50th (2018) Pre-convocation Press Conference Address By The Vice Chancellor, Professor Oluwatoyin Temitayo Ogundipe, Fas, On Wednesday, 27th March 2019
The Deputy Vice Chancellor (Management Services), Professor Ben, E. A. OghojaforFAMN,
The Deputy Vice Chancellor (Development Services), Professor Folasade T. OgunsolaFAS,
The Deputy Vice Chancellor (Development Services), Professor Oluwole Familoni FAS,
The Registrar and Secretary to Council, Oladejo Azeez, Esq.
The Bursar, Mr. Lekan Lawal FCA, (represented by mrs. Olabisi Serrano)
The University Librarian, Dr. (Mrs.) Yetunde A. ZaidCLN,
Deans of Faculty,
Distinguish Members of University Senate,
The Chairman, Ceremonies Committee,
Members of the Convocation Ceremonies Committee,
Heads of Department,
Members of the University Community,
Gentlemen of the Print and Electronic Media,
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is with great pleasure that I welcome you all to the Pre-Convocation Press Conference for the 2017/2018 Convocation Ceremonies, which marks the 50th Convocation in the series,of our great University.
As usual, this press conference kick-starts activities for our 2017/2018 Convocation Ceremonies which will take place at the J. F. Ade. Ajayi Auditorium of the Main Campus of the University of Lagos from Monday, 1st to Friday, 5th April, 2019.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, Gentlemen of the Press, the first activity in the Convocation Ceremonies is the Opening of Exhibitions at the Senate Building Car Park by 11:00 a.m. on Monday, 1stApril, 2019. This will be followed closely by the Convocation Lecture titled: “Nigeria Rising: The Path to Prosperity”, which would be delivered by the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Professor YemiOsinbajo, SAN, GCONat the J. F. Ade-Ajayi Auditorium. The Chairman of the Convocation Lecture is Chief Arthur C.I. Mbanefo, FCA, CON.
The Graduation Ceremonies will span three days (Tuesday 2nd, Wednesday3rd and Thursday 4th April, 2019). Just as we witnessed last year, this year’s Graduation Ceremonies will run in two (2) sessions for the three days: morning sessions will start at 9:00 a.m. and afternoon sessions at 1:00 p.m.
The first day will feature graduating students from the faculties of Arts, Education, Environmental Sciences, Science and Social Sciences while students of the faculties of Basic Medical Sciences, Clinical Sciences, Dental Sciences, Management Sciences, Engineering, Law, Pharmacy and the Distance Learning Institute will be graduating on the second day.The third day will feature the graduation of students of the School of Postgraduate Studies as well asspecial awards as follows:
- Emeritus Professorship to be conferred on Professor Sulaiman Adeniyi Adekola, formerly of the Department of Electrical Engineering and a former Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration)
Honourary Doctorate Degreesto be conferred on Mr. Jim Ovia, CON– an accomplished banker and Founder, Zenith Bank;Mr Lateef Olufemi Okunnu, SAN,CON –a Lawyer, former Federal Commissioner (Minister) for Works and Housing and former Pro Chancellor, University of Agriculture, Makurdi, Benue State; and Dr. Daniel Kolawole Olukoya – a Molecular Geneticist, Pentecostal Minister and Founder/ General Overseer, Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries, Founder, Mountain Top University, Ogun State.
The Chancellor’s Reception, UNILAG Alumni Association Edutainment, Alumni Reception and the Convocation Play are also very important events lined up for theCeremonies. A detailed programme of events will be circulated at the end of this Press Conference.
Gentlemen of the Press, you are all cordially invited to these events.
STATISTICS OF GRADUATING STUDENTS
The breakdown is as follows:
Basic Medical Sciences
Distance Learning Institute
School of Postgraduate Studies
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, a total of 12,811 students will receive their degrees, diplomas and certificates at this year’s Convocation. Of this number, 7,406 (57.8%) will receive first degrees or diplomas while 5,405 (42.2%) will receive postgraduate degrees.
I am proud to announce that 271 students would be awarded First Class degrees of which 56 are from the Faculty of Engineering. The breakdown of the other classes of degrees are as follows: 2,277 in the Second Class Upper, 3,116 in Second Class Lower, 1,197 in Third Class, 131 in Pass while 414 in degrees or diplomas that are not classified.
The Best Graduating Students with Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 4.96 at this Convocation are Ekeh, Ogechi Joedicta from the Faculty of Pharmacy, Adeyeye, Oluwaseyi Adeniyi from the Department of Insurance and Ogbechi, Daniel Chinaedum from the Department of Business Administration, both from the Faculty of Management Sciences.
In the postgraduate category, we will be awarding 150 Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees (three of whom were under my supervision); 4,771 Masters degrees and 484 Postgraduate Diplomas.
The Best Ph.D Thesis in Science will be awarded to Ajibade, Oluwaseyi Ayodele of Department of Metallurgical & Material Engineering while Oyebade, Olumide Oyewole of Department of Philosophy will awarded Best Ph.D Thesis award for Humanities. Ajibade, Oluwaseyi Ayodele will also receive overall best Ph.D. Thesis.
We congratulate all the graduating students for braving the odds to complete their programmes and join our Alumni community, The University of Lagos Alumni is a very strong part of the UNILAG brand, at home and abroad. Last year, the University was put in the global spotlight when
- an alumna, Abisoye Ajayi-Akinfolarin, founder of Pearls Africa Youth Foundation, was announced as one of the winners of the CNN Heroes Top 10 Award for the year 2018. She was rewarded for her vision to empower disadvantaged girls in rural communities within Lagos with the teaching of coding applications.
- Mr.Ayodele Dada, a graduate of the Department of Psychology, with a perfect Cumulative Grade Point Average 5.00 in the 2014/2015 session was selected by Stanford University, through its Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program, as one of 69 students from around the world to advance their knowledge in service to humanity.
- Solomon Oyakhire, another alumnus from the Department of Chemical Engineering was part of the 2018 cohort of the Knight-Hennessy scholarship program.
In addition, four (4) alumni of the Faculty of Law were elevated to the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria by the Legal Practitioners’ Privileges Committee (LPPC). As an Institution, we are proud of the impact of our alumni in the global society; and the University will continue to be inspired by a deeply rooted commitment to producing solution providers, who will successfully address increasingly complex global challenges.
THE UNIVERSITY IN THE LAST ONE YEAR
During the last Convocation press conference, I intimated you of the major thrust of the University under my administration. For the benefit of doubt, I like to reiterate that the University under my watch has pursued an uncompromising academic standard; local and global networks; innovative fund raising mechanisms; transformational and transnational leadership; and accountability in all university processes. With all of these, we are on the path to making the University of Lagos greater than the best.
With the strong understanding that research is one of the core obligations of a university, and the realization that the government or university cannot singlehandedly fund research, we have in the last one year attempted to raise awareness about the need for our faculty members to apply and attract more research grants to the University, especially through. multi-disciplinary research. I am glad to inform you that our academic staff have made good progress in the period under review. Among these are the
- World Bank award of African Centre of Excellence under ACE Impact to the Centre for Drug Discovery, Herbal Medicine Development and Regulatory Science, headed by Professor Olukemi Odukoya of the Faculty of Pharmacy. The grant is worth over $4.5m (about N1.5billion).
- INSPiRED project award of €2.3m for a collaborative research amongst five institutions – Leiden University Medical Center, Netherlands (LUMC), Delft University of Technology, Netherlands, University of Ibadan, CERMEL, Gabon and University of Lagos (with Professor Wellington Oyibo of the Faculty of Basic Medical Science as team lead)
- Network of African Science Academics (NASAC) award of about €90,000 to Dr Peter Elias of the Faculty of Social Sciences for standardising city-level data-gathering procedures.
We have equally strengthened our Research Centres and given them the mandate to pursue research that can attract grants from multi-national corporations and government agencies. To further advance research in the University, our Central Research Laboratory has been better equipped in the last year through donation of a Polyurethane Laboratory worth over N20m by Vitafoam Nigeria Plc which was commissioned by the Hon. Minister for Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu.
Our collaboration with industries, government agencies, international organisations and foreign governments and institutions received a boost in the last year. For instance, Carleton University, Canada through Professor Anthony Bailetti has partnered with University of Lagos to develop a project that seeks to create 100 intercontinental start-ups that would conduct businesses in about ten countries including Nigeria and Canada. This has also led the Nigerian Embassy in Canada and the Canadian Embassy in Nigeria to jointly organise the first Nigeria-Canada Investment Summit held in Abuja in November, 2018, where the Carleton/UNILAG project was demonstrated. The Caribbean Maritime University, Jamaica and University of Lagos has signed a Memorandum of Understanding to develop critical human capital needed to address the shortage in the maritime industry. This initiative received the support of the Federal Government through the Office of the Vice President, Professor ‘Yemi Osinbajo who witnessed the signing of the MOU. Recently we launched the Nigeria-China Development Institute to further strengthen our ties with the Chinese government and its people. The Institute would become the fibre for which the Sino-Nigeria relationship would be studied and understood and foster a better trade relationship between Nigeria and China.
In the last one year, we have expanded the mandate of the Entrepreneurship and Skills Development Centre to engage in critical activities to promote entrepreneurship training for both staff and students of the University. The second Design Thinking programme sponsored by Lufthansa in the University was successful held last year. The programme was sponsored with the sum of ₦70m by Lufthansa. A total of 30 business prototypes were showcased and we are in the process of registering 15 business initiatives from the programme. The University is now taking over the programme as part of our commitment to promoting problem solving and viable businesses in Nigeria. The Centre has also fired up the spirit of entrepreneurship by assisting to prepare our students for local and international competitions. In this regard, over 1,200 students in the University were supported to participate in the Lagos State Ready-Set-Work initiative of His Excellency, Governor of Lagos State, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode. This helped in further broadening the horizon of our students as they developed business ideas and pitched same at the grand finale. Popoola Ayodeji, a student of Department of Geosciences came second and won a cash prize of ₦4m with his Eko Laundry Business initiative. As part of our efforts to further encourage entrepreneurship, I am glad to inform you that the Bank of Industry (BOI) has just approved the sum of ₦250 million to support the entrepreneurship drive of the University. The University will be giving out loans between 1 and2million naira to start-ups from this fund, depending on the proposal and cost required. This will be an interest-free loan to the students and it shall be a revolving fund. Representatives from the office of the Executive Secretary of TETFund as well as the Federal Republic of Nigeria Senate Committee on Tertiary Institution and TETFund led by Senator B. I. Jibrinvisited and adjudged our Entrepreneurship Centre as the best in any Nigerian University.
We have activated strong ties with the Alumni body to drive the agenda of the University. Upon his election, the Alumni President, Mr John Momoh, visited the Management of the University with his team and this afforded us the opportunity to criss-cross ideas on how to collaborate in moving the University forward. With the support of our Alumni Body, we recently signed an MOU with Zenith Bank for the construction of a building on our Campus. We shall continue to engage our alumni body to seek ways to further develop our Campus.
The University of Lagos Business School is set to take off. When fully functional, the School would run short executive courses and professional degree programmes with highly experienced industry personnel as facilitators. We are currently repositioning the Distance Learning Institute to operate 100% Open Distance Learning and increase its student intake. The Institute has also introduced new programmes such as the B.Sc. in Transportation. We are putting things together to make the programmes more attractive to the public.
The University is set to start off a Microfinance Bank which would be an additional source of revenue for the University; and also assist members of staff and the community in meeting some of their financial needs towards home ownership, small scale enterprises, school fees, car purchase and the likes. A site has been earmarked and remodelling of the building would commence soon. The University of Lagos Media Centre has commenced television test-transmission on StarTimes Channel 184.
Apart from research and teaching, community service is an essential part of the reason universities are established. We believe it is expedient that our neighbouring communities - Iwaya, Makoko and Bariga feel our presence. We are set to give opportunities to the young girls in secondary schools around the community, through training in web programming, android application development, robotics and artificial intelligence. In the last year, we test-ran the training with a total of 50 girls from International School, University of Lagos. We are set to introduce the training to the neighbouring community with a total of 100 girls per year.
The University won the bid to host the 26th NUGA games and a Local Organising Committee Chaired by Mr John Momoh has been working, to ensure a successful hosting of the Games. The last time the University hosted was 1998. The Mascot for the Games will be unveiled by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, on 1st April, 2019 at the convocation lecture.
We are poised to create new programmes and review existing ones to make them relevant to our present challenges. We have a strong team of researchers working on cyber-security and as part of the benefits of their work, the University was recently admitted into Global Epic, an international group of 21 institutions, which co-creates and adopts world changing solutions to cyber-security all over the world. The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) recently signed an MOU with the University on the training of scholars in Master Degree in Cyber Law, to strengthen regulation of cyber security in Nigeria. University of Lagos is the first institution in Nigeria to take this bold step to train professionals in cyber law.
Two of the wings of the New El-Kanemi Student Hostel have been completed and currently being furnished by the Nigerian Port Authority as part of their corporate social responsibility. Similarly, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) donated 110 laptops to Department of Computer Science to enhance teaching and learning of Information and Communication Technology.
By the time, you come back to the University of Lagos, I am sure that you will take a good pause at the University entrance as you will be faced by a state-of-the-art, beautiful and impressive University gate beyond your imagination. We have the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode to thank for this as he has graciously approved the remodelling of the University gate, as part of his kind gesture to the University of Lagos; and the work has commenced earnestly.
In conclusion, we believe that through support, our staff and students can develop critical expertise, as well as effective analytical and communication skills that are globally sought-after.
We shall therefore continue to pursue programmes and develop opportunities for them.Let me sincerely thank you for the robust support which our University has enjoyed from you, gentlemen of the press, in the areas of coverage and publicity.I also want to thank you for being here today. There is no doubt that this kind of meeting will lead to better understanding between us, now and in times to come.
I thank you for your attention.
God bless the University of Lagos
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria
Professor Oluwatoyin T. Ogundipe, FAS
University of Lagos