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ASUU: UNILAG VC optimistic strike will end soon

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The Vice Chancellor, University of Lagos, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, says he is optimistic that the protracted nationwide indefinite strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) would soon be over.

Ogundipe gave the hint in an interview with our correspondent on the sidelines of the inauguration of a multi-million naira laboratory, refurbished and donated to the Faculty of Engineering by Mr Oyetayo Ige, an alumnus of the university.

The event took place at the University campus in Akoka, Lagos, on Tuesday evening.

Our correspondent reports that members of the union had on Feb.16, embarked on an indefinite strike over government’s inability to satisfactorily address all issues raised in the 2020 Memorandum of Action (MoA) agreed between the parties.

The strike, which was embarked upon following several verbal warnings by the union, began with its members downing tools for a month from Feb. 14, which later rolled over to another two months, after which it became the current indefinite industrial action.

“I want to say that things may soon pick up in the system. We are already aware of the various interventions by some concerned stakeholders in the country, in ensuring that things are normalised in the system so that our children can come back to school.

“So, with the latest development and the kind of green light coming from government’s angle, there are strong indications that the strike may soon be over; very soon, and I want to assure you that we are very hopeful,” Ogundipe said.

Speaking on the donation of the laboratory by a former student of the university, the vice chancellor stated that he was elated, describing the development as heartwarming and the way to go.

“Today, we are unveiling the New Frederick Adegboyega Ige Laboratory Complex, a multi million naira facility donated by an alumnus of this university, who graduated from the Faculty of Engineering.

“The laboratory is for the Department of Electrical and Electronics.

“You know, what he has just done is in line with our ‘3P3’ initiative, which is Pick a Project, Pick a Person and Pick a Programme.

“So, he has been able to commit millions of naira to improve the state of this laboratory in a bid to give back to his alma mater and by extension, impact teaching and learning.

“We have three different sections in this laboratory; they comprise of the software, the electrical and the hardware sections, and with this, our engineering students will surely be unstoppable,” Ogundipe added.

He lauded Ige, the donor, and urged others to replicate same, in whatever ways they deemed fit, for the advancement of the society and for the good of humanity.

According to him, the 3P3 initiative introduced by the current management of the university has been receiving responses from key stakeholders in the society, but can be better.

“We want to appeal to more corporate organisations, public spirited individuals and the alumni of the university to partner with the university in supporting the initiative, in a bid to enhance academic excellence among the students and ultimately, nation building.

On his part, the donor of the laboratory, Mr Ige, said he was passionate about the success of the younger generation and hence the need to give back to his alma mater.

Ige, who is the Managing Director, Proyecto Technologies Ltd, noted that the greatest legacy one could bequeath to people was not only what one could offer them while they were alive, but the long-lasting memories it would leave.

Proyecto Technologies is an indigenous business service company that designs, develops and deploys cost-effective infrastructure solutions for industries.

“Part of why I undertook this project was also in honour of my late dad. He was an educationist, a lover of mankind, who was not a man of plenty needs, but was always willing to give selflessly.

“Unfortunately he passed on in his prime and since then, his memories linger on. I have always wanted to do something in memory of him and I thought there was no better place to do that, than to come to my alma mater here in UNILAG.

“We cannot keep on complaining about issues forever and not play our own role in our little corners, whether as individuals or collectively as a group.

“We all have a part to play in moving this nation forward. What I have done, is my own part as an alumnus of this institution. If anyone does same, things will surely look up for us, so my advice here is for everyone to stand up and be counted.

“We must play our part and not expect government to do everything for us. This may not be realistic. We need to put our money where our mouth is, if we are to build a society that we all desire,” Ige said.

He assured that aside donating the laboratory, he would also manage it and ensure it achieves the purpose for which it was meant.

Prof. Oluwole Adegbenro, a former lecturer in the department, commended Ige for the donation, describing it as encouraging and timely.

Adegbenro, now retired, told our correspondent that such donations had been seen in some faculties in the university, but there was need for more.

“We are indeed happy that he took this huge step, so as to encourage the younger generation. He is an alumnus of the department specifically, our former student. We taught him here and he graduated in 2008.

“This laboratory was built in 1962/63 by UNESCO. So, it is now left for us Nigerians to put it in modern shape, as it is in top universities in other climes.

“Before now, most of the equipment in this laboratory had outlived their usefulness, but with this new state of the art laboratory with modern equipment, our students are sure ready to fly,” he said.

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Chinyere Nwachukwu

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