THE THIRD CONVOCATION ADDRESS
LEAD CITY UNIVERSITY, IBADAN
(FOR THE AWARD OF FIRST DEGREES AND HONOURARY DEGREES)
The Governor of Oyo State
Our Proprietor- Chief Jide Owoeye
Members of the Board of Trustees
The Chairman and members of Council
The Vice Chancellor
The Deans of Faculties
The Public Orator
Members of Senate
Members of the University Community
Visiting Vice Chancellors and Registrars of our Sister Institutions
This is again another achievement in the life of the University.
This is the 3rd time Lead City University, Ibadan has gathered in a formal convocation, to award various degrees to our enterprising graduates after being duly certified and found worthy both in character and learning. It is also an occasion to admit persons who have demonstrated the same worthiness in their chosen fields to be admitted into various honorary degrees. Such persons by being so admitted become graduates of our university, ambassadors of our institution and role models for our generation of students. Convocations afford a moment for reflection on lessons of the past, aspirations for the future, and Lead City University’s position in the world.
This University is therefore pleased to release into our polity and the world at large, would-be leaders of this country and the continent, fresh from the oven and furnace of our refinement of their skills, character and abiding value.
We are equally proud to place our honorary graduands of today before our alumni and our entire student body as worthy role models of a successful life of scholarship and excellence in service to this nation and the world. The University Orator would have more to say about each and every one of you to our delight and the delight of the public.
I wish to congratulate our Proprietors, Board of Trustees and its Chairman-Prof. Jide Owoeye for the good works and commitment that continues to give expression to the visible development of our infrastructures. Entering Ibadan, the intellectual capital of this nation, one would be marveled at the industry that has created the branded blue roof of our building at the very gate of the city and therefore adding to the famous landmarks of the city of Ibadan.
From the inception of this University up till now, the Vice Chancellor, Professor J.B Aladekomo, has continued to provide this university with exemplary leadership and creative management that has resulted in expansive infrastructures and an increase in the development of our academic programmes.
The increase in the surface area of the blue roof at the gate of Ibadan City is a clear evidence of increase in the academic content that is housed under these new buildings. The Vice Chancellor would address the convocation to our delight to show our expansiveness and our successful endeavours which have resulted in the number of graduating students and their various disciplines.
On behalf of this university, I want to record our tremendous appreciation for the focused leadership from our Board of Trustee, the Council and the Management staff of this University. Our Proprietor has continued to put at our disposal resources with which to translate our dreams of a first class university into reality. We want to express our deep appreciation.
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 them a creative force as our nation’s resource upon completion of their programme.
The Registrar, Dr. Mrs. Bola Ayeni and her army of administrative staff have continue to provide the University with competent and efficient administrative machinery to match our rising aspiration and the buildup of a world class university.
At its very beginning, Lead City University was a bold and imaginative experiment, rooted in the tradition of the university but at the same time a great innovation in the younger and expanding Nigeria. The first university was established in Bologna around the end of the 11th century, followed soon after by those in Paris, Oxford, and Cambridge. The origin of these universities was complex, each in their own way derived from specialized training schools. They were powerful in influence over the centuries and over nations. After many years of negotiation, the first university was established in 1948 here in Ibadan first as a college of London University and thereafter as an independent University in 1962. Since then, many more university have been established.
The founders of Lead City University wanted this university to appear whole, all at once, and remarkably we have succeeded. The founders were young and in a hurry. Our goal was not only to create a university modeled along those of medieval times, but also to revolutionize the idea of higher education in the Nigeria through the involvement of the private sector. The establishment of Lead City University was in fact one of the transformative moments for private education in this country. The approach and attitude of the University at its founding have not only resonated but have also had a powerful influence on the evolution of private universities throughout the nation.
In my convocation address, I wish to examine in one manner the purpose of education and the nature of universities and their role in society. This topic reflects the intent of Lead City University to create a new model in higher education in Nigeria from the perspective of a private university.
We must go back to a major issue of higher education and the development of the human spirit and a knowledge society in Africa. That is what the modern university must do, for us to reclaim our continent. This entailed three major ideas: first, that the goal of education was to teach students to think, not simply to master a craft; second, that research would play a role of central importance and teaching students how to think would be accomplished through the integration of research service and teaching; and third, that the university should be independent, and be in partnership with the state in improving the human condition.
The goal of university education is to enable students “become aware of the principles of scholarship and excellence, so that they themselves gradually acquire the ability to investigate, invent, and to give account. This is the business of the university.” By their education with us, they would continue to do things most useful and most ornamental to their nation.
The goal of university education in our institution is rendering students “independent, not only in technicalities, but in the first place, and above all, in thinking.” And critical thinking is so essential for creative minds to turn the fortunes of this country around by the work they will do, the scholarship they will extol, the excellence they would uphold in the leadership they would offer in their chosen field and the responsibility of their citizenship of this country and of the world.
We have mixed too much politics with our educational system and therefore have not given it stability. The national policies of education at all levels in the country are practiced at both the federal, state and local government levels. We seem to be quite uncoordinated in the delineation of responsibilities and thus wasteful with resources. What government must do is to set standards and guarantee the quality of our output. It must use its fund to support research.
We seek to deploy this model in our service of the Nigerian society on the basis of merit and open competition. The founders created a university that was likewise imbued with the energy, ambition, openness, and optimism of an expanding knowledge society from Ibadan, the intellectual capital of this nation looking back both the nation’s origins from an amalgamated polity to a federated country and to its organic future and leadership on the continent offered.
The combined result was a new and instantly powerful force in higher education in Nigeria, one driven by ideas and open to all from its inception. The founding of Lead City University has in its short existence offered a profound effect on Nigeria’s higher education and justified why the private sector must increasingly get involved in improving access to higher education. In many ways, Lead City University will become a model private university that ultimately will exert a major influence on others and on older higher education institutions in this country.
Since the first convocation, we have seen many transformations, as well as great challenges, many of them ongoing. Through all this, the University has remained true to its lasting values that teaching, research and service and education environments go hand in hand. They all need to be driven by an intense and singular focus on rigorous and intense inquiry in an environment of intellectual freedom, and we remain open to all people and all perspectives that can stand the scrutiny of superior argument.
We are forceful in articulating this belief in the power of the university to have a profound impact on society and to improve the quality of human life. The power of the ideas that have emanated from Lead City University and the modest achievements of our enterprise graduates who have been empowered by an education devoted to independent and critical thought and entrepreneurship spirit have started to create a legacy of impact across the length and breadth of human activity. Some of our graduates have gone on to take the higher degrees of established universities in Europe where they compared favorably with their peers in class. The extraordinary impact that the University has had can, I believe, be directly connected to the constancy of purpose we have maintained.
Our convocations embody two very distinctive aspects which reflect the seriousness of purpose and the focus of the University. We offer honorary degrees only for scholarship and excellence, not for other forms of accomplishment or celebrity, as we do again here today. It is a powerful statement of our values and we stand with this commitment. At convocations that call for reflection on the past and future and our standing in the world, we boldly express the collective responsibility of our stewardship as a University to the very public that we serve, and assist our alumni keep track of our aspiration to achieve excellence at the world level.
We are not alone as a major private university in this country. Others have evolved towards our model, each in their own way. But, both in reality and in perception by colleagues across the world, we carry the flag of the highest scholarly and educational ideals of a university of high standing. This is a set of values that must remain our guiding principles in all that we do.
As antidote to complacency, we bring to our time the same energy, ambition, openness, and optimism in a constant attention to strengthen our faculty and with it the fermentation of new ideas. It entails bringing the full diversity of perspectives to bear on the problems of our times. It is for this reason we remain fully committed to the support of our students at all levels and to the expansion of this support we have undertaken in recent years. It entails continuing to support the evolution and vitality of our scholarly and education programs, and hence building the foundations for the impact they will have in the future. It is for this reason that we continue to invest, even in these times, in new libraries, laboratories, facilities, and opportunities for postgraduate training both in our own faculties and other universities in the nation and abroad.
And perhaps most importantly, it entails every one of us renewing, each day, our culture of openness, intensity, and rigor through our own actions. It is the fabric of this culture of constant questioning and challenge, of evaluating our own assumptions, of energy in pursuit of clarity, of ideas and not deference, of belief in the impact of ideas on the quality of human life, with faculty, students, and staff engaged in a common enterprise; that has defined the University.
We are all stewards of the remarkable legacy that we are establishing here. And we gather here as one community of common purpose, just as we envisioned we would, to celebrate our University’s achievements, reaffirm our connection to its past, and to renew our highest aspirations for its future.
I enjoin you to partake in this effort in whatever way you can as students, as our enterprise graduates, our honorary graduands and as friends. By such an undertaking, we would be building a lasting legacy of value in our nation and acquiring the necessary skill and courage to confront our errors of the past, as we chart a new path for a prosperous country.
Thank you all.
Delivered by Professor Gabriel B. Ogunmola FAS
Lead City University.