Prof. M.O. OLOGUNDE
The Visitors of Ladoke Akintola University, HE Isiaka Abiola Ajimobi, the Executive Governor of Oyo State, and HE Adegboyega Isiaka Oyetola, the Executive Governor of Osun State,
The Chancellor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, former Governor of Lagos State, Elder Statesman,
The Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Governing Council, Professor Oladapo Afolabi, CON, CFR, former Head of Service of the Federation,
Distinguished Members of the University Governing Council,
The Soun of Ogbomoso Land, Oba Jimoh Oladunni Oyewumi, Ajagungbade III, and all our highly esteemed Royal Fathers here seated,
Principal Officers of the University,
Distinguished Professors and members of the University Senate,
Members of Staff,
Alumni and Articulate Students,
Friends of the University and Well-wishers,
All our friends who have come to felicitate with us from the United States of America
Gentlemen of the Press,
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen!
I stand before this distinguished audience today with profound gratitude to the Almighty and ever living God who has made everything beautiful in its time. My heartfelt appreciations go to the Visitors of the University for their Confirmation and consent to the impeccable judgment of the members of Governing Council in the selection process. I am full of thanks to the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council for organizing a transparent, free and fair process that led to my emergence as the sixth substantive Vice-Chancellor of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH). I eulogize the immediate past Vice Chancellor, Prof. Adeniyi Sulaimon Gbadegesin for his astuteness, who despite the paucity of fund was able to record laudable achievements. Also, worthy of appreciation are the distinguished members of Senate, the entire staff, alumni, students, and friends of the University for their support and understanding in the peaceful conduct of the exercise. Other stakeholders of the University have also been supportive especially since the announcement of my appointment as Vice-Chancellor elect. I thank you all for your support, prayers, goodwill and advice. I reserve a special place in my heart for our highly esteemed Royal father, The Soun of Ogbomoso land, Oba Jimoh Oladunni Oyewumi, Ajagungbade III, for his counsel, advice and royal blessing. Ki ade ko pẹ lori, ki bata ko pẹ lẹsẹ …igba ọdun ọdun kan.
When, on Friday, December the 7th 2018, the Visitors of the University announced that I have been appointed the Vice-Chancellor of the University, my memory took me back twenty-nine years in time, to July 1990, when I first entertained the idea of joining LAUTECH as a member of staff - the University was then in its infancy. I joined this University as a foundation staff in September 1990, and have remained steadfast and dedicated in my service to my employer. To God be the glory.
Your Excellencies Sir, this is not only the most significant moment in my life as an individual so far, it is a moment of such a rare, extraordinary, high form of significance that I can only experience as a sublime privilege. I bow with humble reverence as I take my first tentative steps towards embracing it with the consciousness that I have to live to deserve it. Your Excellencies Sir, I, therefore, accept the mantle of leadership which you just laid on my shoulders. I do this with profound gratitude for the trust and honour invested in me and also with the promise that I will not weakly crumble under its weight but will adjust my whole being to it; whatever the extent of self-transformation required, so that it and I become one. In other words, from this moment onwards, I dedicate myself to the onerous task of being a leader of this University.
Having accepted to serve the University in the capacity under reference, please permit me to expound briefly on my ideas and vision of LAUTECH as a 21st Century University. Suffice it to state that the vision of the founding fathers of LAUTECH is that the University will excel as a world-class institution in the training of self-employable and self-reliant individuals in the technological and allied disciplines and therefore spearhead the much-desired industrialization of the Nigerian economy. The University seeks to achieve this vision by transforming the global social and cultural landscapes through scientific and technological innovations, with particular emphasis on Southwestern Nigeria. The new administration will keep faith with the vision and mission of the founding fathers. My mission as Vice-Chancellor at this point in time, therefore, is to steer the University towards its goal of producing the pool of digitally empowered, technology-savvy individuals who will be capable of spearheading a gradual shift of the national economy from manufacturing towards the information-based service industry, in tune with the demands of the 21st-century global knowledge economy. We hope to work towards the realization of the vision, mission and goals of LAUTECH through a number of strategies.
Our first strategy is to embark on a mission of peace building and later-on, seek to consolidate on virtues of a world-class university. No meaningful learning, teaching, research or development can take place in a state of industrial disharmony and incessant strikes occasioning long closures or disruption of academic activities. We have already started dialoging with the staff labour unions resulting in mitigation of the effects of a recent nationwide strike. We shall continue in this stride and introduce other confidence-building initiatives with relevant stakeholders. Once attained, I will strive to maintain the peaceful atmosphere that is conducive to learning through good governance, exemplary leadership and constructive engagement with staff and students.
Our students in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering won laurels and accolades at the global finals of Microsoft Imagine Cup Competitions in St. Pertersburg, Russia in 2013, and also Seattle, Washington, United States of America in 2014. Students from the same department won the 2014 Google Online Marketing Challenge for The Middle East and Africa. In the same vein, the Institute of Software Engineering being built by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) is presently nearing completion, and will soon be furnished and equipped to the best standards available anywhere in the world. When completed and commissioned, this world-class facility will serve as a springboard to win more global laurels and recognitions by staff and students of LAUTECH. Our Ultra-modern Central Research Laboratory with State of the Art Equipment will soon be completed and made available for use. On our part, we shall work to consolidate on these and other virtues of a world-class university. We will improve holdings in the library, equip laboratories; place a high premium on quality teaching and learning processes, qualitative research and intellectual creativity, while indolence and vices will attract sanctions. We will ensure cordial working relationships between Management and the Governing Council.
Second, my administration will invest heavily on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure in preparing our students for the challenges of the fourth industrial revolution or the digital future. As we are well aware, the world is undergoing profound and rapid changes. The capability of computers to collect, send and receive information from supercomputers, leading to the creation of intelligent systems, like robots, no longer thrills. Our nanotechnology and biotechnology research groups are gradually receiving international recognition.
Third, we shall work out measures aimed at ensuring a sustainable financial base for the University through fundraising strategies and prudent fund management. All over the world, finance is one of the critical challenges facing universities in the 21st Century. We shall work within the framework of the strategic plan to diversify and maximize the income streams of the University by (i) re-packaging current fundraising strategies through launching of “Capital Campaigns” to raise a Special Intervention Endowment. These campaigns will target grants and donations from specially courted and invited financial institutions, private organizations, foundations, wealthy individuals and external donors; (ii) investing the proceeds from capital campaigns on revenue-generating ventures; (iii) boosting internally generated revenue through expansion in scope and reach of consultancy services, and earnings from in-plant-training workshops, professional degrees and bequest; and (iv) creation of the Advancement Office to identify potential donours and sponsors, and manage relationships with these and other targeted constituencies, and the Alumni for longer term support in cash and kind. We shall implement the financial policies of the University Council and ensure that the University’s resources are used in ways that will most effectively advance the approved vision, mission and strategic plan of the University. I will be very prudent and transparent with fund management.
Fourth, this administration will overhaul the present security arrangement to ensure better safety of lives and property within the university’s estate. The many security lapses have been unsettling, the most recent being the lock-up of the entire campus by students last November (2018). This administration will have zero tolerance for student indiscipline. Proven cases of violation of rules and regulation will be met with appropriate sanctions. Towards this end a more comprehensive security system will be designed and implemented. We will take additional steps to guarantee the sanctity of our examinations as this will ensure the quality of our students and hence enhance our reputation and standing among our contemporary institutions of learning.
Fifth, the Strategic Plan of the University will be re-appraised and operationalized. We shall demonstrate commitment to implementation of the strategic plan through its operationalization on quarterly and yearly bases, to facilitate the preparation of annual budget estimates. The preparation of such estimates is important in carefully planning the financial affairs of the University to achieve financial success. I will demonstrate personal integrity in the management of funds, and managerial competence and astuteness in the deployment of financial, human and material resources in the context of the University’s strategic plan. Accountability as a sine-qua-non requirement for retaining donor confidence and continued funding will be emphasized.
Sixth, we shall embark on human capacity development. A well-articulated staff development programme will be instituted comprising a regime of training locally and overseas, for academic and senior technical staff. Training and re-training of all categories of staff through workshops, seminars, and retreats will be a priority. The training will be rich in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) content.
Seventh, the University will develop a robust research policy and upgrade its research infrastructure. Research is a key defining factor of a university with a direct impact on the profile and image of a university. A robust policy on research and research ethics will therefore be put in place. Our research will be functional and oriented towards producing sustainable solutions to existential needs of society (as highlighted in our Vision), and challenges of today’s 21st century world. A culture of multidisciplinary research will be entrenched in the University. The university will encourage publication of research outputs in world class journals by paying on behalf of authors for publication charges for papers accepted for publication. A university Industrial liaison unit will be established to encourage uptake and commercialization of research findings by entrepreneurs and corporate organizations. I will embark on massive investment in research infrastructure. Laboratories, workshops, libraries, and an ICT centre will be built and fully equipped. University’s internet connectivity to meet trend in lecture delivery, research dissemination of information and global visibility of the university will be enhanced. Sophisticated and very expensive research equipment will be housed in Central Science Laboratory and Workshop.
Eighth, we shall work to improve the welfare of our staff members and students, especially with respect to housing and accommodation. We shall include student representatives on some Boards/ Committees (such as the Welfare Board, Transportation Committee, Ceremonial Committee and Students’ Disciplinary Committee). We shall also introduce a Work-Study Programme for students. The new administration recognizes the need to stimulate and encourage excellence, devotion, sacrifice, loyalty and commitment to the overall vision of the University by outstanding members of staff. A Committee will be set up to determine the types of award, manner of remuneration and source of funds. We shall create a culture of celebrating high achievers among our staff members through annual award of honors for best teacher, most published faculty/year, most cited author, most published paper in international journal, professor with most grant award, etc.
Ninth, we shall introduce participatory community programmes and other initiatives to enhance “Gown and Town” interactions. We shall bring together and unite all stakeholders for the benefit of the University. An atmosphere that will enable free and independent contribution to the development of the University will be created. A LAUTECH/OGBOMOSO and LAUTECH/OSOGBO community partnerships will be established to further strengthen this cooperation.
Your Excellencies Sir, I wish to conclude this inauguration speech by expressing, once again, my deep gratitude to your good offices both as Visitors and Executive Governors of the funding states, for having appointed me as the sixth substantive Vice-Chancellor of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology. I thank also our indefatigable Chancellor, the Pro-Chancellor and all members of the University Governing Council for having inaugurated me in that office today. I thank you all very sincerely for giving me this great chance: to lead the University. Before I take my seat, please permit me to thank my wife of thirty-Five years for her patience, endurance, and support. I also thank my children, family and friends for their love, support and encouragement.
I thank you all for your attention.
PROF . M.O. OLOGUNDE