Institutions can re-engineer Nigeria – says former FUTA VC

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as Ooni canvasses greater involvement of Alumni

A Professor of International Law and Jurisprudence and former Vice-Chancellor of Ekiti State University, Prof. Akin Oyebode has observed that Nigeria’s higher education system has an important role to play in the re-engineering of the nation.

He stated this while delivering the 10th Registry lecture of the Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA) on Thursday, July 25 2019.

Oyebode however said that would only be possible if the ruling class recognizes and enlist the services of brilliant minds ensconced in the nations universities and other high educational institutions.

Speaking on the title, ‘Higher Education and the Re-Engineering of the Nigerian State’, he pointed out that higher education in Nigeria had “been incapacitated and time is ripe to declare a state of emergency in the sector if it will fulfill its mandate of human capital development and step up its contributions to the re-engineering of the country.”

He identified “lack of requisite material provisions and incentives for staff, erosion of autonomy, appointments of mediocre staff, refusal to introduce much needed reforms, lack of clear cut challenges to the academic community as critical pitfalls of the higher education system in Nigeria.

“These and as well as numerous inadequacies have generally laid the nation’s higher educational institutions prostrate and uncompetitive”.

According to him, “Our higher educational institutions have been enduring considerable despoliation and benign neglect by the powers that be through lack of provision of sufficient budgetary allocation to enable institutions fulfil their core mandate”

In the paper presented on his behalf by Prof. Gbenga Aribisala, Oyebode said the situation could be reversed and higher education put on a sound footing for the re-engineering of the country.

He called for a massive capital infusion into research and development in the educational institutions, improvement in the motivation of functionaries of the system, improved ambience of lecture theaters, laboratories and office accommodation. 

These measures according to him will make educational institutions better placed to answer the manpower needs of the country and uplift the standard of education in the country generally.

He aligned with those who are calling for a declaration of a state of emergency in the sector in order to retool the modalities of human capital development in the country.

Oyebode said if those holding the levers of power are desirous of changing the course of higher education and Nigeria for better, “the intellect and wisdom encompassing the nation’s higher educational institutions are on tap for whoever wishes to avail himself or herself of same.”

Speaking at the occasion, the Special Guest of Honour, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, charged the staff and students of the Federal University of Technology, Akure to be committed to the core values of the institutions and live up to the Technology for Self-Reliance motto of FUTA.

Oba Ogunwusi admonished staff to leave a lasting legacy for themselves as the world is ephemeral. 

He said “remember to be a living example, do all you can to create a lasting impression in the community and the country as a whole. You have the power to change your world”. 

He advised students to cultivate the culture of giving back to the institution after their course of study.

“Endeavor to invest in the University that molded you. There is nothing you cannot become in the foreseeable future. You should always be good examples of your Alma Mata”.

The highpoint of the event was the conferment of the 2019 Registry Special Award of Excellence Oba Adeyeye.

He was given the award in recognition of his contributions to the advancement of education, peace building, national cohesion, empowerment of youth and women, development of his domain and the building of brotherhood and solidarity beyond the shores of Nigeria, especially among the Yoruba in diaspora.

Oba Adeyeye expressed his elation at the award describing it as an honour. 

“It is my joy to be part of you today. I thank the entire Registry and the University Management for this honour. I ascribe glory to God for making today a reality. This is another feather in my cap. History has been made today. I pledge my support towards the progress of the institution”.

The Ooni led other dignitaries to unveil a book, “Managing Universities in the 21st Century,” a compilation of lectures between 2009 and 2018 put together by the FUTA Registry.

In his address at the occasion, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Joseph Fuwape represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Development), Professor Philip Oguntunde said the topic of the lecture was relevant and timely because if there is to be any fundamental shift in the end products, the means of producing them might have to change or be re-evaluated.

He stated that the education sector has suffered setbacks that have negatively impaired national development; therefore it is imperative to systematically review funding and service delivery in the education sector.

He commended the Registry for institutionalizing the annual lecture which has become a major University event that everyone looks forward to every year and has become a noble platform to advance knowledge and proffer solutions to challenges in the education sector.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Chief Host and Registrar, Mr. Richard Arifalo there are indices of retrogression in our national life and the higher education system can be a key solution provider. 

He said “definitely there is no one shop to solving the myriads of problems that are swarming us, but without any doubt, education is one way by which we can confront these challenges bedeviling our dear nation Nigeria”.

He acknowledged the Vice-Chancellor for being a pillar behind the Registry and all Registry staff for their contributions and support towards the success of the Annual Lecture.

The Lecture attracted a cross section of the Nigerian society including the Deji of Akure, Oba Aladetoyinbo Aladelusi, the Olowa of Igbara Oke, Oba Francis Agbede, representatives of Ewi of Ado Ekiti, senior government officials, registry and academic staff from higher institutions across Nigeria ranging from universities, polytechnics and colleges of education.

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