1. Principal Officers
2. Deans and Directors
3. Distinguished Professors
4. Heads of Departments/Units
5. Members of Staff
It is a great honour for me to address
this august Congregation as the newly appointed Vice-Chancellor of Federal
University Lokoja (FUL).I am particularly excited to be back to my home state
to contribute my quota to the development of this young but promising
Let me start by expressing my profound
gratitude to the Pro-Chancellor, Distinguished Senator Chris Adighije, and
members of the University Governing Council, for finding me worthy enough, amongst
other equally qualified applicants, to be entrusted with the very serious
business of leading the University for the next 5 years. I feel immensely
honoured and pledge not to disappoint.
I would like also to acknowledge the
pioneering efforts and achievements of my predecessors – Professor Abdulmumini
Hassan Rafindadi and Professor Angela Freeman Miri. Their legacies are what we
see today – a fast growing University that has all the potentials for greatness.
The University community equally
deserves my appreciation for the warm reception I was accorded when I arrived
the Felele Campus to assume office about 3 weeks ago. I was overwhelmed by the
enthusiastic welcome I received from the members of staff, the students,
traditional rulers, religious and community leaders, and dozens of other well-wishers.
Such display of solidarity and togetherness by the FUL community was very inspiring.
Without a doubt, I am assuming office
at a very challenging time, when the world is battling to contain the ravaging
coronavirus (COVID-19) and faced with the enormous health, economic,
environmental and social challenges it poses to the entire human population. The
path, duration, magnitude, and impact of the pandemic – a pandemic that is
unprecedented in its global reach and impact – continues to pose serious
concerns and challenges to universities worldwide. As a consequence, the
Nigerian education sector, the University System in particular, has sunk to its
lowest point in decades. Nigerian universities are in deplorable condition and
again confronted with the prevailing challenges of poor funding, dwindling
internally generated revenues, teaching and learning deficiencies,
infrastructure deficit, inadequate academic manpower, stalled international
partnerships and collaborative efforts, amongst many others. At the moment, we have
to also grapple with the financial burden of funding Virtual Teaching setups, the
enforcement of Covid-19 safety protocols and the procurement of essential
Daunting as the challenges that we face
are, as a University, we must remain steadfast and think up creative measures
and find practical solutions to our problems. As we all know, universities are
expected to be repositories and generators of knowledge, development
contributors to communities, societies and nations, and sources of expertise
and vocational identity. Therefore, we must continue to provide new knowledge
to aid society in its development and in meeting new challenges as they emerge.
Over the next 5 years, we will continue
to build on our strengths, but also take new directions. We have a strategic
priority to position FUL as an institution that believes in and promotes
academic excellence, good governance, administrative transparency and financial
accountability. In pursuance of this objective, as Vice-Chancellor, I shall run
an open door policy, a result-oriented and an all-inclusive administration.
There will be no room for divisions or factions in the University under my
leadership. We cannot afford to be distracted by sentiments, trivialities and
our prejudices; and as such, we must forgive and forget any differences that
may have existed before now. The task at hand requires unity, focus and speed,
if we are to realize our vision of being the best among the newly established
Federal universities in Nigeria and one of the top ten ranking universities in
Africa. Happily, our efforts to unify the community and achieve peace have
yielded positive results. As part of our peace building strategies, in the past
two weeks, I have visited the religious leaders and some stakeholders in the
University in their private residences to solicit their prayers and support, engaged
with the leaderships of the Labour Unions and passionately appealed to all the
concerned parties to reconcile and embrace peace; and they have all made positive
commitments accordingly. At this point, it is crucial to emphasize that while I
desperately seek peace and unity for our collective good, my simplicity and
friendly disposition should not be misinterpreted as weakness. I believe mutual
respect for one another and cooperation should be the basis for our
relationships as colleagues and as partners in the FUL project. We shall not
hesitate to deal decisively with any individual or group of individuals who
seek to test our resolve or flout the laws of the University.I urge you all to
partner with me to realize the transformation of FUL into an Academic Center of
Excellence. And to achieve this feat, we must earnestly and persistently work
To this end, my agenda encompasses a
range of development strategies and institutional reforms encapsulated in the
Governance and Administration
administration will work in harmony with the University Governing Council for
the smooth running of the University.
would restructure and strengthen the various administrative departments/units
and ensure proper delegation of responsibilities for effective and efficient
service delivery. In particular, the Registry would be restructured into 5 divisions,
namely: Establishment, Council Affairs, Senate Affairs, Exams & Records,
and Admissions. Similarly, the Bursary would be restructured into 5 divisions,
namely: Finance & Treasury, Budget Control & Management, Business &
Auxiliaries, Final Accounts & Reports, and Supply & Stores. Also, as
part of our reforms, we would upgrade the Sport, Procurement, Legal Services
and Information & Protocol Units to Directorates.
maximum institutional efficiency, we shall ensure that no staff occupies a post
for more than four years. I have directed that in the coming weeks any such
staff should be immediately posted to new units or posts for more challenges
and impact. This also applies to academic units and departments. Deans and
Heads of Departments who have been in office for up to four years will be given
other responsibilities as the need arises.
would ensure that the University Management is not only proactive, but alive to
its responsibilities and responds promptly and adequately to the demands and
concerns of members of the University community at all levels.
would institutionalize the Committee System in the University. This is because Committees
not only facilitate the decision making process, they serve as avenues for
expressing, communicating and recommending views and ideas for policy
development at various levels. I would like to report to you that since my assumption of office, I have constituted a
number of strategic committees. More of such committees would still be
constituted in order to involve the greater number of the members of the FUL
community in driving our development agenda.
administration's commitment to move to the Felele Campus is on course. To this
end, all non-teaching staff should be ready to move to the Felele Campus before
the end of the current session. A committee to ensure the seamless movement of
staff and their furniture has already been constituted and would submit its
report in April.
would strengthen the Internal Conflict Resolution Mechanisms of the University,
so that there is less rancor and the University is not distracted by avoidable
crisis and/or multiple court cases.
meetings would be calendarized, held regularly and as scheduled on every last
Thursday of each month.
would set high academic standards and ensure zero tolerance for exam misconduct
and any form of harassment in the University.
and Innovation would be promoted and incentivized to play an important role in
constructing new knowledge.
would institutionalize academic traditions and ceremonies such as doctoral
conferment, inauguration of new professors, inaugural lectures, etc., and
ensure that Conferences, Seminars and Workshops are encouraged and held
would establish new academic Directorates, Schools, Centers, and programmes, in
line with the provisions of the Academic Brief and based on needs, relevance
and international visibility, as well as strengthen existing programmes and
secure full regulatory approval for the recently introduced programmes.
steps are being taken already to establish three new faculties: Medicine,
Engineering and Law. Similarly, the Faculty of Arts is being strengthened with
the introduction of more departments and degree programmes.
am also pleased to inform you that an Institute of Education is being
established to provide services and academic programmes to the catchment area
and the nation at large.
would internationalize the University by forming global partnerships with
foreign universities, donor agencies, non-governmental organizations and
multilateral institutions. To this end, a directorate for Linkages and
Advancement has been established to drive our external relations and linkages.
the available resources, we would prioritize the welfare of staff members so as
to motivate them and raise productivity levels. They would be provided with the
right tools and equipment so they can perform their duties effectively and
efficiently. Also, we would institute a better organized training system that
promotes fairness and gives each member of staff a sense of belonging, so that
they can acquire new learnings, skills and knowledge.
would ensure that the TETFund-sponsored Academic Staff Training and Development
programme is better managed by promptly processing applications and ensuring
timely release of funds, so as to enhance excellence across the range of
academic practice by developing individuals and championing development provision
across the institution.
my leadership, all members of staff would be adequately engaged and given a
schedule of duty. We would not tolerate the practice of assigning multiple
duties to a favoured few while other equally competent and willing members of
staff idle away. We would discourage and discontinue the culture of favoritism
members would be encouraged to cultivate a culture of continuous learning and
upskilling under a scheduled system. A policy would be put in place to absorb
junior members of staff who have acquired additional qualifications into the
senior staff cadre, subject to the availability of vacancies.
a Management, we would communicate effectively with the Labour Unions in the
University: ASUU, SSANU, NASU and NAAT, as a way of enhancing labour management
relations and promoting industrial harmony.
In order to achieve the FUL of our collective dream, every
staff must be seen to be contributing their quota appropriately. In this
respect, the following should be noted and upheld:
our desire to ensure punctuality and prevent the prevailing care-free attitude of
absenteeism and truancy among some staff, an attendance register will be opened
in each department and unit. It is mandatory for every staff to sign in and out
form of merchandising at work is hereby prohibited. Heads of Departments/Units
and the Security personnel are to take proper note and enforce this directive
order to enhance security vigilance, the wearing of staff/student Identity Card
is now mandatory on the two campuses of our University. The wearing of ID card
will henceforth be a requirement for entrance into the campuses and into some
major offices, including the office of the Vice Chancellor.
would provide students with a conducive learning environment that is friendly
and result oriented, and actively engage them, through the Dean of Students and
their representatives, to listen to their complaints, concerns and challenges.
shall explore Academic Exchange Programmes as a means of propelling our
students towards acceptance and understanding an array of different cultural
and community perspectives.
and relaxation sport centers would be provided in the University for students,
and they would be encouraged to partake in National sport programmes. There
would be zero tolerance for drug abuse, cultism and other vices.
Management would consider adopting a policy of retaining our students who
graduate with 1st Class degree whenever vacancies are available, and
support them to continue their academic development.
shall, in consultation with the University Governing Council, develop a robust
financial plan that promotes innovation, so as to improve the revenue base of
businesses that would serve as key revenue generating centers to improve the
University’s financial standing, would be established.
shall promote prudence, transparency, accountability and the institution of
best practices in the utilization of University funds, and ensure that, within
the available resources, administrative units and academic departments receive
the necessary funding to run their offices/programmes.
shall ensure that funds are spent in line with Council approvals, the
provisions of the Financial Regulations, extant government Circulars and the University
shall accelerate infrastructure development at the Felele Campus of the
University, to allow for further expansion of academic programmes and to
provide befitting office accommodation for members of staff and hostel
accommodation for our students. Already, we have been receiving overwhelming
support in this regard. Just last week, some of my friends have agreed to
donate a fully built and equipped Entrepreneurship Development Centre to the
University. Similarly, several local and foreign developers have indicated
their desire to provide high stake infrastructures, including hostels and roads
at the Felele Campus. Also last week, one of us, Mr. Empire Iweha donated a
package of CCTV equipment which otherwise would have cost the University enormous
resources to mount. We are grateful to Mr. Empire Iweha for this gesture and
encourage others to follow suit. They can also do this by talking to their
affluent and public spirited contacts for their support.
Management shall explore the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model, more
precisely the Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) model, and other flexible
arrangements to provide infrastructure at the Felele Campus.
Labour would also be considered as means of providing the much needed infrastructure,
as it has proved to be a more cost effective approach.
would liaise with the various security agencies to ensure 24 hours’
surveillance in and around the University Campuses, and ensure the safety of
the staff and the students, and the safeguarding of the University’s
Information & Communications
shall ensure full computerization of the University Senate;our financial,
personnel and students’ records, by migrating from the manual based and
analogue approaches to a digitalized system, in conformity with the advanced
standards expected of a 21st Century University.
Band internet technology would be installed on the 2 campuses; and ICT-enabled
teaching/learning, which encompasses a variety of techniques, tools, content
and resources aimed at improving the quality and efficiency of the learning
process, would also be implemented.
shall restructure and strengthen the University’s Center for ICT and position
it to offer flexible and broader learning access and as a key revenue earner
for the University.
libraries would be fully automated and their resources virtually available
In conclusion, a more detailed
Strategic Plan to guide the next phase of the University’s development that
captures the input of all the critical segments and stakeholders of the
University; short, medium and long-term goals; tangible outcomes, measurable
results and immediate deliverables, would be produced in due course.
Let me also mention that these
institutional reforms are meant to reposition the University for optimal
results and should, therefore, be seen strictly in that light. Already, we have
held some strategic meetings, made a few appointments, constituted a number of
committees and initiated some policy reviews. In a short while, we shall announce
further changes, approve more appointments and effect a major staff reshuffle –
so as to ensure appropriate manning of job posts.
I am excited about the University’s
limitless potential and the team of qualified, competent and willing academic
and non-academic staff members that I am privileged to have as partners on this
journey. Together, we can achieve great things!
Thank you for listening.
Professor Olayemi Akinwumi