AN ADDRESS DELIVERED BY THE PRO-CHANCELLOR AND CHAIRMAN OF GOVERNING COUNCIL, SENATOR CHRIS ADIGHIJE PhD, AT THE 5TH CONVOCATION CEREMONY OF FEDERAL UNIVERSITY LOKOJA, HELD AT THE FELELE CAMPUS ON 13TH NOVEMBER, 2021
Good morning respected guests and members of the university community, friends and families of the graduands. I am absolutely thrilled to be standing before you this morning. What a year we had last year; 2020 will forever remain in our memories for so many reasons,
the year will go down in history as a very unique year because of the many challenges that were bequeathed to us; particularly the Covid-19 global pandemic that virtually shut down everything good about our world, again, ASUU Industrial Action added to the many challenges the educational sector faced same year. These two, in particular affected the University System so much so that the Class of 2020 could not complete their studies until this year 2021. In all things, we have been told to give thanks to Almighty God, He alone made it possible for us to gather here today to celebrate an academic year like no other and we must count it a blessing that the year turns out to a happy one for the students, parents and guardians today as we mark the Fifth Convocation Ceremony in high spirit.
The university is today awarding degrees and diplomas to its deserving students who have passed all prescribed examinations and have been found worthy in both learning and character by the Senate of the university. The ceremony will also see the award of Honorary Doctorate Degrees to worthy ambassadors of Nigeria within and in the diaspora. This occasion affords us the opportunity to Xray our developmental strides and the challenges inherent with a view to defining our future accomplishments. It therefore gladdens my heart to appreciate all those who have made this day possible and to tremendously on behalf of the Third Governing Council of the University, welcome you all to our University as you celebrate with us today.
I want to welcome the Visitor, President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR to the university. I express my gratitude to him for his passion for the educational system, his love for the youths of this great nation and in particular our institution through the various financial intervention and policies aimed at galvanizing the university to a world class. Your presence here today through your representation is a testimony of your avid commitment to quality education in Nigeria. The university Council wishes to assure our Visitor that we have him in our prayers and we wish him well.
His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Kogi State, Alhaji Yahaya Adoza Bello and members of his cabinet here present, I welcome you and appreciate you and your government for the conducive environment and the support that your State has given to our University to carry out its statutory functions of teaching and learning, research and community service. May God continue to bless you and provide you with the strength and wisdom to enviably pilot the affairs of the state.
Our Chancellor, HRH Alhaji (Dr.) Muhammadu Abali Ibn Muhammadu Idriss, CON, the Emir of Fika, Chairman of the Yobe State Council of Chiefs and the head of the University; I am happy to have you in our midst today and appreciate your doggedness and determination to ensure that this ceremony holds. It is my prayer that God in His infinite mercy grants you wisdom and strength to rule your subjects aright and prolong your life on the throne.
Despite the challenges of Covid-19, the strong collaboration between the Senate, the Congregation and the Governing Council of the University has helped in no small measure in piloting the university in the right direction. We have been able to have the Council fully constituted with the elections of Senate and Congregation members and the Council has been carrying out its duties and responsibilities; principally, among these is the appointments of the Principal Officers of the university including the third Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Olayemi Akinwumi. Our University is becoming increasingly visible and that can be seen in the high number of Senior Academics who want to be associated with the University as over eighty Professors applied for the position of Vice Chancellor. We are happy to say that we got one out of the best for the job and he has remarkably achieved giant strides in these last few months of his assumption of duty in February 2021. Council appreciates His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR for giving us the opportunity to preside over the appointments and his approval.
Furthermore, we want to thank the Honourable Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu for his understanding and cooperation in the running of the University by providing necessary assistance to the University. We appreciate Prof. Abubakar Adamu Rasheed, the Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC) for their regulatory roles and approval of new programmes which will be going for Resource Verification any time from now and re-accreditation of the existing ones. I am particularly delighted sir that you are graciously looking forward to approving our College of Health Sciences. It is the dream of the university to commence Medical Sciences so as to cater for the teeming youths of Kogi State yearning to pursue course in medicine and surgery. I can assure you sir that when established, the college of medicine of this university will be one of the best in Nigeria. I also want to appreciate the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) for the maximum support they have given the university in this direction.
Work at the postgraduate level is now firmly established and I am happy to report that the post- graduate school will be graduating its first set of students today. The School of Preliminary Studies has been expanded to accommodate students in disciplines in the Arts, Social Sciences and Management Sciences.
In the area of infrastructure, the University using funds from the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) has been able to put up new structures at the Felele Campus which made it possible for the university to move here. A lot still needs to be done to make life livable here and make the environment conducive for work. We solicit the continued and increased support of the Federal Government and all relevant agencies to help develop this Campus. Philanthropists and public-spirited individuals and corporate organizations are welcome to partner with us in developing the University infrastructure. The land here is vast and without a perimeter fence, security remains a challenge. There are no municipal services of power supply, water and sanitation. The University was able to open up some road networks and cleared some of the bushes around the core areas, through the help of some philanthropists; I wish to commend Alhaji Othman Khalid and Mr. Godees for making the road to the university passable by clearing the bushes. We need more of these public-spirited Nigerians to intervene in the infrastructural development of this campus.
Council’s directive to put the Felele Campus (Permanent Site) into appropriate use to enable the University to expand its academic programmes has been carried out by the Vice Chancellor; this is responsible for the life that is seen on this Campus today as four Faculties have moved here for full operations: The faculties of Arts, Education, Management Sciences and Social Sciences are fully operational here along with the Institute of Education. This will enable the university cater for the new demands of the students’ enrolment which is one cardinal reason for which the Federal University Lokoja was established. But regrettably, Council lacks the financial resources to bring to reality the necessary infrastructural needs of the university. I therefore call on all those who, in good faith, had made pledges to assist the University in one form or the other to redeem their pledges and I invite well- meaning Nigerians to come and support this great institution whose tremendous prospect is limitless.
To the graduands for whom today is very special, as you receive your degrees after several years of hard work and sweat, I, on behalf of the Governing Council, join other organs of the University to extend our hearty congratulations to you. As you leave us, you will realize that a University environment is entirely different from the outside world which you would soon encounter. I will tell you this, be courageous and steadfast, this is your time and always remember that you have to go through life with a whole lot more than you originally think, you must be passionate about what you do eventually, you must be strategic in your future plans, be acquainted with your future environment, work hard, be kind to yourselves and watch amazing things happen. We are comforted that the well-structured programmes of this University which are designed to prepare you for the industry, self-reliance and motivation, will see you through the vicissitudes of life outside the confines of the University campus. Do not forget that you bear the torchlight of the University and therefore, you must strive to make the institution proud in all aspects of your daily dealings. Join the Alumni Association and contribute your own quota to the continued existence of the University by being worthy alumni and alumnae who are prepared to assist the university in its efforts to be counted among the best.
I also want to extend our warm compliments to the parents and guardians of our graduands. You have seen them through these difficult years, their joy today is also yours because you played major roles in bringing about the reality of this day. I commend you all for a job well done.
As a Governing Council, we are happy to witness the Fifth Convocation Ceremony, but incidentally our own first as members of the third Governing Council of this University. Our four- year tenure began in the year 2020, and Members therefore collectively want to thank the Federal Government of Nigeria, led by President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, who is also the Visitor to the University, for giving us the opportunity to serve the institution in this capacity. It has been a rewarding experience for me for the past one year leading the Governing Council of the Federal University Lokoja.
I also want to thank the Chancellor of the University, HRH Alhaji (Dr.) Muhammadu Ibn Abali Muhammadu Idriss, CON, for his sterling leadership and steadfast interest in the affairs of the University. The University Management led by our workaholic and visionary Vice Chancellor, Professor Olayemi Akinwumi who has been doing awesome and commendable jobs since coming on board. I pray for strength, good health and wisdom needed for you and your team to take the University to the next level in her developmental strides. We commend the Federal University Lokoja Community for the harmonious and decent working relationship and I urge you to continue with this as we work towards building a world-class University in Lokoja, the heart of Nigeria.
God bless the Federal University Lokoja
God bless Kogi State of Nigeria
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Thank you all and God bless you.