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Published on: Sat, 04 Nov 2017 16:48:22

Address by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Angela F. Miri at the 2nd Convocation Ceremony of FUL held at the Permanent Site, Felele on Sat 4th November, 2017

ADDRESS BY THE VICE-CHANCELLOR, PROFESSOR ANGELA FREEMAN MIRI ON THE OCCASION OF THE 2ND CONVOCATION CEREMONY OF FEDERAL UNIVERSITY LOKOJA, KOGI STATE, HELD ON SATURDAY, 4TH NOVEMBER, 2017 AT THE CONVOCATION ARENA, PERMANENT SITE, FELELE, ALONG LOKOJA-OKENE ROAD.

It is with immense pleasure and gratitude to God that on behalf of the Pro-Chancellor, Council members, Senate, Management, Staff and Congregation and the entire University community of Federal University Lokoja, I welcome you as we celebrate the 2nd Convocation ceremony of this citadel of learning.  We are indeed grateful for having such an assemblage of dignitaries honouring our invitation, and for your demonstration of goodwill towards the University.

I wish to join the Chancellor, His Royal Highness Alhaji (Dr) Muhammadu Abali Ibn Muhammadu Idris CON, the Emir of Fika and Chairman, Yobe State Council of Chiefs in welcoming specially, the Visitor to the University, His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, represented by the Executive Secretary of National Universities' Commission (NUC), Professor Abubakar Adamu Rasheed MFR, mni, FNAL.  We sincerely and heartily welcome His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Bello and members of his Executive Council or their representatives to this occasion.

I wish to express my profound gratitude and welcome to the Chancellor, His Royal Highness Alhaji (Dr) Muhammadu Abali Ibn Muhammadu Idris CON for his presence and for availing Federal University Lokoja his rich experience in governance.  Our erudite Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, Emeritus Professor Nimi Dimkpa Briggs OON, MBBS, FWACS…, and all the External and Internal members of Council.  I would like to specially convey my deep appreciation to the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council for his thought-provoking Convocation Lecture entitled: Resources and the Prospects of Development in Nigerian Universities which was delivered with much grace and gusto.

I equally and warmly welcome to this epoch-making ocassion Senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Royal Fathers, Visiting Vice-Chancellors and representatives of sister Universities. We are appreciative of all parents, guardians, stakeholders and all invited members of the public who are present here.

Graduands

Last year, precisely on 22nd October, 2016, this University held its Maiden Convocation Ceremony and graduated 201 students who were found worthy in character and learning.  The representative of the Visitor Sir, Ladies and Gentlemen, at this 2nd Convocation Ceremony of Federal University Lokoja, a total number of 284 students will be graduating who have been found worthy in character and learning to be admitted to First Degrees of this University.  The breakdown of the list of graduands by Faculties, Departments, and Degree Classification is as follows:

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Department

No. of Graduands

First Class

Economics

NIL

NIL

English and Literary Studies

57

NIL

Geography

21

NIL

History and International Studies

36

NIL

Political Science

55

2

Total

169

2

Faculty of Science

Department

No. of Graduands

First Class

Biological Sciences

23

NIL

Chemistry

23

3

Computer Science

24

4

Geology

11

NIL

Mathematical Sciences

20

2

Physics

14

NIL

Total

115

9

Grand Total

284

11

 

Out of the 284 graduating students,

11 are graduating with First Class Honours Degrees

79 with Second Class (Upper) Degrees (2.1)

148 with Second Class (Lower) Degrees (2.2)

44  with Third Class Degrees

2 Pass Degrees (Spill-over)

I want to use this opportunity to congratulate all our graduands and to remind you that your efforts and the investment of your parents and guardians over the years have not been in vain. I heartily rejoice with you on your achievements and as products of this University, you should be proud and worthy ambassadors of your Alma mata.

Re-Accreditation/Establishment of more Programmes

It will not be out of place to update this gathering on the earlier arrangements for the re-accreditation of some of our programmes and also to inform you that more programmes shall commence after the full accreditation of all our Science courses. The National Universities Commission (NUC) has already accredited all the established programmes in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and has given interim accreditation in the Faculty of Sciences awaiting full accreditation in the second quarter of 2018. The accreditation was earlier slated for November 2017, but the University Management applied for an extension of time from the NUC to fully prepare for the exercise in May, 2018. We are on the verge of meeting up with all the requirements that would qualify Federal University Lokoja to have full accreditation of all the Science programmes. The 2014 TETFund sponsored projects-Office Blocks, Science Laboratories and Classrooms are nearing completion. The contractors have been given a deadline in which to complete the projects. As for the recruitment of Senior Academic Staff, being part of the re-accreditation requirements, everything is being done to engage the best brains for the Institution. We are optimistic that the University would receive full accreditation for all the already established programmes especially those in the Sciences. We are therefore poised to expand the existing Faculties, and establish new ones with funds being made available.

Commencement of Post-Graduate Studies

I am delighted to inform you that upon graduation of the second set of graduands, and sequel to the approval given by the Senate of the University and my subsequent appointment of the Dean of the School of Post-Graduate Studies to put in place every machinery for the smooth take-off of  Post Graduate Programmes, Federal University Lokoja is poised to commence Post-Graduate Programmes to be offered in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and the Faculty of Science beginning from the 2018/2019 Academic session. The establishment of the School of Post-Graduate Studies and commencement of the Post-Graduate Programmes in Federal University Lokoja remains one of our cardinal focus for a world class University. Consequently, the Vice-Chancellor had inaugurated the Board of the School of Post-Graduate Studies, Faculty and Departmental Post-Graduate Committees on the 4th October, 2017.  We are building a University for the future and as such, the School of Post-Graduate Studies would, as soon as the NUC grants approval, take-off in earnest. When this happens, we shall be making the institution and its environs a community of scholars who would help prospective candidates obtain Higher Degrees.

Federal University Lokoja is mindful of the need to improve postgraduate education in our country, therefore careful planning for its take-off in FUL would guarantee a new revolution in postgraduate education with a view to providing solutions to the challenges of our community in particular and the nation in general, especially in all sectors and sub-sectors of the economy.  To this end, FUL (Gown) would partner with town and industry with improved collaboration to drive the various developmental goals of the programme.

The Management Committee of the School of Post-Graduate Studies, since its inauguration has worked out several modalities of engaging relevant stake-holders in order to put in place complementary facilities and documentation for the commencement of academic activities, in line with the vision of the Vice-Chancellor.  As clearly stated in my vision for the University, "we shall live up to the traditional tripartite functions of Teaching, Research and Community Service and be distinguished locally, nationally and internationally as the best managed University in the North-Central Nigeria and beyond." It is my earnest hope that young Nigerian graduates and the International community would take advantage of the Post-Graduate Study Programme to further their education by acquiring Higher Degrees.

Staff Development

At this juncture, let me reiterate the fact that the Federal University Lokoja has invested tremendously in staff development within the shortest period of its establishment.  Consequently, it is appropriate to use this opportunity to thank the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) for its funding to actualize the goal of a robust staff development policy in Federal University Lokoja.  Opportunities are provided for members of staff through TETFund scholarships, and sponsorship of staff for various programmes locally and internationally.  The following statistics show some of the current staff development opportunities being enjoyed by staff of the University:

Academic Staff Development and Training

 

M.Sc (Local)

38

M.Sc (Foreign)

6

Ph.D (Local)

29

Ph.D (Foreign)

14

Total

87

Completed Studies

30

Currently On Study

57

Conferences/Workshops (Local and International) - 2017

 

Teaching Staff

23

Non-Teaching Staff

79

Total

102

Consultancy Services

I am happy to inform you that in order to provide community service and also improve our internally generated revenue, FUL has concluded arrangements to commence its Consultancy Services in ICT, domiciled in the Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) Directorate.  Certificate programmes to be offered in this regard include:

  1. Certificate in Desktop publishing (3 months)
  2. Certificate in word processing (3 months)
  • Certificate in Data processing (3 months)
  1. Certificate in Web /Graphic Design (3 months)
  2. Diploma in Data Processing (6 months)
  3. Diploma in Hardware maintenance (6 months)

The University shall, again, run a-one-year Remedial Programme designed for students especially in the Sciences who may wish to further their education but who are deficient in their O’ level science subjects, and would afford those students who meet up the requirements admissions into 100 level in the University.

Furthermore, in the Department of English and Literary Studies, a 3- month proficiency Diploma in Teaching, Language and Literature to teachers of the discipline will be offered, as it is designed to train class-room teachers of Primary and Secondary Schools to gain proficiency in the teaching of Language and Literary subjects. This would take place during the long vocation. It is also open to non-teaching participants who may wish to improve their proficiency in the use of English Language and Literature.

There would also be a-one-month proficiency Course in Communication Skills accommodating participants from Organizations, Ministries, parastatals and NGO’s that are interested in acquiring Proficiency in Communication Skills.

The Consultancy unit of Federal University Lokoja would, in addition run a Certificate programme in Drama and Film production.  It is designed to cater for those who desire to have knowledge of the basics of drama and film production.  Furthermore, the unit would offer a-6-month Certificate Course in Journalism especially for graduates in other fields who desire to be exposed to the journalism profession. Media personnel who wish to deepen their expertise can also benefit from the programme. Other details including entry requirements for admission into the various programmes would be posted on Federal University Lokoja website.

Affiliation/Collaboration with Other Universities and International Organizations

Recently, Federal University Lokoja played host to very important personalities among whom are the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, His Excellency, Mr. Paul Arkwrght CGM who came to the University to deliver a lecture on the all important subject of Brexit - the United Kingdom leaving the European Union.  The topic of the lecture was Brexit: Lessons, Challenges and Opportunities for Nigeria; Professor Zachaeus Oluwole Ogunnika of Virginia State University, Petersburg, Virginia, United States of America also delivered a public lecture entitled: Intellectual and Community Development in Nigeria on Thursday, 13th July, 2017. Another important personality who delivered a public lecture to the University community was the former Speaker of Kogi State House of Assembly Rt. Hon. Umar Ahmed Imam. At the round table dialogue organized by the Department of Political Science, Federal University Lokoja, the Rt. Hon. Former Speaker presented a paper entitled: Executive-Legislative Relations in Kogi State: Co-equal or Master-Servant. The importance of hosting these very important personalities in an academic environment such as ours cannot be over-emphasized.  Our members of staff - teaching and non-teaching, and indeed the entire University community and environs have benefited immensely as they were exposed to the relevance or very topical issues.  Moreover, it is noteworthy that great minds from renowned Universities outside the country have taken interest in our University and travelled to Nigeria to visit Federal University Lokoja.  As we become friends with these personalities, we are invariably paving way for future partnerships and affiliations. Federal University Lokoja stands to benefit a lot from these collaborations. 

We already have a friendly/collaboration with Missouri State University, the Galilee International Institute - Israel and that of Morgan State University, Baltimore in Maryland, USA is in the offing.

Challenges and Tasks Ahead

The University system is highly capital intensive but full of advantages in the long run, as it assists tremendously in national development.  I had earlier emphasized during our maiden convocation of the readiness of Federal University Lokoja to partner with individuals and organizations for the overall development of the University, especially our willingness to immortalize the names of those individuals or organizations who offer to assist the University with infrastructural facilities at the Permanent Site.  This offer remains valid. Infrastructural development will no doubt improve our internally generated-revenue-base through the establishment of income generating academic programmes to cater for the needs of the immediate environment and the society at large. For a young and growing University such as Federal University Lokoja, these challenges appear insurmountable but are surmountable through co-operative efforts and partnerships with relevant individuals and organizations.

Movement to the Permanent Site

It is pertinent to remind the Visitor to the University and all stakeholders at all levels that the Federal Government had expended a large sum of money to ensure both the physical and academic development of Federal University Lokoja.  However, there is still need for more funding to make feasible the movement of the University from its Take-off Site (Adankolo Campus) to its Permanent Site at Felele, along Lokoja-Okene road.  We are grateful for the immense contributions of the Federal Government and the assistance of all stakeholders and the host community to enable Federal University Lokoja to achieve its primary tripartite functions of Teaching, Research and Community Service. It is our hope that our request for increased funding would receive the kind consideration of the Visitor to facilitate our movement to the Permanent Site. Our present location at the Take-off Site (Adankolo Campus) is chocked up that it cannot accommodate any further development in terms of infrastructure and establishment of more programmes by the University.

Endowment Fund

During the Maiden Convocation Ceremony last year, we launched a N5 Billion Endowment Fund under the dynamic Chairmanship of our Elder Statesman Senator (Dr) Ahmadu Ali.  This was aimed at augmenting the funds received from the Federal Government by the University.  We publicly appreciate the contributions of sons and daughters of Kogi State and friends of the University, and encourage those who are yet to redeem their pledges to do so.

We wish to invite successful indigenes and Corporate bodies to support the University by way of construction of buildings for the University and having such buildings named after them in recognition of their goodwill and support to the University.

Appreciation

At this juncture, I wish to sincerely appreciate the Almighty God, for His grace  has been sufficient for us. We are grateful to the Visitor to the University, His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, Hon Minister for Education Mallam Adamu Adamu, The Executive Secretary of the National Universities' Commission Professor Rasheed Adamu Abubakar mni,CON,FNAL and the Executive Secretary of the TETFund Dr. Abdullahi Baffa for their unwavering support. Our Chancellor and Royal Father His Royal Highness, Alhaji (Dr) Muhammadu Abali Ibn Muhammadu Idris, Emir of Fika and Chairman of Yobe State Council of Chiefs, who has remained a very caring father to the University community. My sincere gratitude is specially due to the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council Emeritus Professor Nimi Dimkpa Briggs OON,MBBS,FWACS… our 2nd Convocation Lecturer who has toiled tirelessly to ensure the Convocation lecture held as scheduled and for his thought-provoking lecture. And all members of the Governing Council for their constant support and guidance to ensure the smooth and diligent conduct of the affairs of the Institution. I cannot end this address without sincerely thanking all our Royal Fathers in Kogi State and all illustrious sons and daughters of Kogi State as well as friends of the University who have been so supportive of our modest effort at developing Federal University Lokoja.

To the members of our University Senate, Management, the entire Staff and Students of Federal University Lokoja, I thank you immeasurably for your encouragement without which the challenges of running the University would have been daunting. I also commend the various Convocation Committees who have toiled day and night to make the ceremony a successful one. We thank all our invited Guests for accepting and honouring our invitation and wish you safe journey back to your various destinations.

Finally, I wish to assure all stakeholders that we shall continue to give our best until our vision for the growth and development of Federal University Lokoja is realized.  

Thank you and God bless.

Professor Angela Freeman Miri
Vice-Chancellor

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Chancellor's Address

Pro-Chancellor/Chairman of Council's Address