- Appraises Vision Plan at Maiden Management Retreat
In a bid to evaluate his administration's performance within the last three (3) years in office, in line with his vision plan (2021-2026), and to develop new action plans for the year 2024, the Vice-Chancellor (VC), Federal University Lokoja (FUL), Prof. Olayemi Akinwumi led other Principal Officers, Provosts, Deans, Directors, Heads of Units, and critical stakeholders of the University to a Maiden Expanded Management Retreat tagged "FUL Setting the Pace: the Roles of Administrators” which held between Thursday, 24th and Sunday 28th January 2024 at the CSS Integrated Farms, Keffi, Nasarawa State.
In his welcome speech delivered at the opening session of the three-day strategic meeting aimed at moving FUL forward, Prof. Akinwumi minced no words in informing the participants that they were in for a serious business. Underscoring the importance of the retreat, the VC stated that the choice of venue outside Lokoja was to ensure full participation and undivided attention of all the selected key players in the University with a view to achieving the desired objectives during the important exercise.
"I personally attach great importance to this gathering. It is a valuable opportunity to openly and frankly deliberate on issues that concern our University. This retreat holds a special significance as it marks the commencement of a new chapter in our University's journey. I am delighted to share with you that this is the first of what I hope will become a tradition of an annual retreat, designed to bring together the collective brilliance of our esteemed commitment team. Your presence here is a testament to your commitment to the development and growth of our beloved Institution - the Federal University Lokoja.
“The purpose of this retreat is profound and paramount and the deliverables are expected to be of immense importance to our University. Over the next few days, we are here to engage in thoughtful dialogue, share insights, and collectively brainstorm on the challenges that have shaped our University's path in the past years. We stand at a critical junction, and it has become imperative that we channel our collective wisdom to address these challenges strategically, ensuring a stronger and more resilient future for the University. As we convene, let us keep in mind that this retreat is not just about identifying problems but, more importantly, about finding innovative solutions,” the VC disclosed with great enthusiasm.
He further stated that part of the deliverables of the retreat would include revisiting his vision plan, scrutinizing the areas where the administration has excelled, and identifying those that needed to be energized, expressing confidence that the outcomes of the rigorous exercise would be of immense benefit to the University. Prof. Akinwumi restated that the primary goal of the retreat was to craft a roadmap for a great future that aligns with FUL’s institutional vision and ethos. He, therefore, enjoined the participants to approach the retreat with open minds and a sense of purpose as well as a commitment to excellence while actively participating in the discussions.
On his part, while setting the tone for the discussion, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Prof. M.S. Audu, gave an overview of the Vice-Chancellor’s Action Plan (2021-2026) which he presented to the Governing Council of the University during the selection process of a new Vice-Chancellor in 2020, having received the technical inputs of the Committees of Vice-Chancellor of Nigerian Universities (CVC). Presenting his paper entitled “FUL Setting the Pace and the Strategic Imperatives,” the DVC broke down the Vision Plan into four (4) parts viz: plan goal and rationale, plan objectives (10 points), work plan assumptions, and the potential obstacles and challenges to achieving the set objectives. He informed the meeting that these and many other issues would be reviewed in order to place FUL in a high-ranking position among the league of world-class Universities.
Also, Prof. M.S. Audu, in a modest assessment of the Vice-Chancellor, outlined some of the giant strides of the administration, identifying funding as a major challenge to achieving all the lofty and developmental plans of the VC for the University. “Most of the achievements recorded by the Vice-Chancellor in the area of physical development came from his personal relationship, network, and goodwill. Let us all join hands with the University Management under Professor Olayemi Akinwumi in seeking partnership and funding opportunities locally and internationally to support the development of the University,” the DVC explained.
Insightful and thought-provoking lectures were delivered by Prof. Michael U. Adikwu, former Vice-Chancellor, University of Abuja; and Prof. Yakubu Ochefu, Secretary General, CVC (represented) on the topics “University of the Future: Governance, Administration, and Collaborations” and “Federal University Lokoja: Looking Backwards and Looking Forward,” respectively.
In a distinctive succession, Prof. Gbenga Ibileye, Provost, College of Postgraduate Studies; and Mr. Daniel Nwankwo, University Public Relations Officer, who co-anchored the sessions, called out the Principal Officers including the Registrar, Dr. Rebecca Aimiohu Okojie; the Bursar, Mr. John Sule Shilo; the University Librarian, Dr. Sarah Dauda Yani; as well as other Provosts, Deans, Directors, Heads of Units/Divisions to present their strategic plan in power-point for the year 2024 and the means to achieving them under the grand vision of the Vice-Chancellor (2021-2026).
Each of the 36 papers and lectures presented was critically interrogated as participants made valuable contributions to the far-reaching discussions. Soon afterward, the report/communique of the retreat, comprising major decisions and actionable plans with key drivers and timelines assigned to each goal, was immediately drafted and presented again for thorough discussion and scrutiny at another session which lasted till 3:30 am.
In his closing remarks, the Chairman of the Planning Committee and Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration), Prof. Abdullahi Emmanuel Bala, expressed deep appreciation to the Vice-Chancellor for the novel idea which was the first in the history of the University. Other interesting highlights of the fun-filled retreat which made it very engaging, refreshing, memorable, and remarkable included an additional birthday surprise to celebrate the VC's diamond jubilee, morning workouts, novelty football matches/games, breaks in between sessions for physical exercise/musical dance, eating together, prayers and group photographs sessions, among others.
Consequently, at an emergency meeting held on Friday, 2nd February 2024, the Vice-Chancellor and Chairman of Senate, presented the comprehensive report to Senate members for discussion. Following the consideration and unanimous adoption by the Senate, a high-powered monitoring committee was set up at the crucial meeting to oversee the implementation of the white paper which was to commence immediately.
Shortly after the emergency meeting, the VC led other Senate members to inspect some ongoing projects at the University, including the Senate building, Faculty of Engineering building (phase 1), furnishing/equipping of Laboratories for the Faculty of Science Complex, and visit to the site designated for the construction of a Central Research Laboratory through the N250M grant awarded by Abdul Samad Rabiu Africa Initiative (ASR Africa) as the contractors were already on the ground to commence work without further delay.
It is hoped that the recommendations and outcomes of this important event if followed religiously and implemented holistically as captured in the Vice-Chancellor’s grand vision plan (2021-2026), will set a new course that would propel FUL to more greatness and usher in all-round development of the thirteen-year-old University. In addition, it will open up new vistas of ideas and opportunities that would further position her in a high-ranking position among the league of Universities not just in Nigeria but Africa and the World at large. See more pictures of the retreat and the inspection tour here