Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, has reiterated his commitment to quality education.
Akeredolu promised that his government will continue to give priority to education in the state to ensure meaningful development. He stressed that his administration has expended huge investment in education in the last six years.
Akeredolu stated this at the maiden convocation ceremony of the Olusegun Agagu University of Science and Technology, Okitipupa (OAUSTECH).
He disclosed that education is one of the cardinal responsibilities of his administration, saying it is a social debt to the people.
According to the governor, education is the only way of escaping poverty, which alarmed his administration at inception with the deplorable condition of things in the University, especially in terms of roads, buildings and other essential facilities connected to a conducive learning environment.
He said, “This informed our resolve to change the narrative by immediately commencing a gradual, radical and systematic implementation of the State Government’s Strategic Plan for the university.
“I am delighted to recall that within our 100 days in office, we facilitated the asphalt overlay of the first phase of the university road network and inaugurated the same for use.
“We have also recently approved the construction of a 2.5 kilometre road network for the University which has achieved about 75% level of completion.”
Akeredolu said he had to release funds for the completion of some major building projects which had been abandoned for almost a decade, as part of his administration’s intervention to revive the school.
He listed the projects completed by his administration including the University Senate Building, the University Library and the University Auditorium, with a promise to complete all similar abandoned projects in batches as the state’s finances improve.
“To this end, our administration has tremendously supported the university’s quest for TETFund funding. Today, we are all happy that the university has started to have the presence of TETFund projects while more opportunities are underway.
“We have also noted that within the last six years of our administration, OAUSTECH, which used to offer courses only in the School of Science, has added courses in two additional schools: the School of Engineering and Engineering Technology and the School of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.
“All courses offered by the university in the three schools have been accredited by the National Universities Commission (NUC). I commend the university management and Council for these achievements,” the governor said.
Akeredolu commended the former Governor of the state, the late Olusegun Agagu, for his special passion, commitment and magnanimity that made the establishment of the university a reality for the benefit of the entire people of the state and the people of the Ondo State Southern Senatorial District in particular.
While congratulating the graduating students and their parents, Governor Akeredolu charged the graduates to go out and project, distill and exhibit the glowing tendencies they adopted while in school. “I expect that by now, you all have the capacity and the emotional intelligence to handle every situation in life.
“There is no doubt in my mind that all of you have the potential to transform our State and indeed our country by putting to use and continuing to develop the training and experiences which you have garnered during your stay in this university,” the governor said.
The Vice-Chancellor of the institution, Prof Emmanuel Ologunorisa said that a total of 982 graduands from six sets between the 2014/2015 and 2019/2020 sessions earned the University’s first degrees in the maiden combined convocation ceremony, saying a total of 26 graduands made First class.
Ologunorisa disclosed that the school in collaboration with the Ondo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (OSOPADEC) commenced the Maritime Academy which will take off by September 2023.
The Vice-Chancellor said that the institution had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with various institutions across the globe, under its blue economy programme, saying this was aimed at making the university a world-class institution that would be able to compete favourably with its peers across the globe.
Ologunorisa also said that the institution also had a series of interfaces and collaborations with the government, the private sector and other corporate organisations for it to be in a vantage position for research and recognised in all spheres.
He said, “As a university, our research agenda is based on the concept of Blue Economy. This is the economy of the marine , coastal and ocean environment.
“To drive this, we are establishing the School of Maritime Transport and Logistics, and Center for Blue Economy and Innovation.
“We are leveraging on our strategic location at the coast to develop programmes and courses that will produce the needed manpower in the critical field of Maritime sector/industry”
He listed the challenges confronting the institution including funding, power supply, and hostel accommodation among others.
He said, “We want to appeal to illustrious sons and daughters of the state who may wish to invest in the School.
“They are encouraged to collaborate with us in this mutually beneficial venture by coming to donate towards the development of the university.”