THE TEXT OF PRESS BRIEFING TO MARK THE COMMENCEMENT OF THE FIFTH (5TH) CONVOCATION CEREMONIES OF FEDERAL UNIVERSITY LOKOJA (FUL), BY THE VICE-CHANCELLOR, PROFESSOR OLAYEMI AKINWUMI AT THE COUNCIL CHAMBER, FELELE CAMPUS ON MONDAY, 8TH NOVEMBER, 2021 AT 10.00 A.M PROMPT.
Principal Officers of the University
Deans and Directors
Heads of Departments/Units
Members of the 5th Convocation Central Planning Committee
Distinguished members of the Press
Ladies and Gentlemen
I warmly welcome members of the Press and other distinguished personalities to today’s Press Briefing, which signals the commencement of activities marking the 5th Convocation Ceremonies of Federal University Lokoja.
As has been the tradition over the years, we are kick-starting this year’s Convocation activities with this media parley. It is an important aspect of the Convocation Ceremonies as it affords the University a platform for interacting with members of the fourth estate of the realm and to project her activities and achievements to the larger society.
In this year’s Convocation, 804 graduands will be conferred with degrees and Postgraduate Diploma. The classification of degrees to be awarded is as follows:
- First Class Honours – 14
- Second Class Upper Division – 188
- Second Class Lower Division – 441
- Third Class Honours – 95
- Post Graduate – 66
Furthermore, Honorary Degrees would be conferred on eminent personalities that have contributed immensely to the development of Nigeria. I, therefore, congratulate the awardees for accepting to be honoured with the Honorary Degrees of this University. There is no doubt that their esteemed presence will enrich the event.
Incidentally, this 5th Convocation of the University, is also the 5thunder the Chancellor, His Royal Highness, Alhaji (Dr) Muhammadu Abali Ibn Muhammadu Idriss, CON, the Emir of Fika and Chairman Yobe State Council of Chiefs; but it is the first under the present Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, Distinguished Senator Chris Adighije, and also the first under my leadership as Vice-Chancellor.
The Itinerary of Activities for the 5th Convocation is as follows:
Day 1: Monday, November 8, 2021
Event: Press briefing by the Vice-Chancellor:
Venue: Council Chamber, Felele Campus
Time: 10:00am Prompt
Day 2: Wednesday, November 10, 2021
Event: National Conference by the Department of History and International Studies, Federal University Lokoja, in honour of Professor Toyin Falola, under the theme: Insurgency, Armed Banditry, and Ethno-Religious Conflicts in Central Nigeria.
Venue: University Auditorium, Adankolo Campus
Time: 10:00am Prompt
Day 3: Thursday, November 11, 2021
Event: 5th Convocation Lecture
Venue: University Auditorium, Adankolo Campus
Time 2:00pm Prompt
Topic: Africa in the Throes of Double Pandemic: The Challenges of Terrorism and COVID-19 by Professor Toyin Falola of the University of Texas at Austin, USA
Day 4: Friday, November 12, 2021
Event: Friday Juma’at Prayer
Venue: University Mosque, Adankolo Campus
Time 1:30pm Prompt
Event: Chancellor’s Night (Invited Guests only)
Venue: Reverton Hotels &Towers, Lokoja
Time: 5:00pm Prompt
Day 5: Saturday, November 13, 2021
Event: 5th Convocation Ceremony of the University
Venue: Convocation Arena, Felele Campus
Time 10:00am Prompt
Day 6: Sunday, November 14, 2021
Event: Inter-denominational Thanksgiving Service
Venue: University Auditorium, Adankolo Campus
Time 10:00 am Prompt
Indeed, Federal University Lokoja has come of age. It is now 10 years since it was established by the federal government in 2011. During these past years, it has witnessed tremendous and rapid growth in terms of academic programmes, infrastructural development, research and innovation. This, we owe to the collective efforts of the staff and students and the support of the federal and state governments as well as other development partners of the University.
In the past 9 months of my administration, we have scored many wins and made tremendous progress on multiple fronts. Significantly, we are implementing a strategy of equipping our students with the relevant skills and mindsets that they need to navigate the realities of life after graduation. It is within this context that we are strengthening the Entrepreneurship Development Centre to promote entrepreneurship activities and orientation among the university students. This is embedded in my Vision Plan which I am vigorously pursuing.
I assure you that our commitment to the growth and development of this young but promising University remains unwavering. With the support we are receiving from the staff and the students, the Governing Council, and other key stakeholders, I have no doubt that we are on the right trajectory to attaining greater heights. Permit me at this point to highlight some of my achievements, particularly with regards to programme expansion, increased students’ enrolment, improved ranking, and infrastructure upgrade, amongst others.
Webometrics Ranking: Second Edition of 2021
I am pleased to inform members of the Press that our painstaking efforts at enhancing the University’s visibility and improving on its ranking, is beginning to achieve the desired results. The Federal University Lokoja was ranked 3rd among the 12 new Federal Universities, 35th in the country, 122nd in Sub Sahara Africa, 221st in Africa and 5024th worldwide. This is a lot of improvement on the January ranking where Federal University Lokoja was ranked the 7th among the 12 new Federal Universities, 78th in the country 255th in Sub Sahara Africa, 396th in Africa and 10604th worldwide. Our goal is to emerge the best out of the 12 new universities and among the top 10 in the country.
Institutionalization of Academic Traditions and Ceremonies
The institutionalisation of academic traditions and ceremonies is one of the key reforms I initiated upon assumption of office in February this year, having realized that only 2 Professors had delivered their Inaugural Lectures since the University was established in 2011. We accelerated the relevant processes, and today a total of 6 Professors in the University (4 since my assumption of office) have delivered their Inaugural Lectures, with many others in line to deliver theirs according to the schedule we have prepared. As part of our strategy for providing new channels of knowledge acquisition, cultivating the culture of knowledge sharing and building strong town-gown relationships, the University also introduced the Public Lecture Series, and has had the privilege of hosting high profile personalities such as Professor Adams Bodomo, a distinguished Professor and Chair of African Languages and Literature, University of Vienna, Austria; Professor Jimmy Adegoke, a renowned Professor of Geosciences from the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Missouri-Kansas City, USA, and a Carnegie Research Fellow; Mrs. Comfort Olajumoke Eyitayo, the ICAN President and lately, Lt. General Abdulrahman Dambazau (Rtd),a former Minister of Interior and ex-Chief of Army Staff, as guest lecturers.
Movement to FUL Permanent Site (Felele Campus)
In an effort to achieve the much-needed physical development and programme expansion, the University commenced academic activities at its Permanent Site (Felele Campus) in September, 2021. The relocation process was successful and the staff and the students are settling in gradually. However, the absence of critical infrastructure and essential services remain enormous challenges, considering the huge capital investments required to put them in place. However, the University Management is making concerted efforts to address these issues within the limited financial resources available, but calls for the assistance of the federal and state governments and other public-spirited individuals and organizations.
Programme Expansion and Regularization
The University previously offered 11 academic programmes, but introduced 38 new programmes in 2019 – bringing the total number of programmes to 49. However, all but 5 of the newly introduced programmes were not resource verified by the NUC and were not listed on JAMB’s Central Admissions Processing System (CAPS). This created enormous problems for the University. Upon assumption of office, I immediately swung into action and secured a waiver to admit students into all the programmes and for their enlistment on CAPS. Now, we are in the process of inviting NUC to undertake the resource verification and reaccreditation of our programmes, having paid the cost required. Although, the University’s financial standing remains poor, the objectives of regularizing and expanding the University’s programmes must be accomplished.
Below are all the programmes being offered by the University that are now listed on CAPS:
A. Faculty of Arts
1. B.A. Archaeology
2. B.A. English and Literary Studies
3. B.A. History and International Studies
4. B.A. African Languages and Literature
5. B.A. Arabic Studies
6. B.A. Linguistics
7. B.A. Modern European Languages - French; German; Chinese
8. B.A. Music
9. B.A. Theatre Arts
10. B.A. Christian Religious Studies
11. B.A. Islamic Studies
12. B.A. Philosophy
B. Faculty of Education
13. 13. B.A. (Ed.) English Education
14. B.A. (Ed.) History Education
15. B.A. (Ed.) Economics Education
16. B.A. (Ed.) Geography Education
17. B.A. (Ed.) Political Science Education
18. B.Ed. Social Studies Education
19. B.Ed. Business Education
20. B.Ed. Guidance & Counselling
21. BLIS Library and Information Science
22. B.Sc. (Ed.) Biology Education
23. B.Sc. (Ed.) Chemistry Education
24. B.Sc. (Ed.) Computer Science Education
25. B.Ed. Integrated Science Education
26. B.Sc. (Ed.) Mathematics Education
27. B.Sc. (Ed.) Physics Education
C. Faculty of Management Science
28. B.Sc. Accounting
29. B.Sc. Banking and Finance
30. B.Sc. Business Administration
31. B.Sc. Public Administration
D. Faculty of Science
32. B.Sc. Biochemistry
33. B.Sc. Biology
34. B.Sc. Biotechnology
35. B.Sc. Botany
36. B.Sc. Chemistry
37. B.Sc. Computer Science
38. B.Sc. Geology
39. B.Sc. Industrial Chemistry
40. B.Sc. Mathematics
41. B.Sc. Microbiology
42. B.Sc. Physics
43. B.Sc. Statistics
44. B.Sc. Zoology
E. Faculty of Social Sciences
45. B.Sc. Economics
46. B.Sc. Geography
47. B.Sc. Mass Communication
48. B.Sc. Political Science
49. B.Sc. Sociology
In the area of infrastructural development, we are making concerted efforts to make our campuses very conducive. Let me highlight some of the projects we are embarking on, as proof of my determination to propel the infrastructural development of the University.
We are vigorously pursuing our objective of improving water supply at the Felele Campus of the University through decentralized delivery systems. Already, a mega water project which I awarded and is being executed under the University’s 2020 capital budget is about 90% complete.
We are in the advanced stage of the tendering process to connect the Felele Campus to the national grid. The objective is to provide conducive environment for research, teaching and learning to thrive, and to ensure sustainable development. Other alternative sources of power supply are equally being explored. We intend to achieve this objective latest by January, 2022. I can confidently inform you now that as we speak, installation of 500kva generating plant is being installed to power lecture rooms, faculty and departmental offices. Equally, speed breakers and U-turn construction is ongoing. All of these are going on at the Felele campus. I can assure you gentlemen of the Press that within the next one week, all of these interventions would be completed.
Management is at advanced stage in the supply of additional furniture to lecture rooms and staff offices. As soon as the contract processes are completed, sets of furniture would be provided in the lecture rooms and staff offices.
- A standard Health Services Centre
We have awarded a contract for the construction of a standard University Health Services Centre at the Felele Campus of the University under the 2021 capital budget, and have already procured some advanced medical equipment which would be installed as soon as the building is completed. Our goal is to provide efficient primary and secondary medical care to our staff and students, and to serve the health and well-being needs of patients within the immediate community.
- Security Building and Fire Fighting Equipment
Similarly, we have awarded a contract for the construction of a befitting office building for the security department of the University and for the provision of fire-fighting equipment under the 2021 capital budget.
A 0.7km road construction, under the TETFund 2020 Zonal Intervention is currently ongoing at the Felele Campus of the University. Additionally, we have secured the support of the Federal Ministry of Power and Housing for the construction of a 1.8km dualized road from the main gate to the administrative block at the Felele Campus. We would ensure completion of these projects as planned.
I am again pleased to announce that our unrelenting efforts and commitment have yielded yet another remarkable achievement. We have secured TETFund’s intervention for the construction of a new and befitting Senate Building for the University. The project would commence shortly.
Establishments and Institutional Reforms
I initiated quite a number of reforms aimed at modernizing administration and management, upgrading teaching and learning systems, setting new norms and standards, and improving human resource management.
As part of the reforms, we established the following:
- Directorate of Consultancy Services and Ventures
- FUL Felele Consult Ltd (a Limited Liability Company)
- Directorate of Distance and e-Learning
- Directorate of Quality Assurance
- Directorate of Advancement and Linkages
- College of Health Sciences
- Faculty of Engineering
- Institute of Governance and Development Studies
- Institute of Education
- University Staff School
- FUL Printing Press (public-private-partnership)
- FUL Pure Water Factory (public-private-partnership)
The institutional reforms also captured the following areas:
- Reformation of the Registry and Bursary Departments for effective and efficient service delivery.
- Creation of a Works Services Department out of the Physical Planning and Development Department for improved performance.
- Creation of the position of a second Deputy Vice-Chancellor.
- Expansion of the Science Remedial Programme to the School of Preliminary and Remedial Studies with additional academic programmes for more revenue generation.
- Upgrade of the Directorate of General Studies to the School of General Studies (SGS) to cover more academic activities and for more revenue generation.
- General reshuffling of staff, especially those who had spent 4 years or more on a post with the aim of reinvigorating the University’s workforce and strengthening its administrative processes.
- In order to give life to the system, upon my assumption of office in February 2021, I did Over 50 appointments in units and departments which were all encompassing and propelled by my desire to unify the community to work together towards achieving our common goal.
I decided to set up a committee to carry out a comprehensive staff audit, following repeated reports and complaints by members of staff of placement irregularities. The aim was to review and determine the appropriateness or otherwise of staff placements, after reviewing their qualifications and authenticating their credentials. The intention was also to identify and eliminate ghost workers, if any, bring personnel records up to date and establish effective record keeping procedures. The exercise is ongoing.
Increase in Students Enrolment Quota
In our desire to increase the student population, achieve key milestones as contained in the University’s Academic Brief and improve on our internally generated revenues, I am glad to announce to the members of the Press that our request to the NUC and JAMB for an upward review of the University’s admissions quota from 1,500 was granted, and a new quota of 4,000 has been approved. In addition, we have achieved about thirteen percent (13%) increase in the enrolment of postgraduate students.
Implementation of e-Administration System
Under my leadership as Vice-Chancellor, we have deployed the pilot phase of the e-administration system in the University Senate. The Senate of Federal University Lokoja now operates a paperless system and this has saved time as well as reduced the cost of procuring stationeries drastically. In a short while, we shall deploy the comprehensive system to enhance students’ admission and tracking, financial management, data distribution, teaching, learning and research, staff appraisals, general administration and security. We shall continue to leverage ICT in conformity with the advanced standards expected of a 21st Century University.
Consultancy Services and Ventures
As reported earlier, we established the Directorate of Consultancy Services and Ventures, and mandated the team we appointed to take advantage of the University’s unique surrounding and the expertise amongst the staff and students to offer services to the immediate and wider community for revenue generation. To achieve this aim, a Limited Liability Company, FUL Felele Consult Ltd, was registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). The company has already commenced business operations with the establishment of a block moulding industry, a catering service, and computer business centres, and is exploring other business partnerships and prospects.
Industrial Harmony on Campus
Upon assumption of office, the crisis in the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) was one of the most delicate and complex problems I had to immediately confront. The polarization affected almost all facets of the University. I held series of meetings with both factions, and embarked on private visits to the residences of the key actors in the crisis, and passionately appealed to them to reconcile and embrace peace. I am glad to announce to the members of the Press that our aim was achieved. Today, we are a united community working towards the same goal. Following this feat, the National President of ASUU, Professor Victor Emmanuel Osodeke, paid a courtesy call on me to commend our efforts as a university. Other Unions: SSANU, NASU and NAAT including Students Union are functioning smoothly without rancour. All the unions on campus are stakeholders in this administration. Decisions as they affect the welfare of Staff and students are jointly taken. I have always emphasised that this administration is union friendly and shall go extra length to provide succour within the ambit of its finances.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press, distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen let me conclude this Press briefing by specially thanking you for honouring our invitation. We count on your support to ensure that all our activities are given the widest publicity in the manner that appeals to responsible journalism.
Thank you for your kind attention.