As Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife prepares to celebrate its 60th anniversary, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Eyitope Ogunbodede, has assured members of the institution’s community that its legacy will be sustained.
Ogunbodede gave the assurance at a press briefing on the 60th anniversary celebration of the university, held at the institution’s campus in Ile-Ife on Tuesday.
It was reported that OAU, formerly known as University of Ife, was founded in 1961 by the Western Region government, led by the then Premier, the late Chief Ladoke Akintola.
The institution was renamed Obafemi Awolowo University University (OAU) by the Federal Government on May 12, 1987 in honour of the first Premier of the region, the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
Ogunbodede said that the university had performed excellently well, both academically and in all other developmental indices.
According to him, OAU, as one of the first generation universities, has been contributing immensely to the provision of quality education, advancement of research and overall national and international development.
He explained further that the research accomplishments and global positioning of the alumni had made OAU a leading university in the country.
The don, while stating that the university had prioritised modern technology in implementing its objectives, added that it had the best Information and Communication Technology (ICT) system, with its own VSAT internet access to the internet and an efficient intranet.
The vice-chancellor said that Law, Medicine and Engineering programmes of the institution stood out as the best among other universities worldwide.
He added that the institution started the first Faculty of Pharmacy in West Africa, the first Department of Chemical Engineering, first Technology Production and Development Unit and first campus intranet/internet facility in Nigeria.
Ogunbodede stated that the university had been making its products well-rounded, with capacity for adapting to change, nurture the teaching and learning community, advance frontiers of knowledge, promote cultural adaptability and added values to African culture.
He stressed that OAU had been striving to ensure that its graduates met, not only employment requirements nationally and worldwide, but also the rapid changing in technological world.
The vice-chancellor noted that the university, which started with 244 students, 64 academic members of staff and 15 senior administrative and technical staffers in five faculties, was now having over 25,000 students and more than 4,000 members of staff.
He also stated that the institution had hosted a number of national and international research centres, including African Regional Centre for Space Science and Technology Education-English (ARCSSTE-E) and Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), Ibadan, among others.
Ogunbodede added that the university is also superintending the undergraduate programme of Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo.
He, however, said that in spite of all the achievements, funding had been the major challenge facing the university, as government’s subvention was not enough to sustain the university.
“The insufficient financial allocations to the university by the Federal Government has had adverse effect on service delivery, coupled with students’ failure to pay commensurate tuition fees.
He commended the alumni, friends, NGOs, the state government as well as national and international partners for their support to the institution.
Ogunbodede pledged that as the university was marking its diamond jubilee celebrations, it would rededicate itself to the promotion of learning and research.
He also pledged to give welfare of members of staff and students priority, as he had embarked on various projects that would further aid teaching and learning.
Earlier, the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, Prof. Owelle Udoji, had congratulated the management for the privilege of witnessing the 60th anniversary of the university.
Udoji, on behalf of other members of the council, pledged their support for the management, assuring that while their tenure lasted, no stone would be left unturned to ensure the growth and development of the institution.
Also, the Vice-Chancellor of University of The Gambia, Prof Mohammed Anjum, while signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with OAU, appreciated the school authorities for partnering with his university.
Anjum said that all efforts would made to ensure that his institution added value to OAU in all aspects, stressing that the partnership would sustain the capacity building of the two institutions for the benefit of humanity.