AN ADDRESS PRESENTED BY DR. JOHN KAYODE FAYEMI, THE GOVERNOR OF EKITI STATE AND VISITOR TO THE EKITI STATE UNIVERSITY AT THE 17TH CONVOCATION CEREMONY OF THE UNIVERSITY HELD ON 31ST MARCH, 2012.ProtocolI am exceedingly happy today to address the congregation of the EkitiState University for the 17th Convocation and 30th anniversary of the citadelof learning. I have keenly monitored the activities marking the uniquecelebration of the three decades of the University in the past few days andcome to the conclusion that the ceremony is worth the energy andresources invested in it.The history of this institution is a study in resilience, unparalleled optimism,doggedness and the natural resolve to swim unperturbed against the wind,in the unquenchable spirit inherent in an average Ekiti. This, as can beseen, was demonstrated in high dosages with feelings of accomplishmentat every junction of the journey of the institution.The events that readily come to mind while relaying the history of theUniversity is its metamorphosis from Obafemi Awolowo University, itsmaiden name, to the Ondo State University in 1985, the University of Ado-Ekiti in 1999 and the Ekiti State University in 2011.However, the circumstances of the change of its name again in 2011 werevery fundamental and an inevitable option to a serious minded
government. While I am not unaware of reservations expressed in somequarters, especially among the University’s alumni about the latest namechange, I want to assure this august congregation that this changerepresents a fundamental departure from the norm. it is not meresymbolism, not a fashion but a substantial shift from the uncertainties ofthe past. At its inauguration in 2010, this government inherited three stateowned Universities: namely the University of Ado Ekiti, the University ofEducation, Ikere-Ekiti and the University of Science and Technology, Ifaki-Ekiti. The mystery surrounding the emergence of the plural institutions insuch a state as ours is still largely unfathomable. It was obvious that thepromoters of this course were only on an inexplicable mission of badpolitics which only resulted in crisis and mistrust among the people. It wasin response to the unanimity of calls by concerned citizens across social,political and economic lines for an immediate halt to the drift that informedthe consolidation of the institutions. The three glorified institutions had tocoalesce into one formidable Ekiti State University by the law passed by theEkiti State House of Assembly. Our vision is for a University that promotesknowledge with character, learning with culture and research withintegrity.Distinguished scholars, honorees and guests, may I observe that a majorexplanation of under-development in many third world countries,particularly in African sub-Saharan region, is the glaring disconnectbetween the Universities and the society. The World Universities Rating in2011 released recently indicates that many universities in Africa, nay in
Nigeria are nonstarters. For instance, the first African University in therating occupies 387th position in the world while the first university to bementioned in Nigeria is number 2,266 in the world and occupies 35thposition in Africa. It is sad to note that only five Universities in Nigeriamake the first 50 in Africa. While it is true that such statistics may not tellthe whole story, perceptions of quality and standards are often shaped bysuch ratings.This rating certainly talks volumes on how structurally deficient ouruniversities are and the possible reasons why they have not been able toserve as catalysts for the overall development of the Land. In other climes,universities, through researches, jumpstart and sustain development. Whatuse is a tertiary education, so to say, that fails to affect the people andtheir places of habitation? The university system, to me, is not only meantto churn out graduates, they must, by necessity, be productively functionalwith the capability to contribute significantly to the index of growth.Many of our Universities have largely been unable to engage in researchesthat have direct impact on the developmental needs of the continent. Thesociety is thus left to grapple blindly with unworkable trials that havetranslated to collateral failure of the state in its responsibilities to thesociety.It is the determination of this administration to make the Ekiti StateUniversity an intellectual bank capable of providing clues to solutions to our
myriads of developmental challenges through virile scholarship. We wantthe University to replicate the roles of the first generation universitieswhere top and middle level officers undergo scientific trainings that equipthem to aggressively perform their responsibilities in the most dynamicmanner that the society would benefit from. The public service of theWestern State and also that of the old Ondo State, in that respect,achieved excellence largely by the intellectual inputs of the Universityfaculties. We are looking forward to producing graduates whosescholarship would add value to the quality of lives of our people. This is theminimum we expect from this knowledge centre. Apart from occupying thesinecure position of the Visitor of this University, I also want to play a moreactive role in the University. Many will recall my campaign promise to techin the University. I have been in discussion with the Vice Chancellor andthe Department of Political Science on plans to start a graduate course inmy field of Peace and Conflict Studies. So very soon, don’t be surprised ifyou see me in your class.I am not unaware that the major complaints of public institutions centre oninadequate funding. While this is true, it would however be unacceptable tothis government should the Ekiti State University be attracted to thetemptation of using this as an excuse for failure to meet its obligations asrequired.I challenge you to engage in profitable and socially relevant consultanciesand be prudent in your resource management. The University also belongs
to a Universe of Knowledge, a universe without boundaries. So,international linkages become key for successful universities. To be factual,there is no way the government would be able to provide all the financialresources the institution requires for the performance of its statutoryresponsibilities. We will nonetheless redouble efforts in providing fundswithin the available resources. It is however necessary to encourage you toengage in public private partnership arrangements to handle many of yourresearch needs. It is still disappointing that much of the available researchfunds are unaccessed by our academics. Our faculty members need toembrace drive with a marked departure from what it has always been tobecome development oriented researchers.We are looking up to you as critical partners in the transformation agendaof the present administration in the State by making available practicablefindings to take on our socio-economic, political and technologicalchallenges. I am convinced that you have all it takes to make thisUniversity to rank among the best in the world.I like to congratulate the new Chancellor of the University, His Excellency,Dr. Bamidele Isola Olumilua, former governor of Old Ondo State on hiswell-deserved appointment as the Chancellor of the University. I alsosalute the Pro-chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council, EmeritusProfessor Akinjide Osuntokun, and other members of the council forproviding the right leadership for the University since the inauguration ofthe Council.
It is a profound joy for me to note that, for the first time in the history ofthe University, international figures are being honoured today by theconferment of honorary doctorate degrees. This is a clear signal that thisinstitution is cut for global attention.I therefore seize this opportunity to felicitate with the eminent citizens whohad been conferred with honorary doctorate degrees of the University.First, His Excellency, Dr. John Dramawi Mahama, the Vice President,Republic of Ghana; Dr. Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella, the Director General,United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and theformer Vice Chancellor of the premier University of Ibadan and a greatteacher of history, Emeritus Professor Tekena Nitonye Tamuno.With concerted efforts of all stake holders, Ekiti State University will soonbe a force to reckon with in University education. Again I congratulate youall for this programme, particularly the 30th anniversary celebrationsThank you and God bless.