THE FIFTH & SIXTH CONVOCATION ADDRESS
LEAD CITY UNIVERSITY, IBADAN
(FOR THE AWARD OF FIRST DEGREES AND HONOURARY DEGREES)
The Governor of Oyo State
Your Royal Majesty, Olubusi II, Ooni of Ife
Members of the Board of Trustees
The Chairman and members of Council
The Deputy Vice-Chancellor
Deans of Faculties
Chaplain of Convocation
The Public Orator
Members of Senate
Members of the University Community
Visiting Pro-Chancellors, Vice-Chancellors and Registrars of our Sister Institutions
The Chaplain of convocation, thank you for your prayers and may God accept your supplication for Lead City University, our state and our nation.
Thanks to your Excellency, the Governor of Oyo State, Senator Ajimobi and her Excellency Mrs Ajimobi. We are delighted to have you both with us on this occasion at our 5th and 6th Convocation today. We congratulate you on your purposeful leadership of Oyo State in its transformation that we have all been witnessing.
Our graduands today are in Adeline Hall to receive their various degrees so well earned from their hard work. I rejoice with you all, your parents and families and I welcome you into this celebration of your achievements. Convocation is an honoured tradition of Universities all over the world, and we partake in it as an established institution of higher learning, licensed to carry out all activities for the education of the youth so desirous of learning those things useful and ornamental in order to contribute to the development of the state and our country. It is also an opportunity for us as a University to reflect upon the milestone achievements that we have made and the challenges we face with assurance of our determination to surmount them.
Traditionally, it is an opportunity for the University to recognize and award honorary degrees to outstanding role models who have made significant achievements in the society, nationally and worldwide through their accomplishments in their vocations. This year’s honorary degrees’ recipients deserve their names to be joined to the august list of our honorary graduands as men and women of honour and outstanding contributions to society. It would be my delight to receive and admit them after their public presentation to their respective honourary degrees by the University Orator.
Our dedicated teachers have been a source of pride to us as they continue to nurture our students for effective education that goes beyond book learning, to making out of them a creative force and our nation’s resource on the completion of their respective programmes.
I wish to express our appreciation as a University community to our Proprietors, the Board of Trustees and the University Governing Council for the good works and commitment that continue to give expression to visible development of our infrastructures and the beauty of our campus.
The Vice-Chancellor would soon address convocation to our delight, to showcase our achievements and our successful endeavors which have resulted in the present number of graduating students from different faculties of the University.
Our country needs highly skilled graduates who can affect the future by the contribution that is being made here. Lead City University (LCU) would continue to be a crucible of creative thought, a place where the dreams of generations of students can and have become realities.
Our short history as a University can be understood as a constant striving to go the extra mile and do the extraordinary things to make a difference in our country and in our world, to widen that circle of opportunities for our students, to deepen the meaning of education, and to make real the desire to reclaim the position of Nigeria and indeed that of Africa in the world. And as you all walk tall into Adeline Hall today, I call on the graduating class to excel and be great leaders in whatever field you are called upon to use your education that you have received here. You enter the world of your tomorrow at a remarkable moment in the history of our nation. Almost one hundred years ago we were amalgamated into the country, Nigeria. Let us now make it a perfect union by our resolve and bring new hope to our country Nigeria and indeed Africa.
Today, I call our collective attention for a national focus on the challenges of the Knowledge Revolution and Information Age. The dimensions of the Information and Knowledge Revolution and its possibilities are generally understood, even by lay people beyond academia. After all, we all hold mobile phones and devices in our hand. In order to make the most of the opportunities of the Information Age, we must also acknowledge that there are important choices to be made that cannot be deferred. They would be made by our action or inaction. There is no such thing as deferred opportunity and hence we must put our national resources to bring us the advantages contained in the Information Age.
Already the Information Age is transforming the way we work and the way we communicate. On any normal day, more than 1000 times as many messages are delivered by e-mail as through the Post Office, if any at all now. And today, this ceremony is being transmitted live by Splash FM so that people outside this hall and all over the world can join in what is going on right now.
The tools developed today are bringing down barriers. Our children will be able to stretch a hand across a keyboard and reach every book ever written. We must take advantage of that opportunity and empower our children. It is now possible with internet access for a child anywhere in Nigeria to have access to the same world of knowledge at the same instant as the child in the most developed nation.
Just a few kilometers from here, in a neighbouring state, a revolution is playing out in the education sector. The Opon Imo initiative in Osun state is a unique and groundbreaking attempt at re-engineering how students learn at the senior secondary level, by making available to each one of them handheld digital tablets. On each of the tablets are preloaded e-books on all subjects that are offered at secondary school level, video/audio lectures and tutoring notes, as well as a test platform for students’ self-assessment to monitor their own comprehension and mastery of the subject. Opon Imo thus creates a virtual learning environment in which each student can immerse themselves, preview topics ahead of class, revise after the class and assess their learning. It literally places in the hands of each student a vast world of knowledge. It then becomes up to each student to take full advantage of this learning opportunity for his or her success.
That small miracle can be replicated in every school, in this state, and across the nation.
Your Excellency, permit me to use the opportunity of your presence with us today to present one or two ideas for our common consideration.
First, as a University, we must help to ensure that this state and others partake in the knowledge revolution. Scientific research is a basic prerequisite for growth. Your government can set up a research fund to mobilize the research potential of our University and others domiciled in this state to collectively respond to the needs of the state in water quality, renewable energy such as solar energy to supplement the grid supply in sensitive installations, and school systems improvement.
Scientific research has created many new industries elsewhere including millions of jobs; it would allow Nigeria to produce bountiful food supplies and remarkable tools for development. We must participate in the global knowledge revolution.
Second, we must make sure through our combined efforts with those of Government and private initiatives that the opportunities of the Information Age in this state and across the nation are made available to all our children. Every young Nigerian in this state and elsewhere must have access to computer and telecommunication technologies. I call on Your Excellency most passionately and to our nation’s leaders to make sure that every school is connected to the Internet by the year 2015.
But it is not enough to connect the schools. The services have to be accessed using bandwidth from providers. NCC must come up with a policy of subsidized bandwidth cost for educational institutions and our libraries. It would be a most crucial initiative that would help connect our schools, our libraries, and our rural health centers to the Internet. We need an act of the National Assembly to make this happen and happen very quickly too.
Thousands of our students in schools and in our libraries are in desperate need of discounts for bandwidth access to the Internet and we should not leave a child behind without access to the opportunities. Every child in this state and in Nigeria at large deserves the chance to participate in the information revolution.
To make sure our schools have better facilities, more qualified teachers and higher standards, our aspirations require that our state and the nation commit to technology literacy for every child. We should not let a child graduate from JSS 3 anymore without each of them knowing how to use new information technologies, computers and tablets to learn. This requires curriculum reform across the state and the nation.
This state must eye the future and make technology literacy a requirement of finishing from senior secondary schools. I believe we should meet this goal in the JSS 3 school years. I believe every child in this state should leave JSS 3, fully able to use the most current tools for learning, research, communication, and collaboration. Lead City University will partner with this state to meet this goal if so set. We are here to work with Your Excellency as corporate citizens of this state.
If this state and any other state commit to adopt a technology literacy policy, then we would be able to help provide the training that the teachers need. We should be able to create a team of trained technology experts for the Nigerian JSS 1 to JSS 3 schools in every one of our states, and encourage the development of high-quality educational materials in electronic form. All students should feel as comfortable with a keyboard as writing in exercise books; as comfortable with a laptop as a textbook.
There are however challenges. But the challenges that we face cannot be met by government alone. We can only fulfill the promise of this information and knowledge revolution if we all work together with creativity, resolve, and a restless spirit of innovation. This mission requires the efforts of us all and the communication companies who are enjoying the unparalleled prosperity of this moment do have special responsibilities. The thriving new companies, MTN, Airtel, Glo, Etisalat, etc., should use their power to empower others, to invest in a school, endow an eager young mind with opportunity; and not rest until every one of our children is technology literate. We offer our expertise and collaboration.
And, finally, to the graduates of the class of 2012 and 2013, I offer my congratulations and my gratitude for your commitment, for frustrations overcome, challenges conquered, for goals reached and even surpassed. You, your parents and your friends should be very proud today, and very hopeful, for all the possibilities of this new knowledge age are open to you. You are at the peak of your potential and the world will rightly reward you for the achievement you have made.
Our graduands, alumni and alumnae, in order for you to make the very best of your life and the opportunities that you have been given here, you must rise up to a new responsibility to give back to your University, your Community, your State and to Nigeria of what you have been given. Your generation will be judged not only based on what you do for yourself and your family, but on the contributions that you make to others; to your country, and your communities.
When you turn your fortune into a chance for others, you then will not only be leaders in your profession, you will become true leaders. Nigeria belongs to you and we must all together contribute to her prosperity by the education that you have received here.
Delivered by Professor Gabriel B. Ogunmola FAS
Lead City University.