ICT expert to head the Directorate. I therefore declare a state of emergency in the ICT directorate to allow for proper restructuring for effective and optimum performance.
The Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council emphasised that the focus of Government is on the need to enhance the EKSU Internally Generated Revenue (IGR). I made it clear during my interaction with the interview panel that the EKSU IGR is comatose. There is heavy reliance on school fees from the regular and Part-time programmes. There is in-effective implementation of online payment of school fees that is traceable to the non-functionality of the university Portal. The enrolments too, continue to dwindle at the Part-time programmes. All these call for a serious look at the Ventures that are designed to be the IGR hubs. I have the information that the Venture still holds the UNAD Venture incorporation Certificate and hence has no current operational status. I equally learnt the University Council already merged of the University Consultancy unit with the University Venture to be headed by one Director, which had not taken off up till now. This is confusion! The ‘celebrated’ block industry site is yet to have any visible impact on the University because of incomplete formalisation of status and lack of patronage. The Ventures are not self-sustaining and are not making tangible profits to the University. The University band, the Guest House, Entrepreneurial unit, Agricultural farm and so on are used for more of entertainments and ceremonial outings rather than being IGR supports for the university. There will be a reverse of this situation.
The palpable confusion in the Ventures hence requires a repositioning and rejuvenation for them to be turned to platforms of wealth creation for the university. I therefore declare a state of emergency in the University Venture and allied non-functional IGR department/units. The latter does not affect the Entrepreneurial department and the Agricultural farm. I have discussed with the Director of Entrepreneurial department to quickly work out the modalities for making the unit to be one of the wealth hubs of the University. Also the Faculty of Agriculture is already thinking along with me to create a commercial farm to create wealth for the university. The Dean, an a very enterprising Professor in the Faculty of Agriculture already submitted excellent position papers to me in respect of food security, and Teaching and Research Agricultural farm. There is the plan to establish Sachet/Table water factory, Bakery and Bookshop within the shortest time possible.
The implication of these emergency declarations is that the units in the affected Directorate or Department will be reporting to the Vice-Chancellor directly until and when they are properly repositioned. Affected heads of Department are expected to submit comprehensive handover notes to reach the Vice-Chancellor within a week from today. For the avoidant of doubts, the affected Directorate/Departments are the ICT, University Venture, University Consultancy, Works and Services, Physical Planning, Procurement and Transcript. This decision is made in the collective interest of the university and I therefore solicit for understanding and utmost cooperation of all.
To logically and realistically achieve this holistic reconstruction of our University in line with my vision, there will be the Academic and IGR summits. Two eminent Professors and members of our University community have agreed to chair these summits which will attract consultants from inside and outside the university. Every member of staff both Teaching and Non-teaching will be expected to participate fully. The summit will start from mid-January 2016.
Welfare of staff and students
The welfare of staff and students will be my priority. Well-motivated and happy staff is a potentially productive staff in any organisation. I am going to pursue every concern of staff in the areas of welfare with energy and vigour. Promotions will be done as at when due and all allowances approved by the University council will be paid with speed and accuracy. The academic summit will look at appointments into duty posts and postings of staff to fashion out a university policy that will ensure equity and respect for professionals and seniority. The latter concerns administrative staff posting, in particular. There will be capacity building for staff both locally and internationally. Other welfare packages will be introduced. To achieve this, I will set up a committee to advise me from time to time on issues that relate to staff welfare.
Students are very significant members of the university community. I will look after EKSU students, to borrow from the motivating words of our people-friendly Governor Peter Ayodele Fayose. I have passion for the youths, particularly campus students. It might interest my audience to know that I am the Campus Pastor of staff and Students in the Campus ministry of my church. I am hence fraternally attached to students. There will be scholarship schemes for students and the university will source for local and international scholarship opportunities for them. I will reactivate the collaboration with Kywuyang University in South Korea where at least 30 students will be going from the 300 Level to complete their degrees in South Korea, particularly in disciplines that require the use of modern laboratories. Collaborations with other National and International education funding agents for students and staff will be entered into. Students will be adequately involved when decisions that will affect them will be taken. The students will be encouraged to participate in the study-work programme to alleviate their sufferings. My door will be opened to students to lodge their complaints. Let me say quickly here that the days of impunity in being wicked to students, sexual harassment and student abuse is gone. Teaching and non-teaching staff should realise that we are to be parents to the students under our cares and not extortionists, lions and sexual harassers. I want to however use this medium to appeal to students to pay their school fees, be disciplined and of good behaved. It may be difficult for a willing Vice-Chancellor to meet his numerous welfare obligations without money. Information as at last Friday revealed that only about 2,000 out of about 17,600 students of EKSU have paid their school fees. To confirm your love for my coming as Vice-Chancellor, all students should rush to pay their school fees. I invite the staff and the Students union government to assist in this regard. I therefore give students who have not paid there school fees in full grace till December 20 to pay without which they may lose their studentship.
Staff and Student Unions
I am a lover of unions because I believe that their main thrust is to pursue and ensure that their members are fairly treated. I am going to entrench transparent governance. I will go beyond fully supporting and enriching the Needs assessment funding Initiatives, I will constitute a committee of management and all union leaders that will be meeting regularly to take joint decisions on the running of the entire university. I am, through this medium, making an unusual request to unions to give me some time to study the financial situation of the university and to support me in repositioning the university IGR to bring wealth to the university. Poverty is a curse! We must join hands together to banish poverty from our university because TETFund and Needs Assessment funds are not indices of the personal wealth of any institution. The prosperity of EKSU via our IGR initiatives being planned will be for all us to enjoy but Rome is not built in day.
Cancellation of Hand-out Policy
The policy on cancellation of hand-outs is hereby upheld. No staff of EKSU will be allowed to use the change in administration to relapse into making or selling hand-outs. Hand-outs, by my understanding, are stapled photocopied papers, unprinted manuscripts and even published books that are directly sold or ‘handed-out’ to students by staff handling the course or courses for which such book is written. This to me does not imply that University lecturers, at least above the status of Lecturer 1 cannot write books. What it simply means is that qualified lecturers should publish in reputable publishing houses and allow the publishers to market them through bookshops of their choices. To further ensure quality and easy access of such good books by students, the University will set up a Control and Quality Assurance unit to give ensure quality and issue clearance certificates to publishers who desire to sell their books through the EKSU bookshop.
A new management
I have employed the use of personal pronounces like ‘I’ and ‘me’ in this my address till this section. This is because I am just coming in as new Vice-Chancellor and all I have said are not products of management meetings but my own vision for a new management of the university. I therefore publicly present my vision to the University management, pleading with them, to carry the burden with me from this moment. Having said that, and believing that the entire management will support my vision, every I’s and Me’s in this address is hereby changed to ‘EKSU management’. I use this medium to once again, give tribute to the former Vice-Chancellor for the great exploits he has made in the university these four years. It will interest this audience to know that I already mentioned the problems of the Directorate/Departments as identified in this my address to the former Vice-Chancellor. He agreed with me that they are weak areas of the University during his administration.
This address is a clarion call to the entire university community to join EKSU management to reposition and reconstruct our university, particularly our IGR initiatives so that we can make our university wealthy. The university is more like our second home and we should collectively make it enjoyable to all, if we endeavour to give the sacrifice required at this moment. In an attempt to accomplish these, there will be no sacred cow. The corporate interest of the university will be raised above personal selfish interests and idiosyncratic crave to perpetually remain in position whether such is blessing the university or not. The Academic and IGR summits holding in January 2016 will holistically review our entire activities in the university. They will be expected to come up with blue prints and templates for taking our EKSU to the next level.
Samuel Oye Bandele, PhD, PGDCS;
Professor of Educational Evaluation,
Ekiti State University,
December 2, 2015.